Singapore Botanic Gardens

20090425 Singapore 017 Saturday I went to the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  It is very large, and it is free to get in!  There are trees, fountains and flowers all over the garden.  There are also benches and picnic areas.  There were families relaxing on the lawns, kids playing, people out for a jog.  The garden also had an open air theatre where the symphony performs.
20090425 Singapore 005 My first stop was the rainforest walk.  I immediately saw a lizard sunning himself.  He had a very small patch of sun, just big enough for his body.  He did not want to move, but he was annoyed by my approach.  It was clearly a struggle – in the end he did run and hide, but not before I got a couple of pictures.  I am sure he was back as soon as I walked away.
20090425 Singapore 069 The Singapore National Orchid Garden is located within the larger Botanic Garden.  I had heard great things about the Orchid Garden, and very much wanted to see it.  There is a five dollar fee to enter the Orchid Garden, but it was well worth it!  The orchids are amazing.  The volume of flowers all in one place was staggering.  Orchids often grow on trees – not parasites, I learned, because they do not take any nutrition from the tree.  They simply perch on the tree in order to get better access to rain water and the nutrients carried in the water.  Their roots pick up the water that runs down the bark of the tree they are holding onto.  There were many orchids growing on plumeria trees.  I found this especially wonderful since I love plumerias.
20090425 Singapore 049 It is difficult to describe how many different orchids there were to look at. Everywhere I looked there was another type of orchid growing. There were two special buildings with conditions arranged to meet the needs of particular orchids: The Mist House, and the Cool House. The mist house, as you might imagine, has fine mist sprayed everywhere (It does wonders for your hair, I am sure. I am glad I had a hat on!). The Cool House is climate controlled to simulate the cool air in the mountains. It was so refreshing to walk into that space! I talked with a nice man from Goa, India, who was on holiday with his family. He was good enough to take my picture. If you look at the picture inside the green house, you can see him – his back is to the camera.
20090425 Singapore 094 The orchids come is all sizes, shapes and colors. There are some tiny orchids, and some large ones. One really pretty purple orchid was almost big as my palm! The National Orchid Garden is very active in breeding and creating new hybrid orchids. They get to name all the new orchids they create. Sometimes they name them for famous people, and dignitaries that visit the garden. I saw orchids that were named for the Kings and Ministers of countries from all over the world. There was an orchid named for Princess Diana. There was even one named for Ricky Martin; I was a bit sad because it was not blooming, so still do not know what the Ricky Martin orchid looks like!
20090425 Singapore 084 Right at the end of my walk through the orchid garden I ran into a most cheeky lizard. Unlike the lizard I met previously, this guy was not the least bit shy. He came right out onto the tree trunk and was showing off. It seemed like he was quite proud of living with all the orchids and wanted to let everyone know! I got a good close-up picture of him, but I also got this one that includes an orchid. Interestingly, if you can look in the bottom left corner of the picture, you just can see some Mexican Heather. They have the Mexican Heather planted as border and filler all over the orchid garden. I was quite proud that the only plant that I have purposefully plated in my own garden made an appearance in such a prestigious garden!

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