This year, Singapore celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the creation of its world famous Botanic Gardens (SBG), which now welcomes well in excess of three million visitors every year. It is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. SBG is proud of its historical links to Britain, and the 52-acre green oasis “connecting plants and people” was modelled -rather successfully, it must be said, on Kew Gardens, when it was founded in 1859. It’s now in the midst of what is today one of the world’s busiest city ports.
At present there’s an exhibition: The Seed That Changed The World. This charts the commercial rise of rubber, championed by pioneering British botanists like Thomas Ridley (a director of the SGB 1888 – 1911) to its universal use throughout the world. During the rest of the anniversary year, the SBG has plans for a wide and exciting diary of events and activities. These will include an exhibition on pioneering evolutionists Darwin and Wallace (July), and a photographic exhibition of international rainforests, which is staged in partnership with Kew Gardens and the Prince’s Trust (December).
In its 150 year history, the SBG has grown to include a five-hectare estate containing the world’s most comprehensive and orchid culture, one of Asia’s largest collections of rare palms, a valuable library and herbarium, and a six-hectare tract of primeval forest, and Asia’s first children’s garden. Scheduled to open in 2010, an ‘Healing Garden’ will showcase some of the plants and herbs used in traditional medicine throughout Asia – keeping the Gardens true to its original mission as a recreational park, research and educational facility and national asset.
The continuing development of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens is said to show the government’s commitment to a comprehensive ‘greening’ programme which began over forty years ago under the direction of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Between 1986 and 2007 alone, designated green areas and protected nature reserves grew from 36% – 46% and today comprises 9,500 hectares over 300 parks. In addition to the Botanic Gardens, some of these other ‘must-see’ natural habitats include the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.
Comments STB’s Area Director for Northern and Western Europe, Divya Panickar: “The 150th anniversary of the founding of the SBG is truly a milestone event in the city’s history. Like Singapore itself, the SBG keeps evolving to ensure it remains a vital and integral part in the lives of the city’s residents and a highlight on any visitor’s itinerary. It has come to mean much to the people of Singapore, and is well-deserving of its accolade by TIME magazine as “Asia’s Best Urban Jungle” in 2007”.
For details visit www.sbg.org.sg
There are direct daily flights available to Singapore from London’s Heathrow Airport, with Qantas, Singapore Airlines and British Airways. Incidentally, if you are continuing on to a further destination such as Australia, why not arrange for a few days in Singapore to enjoy the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the sights of Singapore?