Singapore – A Garden City

Whenever I have heard other people speak about Singapore they have generally had a stopover to break up a long journey and despite only a brief visit they have said what a lovely place it is.  Now I know why.  It is clean, well organised, has lots of interesting things to do and there are trees and plants everywhere!

I had not realised before that Singapore is a garden city and has been for over fifty years now.  Everywhere I go I am always noticing spare places, unkempt corners, unused spaces that to me seem to be crying out for something green to be planted on them.  In Singapore I couldn’t see any spare or unloved space at all – everywhere that was not in use for roads, paving or buildings was green.  The roads are lined with graceful trees – as shown below, I don’t know the species.  Most of these trees have other plants such as ferns growing in between the boughs.

Fort Canning Road, by back entrance to Singapore National Museum – hence the sculptures!

The garden city includes an emphasis on community growing and there are over 1000 community gardens.

The pavements are lined with plants, often on two sides so you walk along surrounded by shrubs, trees and flowering plants.  Many of the plants looked to my British eyes like massive pot plants!  Despite being so pleased to see the street planting I didn’t take any photos of it, but this link takes you to a search which demonstrates what I mean.

The city is making an effort to increase biodiversity in the city by planting habitat for birds and insects.  We walked past this entrance to a butterfly area on our way from Orchard Road (the main shoppping and hotel area) walking to the Botanic Gardens.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find the actual way into the area!

Nassim Green butterfly trail

Much of the expertise for the garden city is rooted in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  This 82 hectare garden was originally founded in 1859 and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2015.

This scene is on the publicity leaflets, but I don’t know the significance of it!

It is huge and has many lovely gardens within the one site.  Unfortunately as it was so very hot my partner and I were wilting after just a couple of hours and we only saw a fraction of what was there.

Orchids in Singapore Botanic Garden

New Zealand is home to 4.8 million people living on 103,360 square miles, Singapore is home to 5.6 million people on just 278 square miles! For comparison the UK is 93,600 square miles with 63 million inhabitants.  I will leave any calculations of population density to you – but clearly Singapore is incredibly densely populated which makes its green environment even more of a wonder.

 

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
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3 Responses to Singapore – A Garden City

  1. tonytomeo says:

    So, Melbourne and Sydney each have more inhabitants than New Zealand? That is weird. I just wrote about how sparsely populated Australia is, and how it has less inhabitants than California does, but it has TWO cities that are more populous than Los Angeles, and all FIVE of the major cities are more populous than San Jose is. That is hard to imagine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anni Kelsey says:

      I did not know that about Australia and California.
      I was so struck by the high rise density of Singapore compared to the very sparsely populated countryside of New Zealand. I have just checked Auckland population which is over 1.5 million – ie over 30% of the NZ total.

      Liked by 2 people

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