Beth and I decided to visit Gardens by the Bay before we left Singapore.  This exposition sits on 250 acres of reclaimed land near the Marina Bay Sands (Hotel).   First stage was opened in 2012 and the rest came onstream in 2013.  It is an amazing place.

I elected not to carry my binoculars, a mistake.  As we detaxied, we heard the call of a White-throated Kingfisher and soon saw him on a high branch.  We saw several other birds and I’m sure could have seen many more had I had my bins.

We started out in the uncovered area nearest the drop-off point.  This treed garden includes twelve “Supertrees,” vertical gardens 80 to 160 feet high on cement and metal cores.  Three more are located across the parking lot.   Several are joined by a walkway. One houses a restaurant at its top and one or more are giant flues for power generation below. All waste clippings from around Singapore are brought to the site and burned, somewhere well out of sight, to boil water which runs a steam generator.  The outer shells of the Supertrees are covered with metal piping on which vines, bromeliads, orchids and other plants grow.  The piping includes built in photovoltaic cells which harness solar power.  Annual power generation at the Garden is a megawatt, enough to power 1000 homes and which covers a significant portion of the complex’s electricity requirements.  As we were sitting enjoying the splendor, Beth spotted a tiny Scarlet-breasted Sunbird working plants at the fifteen foot level.  What a little beauty.

Second stop was the Flower Dome which was having a tulip festival to complement its normal displays.  The tulips and hyacinth were nice but the overall splendor of the place was out of this world.  It is 125 feet high, covers three acres and features seven different gardens with plants from warm, semi-arid areas of the planet plus an olive grove.  It was fun to see plants we had seen in their native habitats around the Mediterranean and in Australia, South Africa and South America, mixed with many that we had missed.  Because of such wonderful growing conditions, even flowers we recognized were supersize. The tulips were in a central exhibit area reserved for rotating presentations.

After lunch we went to the Cloud Forest Dome.  It covers two acres, is 150 feet high and replicates the cool, moist conditions of the tropical mountains in Southeast Asia and Central and South America.  It features a 138 foot “Cloud Mountain” complete with 115 foot waterfall.  One ascends to the top on a central elevator then walks down a part exterior and part interior pathway.  The outside of the mountain is covered with lush tropical growth and the inside features orchids, ferns and other tropical flowers, lily ponds and rock gardens.  We only managed to pry ourselves away after two hours of pure delight.

Obviously, words and photos are inadequate to describe the splendor.  This is a definite redo on our next trip.