Standing inside the gigantic conservatory, amongst a rainbow palette of extraordinary flowers, you’ll discover the fascinating world of plants. Nature has never been so captivating.
With a lofty Cloud Forest tucked away in a bubble by its side, an additional dome, Flower Dome, sprawls across a huge 1.2 hectares of Singapore soil at Gardens by the Bay. The glass greenhouse is the largest of its kind in the world, with enough volume to squeeze in 75 Olympic size swimming pools. Inside the colossal pocket – made up of 3,332 glass panels of 42 different shapes – flowers of all species and colours thrive in a world of their own.
Temperate blooms such as tulips, cherry blossoms, camellias, dahlias amongst numerous others are perfectly catered for in the cool dome environment, allowing them the ideal conditions for spectacular flowering. Yet cooling such a massive greenhouse is not easy. Chilled to a controlled temperature of 23-25 degrees celsius, stepping into Flower Dome is like walking through a completely different environment and climate. Glass panels allow sunlight through for the health of plants, whilst sensor-operated blinds provide shade, thus creating an automated system for temperature control. Unlike Cloud Forest which is kept intensely humid, Flower Dome has been designed to support plants from semi-arid subtropical regions. Cool water pipes are placed within the floor to cool air at the lowest levels, whilst the hotter air is expelled from the top. Resultantly, Flower Dome achieves around 30 percent energy savings.
Despite the record-breaking sustainable design and futuristic architecture, most visually pleasing are the plants and flowers. There’s an incredible collection on show. Changing displays of flowers reflecting different seasons and festivals in the Flower Field combine the most aesthetic aspects of nature and the most creative of minds. Visit in December to experience a cosy Nordic Christmas, when you’ll see an enchanting floral display of winter blooms and poinsettias spotted with iconic landmarks from Scandinavia. A trip to Flower Dome in February is certainly worth a visit, as you’ll get to admire the vibrant red colours of Chinese New Year. Flower Dome is divided into eight diverse gardens and on your way around you’ll visit multiple parts of the globe, stacked with unique and rare species. It’s a visual and sensual spectacle no doubt, yet the message behind beauty and design is clear: visitors should reflect on the importance of taking care of the planet. Flower Dome makes very clear its central goal – to ensure that all species of flowers which make up the world’s natural heritage are preserved and protected. By collecting and displaying around 32,0000 plants and 160 species, from orchids to olive trees, Flower Dome hopes to enlighten and teach about the importance of conservation. You’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two.
Take a quick trip to South America and walk through the Chilean garden, bursting with exotic plants including the monkey puzzle tree. This spiny South American tree covered in thick prickly leaves, has in recent years been declared vulnerable as a result of human activity. Venture into the desert and learn about prickly, water-storing plants in the succulent garden. Look closely to see a layer of blue wax on the leaves which protect the succulents from UV and from dehydration. Walking though the Australian Garden you’ll see native flowers which thrive in a cool-dry climate. Amongst the greenery you might see the Kangaroo Paw, a common houseplant resembling the paw of a kangaroo. Unfortunately its popularity in society has resulted in a declining population in Australia. Weighing about 32 tonnes, the African baobab is the largest tree in Flower Dome. With an appearance like no other tree in the world, the Baobab is unique in that it flowers at night, it is dispersed by elephants and baboons and is pollinated by fruit bats. Other sites at Flower Dome include the South African Garden where visitors can see the famous ‘Bird of Paradise’ flower, and Olive Grove, home to a 1000-year old olive tree.
To end your visit to Flower Dome, pop into Pollen. The highly-rated restaurant is located in a truly special location – inside the Flower Dome conservatory and with stunning waterfront views. Sourcing fresh herbs and vegetables from the in-house garden, not only will you be serviced extraordinary high-quality, farm-to-table food, but you’ll also be supporting a restaurant hot on reducing food-miles.
Through the creation of Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay provides a climate unknown to Southeast Asia for non-native Singaporean plants and flowers to thrive. Laying out the most beautiful parts of nature from all over the globe within such a striking structure, the gardens makes a huge environmental statement, putting great importance on the conservation of biodiversity for society to see. The futuristic greenhouse, abundant with thriving plant life has become not only one of Singapore’s most famous tourist attractions, but an important platform globally to conserve biodiversity and spread the environmental message.