Yesterday we spent our final day in Singapore. In the morning we visited the National Gallery and in the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at the Gardens By The Bay.
For breakfast I sampled a Singaporean speciality, chicken on rice.
We spent a short but enjoyable time at the National Gallery, the highlight of which was the powerful but spectacularly un-photographable Nowhere by Jane Lee.
Sadly we were only able to spend a couple of hours at the botanical gardens but it was a mind-blowing experience. The first greenhouse we visited was the Cloud Forest, a 58m high dome that replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions in Southeast Asia and Middle and South America. It features a 35m waterfall and a 42m high mountain completely clad in epiphytics (a plant that grows on the surface of another plant) such as orchids, bromeliads, begonias, and carniverous pitcher plants.
By the time we left Tristan was so enthused that he begged me to let him put together a flower of the day segment. Looking into his puppy dog eyes I couldn’t turn him down so now please take the time to enjoy this exquisite write up that he has poured his heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into.
Rose Grape – Medinilla magnifica
A stunning sweet-smelling species native to the Phillipines. It is characterised by rose coloured “florets” (flowers) growing in “panacles” (a much-branched “inflorescence” (a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches)). It obtained its name in 1820, 3 years into a voyage to the South Seas made by French navigator Louis de Freycinet. The on board botanist Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré named the plant after José de Medinilla y Pineda, the then governor of The Marianne Islands (now known as Mauritius).
Golden Kangaroo Paw – Anigozanthos pulcherrimus
Native to South West Australia, I was delighted to be reunited with a previous FoTD contender in Singapore. With its rhizomatous root system (similar to Lotus or Turmeric), evergreen flowering and important role in attracting pollinators such as bees and birds, I firmly believe it deserves a second chance at the honour of the title.
Desert Rose – Adenium obesum
A member of the Dogsbane family that is evergreen or drought deciduous (it can drop its leaves during dry spells). I admired its pink tubular flowers and it’s stout, swollen basal caudex (stem). But watch out! Its roots and stem contain a toxic sap that is used on arrow heads for hunting large game throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. The sap is also an effective fish poison. Hunters mix sap with water to make a concentrate which when released into slow flowing rivers will stun or stupefy fish, making them easy to catch.
“Merlin-and-his-Beard” – Phragmipedium Longifolium
There was a special orchid exhibition during our visit to cloud forest and although the competition was tight, this was my favourite. I cannot sumarise it better than the entry on Travaldo’s plant care blog:
It is a medium to large sized, warm to cool growing terrestrial or lithophyte with very short stems. It has imbricate, distichous, conduplicate, leaf-bearing sheaths carrying several, linear-lanceolate, dark green above, pale green below, arcuate, acuminate, conduplicate from the middle to the base, up to 80 cm long, 1-5 cm wide leaves with the lower leaves being shorter than the rest.
If you would like to purchase one for yourself they can be bought for the very reasonable price of €30
There you go.
Please don’t forget to vote for your favourite flower in the comments below. Results may be announced!
Beth of the day goes to Tristan for this write up as well as for photographing close to 150 different species (of the roughly 250,000 total at the gardens) of of plant in the short time we were there.
For those of you who are still hungry for more plant content I will leave you more of Tristan’s handiwork, a beautiful collage that in this case required no begging or pleading to be offered a spot in the limelight.