At a recent launch event for the 160th Anniversary celebrations of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the National Parks Board (NParks) unveiled their plans for the 8 ha extension to the Gardens along Gallop Road. Comprising an arboretum which will hold 200 to 300 species of dipterocarp forest species, Singapore’s first permanent collection of botanical art on display, a restored ridge-top habitat and a biophilic play area, the Gallop extension brings the total area of the Gardens to 82 hectares – the largest in its 160-year history. For the first time in Singapore, visitors of all ages and abilities will be able to explore and appreciate native forest ecology in one location, furthering the Gardens’ mission of connecting people with plants.
As Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens has a rich history of research, conservation, education and recreation.
With its rolling terrain of open lawns framed by landscapes of native plants and forests, and featuring two conservation buildings, the Gallop extension will continue the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ heritage roles in research, conservation, education and recreation. As a natural extension of the Gardens’ Nature Area which covers 6 ha of primary rainforest and the Learning Forest, the Gallop extension will enable visitors to learn about forest ecology and the importance of conservation in a single location when it opens in late 2019. The extension will also buffer against urban development surrounding the native flora and fauna within the Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more about the various new features of this green project here.
A green corridor adjacent to the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal (between Holland Green and Holland Plain) is now open.
Reaching almost 1km in length, this green corridor features rain gardens, vegetated swales, and wetland systems. The diverse native plants and forest tree species provide a conducive environment for flora and fauna including the Grey Heron, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Malayan Water Monitor and many dragonflies.
The green corridor runs along Holland Plain and you can get there via Holland Road or Holland Link.
It is specially designed with features that bring about restorative effects to our mental well-being and relieve stress. The garden includes edible and fragrant plants, a calming water feature and is wheelchair-friendly.
Threpeautic Garden at Choa Chu Kang Park is the first of its kind in the western part of Singapore. There are three other such gardens at HortPark, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Tiong Bahru Park. Two more will be opened by the first quarter of 2019, bringing the total to six around the island.
The National Parks Board (NParks) has opened the approximately 1 hectare Ethnobotany Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This new themed garden is the first in Singapore where visitors can learn about plants used by indigenous cultures of Southeast Asia; and it features a centre for ethnobotany which complements the outdoor landscape with an interpretive exhibition of artefacts and interactive elements.
The Ethnobotany Garden is in the Gardens’ Bukit Timah Core and located at an area historically known as the Economic Garden. This section of the Gardens was previously a space for experimentation with plants that had potential commercial applications, many of which were first derived from traditional uses.
Development of the Ethnobotany Garden is aligned with the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage status, supporting its Outstanding Universal Value by showcasing its unrivalled collections of economic, medicinal and ethnobotanical plants – the largest such collection in Southeast Asia. This new garden enhances the Gardens’ role as an educational provider, which is in line with UNESCO’s mission.
From the first half of 2020, residents of Sembawang will have a uniquely designed Bukit Canberra – an integrated sport and community hub, that will inspire them to live better.
To be opened in phases, the 12-hectare hub will provide amenities such as a hawker centre, indoor and outdoor sport facilities, a polyclinic, a senior care centre, green spaces for community farming and lifestyle related amenities for the community within a lush and naturalistic environment.
The National Parks Board (NParks) opens Marsiling Park, formerly known as Woodlands Town Garden, after 22 months of enhancement works. As a result of close consultation with the community during the design process, the park now offers a range of new day and night experiences for visitors to enjoy. Enhancements have also been sensitively made to the mangrove area to allow visitors to get closer to nature as well as for biodiversity to thrive.
With its lush greenery and peaceful ambience, Marsiling Park is an oasis of calm and tranquillity. The park features activity areas and amenities for visitors of all ages.
Visitors can enjoy the view of the picturesque pond from the viewing tower or the boardwalks, especially in the evening, as the lighting is curated to leverage on the reflections on the water body to create a special illumination effect.
The one of a kind butterfly-shaped playground with climbing ropes provides children with a challenging play experience while the Fun Play area has play equipment with musical elements for an interactive play experience.
Nature-lovers will appreciate the butterfly-attracting plants and educational interpretive boards that have been introduced around the playground, as well as the enhanced mangrove habitat along the western edge of the park.
There are also several spaces for community activities, such as the activity plaza and the amphitheatre, which features a rain garden. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments at the F&B outlet in the park, which is open 24 hours daily.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens’Seed Bank is Singapore’s first seed bank and will conserve the seeds of threatened plant species from Southeast Asia. Works for the seed bank are expected to be completed by mid-2019.
The seed bank will play a key role in conserving plant diversity in the region and ensure the growth of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ plant collection. The seed bank will have the capacity to store seeds from up to 25,000 species of plants. This is around half the total number of seed plant species in Southeast Asia, and nearly triple the 9,000 species of plants that the Gardens currently has in its living collection. When established, the seed bank targets to achieve 100 seed collections per year.
The facility will be established in House 4, the largest of five colonial-style houses within the Raffles College. Originally named Mansfield Lodge, it served as the college president’s residence when it was built in the 1920s. This house was designated as a Conserved Building in October 2006. Read more about this project here.
Want to know what goes on inside a Community in Bloom (CIB) Community Garden here in Singapore? At the Leng Kee CC Sky Community Garden, there are more than 60 species of edibles, ornamental and biodiversity-enhancing plants at its newly renovated rooftop! The Women Executive Committee (WEC) helps to maintain this community garden and regularly harvests herbs and spices for cooking demonstrations in their community kitchen next to the garden. The food is then shared with interest groups and members of the public.
Put your horticulture skills to good use and contribute to the unique green ambience of Singapore through Nparks' ‘Community In Bloom’ programme!
Launched in May 2005 and first carried out at Mayfair Park Estate, the Community in Bloom nationwide gardening movement aims to foster a community spirit and bring together residents, both young and old, to make Singapore our garden. Today, CIB has close to 1,000 community gardens across Singapore that have engaged over 20,000 residents.
Jurong Lake Gardens West focuses on nature, play and the community. It is currently under construction. When it opens in 2019, the public will be able to see a restored swamp forest and wetlands, a nature-themed play area, allotment gardens, lifestyle and sports facilities, and F&B options.
One of the key design concepts for Jurong Lake Gardens West is the Heron Island.
Herons are among the wildlife living in the Jurong Lake area. Platforms will be installed on Heron Island to encourage roosting and nesting, away from human disturbance. Enhancing habitats for wildlife and keeping the tranquility of the area are key considerations in the development of Jurong Lake Gardens West, enabling visitors to enjoy nature and biodiversity.
Children can look forward to Forest Ramble, a nature-themed play area that will capture their fascination for plants and animals. Forest Ramble will comprise varied adventure play experiences for children to mimic the actions of animals – from crawling through a “squirrel’s nest” to gliding through a tree canopy.
The new entrance pavilion at the north carpark will serve as an arrival point to introduce visitors to the Gardens. The multiple columns of the pavilion are inspired by the hanging aerial roots of the many Ficus trees found within the Gardens.
Looking for a space to nurture your green fingers? NParks provides allotment gardening plots at various parks for anyone who wishes to have their own space to garden.
Allotment gardens offer plots of land to individuals to rent for growing their own plants. Following the initial success of the pilot scheme at HortPark, new allotment gardening plots will be introduced in 10 more parks islandwide over the next two years. By 2019, more than 1,000 allotment garden plots will be available to the community.
Each allotment plot consists of a 2.5 m x 1 m raised planter bed, and can be leased for three years at a charge of $57/year (excluding GST).
Three historical gardens will be recreated as part of efforts to restore the rich heritage of Fort Canning Park and its surroundings. The three gardens within and around Fort Canning Park make up the heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill, and include Singapore’s first botanic garden. The National Parks Board (NParks) will create these gardens as part of sensitive enhancements to Fort Canning Park to emphasise Fort Canning’s historical features. Enhancements will be accompanied by the introduction of a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, and enhanced accessibility to the park.
Fort Canning Centre will also be repurposed as a gallery for visitors to learn more about the history of the hill and its surroundings. Members of the public are invited to volunteer at park programmes and give suggestions on the upcoming enhancements.
As one of Singapore’s two National Parks, Fort Canning Park is deeply rooted in history, from the time of the 14th century kings to the founding of modern Singapore. The enhancements will highlight the significance of Fort Canning Hill and retrace the history of Singapore across the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries.
The heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill and its surroundings will be restored and weaved seamlessly into Fort Canning Park with the creation of three gardens, namely the Royal Garden, the First Botanic Garden, and Jubilee Park.
The First Botanic Garden, which was established by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 to also serve as an experimental garden, will extend from Fort Canning Park onto the streetscapes of roads bounded by Hill Street, Victoria Street, Bras Basah Road, Handy Road and Canning Rise. As part of the First Botanic Garden, a large part of Armenian Street will be pedestrianised and turned into a park featuring plants that were introduced as economic crops for the spice trade, food and horticulture. Economic crops such as nutmeg were cultivated in the First Botanic Garden before they were propagated across Singapore in the 1800s. The new park at Armenian Street is part of a multi-agency effort by URA, NParks, PUB, LTA, NHB and NAC in close collaboration with stakeholders within the vicinity to create new vibrant public spaces that visitors can enjoy. The new park at Armenian Street and wider sidewalks along Coleman Street will also enable visitors to walk comfortably from Armenian Street to Civic District, linking Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah.Bugis and the Civic District together into an expanded arts, cultural and heritage district.
NParks is also planning a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, including re-curation of existing heritage trails of the 14th and 19th centuries. These trails will be enhanced to interpret the rich history of Fort Canning Park and feature new nodes. The 14th century trail will feature the Forbidden Spring or Pancur Laranganwhich is believed to be the bathing site of the royals. The refreshed 19th century trail will feature the restored Raffles Garden and Farquhar Garden, which will showcase plants collected and documented by Sir Stamford Raffles and Singapore’s First Resident William Farquhar through their botanical explorations.
“Jubilee Park” will be restored where the King George V Jubilee Park was originally located at the junction of River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue. The park will avail more outdoor family-friendly venues for arts and culture activities in a garden setting. New amenities will include play features, a landscaped theatre and an event lawn.
Find out more about this restoration project here.
ToriYard is a new yakitori concept restaurant right in the heart of Bishan Park.
Enjoy their mouthwatering range of skewer grilled meats and other japanese small bites, meticulously prepared by ToriYard's Executive Chef Isao-san. Pair your food with their unique blend of sauces that will please your palate.
To top off the culinary experience, you can even watch your meats cooked to perfection atop a charcoal grill specially imported from Japan.
Food For Tots is the newest concept of the Food For Thought group - a self-service kids café that aims to encourage a love for Good Food in children. Situated in Asia’s first garden dedicated to children, Food For Tots draws influences from Jacob Ballas Children’s Gardens’ mission to cultivate an appreciation for the natural environment.
Inspired by its location amidst a lush landscape of flora and fauna, their eco-conscious café features an upcycled colander light installation and a potted herb wall – all in alignment with the Gardens’ mission to instil a love of nature in visitors.
Food for Tots' intimate space also boasts an interactive play area and weekly programmes for the little ones, so let the children come and play while you indulge in our all-day brunch items for all the delicious reasons.
Located at Singapore Botanic Gardens' Tanglin Gate, Fusion Spoon is a casual self-service dining place for families and friends.
Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of affordable food and beverages from various cuisine choices such as Western, Asian and Japanese. There is also a waffle and Korean bingsu ice kiosk at Fusion Spoon, for those looking for a little treat after a day out at Singapore’s first UNESCO site!
The main indoor dining area with its warm earthy interiors and green wall brings nature into the restaurant, while the outdoor dining area brings diners closer to nature through an al fresco dining experience.
An indoor as well as an outdoor play area for kids are available plus a 'Harvest Corner', all providing little ones with fun-filled activities while parents dine.
Sembawang Hot Spring, the only hot spring on mainland Singapore, will be developed into a community park 10 times its current size.
The Sembawang Hot Spring was discovered in 1908 on the grounds owned by a Chinese merchant, Seah Eng Keong. Since then, the land has changed hands a few times. It was once a thermal bathhouse for Japanese soldiers, after their occupation of Singapore during World War II.
Sembawang Hot Spring holds many memories for the community that has used it over the years. The design of the new Sembawang Hot Spring Park is shaped by the 'kampung-like' environment and will be kept rustic with various spaces where visitors can gather & enjoy the activities in this unique park. The design will be further refined with ideas and suggestions received from the public.
Work on the park will begin in early 2018 and are expected to be completed by 2019.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has doubled in size with a new two-hectare extension that includes new attractions and programmes geared towards youngsters up to 14 years old.
This will allow families with older children to immerse in nature as they explore the different eco-systems simulated in this new extension. It aims to expose children to and help them understand the ecology of plants through nature play and experiential learning. Prior to the extension, the Garden catered to children up to 12 years old.
The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is the first garden in Asia dedicated to children. Its theme of ‘Life on Earth Depends on Plants’ aims to educate and instil a love for nature in children. The Garden is a complete nature-learning environment, where children can delve deeper into the ecology of plants and our environment through discovery and experiential learning.
The Garden offers children a space for exploration, adventure and play, with a farm, an orchard, and a forest with its own stream and ponds. Young adventure seekers can explore the suspension bridge and nature play areas; budding naturalists can walk along the stream and climb into the tree-houses; and all urban gardeners can observe how plants grow and pick up some gardening tips! Be an ‘Adventurer’, ‘Gardener’ or ‘Naturalist’ for a day at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden by following these carefully curated trails.
The Therapeutic Garden at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is situated near the pond gardens and was launched on 19 September 2017.
Therapeutic Gardens are outdoor gardens designed to meet the physical, psychological and social needs of park users, incorporating design principles derived from scientific evidence.
Together with therapeutic horticulture programmes involving plants and nature, visitors can experience a range of health benefits such as the relief of mental fatigue, reduced stress and an overall improvement to emotional well-being.
The garden is specially designed to engage the senses with a landscape of plants divided into four zones: Fragrance zone, Biodiversity zone, Edibles and Medicinal zone and Colours and Textures zone.
The 900sqm Therapeutic Garden at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park has design elements and user-friendly features to meet the needs of the elderly, including those with conditions such as dementia. It also provides respite for visitors of all ages.
The greenery and sensory aspects in the garden will provide visitors with a rehabilitative environment, providing relief from attention fatigue and stress. This is complemented by an outdoor activity area where therapeutic horticulture programmes will be carried out. Each session is about 1.5 hours and the activities are designed to stimulate participants’ senses and memories through nature interaction, and to encourage motor and hand-eye coordination.
Located near various eldercare and senior activity centres, the 750sqm Therapeutic Garden @ Tiong Bahru Park is designed to be elderly-friendly. It provides a holistic rehabilitative environment for conditions including dementia. The Garden also helps to relieve stress and brings restorative effects to the mental well-being of visitors of all ages.
The design elements in Therapeutic Garden @ Tiong Bahru Park are similar to the garden in HortPark. It has a simple and clear garden layout, seats facing different directions to provide various views, and the profusion of plants with colour, texture and scents to stimulate the senses. An area specifically designed for gardening with customised benches for potting makes it more convenient for the elderly and wheelchair users to participate in gardening, which improves their health and mental well-being.
The Garden also has raised planter beds of two heights to cater to different groups of visitors. The raised planter beds at a lower height encourages wheelchair users to interact with plants and flowers, while the taller raised planter beds enables seniors who have difficulty bending to do gardening while standing.
A rich variety of plants has been arranged in different zones to evoke visitors’ senses as they move along the pathway.
NParks developed and curated the St John’s Island Trail to encourage public appreciation for its rich biodiversity and the history of St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. The trail is part of NParks’ outreach initiatives on marine biodiversity under NParks’ Nature Conservation Masterplan, which consolidates Singapore’s biodiversity conservation efforts to help achieve Singapore’s City in a Garden vision.
The 2.8 km St John’s Island Trail comprises 15 stations marked with signboards that serve as both station markers and educational resources, highlighting the diversity of flora and fauna as well as the island’s colourful history.
St John’s Island is rich in local history. Since 1604, the island was marked on explorers’ maps. The island was planted extensively with crops in the mid-19th century, before it became a quarantine centre. In 1948, parts of the island were converted into a detention centre for political prisoners such as C. V. Devan Nair, who later became Singapore’s third President. From the 1970s onwards, the island has been mainly used for recreation and is popular with beach-goers and picnickers. Today, it serves as a base for marine research.
When you are on the island, try spotting Singapore’s tallest bird (1.15 m), the Great-billed Heron. It uses its dagger-like bill to spear large fish. This species is locally critically-endangered due to habitat loss.
Jurong Lake Gardens (JLG) is envisioned to be Singapore’s new national gardens in the heartlands, a people’s garden for leisure and recreation, and a model for sustainability in green development.
The 90-hectare gardens will comprise JLG West, JLG Central and JLG East. JLG West is currently undergoing development, and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. JLG Central and JLG East will be completed from 2020 onwards.
You can begin to enjoy JLG West from 2018! Look out for a meandering boardwalk that will bring people closer to nature, a nature-themed play area for kids, and a community lifestyle and water sports facility for activities such as kayaking and dragon boating.
JLG will be the first national gardens in the heartlands. It will complement two existing world-class national gardens – Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) and Gardens by the Bay (GB). SBG’s strength lies in its botanical emphasis, research and heritage value, whilst GB’s strength is in its themed gardens and sustainability efforts. JLG’s focus is to be a people’s garden accessible to all segments of the community.
JLG will be a unique leisure and recreation destination amongst the other major parks including East Coast Park, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Pasir Ris Park, and is strategically located to serve the western region of Singapore.
JLG is a vital green infrastructure that contributes to Jurong Lake District’s vision to be ‘a leading model for Singapore in developing a mixed-use urban district that is sustainable, smart and connected’. It will feature sustainable design systems and smart technologies that enable sustainable operation.
With more than 100 species of native plants on-site, the enhanced Native Garden @ HortPark by The National Parks Board (NParks) has the highest concentration of native plants, including edibles, shrubs and trees, in a single location in Singapore.
The Garden aims to promote the use of native plants in gardens and will provide visitors with a wealth of information on their uses (for food, medicine and timber), how they support native fauna, how they can be used in landscapes, and how to grow them.
The Native Garden features different landscapes that showcase native plants in their various natural habitats, and demonstrates how native plant species can be effectively used for urban landscaping. Aiming to provide an immersive experience, visitors will be able to see the Lasia spinosa in its native aquatic habitat, and the Lumnitzera littorea in its native mangrove habitat. These landscapes also provide habitats for fauna. In the rainforest zone, the running water from a man-made stream and the use of a combination of logs and rocks help to mimic a rainforest habitat conducive for insects, small mammals, reptiles and birds.
Visitors will also be able to explore the five zones where plants are categorised based on how they are used – as medicine, food, timber or to enhance habitats for birds and butterflies. Rare species such as the Nephelium maingayi, which has edible fruits that resemble hairless rambutans and taste like rambutans, can be found in the Food Zone, while the Knema globularia, which is found in the Bird Zone, has fruits that are eaten by the Oriental Pied Hornbill.
Nature reserves are protected areas of rich biodiversity that are representative sites of key indigenous ecosystems. To safeguard the native flora and fauna in these areas, there are special restrictions on the activities that can be carried out.
As part of a holistic conservation approach, some nature parks have been established on the margins of the Nature Reserves to act as green buffers.
The National Parks Board (NParks) has unveiled plans for a new 67-hectare Rifle Range Nature Park, which will serve as the southern buffer park for Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and is expected to be completed in 2020
The 67-hectare Rifle Range Nature Park is located at the southern end of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. As a buffer park, Rifle Range Nature Park will help to reduce visitorship pressure on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by providing interesting alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities.
Being next to the nature reserve, Rifle Range Nature Park provides complementary forest habitat for biodiversity from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Surveys indicate that native flora species growing in the nature reserve can be seen at the fringe of the nature park. Visitors may be able to chance upon native fauna species such as the Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica) and Horsfield’s Flying Squirrel (Lomys horsfieldii). Native crabs, frogs, fishes and snakes can also be seen in the slow-flowing sandy streams.
Visitors will be able to experience the canopies of a regenerating secondary forest through a Sky Garden. It is an elevated walkway that provides a seamless experience from Beauty World to the Sin Seng Quarry.
The former Sin Seng Quarry will be sensitively enhanced to support the rich biodiversity in the area. The quarry was once one of the deepest quarries in Singapore (55 metres at its deepest point), but has since been backfilled. It will be transformed into a freshwater habitat with alook-out point for visitors to appreciate marsh birds.
Hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty will also be added to give visitors a chance to learn more about the history of quarrying in Singapore and the heritage highlights within the site.
Aerial rope bridges across Rifle Range Road will be provided to allow animals to move safely between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Rifle Range Nature Park. The first such bridges in Singapore, they aim to restore the ecological connection between the two forest habitats.
Located off Venus Drive at the Upper Thomson area, the 75-hectare Windsor Nature Park is a green buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Visitors can explore new trails including the specially curated Hanguana Trail and the Drongo Trail. The Hanguana Trail is lined with rare native plants, some of which are named after Singapore. The Drongo Trail features a sub-canopy walk where visitors can catch a glimpse of the fauna that are found under the canopy level, in addition to examining the understorey of the regenerating secondary forest.
Discover other highlights of Windsor Nature Park such as a marsh habitat and several freshwater streams by hiking on the restored trails and new boardwalks. Visitors can also join workshops to learn about Singapore’s natural heritage and ongoing biodiversity conservation efforts at the visitor pavilion.
The 75-hectare Windsor Nature Park, to be ready by end 2016, will serve as one of the entrances to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
It is one of four new nature parks which will serve as green buffers to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. These parks – which include Springleaf, Chestnut and Thomson Nature Parks – will help to reduce visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing interesting alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities. The development of these nature parks is part of a holistic approach to strengthen the conservation of the biodiversity in Singapore’s nature reserves.
The 75-hectare Windsor Nature Park at Upper Thomson will be ready by the end of next year, with works for the site expected to start by the middle of this year.
The park is one of the four new nature parks which will serve as buffers to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The other three include Springleaf, which opened to the public in November last year, Chestnut and Thomson Nature Parks. NParks said works for the Chestnut Nature Park started last year, and the park will be completed by end-2016, while plans for Thomson Nature Park are still in early stages.