Botanic Gardens is a 74-hectare (183-acre) botanical garden in Singapore. It is the only botanic garden in the World
that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every single day of the year, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden
. The garden is bordered by Holland Road
and Napier Road to the south, Cluny Road to the east, Tyersall Avenue and Cluny Park Road to the west and Bukit Timah
Road to the North. The linear distance between the northern and southern ends is around 2.5 km (1.6 mi). In December 2012, an application for it to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was made.
The first "Botanical and Experimental Garden" in Singapore was established in 1822 on Government Hill at Fort Canning
by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore and a keen naturalist. The Garden's main task was to evaluate for cultivation crops which were of potential economic importance including those yielding fruits, vegetables, spices and other raw materials. This first Garden closed in 1829.
It was not until 30 years later that the present Singapore Botanic Gardens began in 1859, when the Agri Horticultural Society was granted 32 hectares of land in Tanglin by the colonial government, which had obtained it from the merchant Hoo Ah Kay, known as Whampoa, in exchange for land at Boat Quay
National Orchid Garden: National Orchid Garden is the main attraction within the Botanic Garden. Located on the mid-western side of the Garden, the hilly three-hectare site has a collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.
Burkill Hall and the VIP Orchid Garden: Burkill Hall is a colonial plantation bungalow built in 1886. It used to be the director's house and was named in honour of the only father and son pair to hold the post of Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens, Isaac and Humphrey Burkill. The ground level serves as an exhibition area, showcasing information on the different hybrids named after VIPs who have visited the garden.
Orchidarium: A haven for serious orchids enthusiasts, the Orchidarium houses natural species in a tropical setting.
Tan Hoon Siang Misthouse: Tan Hoon Siang was a descendant of Tan Tock Seng, who was a philanthropist and founder of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The misthouse contains a colourful collection of different hybrids. It also has a small collection of fragrant orchids like Vanda Mimi Plamer.
Lady Yuen-Peng McNeice Bromeliad House:
Named in honour of its sponsor, the Bromeliad House showcases plants from the Bromeliaceae family, which includes the pineapple. The unique collection of bromeliads on display was acquired from Shelldance Nursery in the United States
The Singapore Botanic Gardens has a small tropical rainforest of around six hectares in size, which is older than the gardens themselves. The rainforest and its bigger cousin at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
are located within the Singapore's city limits. Singapore is one of the only two major cities with a tropical rainforest within its city limits, the other being Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro.
Evolution Garden: The 9.9-hectare (3.7-acre) Evolution Garden is located within the Central Core area of the Gardens. It tells the evolutionary story of plant life on Earth throughout the ages. Unlike most other evolution gardens, such as the Evolution House in Kew Gardens, plants like Cycads, Spikemosses and Tree ferns grow freely and plentifully in the tropical climate of Singapore.
Ginger Garden: Located next to the National Orchid Garden, this one-hectare garden brings together members of the Zingiberaceae family. The garden houses a restaurant called Halia Restaurant. There is also a drop-off point along Tyersall Avenue as well as a waterfall. The garden was officially opened in 2003 and it took over the spot vacated by the previous Orchid Enclosure.
Botany Centre and Tanglin Gate: The reopened Tanglin Gate has been given a new look. Gone is the old cast iron gate; it now sports a more modern silver colour with a leaf motif as its main design.
The two new blocks of offices and classroom in the upgraded Tanglin Core area are known as the Botany Centre. They house the:
- Library of Botany and Horticulture (including the Public Reference Centre);
- the Singapore Herbarium;
- Orchid Breeding and Micropagation; and
- education outreach and workshop classrooms.
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden:
The Children's Garden was named after its main donor Jacob Ballas, a Jewish-Singaporean philanthropist who died in 2004. Built at a cost of S$7 million (of which $99 million was donated by the Jacob Ballas Trust and sponsors), it is located at the quieter northern end of the Botanic Gardens. It has its own visitor centre with a café. It opened on Children's Day, 1 October 2007. The National Parks Board claims it is Asia
's first children's garden. There are play areas like the Water Play area, a small playground, tree-houses with slides, and a maze. There are also interactive exhibits that teach how photosynthesis takes place, and a mini-garden that showcases how plants may be used to make dyes and beverages, or as herbs.
It was reported in April 2013 that an application for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site had been submitted in December 2012. Nigel Taylor, the botanical garden's director, remarked:
The Singapore Botanic Gardens fulfils the criteria for World Heritage Site assessment, and is a well-loved outdoor area for Singaporeans from all walks of life.