The Straits Times
Published on Oct 29, 2012

It's spring time at Gardens by the Bay

Horticulturists tweak temperature to keep plants looking their best


It is nearly winter back home, but instead of losing their flowers and leaves, the oyster plants are flowering in the Flower Dome conservatory at Gardens by the Bay.

Typically, the bluish-white flowers, also called Acanthus mollis, native to southern Europe and north Africa, bloom during the spring season. "It's a bit confusing for the plants because they are supposed to be in winter now but they are at their optimum growth," said Ms Lim Mei Leng, a manager of the conservatory operations.

She is one of eight horticulturists who have the mammoth task of ensuring the non-tropical plants in the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories continue to adapt to their controlled environments. The former mimics the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions, while the latter replicates the high altitudes of tropical regions.

The two conservatories - which together house more than 200,000 plants of 80 species - are the highlights of Gardens by the Bay South, having helped to attract 1.7 million visitors since the Gardens opened in late June.