SINGAPORE - The largest therapeutic garden in Singapore, with features designed for children and seniors with special needs, was opened at Jurong Lake Gardens on Saturday (Oct 23).
The 3,100 sq m garden is the first therapeutic garden to have a section dedicated to children with special needs, catering to those with conditions such as mild autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said the National Parks Board (NParks).
For example, the children discovery area features musical play equipment, swings, a trellis that is also wheelchair-friendly for the young ones to crawl through, and breakout corners for children to rest.
The area adjoins a butterfly maze with plants that attract the insects, enabling children to learn about pollination and the life cycle of butterflies while engaged in interactive play.
The garden has a section where plants are arranged thematically to evoke strong memories and engage the senses.
This is the seventh therapeutic garden in Singapore, and the opening was attended by Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah.
Therapeutic gardens are designed to meet the physical, psychological and social needs of park users, according to the NParks website.
NParks said in a statement on Saturday: "Designed using science-based principles, the new therapeutic garden is deliberately planned to facilitate people's interactions with nature and improve the mental well-being of its visitors."
The development of the therapeutic garden and the butterfly maze is supported by contributions in kind valued at more than $1 million and received through NParks' registered charity, Garden City Fund.
Landscape Engineering contributed to the garden's development and CT-Art Creation to the play areas.
Mr Guru B., managing director of Landscape Engineering, said the company is happy to be involved in the meaningful project.
He added: "The project is a showcase of our commitment to excellence and also our experience in design and implementation. The result is a one-of-a-kind inclusive therapeutic garden and play feature built to last and would benefit people of all ages and abilities living in Singapore."
The first therapeutic garden was opened at HortPark in 2016. Five others - in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Choa Chu Kang Park, Punggol Waterway Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Tiong Bahru Park - opened over the years, and NParks has conducted more than 130 sessions of therapeutic horticulture programmes at these six gardens.
These hour-long sessions comprise activities that are designed to stimulate participants' senses and memories through interaction with nature, and encourage motor and hand-eye coordination.
NParks aims to open 30 therapeutic gardens by 2030 as part of its City in Nature vision, which is to have nature pervade the urban landscape.
Two other therapeutic gardens - in Pasir Ris Park and Bedok Reservoir Park - will open later this year, said NParks.