National Orchid Garden to get $35m makeover

A visitor enjoying the greenery of the Silver Arches, a new feature with a variety of orchids and tillandsia species from the Americas.
A visitor enjoying the greenery of the Silver Arches, a new feature with a variety of orchids and tillandsia species from the Americas.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

Visitors to 22-year-old garden can enjoy more orchid varieties in bigger display area from 2019

Come 2019, visitors to the National Orchid Garden can enjoy more types of orchids in a bigger display area at the new Tropical Montane Orchidetum.

The project at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which combines three current exhibits, is expected to cost about $35 million. It is partially funded by a $10 million donation - the biggest to registered charity The Garden City Fund to date - from Sembcorp Industries.

The enhanced space will see a threefold increase in display area. With its showcase of orchids and other plants, including bromeliads, gingers and magnolias, it aims to recreate the experience of ascending a tropical montane forest.

A montane forest, also known as cloud forest, describes a terrain found in mountainous areas, and is not found in Singapore, except at Gardens by the Bay.

Visitors can walk through a "secret ravine", with a surrounding temperature of 24 to 26 deg C, from the forest zones of the Yuen Peng McNeice Bromeliad House to the tropical garden in the Tan Hoon Siang Mist House. From there, they can walk into the cool tropical upper montane atmosphere of The Sembcorp Cool House.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday: "The enhancement works will allow us to strengthen the National Orchid Garden's capabilities in orchid breeding, orchid conservation, and research."

He was speaking at a ceremony marking the start of works, which will begin from July 10. Visitors will still be able to view existing orchid species in refreshed displays at other parts of the garden. Enhancements to the 22-year-old orchid garden are among the latest improvements at the botanic gardens. These included a heritage museum and learning forest, said Mr Wong.

With the enhancements, the 260 sq m Cool House - a temperature-controlled glasshouse - will have a display area of 1,100 sq m, or four times larger, and be renamed The Sembcorp Cool House.

Yesterday's event also marked the beginning of the annual Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival, which ends on July 9.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'National Orchid Garden to get $35m makeover'. Print Edition | Subscribe