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Speech by Prof Leo Tan, Chairman, <acronym title=?National Parks Board?>NParks</acronym> at the official opening of Tanglin Core and launch of the Gardens by the Bay master plan exhibition

06 Sep 2006
Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development;
Ms Grace Fu, Minister of State for National Development;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Good morning.
It is a real pleasure to welcome all of you this morning to the Botanic Gardens. Constant rebirth is the wonder of Nature. With plants, there is always the promise of new growth - a leaf emerging here, a bud about to open there.The official opening of the upgraded Tanglin Core this morning marks another new sprout in the development of the Botanic Gardens since colonial times in the 19th century.
As we stand in this Green Pavilion, I am reminded of the green roof above us, the first of its kind in Singapore. The plants that grow there are a celebration of Nature's resilience, hardy plants like epiphytes, the Bird's Nest Fern and the Tiger Orchid.To us, the green roof is a pilot project, but it taps an energy that is as old as the Earth. In its own way, it represents the essence of being Singaporean -always aiming to apply human enterprise to harness the beauty of Nature, in this case, to promote sky rise greenery on a land-scarce island, and to try to add a new dimension to everything that we do.
I welcome all of you to explore and enjoy the new dimensions and amenities that we have brought to you in this new complex, the Botany Centre at Tanglin Core. One attraction is the Public Reference Centre which encourages visitors to self-study by consulting and researching named herbarium specimens, books and magazines on horticulture, botany and landscape. The second attraction is the Singapore herbarium, a"museum" or "library" of the plant world.It houses over two centuries of accumulated knowledge and plant collections.Custom-built with a controlled environment, compactus and preparation rooms, the Herbarium houses about 650,000 specimens.Its oldest specimens date from 1790.
Another attraction is the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory, which does research and produces new hybrids for display in our National Orchid Garden and to honour visiting dignitaries. At the same time, it is a place for education and study.It has also been designed with viewing windows to provide an overview of the various stages in creating a new hybrid.One of the programmes that is ongoing is work on doubling the chromosome numbers of selected orchids to create plants that are more vigorous with larger and brighter flowers.
Earlier this morning, we witnessed the official opening of the new main gate of the Singapore Botanic Gardens by our guest of honour, Minister Mah.The design of the gate is an abstraction of Bauhinia kockiana, a signature climber plant for the fences, trellises and pergolas of the new Botany Centre here. Native to Peninsular Malaysia, it is one of the few forest plants that produces large, showy blooms in the forest canopy.In time, this tropical climber will adorn the entry complex with its beautiful orange flowers.
The new developments in the Botanic Gardens are but one facet of our overall strategy to advance the Garden City.This morning, we will witness the birth of another emerald jewel that will be in the forefront of our vision of creating a City in a Garden - Gardens by the Bay.
On this note, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to NParks staff and URA for their dedication and commitment in bringing to fruition our plans for Tanglin Core.In particular, I would like to thank Dr Kiat Tan who has been instrumental in the redevelopment of Tanglin Core and is currently leading the development team at Gardens by the Bay. Last but not least, I would like to thank our Guest-of-Honour, Minister Mah, for gracing this occasion.
Thank you.
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Last updated on 19 November 2014

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