Inscribed as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a leading institute for the research of horticulture and botany, and serves as a reference centre for botanists from all around the world.
With its iconic Bandstand and serene Swan Lake, the Gardens is also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. But while most people make a bee-line for its famed attractions, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is also home to a group of lesser-known gardens that are diverse in their displays, yet each retaining individual charm.
Come uncover these six ‘hidden’ gardens for an unforgettable visit!
Be introduced to over 250 species of gingers found in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Indochina as you stroll through the Ginger Garden. The vibrant blooms of the ginger flowers are sure to catch your eye as you learn more about the different varieties of ginger plants with diverse uses, whether ornamental or culinary. Look out for the Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), an iconic ornamental plant which is a native species of Southeast Asia. And when in the Ginger Garden, remember to stop by the mini waterfall, a favourite spot for shutterbugs!
The Torch Ginger is widely cultivated and introduced as an ornamental plant in gardens.
Take time to enjoy a more in-depth exploration of the Ginger Gardens; a DIY trail guide is available here.
Spanning about 2.5 ha, the Healing Garden is the largest medicinal garden in Singapore, displaying over 400 varieties of such plants used in Southeast Asia. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that many common everyday plants actually have medicinal properties!
The medicinal plants are organised by the different parts of the human body, such as the head, neck, ear, nose and throat as well as by the digestive and related systems. A walk in the Healing Garden is not only good for the body, but an excellent learning opportunity for the mind too!
The Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) can be seen in the Healing Garden. Substances in the sap of this plant are used in the treatment of leukaemia and lymphoma.
Rediscover the ancient history of the Earth at the Evolution Garden. You will get the chance to see dinosaur tracks, ammonite fossils and petrified trees (the stone-like preserved remains of trees from the past). Fancy a trip back in time? Take a stroll through the history of plants to learn about some species dating back some 450 million years, and how they have evolved to survive.
Look down to spot circular-shaped rocks embedded in the ground; these were once ammonites, squid-like marine creatures.
Want more information? Check out the DIY trail guide to the Evolution Garden here.
As its name suggests, the Fragrant Garden was created to give visitors an aromatic experience, making a visit to this garden especially unique. The Garden showcases an impressive array of tropical plants known for their aromatherapy and perfumery uses. One such plant is the Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), valued for the perfume extracted from its flowers.
Some of the fragrant blooms are known to attract beautiful butterflies that can be spotted in the day! Keep a lookout for the common species like the Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete) a species characteristic of its vibrant red, yellow and white wings, the Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus malayanus) and the Rustic (Cupha erymanthis lotis) whose intricate wing patterns are sure to catch your eye amongst the lush greenery of the garden.
The Painted Jezebel is a butterfly that can be spotted in the Fragrant Garden.
The extract from the flower of the Ylang Ylang is commonly used to make perfumes.
For any visitor hoping to catch the beautiful sights and pleasant smells of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a trip to the Fragrant Garden will be a potentially rewarding experience!
It is not a secret that most of us are usually attracted to the flower and fruit of a plant. But as the Foliage Garden will show, leaves also play as big a part in defining the individual characteristics of each plant. Walk through the garden and be enveloped by the vibrant foliage. Be careful as you touch and experience the leaves of different textures, and admire their unique shapes and sizes! From a viewing deck, you can also appreciate a landscape view of the garden and how beautiful foliage can be. Watch out the carnivorous pitcher plants, amongst other exciting leaves and vegetation in this garden.
From a viewing deck, you can get a pretty landscape view of the Foliage Garden.
Overlooking Swan Lake is the Heritage Garden, the newest of these special green spaces in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This garden features plants that have been introduced to Singapore in the last 50 years, as part of the Garden City campaign. This garden has a captivating display of over 80 plants that were planted in Singapore for their unique fragrance and appearance including the Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.), Flame Violet (Episcia cupreata), and the Yellow Cow Wood (Cratoxylum cochinchinense).
Despite opening only in August 2016, the Heritage Gardens is quickly gaining popularity as a top sight-seeing spot providing a picturesque view of Swan Lake, as well as the famed Tembusu (Cyrtophyllum fragrans) tree found nearby.
A picturesque view of the Swan Lake can be seen from the Heritage Garden.