Rainbow In the Garden

Look at that beautiful rainbow! No, not in the sky! I am talking about the colours you can find around us in our gardens and green spaces!

We all know Singapore as a City in a Garden, but besides planting trees for natural shade, emphasis was also placed on choosing plants based on colour, resulting in the myriad of flowers and flowering trees we see all around us today.

There are so many different species of plants, literally in every colour of the rainbow. Take a look at these seven beautiful blooms that can be spotted in our city. 

1. Red Hot

Rainbow in garden 1
Photo credit: Gary Chua

With its brilliant red flowers, the Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia) is an eye-catching sight, especially in flowering season. Initially planted along roadsides for its excellent shade, the tree’s umbrella-shaped crown covered with flame-red flowers has since become one of the most recognisable trees in Singapore. While the tree often sheds its leaves at the end of the wet season, it can also lose up to half of its leaves before blooming. 

2. Roaring Orange

Rainbow in garden 2
Photo credit: Jane Li

The largest orchid species in the world, the Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) can grow up to a height of 3 m and gets its name from the dark orange-brown markings on its petals, which are reminiscent of a tiger’s stripes. It is mostly found growing on trees but can also be planted in the ground or in large containers. In Singapore, this native species is cultivated on street trees, instantly brightening up our roadsides.

3. Hello Yellow 

Rainbow in garden 3
Photo credit: Arthur Ng

Is the auspicious name of this plant the reason why it is commonly planted around Singapore? After all, its flowers, which bloom all year round, look like little gold clusters dotting the shrubs they grow on. Commonly known as the Shower of Gold (Galphimia glauca), this tropical evergreen shrub is exceptionally suited for Singapore’s climate as it is easy to grow and drought-resistant, enabling it to grow well in hot regions.   

4. Keeping it Green

Rainbow in garden 4
Photo credit: Lily Chen

People may assume that this is a non-flowering plant, but the Calathea Louisae (Goeppertia louisae) in fact produces thin, translucent white flowers in bracts of six to 10. It is a pretty plant to have in the garden or home due to its light-to-dark green leaves with unique white markings. It is commonly planted in gardens and parks around Singapore too. See if you can spot it the next time you are outside!

5. Peek-a-‘blue’

Rainbow in garden 5
Photo credit: Jennie Tang Yurue

The dainty Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) is a preferred plant for growing in parks, gardens and on fences due to its attractive blue flowers. The Butterfly Pea is easy to grow and a favourite ornamental plant for gardens and balconies. Beyond being pretty, did you know that its flowers are edible? 

While we do not recommend plucking the flowers directly off the plant and popping them into your mouth, the flowers of the Butterfly Pea can be used to extract an edible blue dye used in making traditional Malay pastries. A more recent use of its edible dye is in making coloured drinks. Now you know where your Butterfly Pea bubble tea gets its beautiful colour from!

6. Go Go Indigo

Rainbow in garden 6
Photo credit: Jessica Teo

Have you ever heard the phrase “Wakey wakey, morning glory”? The majestic indigo blooms of the Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor) open around dawn and wither by dusk, giving the plant its characteristic name. However, it produces new flowers every day, which is why we are treated to daily views of this vibrant flower. The Morning Glory is a creeper plant, meaning it can wind around trellises and climb up walls. It is also identified by its heart-shaped leaves. 

7. Very Violet

Rainbow in garden 7
Photo credit: Patricia Yap

The Evergreen Wisteria (Callerya reticulata) blooms almost all-year round, with small violet pea-like flowers. Interestingly, the flowers have been described to have a faint camphor or “mothball” smell. This woody vine can grow up to 10 m in height, and is considered an ideal ornamental plant for covering trellises, arbors and fences. 

Learning More
Be on the lookout for more colourful blooms like these the next time you are out. You will be pleasantly surprised by the vast array of colours found in our parks and even along the roadsides. Share with us any beautiful blooms you spot using the hashtag #sgblooms or #sgblooms2020!

To learn more about the these and other interesting plants, check out NParksFlora&FaunaWeb, which features cultivated and native plants, as well as a variety of animal life sighted in our parks and nature spaces.

Text by Tammy Lee

About the writer
Tammy Lee is a Third Year English Language major from the National University of Singapore (NUS). As part of her school’s Arts and Social Sciences internship programme, she worked with NParks’ Communications and Community Engagement department for three months. During her time with NParks, she contributed articles for My Green Space, created content for its social media platforms and participated in events like Ubin Day 2019 and Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival.

Please email wong_yeang_cherng@nparks.gov.sg for more information on our internship programme.

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