Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Is it also the most important garden in the world for Australian gardeners to visit?
Now, these are very controversial questions, when we mostly think of English gardens, particularly Kew, Hidcote or Sissinghurst. Sadly, many Australian gardeners are still in the thrall of the outdated English garden idea and we are still singing Rule Britannia long after times have changed.

Frankly, the older Botanic gardens in Adelaide and Melbourne are far more relevant than Hidcote or Sissinghurst, having more established 200-year-old trees, which are the basic building blocks of our finest gardens, to guide Australians than any English garden ever can.
The problem with the traditional English garden is it has no resilience to survive climate warming and with more 35– 40°C summer days in the future, it will make the English countryside look tired and burnt, just like most of Australia.
Lotus Land in California is the most innovative dry garden creation that I’ve visited and inspires us to learn to love spiky succulents with sumptuous flowers, rather than swooning over roses and clematis that are the English gardener’s standby.
Climate warming is going to cause havoc in our gardens because what thrives today has no certainty of surviving 1.5–2°C average temperature rises over the next 50 years.

So why is Singapore so innovative?
Well, it doesn’t have any national tradition to uphold. It can hire the world’s best garden experts, horticulturalists and landscapers from the UK or America to revolutionise the concept of a garden.
Supertrees made of steel
If you don’t want to wait 100 years to provide a shade canopy, build steel structures to house fast-growing tropical flowers and bromeliads and stack them up to 10 metres high.
Those exquisitely-delicate towers provide the structural canopy so you can walk along and see a garden of three dimensions from above, across and down without having to wait 100 years.
The Cloud Forest
No other open garden in the world has a Cloud Forest. Cloud Forests are truly fascinating in that the trees have low heights but dense canopies to provide fog drip from leaves; these forests are so wet they create their own rainfall, irrespective of seasonal weather patterns. Most of them are located in tropical areas like Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia and Costa Rica. (By the way, there is a tiny, but amazing, cloud forest on the top of Mt Gower at Lord Howe Island but it’s a tough 1,200 metre climb.)
Singapore’s conservatory houses so many plants I have never seen before. Inside is a cooling, misted atmosphere stacked with fast-growing ferns, mosses and carnivorous plants in front of a 30 metre waterfall.
Lee Kwan Yew, Singapore’s ‘benevolent dictator’, found a billion dollars for this exquisite garden, using the world’s leading experts in gardening technology and the garden was a triumph that looked mature in just five years, not hundreds of years (see p8-9).

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