Last night I returned from a seven day business trip to Singapore. It is a fascinating country. Incredibly hot and humid and bustling with about 6 million people all on a small island. The leaders of the country a number of years ago set out to make it a "green" country, as it was originally rainforest that amuses me but still I cannot help but admire the fact that a huge percentage of their buildings have roof and inter building gardens planted with huge trees and lush tropical plants. English is the primary language spoken there and it is extremely safe to wander around, so I spent a large part of the trip seeing their main gardens including Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens were my favorite, filled with acre after acre of weird and wonderful trees and plants plus the most amazing orchid collection I have ever seen. Of all the plants I saw on this trip, my favorite was the cannonball tree. This oddity looks like a regular tree when it is young, then, when it matures it sprouts these alien looking spiky vines all over its trunk. The vines flower with about 5 inch strange orange blossoms. The blossoms, once pollinated make huge heavy cannonball fruit!. The fruit are so significant this trees can't be planted near the road or baablooey!.
While I saw many interesting trees in Singapore what struck me the most was that almost all of the bedding plants were familiar to me. I see these ever spring in my favorite nurseries. I was not aware just how many "annuals" in our nurseries were tropical plants propagated for a few month stint in colder climates. I guess this should have been more obvious to me. It bugs me for reasons I really can't really explain, but now that I have this awareness, I will be paying a little closer attention to what I'm buying for the decorative beds.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to see this country. I appreciate the effort the country is making around conservation messaging and found the buildings to be amazing. It was incredibly hot there (94 degrees at 5am) and I learned from the citizens it has been getting hotter. I worry about countries like this. The sea around it is very polluted, the land has no real resources and the population continues to expand quickly. I wonder what would happen if trade were blocked here. I wonder why more is not being done to clean up the waters. Trees on buildings are great but pretty much all of their rainforest they have cut down except for a tiny patch in the gardens and a bit of land on an outlying island. I left there with mixed feelings. Would I like to live there? No. They are far too cautious for this quirky and experimental American girl. Did I think I was an interesting place to visit very different from the Usa and Europe? Yes definitely. It is a cool place for plant lovers to see?
Yes and no. Its primarily urban cityscape but a day in the botanical gardens there is certainly something worth seeing if you are in the area.