Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Supertrees of Singapore by Elaine Lockey

photo by Wong Maye-E, AP
 Singapore is currently constructing an astonishing botanic park, integrating massive tree sculptures in with their gardens.  Dubbed “supertrees”, they range from 82-164 feet and weigh hundreds of tons. These mega trees are made of concrete and metal rods, with steel frames on the trunks to host huge vertical gardens.  

The Supertree Grove will support flowering climbers, epiphytes, ferns and other plants that can do well in such an environment.  Eventually when the supertrees project is complete, there will be 18 trees covered in over 200 plant species, giving the feeling of a woodland grove. Huge built tree canopies will provide shade to the live plants and ground areas. There will be rainwater catches added to the trees and some of the trees will have solar panels to provide lighting to the gardens. Aerial walkways will connect two of the trees and a treetop bistro will give visitors a great view of the gardens and the bay. 

photo by Munshi Ahmed
The government project is part of a larger effort to green Singapore and transform it into a City in a Garden. Supertree Grove is in the Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre botanic park, located in the Marina South area.  Gardens by the Bay will consist of three waterfront gardens, making it Singapore’s largest garden project. It is managed by Singapore’s National Park Board. The park will contain 226,000 plants from all over the world. Two cooled conservatories, named the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, will give visitors the opportunity to see plants from two very different biomes – cool and dry and cool and moist. 

The projected timeline of the park opening is June 2012, according to the Gardens by the Bay website.  

The supertrees project will undoubtedly bring controversy.  Some will find the man-made trees to be objectionable while others will find their concept novel.  Wherever your opinion lies, most plant lovers would agree that it is very encouraging and positive that a huge city, such as Singapore, appreciates the value of their botanic gardens and is putting so much effort into expanding them in new and exciting ways. Look for photos of the finished project in mid-2012, or better yet, add this to your “places to visit” list!