Greenhouses are integral part of any botanical garden. Following my previous exploration of the Garden Lakes and Super Trees, the highlight of the garden horticultural here are two independent climate-controlled bio-domes. Also, they are reminiscent of the man-made greenhouses seen in the Eden project in Sweden. Lets have a look at the Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome Conservatory.
As of 2012, the Singapore superstructures are the world’s largest cooled conservatories. Both spans the footprint of four football fields. Moreover, these two conservatories, namely the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are situated along the edge of the Marina Reservoir. It offers great views of the surrounding city scapes.
Furthermore, large climate controlled greenhouses in temperate countries allows for lush tropical climates to be simulated (including humidity) in an enclosed environment. Moreover, the opposite is true too. Here, the conservatories serve as a control boundary. Henceforth, it allows for a cooler climate for the non-tropical plants to flourish in our harsh and humid tropical climate.
Outdoor heritage gardens
Furthermore, your visit to the conservatories start with a short walk through the heritage gardens through the Super tree grove to the conservatory visitor center. Here, the visitor center has an open air concept spanning a single floor and a basement. Moreover, the area is lined with open seating areas and a number of eateries and cafes.
Additionally, the ticketing booth, unlike the outdoor heritage gardens with free admission as a state park. However, both the conservatories have a regular entrance fee priced at $28 for both. Here, a single conservatory entrance fee (any of the two) costs $15. Local permanent residents and Singapore citizens have discounted entry at $18 for both the flower dome and cloud forest, and likewise $12 for a single conservatory visit.
The Flower Dome conservatory
The conservatory is a 2.8 hectare Flower Dome which replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean and semi-arid sub-tropical regions of South Africa and Europe. Also, it employs sustainable energy sources to create new micro-climates. Moreover, it houses over 220,000 plants of high conservation value from almost every continent. In a nutshell, it is an energy efficient showcase of ground-breaking sustainable building technologies and all-weather edutainment space within the Gardens.
Furthermore, most of the plants here were cultivated 2-3 years beforehand in “Hort park” at Hyperbad road. It is a $7 million research facility built at Singapore Pasir Panjang. It is 8km away from the Gardens and similarly operated by National Parks Singapore (NParks). Notably, Hort park served as an horticulture research facility and incubator. Moreover, it allows off-site formulation and cultivation of rare plants in need of conservation as well as formulating efficient methods in getting non-native plants to thrive and flowers to bloom.
Moreover, this cultivation was achieved using controlled prototype greenhouses. Notably, these structures incubates over 3,000 plant varieties in simulated various climatic conditions over the period of the Garden’s construction. Also, this is before being transplanted throughout the Gardens by the Bay, with most within this Flower Dome itself.
Vast and sustainably cooled
Additionally, the Flower Dome is an expansive structure spanning over two distinct floors. It houses a climate controlled park and indoor event spaces. It can be identified as the shorter and wider conservatory of the two with views of the Marina bay reservoir.
Furthermore, the conservatory’s non-conventional centralized district cooling systems reduces dependency on the electrical grid. Noteworthily, it consumes 30% less energy than similarly sized conventional climate-controlled conservatories.
Most of the plants here were cultivated 2-3 years beforehand in “Hort park” at Hyperbad road, a $7 million research facility built 8km away from the gardens and operated by National Parks Singapore.
Moreover, dynamic computer assisted systems balances plant solar exposure for photosynthesis and conservatory solar heat gain. Notably, the use of 3,300 sensor-operated spectrally-selective glass window shades regulates this internal temperature. Moreover, the automatically retractable shades encourages cooling via internal air circulation with minimal air-conditioning and sunlight lux regulation.
Recreating a desert environment
Additionally, the distinct dry cool climate allows a variety of desert plants and cacti to flourish on the upper floors. Also, the highlight of this conservatory are the flower fields located on the lower ground floor. Notably, it features several ordered planters laid in an expansive flower bed. Additionally, the conservatory is wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly. This is made accessible by lifts serving both floor levels.
Conservatory Flower Bed
Moreover, from my visits to the conservatories, the best time of the day to visit the flower dome is mid-day to late afternoon. Hence, the latest time of entry should be about 5.30pm to 6pm. Then, you will have adequate natural light accurately illuminating the flowers. You will be able to fully appreciate the myriad of flowers in their own natural colours before sunset.
Moreover, the flower conservatory at night, however, will be artificially lit with coloured RGB spot lights. These artificial lights saturates many of the flower’s natural colours. Also, it gives an inaccurate false impression of colours. Hence, this will be something to take note if you wish to view or photograph the flowers in their most accurate form or not risk your photos artificially over-saturated.
Moreover, the flower dome is a nice chill-out place in general if you do not mind the entrance fees. Also, there are plenty of seating areas around the walkways as well as a number of vantage viewing points offering dominating views of the conservatory.
Additionally, the conservatory is also home to the celebrity Pollen restaurant, Helmed by renowned Chef Jason Atherton. Also, it offers Mediterranean-influenced, modern European cuisines right within the attraction itself.
Furthermore, the flow of the flower dome exhibits is rather intuitive. Paths guides visitors through a logical flow of visitation right to the exit to the next conservatory. Towards the conservatory exit, an array of informative touch screens line the walls just before the exit turnstiles.
Additionally, the info exhibits here educates with information to users. It teaches about the native flora and fauna of the natural habitats the conservatory aims to recreate. Also, it beckons people to carry on to the next conservatory as next part of their journey.
Furthermore, if it is not too near the attraction closing time (9pm), you can request a re-entry stamp upon exiting the flower dome. When in doubt, just ask a member of staff there. Moreover, this will grant you unlimited reentry for the calendar day. Upon exit, you will be brought right to the basement level of the visitor center. Also, this is where the attraction gift shop and children play area reside.
Moreover, a seafood (Pollen) restaurant and a number of food kiosks are located here too. It offers visitors the opportunity for a quick bite while jumping between conservatories. Also, the entrance of the cloud forest is convenient located here too. It allows you to continue on your horticulture conservatory journey.
All in all, you will be good for the Flower Dome conservatory for 1-2 hours tops. Which leaves you time to continue exploring the connecting adjacent and second conservatory in the Gardens, the Cloud Forest Conservatory.
Next up, the Cloud Forest Conservatory »