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Jun 20, 2010

A Walk to Remember @ Botanic Gardens


I received an email from Wei last week:

"Are you free this coming Saturday? I am organizing a small group father's day event, and wish to invite you to take a walk with me. I remember you had brought us to botanic gardens long long ago. It's been 20+ over years".

Sounds interesting. It would be a good chance for me to meet Wei's personal development training course classmates, trainers, friends and their families. The get-together was organised to coincide with "Father's Day" this year on 20 June.


I accepted the invitation to take a walk down memory lane. It was almost 20 years since my last visit to Botanic Gardens for our family outing. While digging through some old photos in the family album, this personal blog for rambling is a sentimental and fond memories for me.

As the program for the day's event commenced at 2:00 pm, I arrived at the Botanic Gardens about two hours earlier to recce, strolling the place alone by myself. After the stormy rain two days ago with flash flood at Orchard Road, its nice today to be bright and sunny. There were plenty of trees and green foliage under the shade. Cool...

While Wei and his friends were left to themselves to do their own devices at Botanic Gardens for preparations and stuff, I did not want to bother them.

Wei (with guitar) and his friends seen from a distance while I was on a walk to remember@Botanic Gardens. This photo was snooped :)

Botanic Gardens is another world in Singapore..."far away from the madding crowd" (borrowing Thomas Hardy's epic 1874 novel title of the same name). Located nearby Orchard Road, the tourist belt with vibrant, fun happenings.

The photo of the entrance of Botanical Gardens as hand-written on the postcard dated 10/10/1906. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Entrance to Botanic Gardens c 1900. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Entrance to Botanic Gardens c 1900. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Entrance to Botanic Gardens c 1900. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Entrance to Botanic Gardens c 1975. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Coincidentally, 2009 also marks another auspicious date, the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

At the height of the Victorian era that ended in 1901, Kew was the centre of a network linking over 100 colonial gardens that spanned the globe.

The first three directors of the Singapore Gardens were appointed from Kew and our close links continue today. The evolution of the Gardens followed similar pathways. Both began as pleasure grounds, Kew as a domain for royalty and SBG for members of the Agri-Horticultural Society that established and managed the Gardens, before they were given to the public. Both Gardens evolved and developed as centres for the study and distribution of plants.

This plaque was displayed on the left side entrance of the Botanic Gardens Main Gate.

Singapore Botanic Gardens, more than 150 years "Connecting Plants and People"...through publications, horticultural and botanical displays, educational outreach, and events, provision of a key civic and recreational space, and playing a role as an international Gardens and a regional centre for botanical and horticultural research and training.

Its a breath of fresh air in the garden, a lifestyle balance for each his choice.

Grandma pointed to her young grand-daughter and said: "See how fast and tall the trees grow..."

For your inconvenience, please discover and explore by a link to the Singapore Botanic Gardens official website for more helpful information before an enjoyable visit to our heritage place of interest and a "must" itinerary for all tourists to Singapore.

Photo taken on 19 Jun, 2010. These signages are seen everywhere.

A young girl feeding monkeys at the Botanical Gardens in the 1900s. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

The 6 or 7 year-old girl most likely could no longer be around, wherever located in this world unless she lives over 100 years old; and so the lifespan of the monkeys.

If those monkeys did not migrate from the Botanic Gardens in Singapore and have given birth to the young ones there, the monkeys we find presently at the garden are from the a later generations of our Singapore-born monkeys. I don't think Botanic Gardens kept registration of birth for the monkeys though.

Photo taken on 21 Apr, 1985. Jiejie in front of the Botanic Gardens notice board.

Mum and Wei took a photo taken on 21 Apr, 1985 near Main Gate at the junction of Holland Road & Napier Road & Cluny Road. A bus along Holland Road towards Orchard Road in the background.

Photo taken on 19 Jun, 2010. The same tree had grown taller, stronger and deep-rooted on this spot over twenty years.

Photo of the same tree Mum and Wei had taken on 21 Apr, 1985.

On the reverse of the above photo with a note.

Photo taken on 19 Jun, 2010; almost the same path near the Botanic Gardens main gates as shown in the photo below.

Photo taken on 21 Apr, 1985. Behind Jiejie was Mum and Wei.

Photo of the "Swan Lake" plaque taken on 19 Jun, 2010.

The former "Lotus Pond" in 1900, renamed the "Swan Lake" at Botanic Gardens. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Holiday crowds at Botanic Gardens feeding swans at the lake. c 1968.

Feeding the swans at Botanic Garden c 1972.

The former "Lotus Pond" in 1900, renamed the "Swan Lake" at Botanic Gardens. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Photo of the "Swan Lake" taken on 19 Jun, 2010.

Are the swans on the lake in this photo taken on 21 Apr, 1985 (shown in the background of Jiejie), and the photo of the swans taken below on 19 Jun, 2010 the same swans which are now grown-up?

A pair of swans swimming graciously in the lake. Photo taken on 19 Jun, 2010.

"Flight of Swans" sculpture taken on 19 June, 2010.

The Swan Lake was added as a feature of the Botanic Gardens in 1866. Its landmark island with the big clump of elegant nibong palms has become a timeless facet of the landscape of the Gardens. The pair of mute swans was imported from Amsterdam. As well as providing scenic vistas, the lake is an important water supply for the Gardens. Spot sunbathing turtles, shoals of fishes, monitor lizards lurking at the waterbed.

Photo taken on 21 Apr, 1985, with Mum and Wei beside the "Swan Lake" at Botanic Gardens.

Photo taken on 19 Jun, 2010, with Dad and Wei beside the "Swan Lake" at Botanic Gardens. A same place at a different time...

As this blog is getting somewhat long with old photos included; the entire blog would be splitted up as a series of bit-sized portion blogs, based on the respective topics each for your reading pleasure.

Thank you for sharing my humble, personal nostalgic memories; a journey through time in Botanic Gardens. Please join our "Singapore Memories" Project and share the stories of your own.

Related Posts:

The selective, nostalgic memories of yesterday on Botanic Gardens at "One Garden For All" .

Let a thousand flowers bloom, blog to express through postage stamps at "Singapore Botanic Gardens" .

"Whatever happened to the monkeys in the Botanic Gardens" at
"Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans" .

"Our Botanic Garden – Why 150 Years And Not 187 Years?" of over a century ago at "Times Of My Life" .


Next blog topic: "Tembusu Heritage Tree" " at the Botanic Gardens".

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12 Comments:

Blogger derek tait said...

I wish that I could have gone on the walk, I'd love to see the Botanic Gardens again.

June 24, 2010 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks Derek.

Your fond memories of "Whatever happened to the monkeys in the Botanic Gardens" at "Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans" . Cheers!

June 30, 2010 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger lim said...

I've been to the Botanic Gardens countless of times, especially when I ran out of ideas about where to go to take photos. My elder son Isaac was born in 1986 and we also took him there to get his baby photo taken.

December 24, 2010 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Hi Lim, thank you for sharing your visit to Botanic Gardens with your son as a baby over 10 yrs ago. Bring him there to refresh his fond memories of the same place, different times, different experience.

The archived photos of Botanic Gardens are available at PICAS .

Cheers!

December 25, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

Tell me some new places in Singapore and I am a "swaku". I only know Botanical Gardens in the 1960s. I shall post a short video clip in Facebook. I remember children like to feed the monkeys including my children.

December 21, 2011 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Andy Lim* said...

I go there with my grandson every other day buying the pizza from the garden cafe and sharing it with him at the wooden bench near Chopin's bronze statues facing the stage.

We walk up the rain forest boardwalk singing surely, "Under The Boardwalk" together.

On cool days we feed the turtles, fish, random pigeons and sparrows by the lakeside near the stage. Bread and biscuit crumbs everywhere.

The Gardens is a five minute drive from our home.

December 22, 2011 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Wonderful, Philip.

Pls send me a video clip of your children feeding monkeys at the Botanic Gardens in the 1960s to be added to this blog. Thank you very much for sharing this blog topic.

I've added an old photo from PICAS with the courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore. I have also included a personal description to the photo.

December 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Your grandson is lucky to be brought to the Botanic Gardens regularly for pizza, Andy.

What a heritage place in Singapore surrounded by Mother Nature's beauty of flowers, plants and trees in the garden, fresh air and plenty of wide space to grow up in. Not forgetting the grandfather's fond nostalgic memories of the "pak tor" early days of grandpa and grandma on every walk to remember @ Botanic Gardens. Cheers!

December 22, 2011 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

When my children were small, we used to go there very often; walk, jog and play frisby. I recall seeing PM Lee HL a few times jogging with his bodyguards. That would be in the 1990s.

Two favourite places you seem to have missed out - maybe they were not ready during your time - are the sculpture of the girl on a swing and the huge granite ball. Another feature that fascinated us was the canon-ball trees. I too have several old photos of the SBG.

I believe the SBG will always be a favourite for many Sporeans and tourists even after the opening of the Gardens by the Bay. John Harper, for instance, loved SBG and went there a few times when he visited Spore.

December 22, 2011 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger lim said...

With the completion of the Circle MRT line, dropping off at the Botanic Gardens MRT station to visit the Botanic Gardens has become even easier. Take the opportunity to visit the place now as the garden is lined with tree decorations contributed by the many organisations and schools in Singapore.

December 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Great news, Mr Lim.

With the opening of the MRT Circle Line soon, the location of the Botanic Gardens will no longer be too away for those at other parts of Singapore.

Botanic Gardens will be alive again.

Educational, recreational, excursions, and organised group or individual family outdoor activities for everryone young and old. Cheers!

December 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Nice and Interesting article.
Thank you for your lovely stories.

Teddy

July 11, 2015 at 10:49 AM  

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