Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Summer Travels 2012 - Part 5: The Chinese Garden, Singapore

There was no post marking the third Advent Sunday the day before yesterday as I had originally intended because I spent most of the day driving from Massachusetts back home to Michigan with my parents. However, now that I am on break and comfortably ensconced here at my parents' house, I hope that the frequency of my postings will finally pick up again, beginning with the last installments of my belated series of posts about the gardens I got to see this summer. The plan is to finish these before the end of the year, so that I am caught up for new travels and new gardens in the year to come. Today's post is about the Chinese Garden or Jurong Gardens in Singapore. I had visited this park on my previous visit to Singapore last winter but somehow never got around to posting about it on this blog and then went back one afternoon this summer. Located relatively far out from the city center in the neighborhood known as Jurong East, this park was first laid out in 1975. It features a sprawling landscape in the style of northern Chinese imperial gardens, a similarly expansive Japanese garden, and a Suzhou-style garden used to display a large collection of Chinese bonsai or 盆景 penjing, all arranged around a series of lakes.

The monumental entrance gate at one end of the Chinese Garden

Lush plantings framing a moon gate in the entrance area

Twin pagodas at the edge of the lake

A lovely cultivar of Heliconia psittacorum

View towards the pagoda that dominates much of the garden

An apricot-orange Ixora

One of the colorful pavilions

Compared to the larger portion of the Chinese Garden with its colorful pagodas and pavilions as well as its many sculptures, the Japanese garden is much more understated, though its vegetation is of much the same tropical exuberance.

A view in the Japanese Garden

One of the bridges in the Japanese Garden

A lotus bud (Nelumbo nucifera)

The Suzhou-style garden, for its part, is very elegant and would easily be my favorite part of this park if it were not for the fact that during both of my visits large parts of it were closed off for construction. What remained accessible, too, was not quite as immaculately maintained as much of the rest of the park, if only because the whole complex is in the process of renovation.

A section of the Suzhou-style garden still accessible at the time of my visits

A bamboo penjing

One of the halls of the Suzhou-style garden

Compared to Singapore's other horticultural attractions, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Orchid Garden, or Gardens by the Bay, the Chinese and Japanese Garden are very tranquil and generally quite empty. They are not nearly as polished and ultra-contemporary in their presentation, yet they are well-maintained and lovely nonetheless. Rather far from the city center, they can be reached via their very own Chinese Garden MRT Station.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Not long now before we go to this lovely country so will be looking back at all your posts about their botanical sights to give us plenty of ideas :)

  2. Wow. Wonderful garden. I love the juxtaposition of plants and structure.


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