Singapore’s National Orchid Garden is a picturesque attraction that showcases the world’s largest family of flowering plants – orchids. These flowers make up 10 percent of all flowering plants and have a long association with the Singapore Botanic Gardens. As early as the 1870s, an Orchid House was established at the Gardens.
The present National Orchid Garden was opened in October 1995 by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and features over 1000 species of orchids. Here are the top sights at Singapore’s National Orchid Garden.
Tan Hoon Siang Mist House
The Tan Hoon Siang Mist House is one of the most colourful spots at the National Orchid Garden.
The brightly coloured orchids here are among the rarest of the orchids found in the National Orchid Garden and present plenty of photo opportunities.
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The Cool House simulates the conditions found in tropical mountains. Inside conservatory, temperature is controlled to simulate a cool climate.
Besides orchids, another interesting group of plants at the Cool House are carnivorous plants. Look out for pitcher plants which attract insects into their “pitchers” where they are trapped, dissolved and digested by the plant.
Orchids at the VIP Garden have named after visiting dignitaries such as Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United National and Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, on the occasion of their visits to the National Orchid Garden.
There is also an elegant white orchid that was named “Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana” for the late Princess Diana after her death in 1997. This was viewed by her son Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Singapore in 2012.
Besides foreign dignitaries, there have been orchids named after celebrities. These orchids are kept in a special Celebrity Gardens. Orchids include those named for movie star Shah Rukh Khan and Singapore’s own songstress, Stephanie Sun.
Vanda Miss Joaquin Collection
Singapore’s National flower is the Vanda “Miss Joaquim”, an orchid hybrid that was originally discovered by Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian lady living in Singapore in the late 1800s. It was chosen as Singapore’s national flower in 1981 from among 40 flowers for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience. The Vanda “Miss Joaquim” blooms throughout the year and you can find a collection of them beside a Weeping Willow.
Yuen-Peng McNiece Bromeliad Collection
Lady Yuen-Peng Mcneice, also known as Loke Yuen Peng, was a Malaysian-born nature born conservationist, social worker and philanthropist. In 1994, she acquired a collection of 20,000 bromeliads from a nursery in the United States and donated them to the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Bromeliads are not orchids. They are flowering plants, many of which have a cluster of stiff overlapping leaves that form into a rosette pattern. The most well-known of the bromeliads is the common pineapple. The 300 species on display at the Yuen-Peng McNiece Bromeliad Collection are the only non-orchids found in the National Orchid Garden.
Sitting at the highest point of the National Orchid Garden is Burkhill Hall. This plantation house was used as a residence for the Director of the Botanic Gardens up till 1969. It was named after two Directors, father and son Isaac and Humphrey Burkhill. Today, visitors can learn more about the orchid’s history and association with the Singapore inside its walls.
Before leaving the National Orchid Garden, pay a visit to the Gardens Shop located at the exit where you can buy an orchid-inspired souvenir of your visit.
National Orchid Garden
Address: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Tanglin Core
Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 7 pm (last entry at 6 pm)
Admission Fees: Adults – $5; Students & Seniors – $1; Free for children 12 years and below.