It’s tulip season again at Gardens by the Bay! I like how GBTB has themed the displays this year, going back to the Ottoman origins of the beautiful flower. The first wild tulips actually originated from the mountains of Central Asia in the 16th century, and can be seen in the crockery, tiles and fabrics of the Ottoman empire.
We were there a few days ago, and the tulips were in full bloom! There were also a few sakura trees at the tail end section that were still flowering, making for some nice photos.
Tulips were my favourite flower in my twenties, as a delicate and rare bloom. I recall buying bunches of them in the UK, as well as in Holland when backpacking, as they were a fraction of the price there, and lasted so much longer in cool climes.
The bulbs are arranged in ‘carpet’ tapestries, which made for a true feast for the eyes.
Did you know that the word “tulip” was derived from the shape of the flower, as it resembled the turban worn by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire? This was called “tulipan” in Europe, which then led to the English name “tulip”!
This year, a total of 110,000 tulips in 60 varieties will be brought in. From now till 22 May, visitors will be able to see intricate carpets of tulips in full bloom, since new budding bulbs will constantly be put in to replace those that wilt. Intensely fragrant hyacinths (seen in gorgeous blue around the fountain) accompany the tulips, and lend variety and wafts of lovely perfume to the experience.
My mum and mum-in-law had a wonderful time there with their darling grandchildren – what better place to visit to commemorate Mother’s Day in May? Great backdrops for photos, which can be printed out and framed or made into scrapbooking art pieces.
There was a back lane of displays featuring Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and the like. Pretty and whimsical.
Something different that has never been brought in by GBTB so far, are the Lily Tulips. Distinctive in their long pointed petals, such tulips are featured in the traditional decorative motifs of Central Asia. I find the Tulipa Claudia below really beautiful.
I noticed the bloom below sticking out like a ‘tall poppy’. Upon closer examination, I realised this classic cup shape ‘Triumph Tulip’-variety bulb had probably been mistakenly planted amidst the frilly-fringed ones like an ‘ugly duckling’. Not surprising since they must be quite hard to differentiate as bulbs.
The ‘Fringed Tulips’ above and below are my favourite. I love how their edges look like raggedy gunny-sack ends. The fringe could be the same colour as the rest of the petal, or it could be in a contrasting shade, which makes it all the more delicate and beautiful.
The girls were pretty wowed by the multitude of flowers, and had a good time monkeying around.
We were very pleased to catch some Sakura trees in full bloom! Gorgeous photo backdrops.
The Flower Dome is not all about the feature-of-the-moment either. Apart from tulips, there are many other beautiful flowers all around, in various stages of bloom.
I heard from a friend, that they even have blueberries, strawberries, and grapevines on the upper Mediterranean deck! Gotta check that out the next time we are there.
Since the night was still young, we spent some time walking through the Cloud Forest, and were treated to the view of this beautiful sunset, as we walked along the sky bridge.
Everytime I visit the Gardens, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be able to see exotic seasonal blooms such as so many varieties of sakura and tulips, without the hassle of planning an overseas trip. No need to shell out for airfare and accommodation, or book tickets around a particular season, with no certainty that the flowers will indeed be blooming then!
What a joy to be able admire these lovely works of creation, right at our doorstep!
On display from now till 22 May 2016
Time: 9am to 9pm
Location: Flower Dome, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Tickets to the Flower Dome are $12 for adults, and $8 for children. Local senior citizens can enjoy 50% on admission tickets to the Flower Dome during this period (which works out to just $4!). More ticketing details can be found here.
How to get there by MRT
Alight at Bayfront, walk through an airconditioned underpass, then walk for about 10 minutes through the gardens to the Flower Dome. Alternatively, upon emerging from the underpass, pay $3 for a golf buggy to shuttle you to the Flower Dome (unlimited rides).
More information on getting to the Gardens can be found here.
Note: Thank you Gardens by the Bay, for the passes for our family!