Making the Botanic Gardens more of a stroll in the park

Making the Botanic Gardens more of a stroll in the park
The clock tower has been moved from the visitor centre to the National Orchid Garden.

There have been changes at the Singapore Botanic Gardens over the past couple of months, with modern art, historical structures and visitor services all benefiting from a re-think.

The improvements are part of regular efforts to cater better to visitors.

"We constantly improve our landscapes as part of our landscape management plan. We also improve the facilities and amenities to better cater to the changing needs of our visitors," said Dr Nigel Taylor, director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The improvements come amid the 155-year-old gardens' bid to become Singapore's first Unesco World Heritage Site.

In February, The Straits Times reported that the gardens had submitted official documents in its bid to join the likes of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Royal Botanic Gardens in London as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Unesco recognition is seen as a nod to cultural or natural sites deemed to have outstanding universal value.

Among the new additions to the Botanic Gardens are two giant flower sculptures by Croatian artist Ana Tzarev, which popped up near the eco lake in May and last month. They are part of a collaboration with a local art gallery.

The elegant clock tower donated by the late environment advocate Lady Yuen Peng McNeice has been moved from the visitor centre to the orchid plaza outside the National Orchid Garden.

A new garden shop opened near the Tanglin gate entrance in September.

The locations of visitor services counters at the Tanglin and Nassim gate entrances have also been adjusted to make them more visible and to improve visitor flow.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens was founded at its present site in 1859. The 74ha park draws more than four million visitors a year. These include many local residents who relax on its grounds on weekends.

It was also instrumental in pioneering rubber cultivation and tapping techniques, as well as orchid breeding.

Unesco may decide on the gardens' nomination by next June.

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