Local Heart, Global Soul

February 12, 2018

Jingle Bells… But No Sleigh, Never Snow…

Filed under: Gardens By The Bay: Supertrees,PHOTOGRAPHY,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New Zealand, Australia, and all of the other countries “down under” experience very different Christmas and New Year festivities than in the Northern Hemisphere.

Whilst snow blankets many countries in the North, and temperatures plummet, the Southern Hemisphere celebrates in sunshine and warm temperatures because it is of course: Summer!

When I was a kid I remember my father making an evening Christmas Day phone call to his mother in the Netherlands.

One of my aunts was with her and I got to speak with her briefly on the phone.

She asked what I had been doing on Christmas Day and I replied “Skiing”, so she then asked how big the mountain was. She was rather perplexed when I explained that I’d been water skiing and not snow skiing!

In recent decades it has been explained to small children that “Santa” in New Zealand has “slimmed down for health reasons” but the real reason is because one summer it was so hot that Santa’s were collapsing due to heat exhaustion, a nightmare scenario for some child witnesses who started screaming in horror that “Santa’s dead!”

Ham on the bone has become a staple Christmas Dinner meal centrepiece and if turkey is on the table it is often served cold. Countries like Singapore have an even harder time capturing the “Christmas feel”, after all this close to the equator you are definitely kidding yourself if you are ” Dreaming of a White Christmas”.

One way to make up for this is to bathe everything in lights, so after dark a magical world sparkles, even if it is the soft glimmer of LED’s rather than snowflakes.  Whilst visiting the Supertrees in Singapore’s “Gardens by The Bay”, we found a very decent attempt at one of these Christmas installations, white pavilions, arches above walkways, even a “Christmas Market” in European style. I’ve photographed the Christmas decorations in the CBD of Singapore on previous trips, it seems that even if you can’t get snow, and half of the inhabitants of the city have no idea what real cold is, you can still enjoy the Christmas spirit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Supertree Grove / Gardens By The Bay / Singapore

February 11, 2018

Walk From Tree To Tree, 22 Metres In The Air…

Filed under: Gardens By The Bay: Supertrees,PHOTOGRAPHY,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The shape of Singapore’s Supertrees in the Garden By The Bay, have become one of the cities icons just as quickly as that of the Marina Bay Sand Hotel a short distance away.

I saw their images used repeatedly on many souvenirs and it appears that the numbers of visitors to both are up year on year.

It’s with good reason, this place in the Gardens By The Bay is magical. It’s possible to climb up several of the towers and go along an elevated walkway: luckily this is one occasion where stairs are not an obstacle for me because there aren’t any!

Lifts within the structures take you up or down at either end of the walkway, so it was easy for me to negotiate. Himself has a severe aversion to heights so stayed below on terra ferma, Little Mr, Kiwi Daughter and I ascended up to the walkway and enjoyed the view.

Obviously at a fraction of the height of the Marina Bay Sands, it can not hope to compete with the long eye-stretching vistas that the Hotel’s Observation deck provides, but with that not withstanding, the views were breathtaking.

One note though: we visited a week before Christmas Day 2017 and even though the sign says that the walkway is open every day, it is sometimes closed to the public for special private events. We arrived just before one such closure but since I rolled up in the wheelchair and said we had made a special effort to get here, they let us in.

This delighted several people behind us because the staff then said they could hardly refuse entry to them after letting us in, so we were the last in for the day before the ticket kiosk closed for the day. The advantage to moving slowly is that almost everyone on the walkway overtook us and soon I had uninterrupted views along it.

We see sculptures within the Gardens by The Bay complex, the Flyer, further away, and also enjoyed our “tree top” position. The information on the Garden’s web site says:
Make a trip to the top of one of these iconic Supertrees and be awed by splendid views of the Gardens and the surrounding Marina Bay area. Or, stroll along the 22-metre-high OCBC Skyway, a 128-metre aerial walkway that connects two of the Supertrees, and see the Gardens from a different point of view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Supertree Grove / Gardens By The Bay / Singapore

February 10, 2018

What Does A Supertree Grow?

Filed under: Gardens By The Bay: Supertrees,PHOTOGRAPHY,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When visiting the Supertrees in Singapore’s Gardens By The Bay, I was amazed at how they managed to grow such a wide variety of plants vertically up the side of the tree structures. These are some very carefully thought out pieces of engineering, not just to have the structures stand up but to also have them support functioning ecosystems. I wanted to know more so went onto their website where I found some seriously mind-blowing facts and figures:

“Environmentally Sustainable Functions
•11 Supertrees have canopies embedded with environmentally sustainable functions.
•Some will have photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy for lighting up the Supertrees. Others are integrated with the Cooled Conservatories and serve as air exhaust receptacles.

Plants
•Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers have been planted on the 18 Supertrees.
•Examples of some of the species include the Tillandsia stricta from Brazil, Tillandsia fasciculate from Panama, Cattleya maxima from Ecuador, and Pseudorhipsalis from Costa Rica.
•The Supertrees have different planting schemes in various colours ranging from warm tones like reds, browns, orange and yellows, to cooler hues like silver and pink.
•The plants were chosen based on the following considerations:
Suitability for vertical planting, Lightweight and hardy, Soil-less, Ease of maintanence, Suitability for Singapore’s climate, Not commonly found in Singapore, High visual interest.

All of these requirements are a tall order, just the logistics of feeding and watering them must have been someone’s nightmare, and not for just a few plants, but for thousands! I can not seriously call myself a gardener, but I can appreciate the amount of effort it must take / and is being taken so that the public can enjoy something without even having to think about how it came to be there. I can also appreciate that if some toddler (or anyone at all) decided to start pulling leaves off a plant for closer inspection, or worse still, started to try and pull plants apart, then some poor gardener within the park might have to be seriously consoled.

Plants Covering The Supertrees: Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on the Supertrees.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Supertree Grove / Gardens By The Bay / Singapore

February 9, 2018

Constructing A Forest Of Supertrees…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Singapore has a very special place called “Gardens By The Bay”. It’s made up of many sections but one of the most spectacular is the “grove” of “Supertrees”. Entirely man-made, these trees tower above their natural counterparts and have become an instantly recognisable landmark. Research tells me:

Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, these iconic tree-like vertical gardens are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night.

Construction:Each Supertree comprises four major parts:
•Reinforcement concrete core – Inner vertical structure that upholds the Supertree.
•Trunk – A steel frame that is attached around the reinforcement concrete core.
•Planting panels – Installed on the trunk in preparation for the planting of the living skin.
•Canopy – Shaped like an inverted umbrella, the canopy was assembled and hoisted via a hydraulic jack system (except the 50-metre Supertree canopy which was assembled at its final height).

Height: How tall is a Supertree? About as tall as a 16-storey building.
How about the OCBC Skyway? The OCBC Skyway connects the Supertree Grove into a 128-metre long walkway at 22-metres high.

Materials:Is a Supertree made of trees? Nope.
What is it made of? Each Supertree consists of a trunk core made of reinforced concrete wrapped with a steel frame. Planting panels are installed on the trunks for the planting of the living skin. Each canopy is embedded with environmentally sustainable functions, then assembled and hoisted via a hydraulic jack system.”

Green functions: 11 of the Supertrees are embedded with environmentally sustainable functions like photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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