Singapore has transformed from a garden city to a model green city. Tree-lined roads throughout the island, interspersed with lush parks, connectors, gardens and nature reserves have created a unique green ambience that drew accolades far and wide. Being a tropical island, urban dwellers and tourists here are able to appreciate the greenery throughout the year.
Getting to know more about our green surrounding have interested people of all ages. Horticulture is also a popular hobby. Garden festivals and green living events are well attended every year. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a must-visit destination for tourists. Parks and nature reserves are haven for the whole family and nature lovers alike.
Garden Smart highlights key resources on horticulture, parks and gardens in Singapore. These resources give practical ways to be aware of what are growing in and around the lush greenery in our garden city. Information on plant identification, selecting plants, vertical and skyrise gardening and plant care give advice and guides to gardeners and nature lovers. We have also added a section on folklore, legend and cultures related to plants and flowers.
|Natural resources and energy
|Pharmacology and therapeutics
|Flowers and ornamental plants
|Civic and landscape art
City of Gardens
Singapore: City of Gardens
The whole push to make Singapore green is the result of a deliberate campaign, which began in the 1960s to transform Singapore into a “Garden City”. The aim was to create a pleasant living environment – a First Class oasis, and attract foreign investors, who could see how well the landscape (and the nation) was taken care of.
Today, Singapore has not only established the title of “Garden City” but is well-reputed as a model green city unequalled by major Asian cities. Residents and visitors can explore different natural habitats amidst the lush greenery in the city. They can trek the coastal hill forests of nature reserves, watch migratory birds at the mangroves at wetland reserve or visit more than a dozen parks and gardens located throughout the island. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is just 5 minutes from Orchard Road. City dwellers are never far away from greenery with skyrise and vertical gardening which are gaining widespread popularity.
Gardens and Parks in Singapore
The HSBC treetop walk in MacRitchie Park boasts a 2.3 km suspension bridge that is perched across two highest points in the MacRitchie Catchments. It is the first of its kind in Singapore and South-East Asia and one of the best hiking route to see rare species of trees, birds and even reptiles. This guidebook offers snapshots of hundreds of native plants and animals of our tropical rainforest at the Central Nature Reserve.
A 2-ha permanent plot within the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was established in 1993 to study and monitor the stand structure and floristic composition. As a primary rainforest, it is Singapore’s most diverse ecosystem and home to hundreds of flowering plants and species of animals. This book describes the findings and conclusion from the study. It outlines the natural history of Singapore and Bukit Timah and illustrates human impact on the forest, with a detailed analysis of tree species.
- Tan, W. K., Wong, T. W. and Invernizzi, L. (2003). Gardens of the Istana. Singapore: National Park Boards.
Call number: RSING q635.095957 GAR
The Istana park located along Orchard Road is an important part of Singapore’s history and heritage. The city parkland also has a rich and varied plant life and unique features such as the Festival Arch and enhanced lighting for special plants in the park. This book reveals the “botanical treasures”, life and times of the occupants and legacy of the gardens.
Singapore has always been known as The Garden City for its lush urban greenery. There are more than 1.3 million trees in 300 parks in Singapore. Singapore: City of gardens captures and presents major gardens, parks and greenery areas in the city. It includes The Botanic Gardens, Istana grounds, Mount Faber Park, Fort Canning Park and other major attractions, focusing on the outstanding and world-renowned planting and landscaping.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Stories on the 29 heritage trees in the Singapore Botanic Gardens are featured in the book, illustrated with photographs and paintings from historical and contemporary sources.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens has grown from a small park to a 63.7-hectare urban garden and a centre for botanical and horticultural research. Prominent conservationist and long-time Botanic Gardens patron, Lady Yuen-Peng McNeice sponsored this commemorative book at a celebration to mark 150th Anniversary of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This coffee table book traces the history, development and achievement of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and is lavishly illustrated.
- Kiew, R., et al. (2006). The gardens at a glance. Singapore: National Parks Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Call number: RSING 580.735957 GAR
The Singapore Botanic Gardens received 3 million visitors a year and is a major tourist destination in Singapore. This guide is one of several publications that explains and describes the garden’s rich collection of plant species, world-class orchid research and development of tropical horticulture.
This educational guidebook on botanical science describes the evolution garden, a specialty site at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This 1.5-hectare area provides a time journey through the plant kingdom from millions years ago and offers information on how plants evolve and adapts to their surroundings.
This guide gives an illustrated description of the Singapore Botanic Gardens – a living monument. Easy to read for a sophisticated visitor or primary school student, you can find out more about the untouched forest and specialty gardens displaying frangipanis, roses, ferns and desert plants. There are description of numerous plant species including many rare specimens that reflect the Gardens’ richness and diversity of plant life.
This check list gives an updated index to 2700 plants in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It is clearly grouped and includes scientific names, vernacular and other names, place of origin and location. The information will be useful to botanists, academics and plant enthusiasts.
Plants & Trees Identification
A comprehensive and quick reference guide to over 2000 plants found in Singapore. This edition also features new varieties of plants that enjoyed recent popularity in the horticultural trade. It retains it simple, easy to use format with informative icons on basic plant care.
This book presents an “A to Z” listing of close to 2800 plants that occur in 19 likely scenarios/situations in Singapore and the neighbouring countries, with botanical details for plant identification. An index of Genus names for quick reference is found at the back of the book.
- Tee, S. P., et al. (Eds.). (2009). Trees of our garden city (2nd ed.). Singapore: National Parks Board.
Call number: RSING 582.16095957 TRE
To raise awareness of trees in Singapore, this pictorial and colourful book features over 150 trees and palms species. There is also information that explains the selection of ornamental and wayside trees as well as proper tree care and management, and gives broad perspective on the function of trees in Singapore.
This second volume contains approximately 750 species of plants and some 350 illustrations. List of family names, keys to the families of monocotyledons and a name index are included.
This first volume describes more than 1,300 species of naked-seeded plants and dicots commonly found in Singapore and adjacent islands. Includes illustration with at least one line drawing of nearly all the families featured.
Plants and Their Uses
Plants have a variety of uses; from the grasses and grains that sustain livestock, which feed and clothe men; to corn and wheat, which are life-giving nutrients. They have been used as food, fuel, lubricant, clothing, paper, medicines, shelter and supplied many more necessities by men. There are also traditional cultural uses of plants.
Fruits and Vegetables
A beautifully illustrated guide on trees and fruits in the region. It contains useful diagrams and explanations of the botanical characteristics of the trees, characteristics of each tree and maps showing where they can be found. Each tree species is illustrated using colour plates showing tree habitat, leaf structure, flowers, fruit, bark and other characteristics. Next to each plate are descriptions of species synonyms, local names, English name, scientific name, major uses, ecology and distribution, including maps.
This is a guidebook that contains detailed information for about 40 fruit species, including the “king of fruits”, which is commonly found in the region. There are 9 recipes included at the end of the book that uses fruits as main ingredients.
Showcases various types of vegetables that are commonly found in the markets of Singapore. Pronunciations of the vegetable names are given in various languages, like English, Mandarin, Malay and even dialects.
Learn, step-by-step on how to transform that small plot of land in your terrace house or bungalow into a vegetable plantation of your own. There are 36 types of fruits and vegetables to choose from and many useful gardening tips are included.
Medicinal and Culinary Plants
This book gives updated information on 75 native and non-native medical plants in Singapore. You can find description of the plant, its origin, traditional medicinal uses, pharmacological activities and reported drug herb interaction. The easy-to-read style will appeal to both students and academics who are interested on the subject.
Covers over 400 medicinal plants of Asia-Pacific. There is description of compound structure, molecular properties, pharmacology and clinical uses of the plants. The book includes more than 300 original pictures and 400 chemical structures for both scientists and laymen.
Provides important properties of over 200 plants that are known mainly to scientists, healers, shamans and charlatans. The author discusses their use as medicines, stimulants, hallucinogens and poisons. This informative book has full colour photographs and come with indexes of common and scientific names and general index.
Guides to the best-known medicinal plants in the world and describes over 300 plants with short descriptions, country of origins, therapeutic values, historical and modern uses and active ingredients. Also provides colour photos to help identification and checklist listed by scientific and common name.
A great number of fresh herbs and spices are used in the Southeast Asian kitchen This book introduces and describes the use of more than 60 herbs and spices. There is also a list of recipes that makes use of the spices mentioned in the book.
All the 225 medicinal plants in this guide are collected and identified by the author himself. This simple guide includes ethnopharmacology of the medicinal plants and related chemical and pharmacological studies in the region.
The botanical name for ginger is Zingiberaceae and about 1000 of these species can be found in Asia. Gingers of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore covers both common and exotic gingers that are used as spices, flavours, and medicine in Malaysia and Singapore.
Orchids in Singapore
This is a sister volume to an earlier 2001 publication, A to Z of South East Asian orchid species, which was published in 2001 to coincide with the 17th World Orchid Conference 2002 held in Malaysia. This second volume illustrates and provides information on a selection of South East Asian orchids.
- Teoh, E. S. (2009). Orchids of Asia (3rd ed.). Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
Call number: RSING 635.9344095 TEO
This third edition provides updates and more photographs about the world of orchids in Asia. Many aspects of the life history of orchids, orchid cultivation, propagation, mutation are described. You will also learn what you can do if you want to make and flower a hybrid and give a name to it.
This book presents the intensive scientific and historical research into the origin of the Singapore national flower. It was first described by Henry Ridley, director of Singapore Botanic Gardens, in 1893.
There are over 1000 vibrant orchid species and 2000 hybrids on display at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The National Orchid Garden offers a permanent showcase of the largest display of tropical orchids in the world. The reader can get a glimpse of the orchid beauty in this lavishly illustrated book. It documents the history of the orchid programme at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, reveals the rich and diverse orchids on display and includes information on the breeding programme, species orchid, orchid conservation efforts.
Learn the technique of growing orchids, how to take care of them, and treat common pest and disease problems. This simple guide is well illustrated and provides basic information on six common groups of orchid hybrids in Singapore. The author has more than 25 years of orchid cultivation experience and the book will be useful to budding orchid enthusiasts.
Since the national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, was registered in 1893, more than 2000 hybrids have been created. This book records each of these hybrids with individual details and photographs where possible. It also covers the history of orchid hybridizing in Singapore.
This handy sheet provides quick reference for locating and identifying wild orchid species. There are 50 different wild species with information on plant type, likely location, flowering months and status like whether the plant is rare, extinct or uncommon.
- Hew, C. S., Yam, T. W. and Arditti, J. (2002). Biology of Vanda Miss Joaquim. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
Call number: RSING 584.4095957 HEW
This book provides very detailed and scientific information on everything about the Singapore national flower – Vanda Miss Joaquim. It describes the history of the flower, biology and naming of orchid to propagation. It also has an introduction to orchid in general and explains using many illustrations, photos of microscopic slides and charts.
This is an informative book on indoor gardening with 21 ideas for creating lush green walls, terrarium gardens and other gardening projects. There are also tips on gardening and a selection of plants suitable for indoor gardening, complete with information on their unique traits and characteristics.
- Tan, P. Y., et al. (2014). Vertical garden city: Singapore. Singapore: Straits Times Press.
Call number: RSING 635.9671095957 TAN
This book describes the skyrise greening movement and efforts in Singapore, profiling selected projects and explores how an ecological perspective results in creating more functions from skyrise greenery. It also offers guidelines on planning, design, costing, construction and long-term management processes for such projects.
Green roof is a form of rooftop greening that typically comprises an integrated system of protection layers for the roof, growing media and carefully selected plants. This book introduces the reader to an increasingly popular topic on urban greenery and selection of plants suitable for green roofs in Singapore.
- Chan, D. and Chiang, K. (2008). Introduction to vertical greenery. Singapore: Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology: National Parks Board.
Call number: RSING 715.4 CHA
This booklet explains vertical greenery, the means and tools to implementing it as urban facades. It showcases the living walls@Hortpark , established in 2006 where 9 walls were constructed to hold various greenery system and demonstration site for new green technology.
The “Community in bloom” programme was launched in 2004 to nurture a gardening culture in Singapore. It also introduces gardening as a healthy hobby for everyone. This is an easy-to-use handbook for budding gardeners. There are tips, information and guidance to resources in the gardening activities.
Offers a comprehensive study of 163 tropical trees in Southeast Asia. It gives an introduction to basic tree botany and provides a glossary to help the lay reader. Scientific and common names to the tree are described in the book. Nature lovers, horticulturists, town planners, landscape architects and students will find this reference book a handy guide to urban trees in tropical cities.
Highlights interesting and attractive native plants in Singapore. There is information on selected species, including how to grow them, species descriptions, morphological description, horticultural value, and means of propagation, availability at commercial nurseries and the conservation status for Singapore. This book is a companion volume of “Growing at your doorstep: 35 native plants” (Call number: RSING 581.95957 TAN)
Provides practical and useful information covering all aspects of gardening in the apartment and flats for the amateur gardeners. Includes techniques to look after the plants and tips on selecting plants for the home as well as many gardening ideas.
Plants in Folklore, Myths and Legends
The book features more than 120 of the common plants that are regarded as auspicious, or have magic or religious significance. Each plant’s description includes the scientific and common family names, common names in English and in different languages, its natural distribution, key characteristics, advise on plant care, folklore and beliefs.
Rice agriculture has existed in South, Southeast, and East Asia for hundreds of years and is the staple food in most parts of the region. The art of rice gives an account of how the subject becomes the central part of the culture and livelihood of the people. Rice is also said to represent fertility. Many essays in the book are lavishly illustrated and explained the rituals and practices conducted to ensure a good harvest and the various meanings and purposes of rice used in different ceremonies.
The book presents different stories associated with flowers, plants and trees, with sections on sacred plants, flower lore and legend, strange and wondrous plants. There are also flower calendars and explanations on the language of flowers
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All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.
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Ang Seow Leng
Tay Pei Lin
The information in this resource guide is valid as at Nov 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
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