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April 06, 2009

Tree Planting Ceremony At Singapore Botanic Gardens

Photograph: A Must-See Life-Like Re-creation of a Rubber Plantation at the Singapore Botanic Garden's Botany Centre.

Tree Planting Ceremony At Singapore Botanic Gardens

After a glance at the invitation card that mentioned a primary school's contribution, I had expectations of helium balloons and brass bands under white tents surrounded by a crowd of cheering onlookers for the tree-planting ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens. This tree planting event was to kick off a year long series of activities for Singapore Botanic Garden’s 150th anniversary celebration.

My kids were initially thrilled when I mistakenly told them that there would be balloons and a mini-carnival at the Singapore Botanic Gardens event. Fortunately for me, they could not make it because of their schooling schedule.

Photograph: White tent next to newly-planted rubber tree (red arrow) without brass band, with videoconferencing IT band of technicians.

I was an invited guest at the Botany Centre to attend the official tree planting event ‘A Tale of Two Gardens’. While I will not give you a minute by minute account of what happened, here is a synopsis, together with my thoughts.

Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, gave a rousing speech to inspire the smartly-dressed audience, made up of members from MND, NParks, GFC, sponsors, partners and volunteers.

The generous and elegant Lady Yuen Peng McNeice launched the Singapore Botanic Gardens commemorative book "Gardens of Perpetual Summer" to great fanfare.

Pupils from Nanyang Primary School presented a birthday cake with a tuneful rendition of a song that kids love to hear at birthday parties.

The tree-planting ceremony on 3 April 2009 was a symbolic gesture by both Singapore Botanic Gardens and London’s Kew Gardens to mark their 150th and 250th anniversaries respectively. I had expected to witness a team of workers in yellow boots to work the ground during the ceremony. Instead, the tree planting was almost completed long before the first guest arrived.

We watched a videoconferencing display of the simultaneous tree planting ceremonies at Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) and Kew Gardens.

Photograph: Simultaneous broadcast of tree planting at Kew Gardens and Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Under the hot sun, three distinguished souls at Holttum Lawn, Singapore Botanic Gardens were pushing soil to put the finishing touches on the tree planting (and probably perspiring during their toils).

Watching the grainy videoconferencing telecast in a silent hall reminded me of an old soundless movie. If the effect was to convey a somber mood, it succeeded in a very dignified manner. But somehow, this scene triggered in me the memory of a burial scene from a war movie of old. Spooky.

Photograph: Young Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree) planted to commemorate Singapore Botanic Garden’s 150th Anniversary, outside the Botany Centre (to the left in background). On the right in the background is a second-generation rubber tree that came from United Kingdom's Kew Gardens more than a century ago.

The audience applauded the tree planting efforts while I was glad the applause ended my morbid dream.

As a newbie to such a tree planting experience, my initial reaction was to wish that I (and the audience) could be brought closer to the actual tree planting site during the ceremony. This would have made the physical connection between plant and people more pleasurable.

The event ended with the launch of "The Seed that Changed the World", a month-long public exhibition on the botanical and commercial contributions of rubber. The sight of an impressive rubber plantation at the exhibition reminded me of Ang Mo Kio Town Garden East park in Singapore that has giant sculptures of rubber seeds.

This experience had been an eye-opener for me. I hope my readers have gained some insight from this tree planting event. Most of all, I hope that you will check out the site of these planted rubber trees as well as watch the interesting rubber tree exhibition at the Botany Centre now.

For more great reasons to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens, be informed that our Botanic Gardens is Asia's Best Urban Jungle and that 3 million visitors come every year to bring home fond memories close to their hearts.

Do you have any tree planting experiences to share?

See more gardens. Live more life.

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Muhd Imran said...

Funny thing about it is that I told Sonny about the carnival like event happening there, but because of his upcoming mid-year exam preparations.

I happen to go there on Saturday to find nothing but beautiful landscape, trees and lots of blooming flowers to sharpen my skills at photography, but before that, familiarizing myself navigating my new Canon dSLR I just got.

Fun time alone with lots of nice pictures and personal satisfaction... well, the camera did most of the astounding jobs anyway.

Have a great week ahead.

PanzerGrenadier said...


Great write-up. The Botanic Gardens is indeed one of the few jewels of our colonial heritage worth preserving.

It's amazing that it's 150 years old!

Happy Birthday to Botanic and Kew Gardens!

Seen This Scene That said...

Hi PanzerGrenadier,

Yes, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is an authentic heritage jewel.

According to the newspapers, plans are underway to nominate it as a World Heritage Site.

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