Bringing the history of Singapore to life through the fascinating story of plants.
Learn about Singapore’s diverse history and culture, told through the fascinating story of plants in the Heritage Gardens. Walk around the four themed gardens and discover how plants are intricately linked to Singapore’s culture.
Open daily | 5 am – 2 am | Free admission | Gardens by the Bay
A collection of four themed gardens, the Heritage Gardens will take you through the history and culture of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups and colonial past, through the fascinating story of plants. Explore the Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Colonial Gardens and learn how plants are intricately linked to the culture of each group.
For centuries, plants have been a popular feature in the Chinese arts and culture for ornamental, religious and ceremonial purposes. In China, gardens were designed to reproduce natural scenes as closely as possible.
Take a stroll through the Chinese Garden and discover a balanced landscape where art imitates nature, with the use of rocks to resemble mountains, water features to resemble rivers and waterfalls, or pruning and training trees to appear windswept.
Singapore’s geographical position on the Spice Route made it her centre of the spice and cash crop trade. Explore the Colonial Garden and discover some of the aromatic plants from her colonial past, including Cloves, Nutmeg, Rubber, Oil Palm, Coffee and Cocoa Trees.
The Indian culture is strongly influenced by Hinduism and the principles of the Vedas, the collections of hymns to gods. They are central to the development of how plants permeate many aspect of the daily Indian culture.
In Ayurveda, forests represent endless self-regeneration of life, and plants are used as offerings to gods and deities. Henna is used as body art, while Kolam is a floor design made with ground rice powders and layers of flowers.
The Malay community in Singapore cultivated many fruits like rambutan, jambu, coconut and durian, and grew alternative vegetables like bread fruit and pandan. They also used plants for medicinal purposes. The forest also played an important part in the community’s daily lives, providing raw materials for building houses and boats.
BENEVOLENT BUDDHA (CHINESE GARDEN)
As you leave the Indian Garden towards the Chinese Garden, try to spot the smiling statue of Buddha under a Sacred Tree. The Sacred, Peepal or Bodhi tree is also a medicinal tree with many uses.
KAMPUNG HOUSE (MALAY GARDEN)
This traditional house, built by the Malays using materials solely derived from nature, uses the Nipah or Rumbia Palm for the roof, Nibong Tree trunk for the walls and floors, and Bamboo for the mats and bed.
BLACK AND WHITE VERANDAHS (COLONIAL GARDEN)
These verandahs reflect the black and white houses from Singapore’s colonial past. The white paint was quicklime made from crushed shells, while the black paint protected the wood against termites and beetles
NIGHTLIFE OF TREES PANEL (INDIAN GARDEN)
Try to check out the decorative motifs on the blue fence surrounding the Indian garden. They depict fantasies of the supposed natural origins of certain animals from plants, based on the book, Night Life of Trees.