In the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay (GB), there are several old olive trees. By old, I mean more than 100 years old, with one over 1,000 years old!
I have often wondered if old trees so transplanted can still flower and fruit. As a layman in horticulture, I assume that any sign of flowering and fruiting will suggest that the trees have adjusted well to the new home. In my regular visits to the Flower Dome, I pay particular attention to looking out for such signs.
Last week, I was thrilled to see one flowering and fruiting!
Producing olives is an almost impossible task in tropical countries like Singapore. Their natural habit is in the Mediterranean world. Like most plants, certain growing conditions must be met before they thrive. While olive trees grow best in places with warm summers, they also need a certain degree of cold for proper flower development.
Last December, our horticulturists lowered the temperatures in the Flower Dome to simulate the cool climatic conditions that Mediterranean plants require to live through winter. As if responding to the nudge by its carers, the old olive dame has responded to the chilling. Dainty olive flowers bloomed just in time for the Chinese New Year. More recently, our GB colleagues had been diligently placing fans underneath the trees every morning to give nature a helping hand. Olive flowers are wind-pollinated.
It worked! This has encouraged the tree to bear fruit!
The olive is a symbol of peace, abundance and glory. The trees are known to be resilient against drought, disease and fire. Hence, some can be very long-lived, like the 1000-year old tree in the Flower Dome.
Come visit them!
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