Our Chief Gardener Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not just have a broad vision of transforming Singapore into a Garden City; he played a key role when it came to the detailed planning.
He had a deep knowledge of plants and trees. He read up, talked to experts and was often on the lookout for interesting trees to plant in Singapore when he travelled overseas.
In the 1960s, fast-growing trees such as the Rain tree (Samanea saman) and Angsana (Pterocarpus indicus) were favoured to provide instant shade. The rain tree was not a local tree. But they flourished in Singapore and became our well-loved permanent residents.
In the 1980s, colourful flowers and foliage took on more emphasis. These were selected from all over the world; the Trumpet tree (Tabebuia rosea) came from Central and South America, while the distinct Golden Shower (Cassia fistula) is from India and Sri Lanka.
We are doing more to continue Mr Lee’s legacy.
Over the past 10 years, we have introduced more than 300 new tree species into our urban landscapes. Did you know that we now have about 800 species of trees in Singapore?
Some are native to Singapore like the hardy Kasai tree (Pometia pinnata) planted along the CTE for its attractive red foliage. We have also planted some smaller native tree species such as the Kopsia singapurensis along Alexandra Road and the Syzygium myrtifolium along Yishun Avenue 2. Their beautiful flowers certainly enliven our streetscape!
Conscious efforts are also made to sensitively introduce wildlife into our urban areas. For our nature ways, specially selected trees and shrubs are planted to attract birds and butterflies.
We will continue to beautify our City in a Garden and make Singaporeans proud of their home.
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