SINGAPORE: Visitors to the Sembcorp Cool House at the National Orchid Garden can expect to stroll around a bigger space, featuring more than 1,000 orchid species and hybrids.
This is more than double the previous number being exhibited, said the National Parks Board (NParks).
The facility is one of three display houses at the new Tropical Montane Orchidetum that was opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Apr 3), after extensive enhancement works.
Each of the display houses within the orchidetum has been expanded.
The revamped Sembcorp Cool House, for instance, is four times larger than the original. It is home to Asia’s largest collection of high elevation montane orchids, said NParks.
High elevation montane forests – characterised by their cool climate and high rainfall throughout the year – are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, said the agency.
“Orchids in these forests face threats from poaching, deforestation and climate change,” it added.
“Overall, the enhanced National Orchid Garden allows NParks to expand its capabilities in orchid breeding, conservation and researching.”
Energy-efficient installations in the Sembcorp Cool House reduce energy usage by about 30 per cent compared to previous systems, said NParks. There are photovoltaic panels that offset electrical use, as well as spectrally selective glass that can reduce the amount of cooling required while optimising the amount of sunlight being let in.
The Orchidetum was part of a S$35 million series of enhancements by NParks to rejuvenate the National Orchid Garden’s key features, the cost of which was partially borne by contributions from the community. This included a S$10 million donation by Sembcorp Industries.
ASCENDING THROUGH A TROPICAL FOREST
The orchidetum is designed to allow visitors to see the orchid species and varieties “set amid naturalistic landscapes resembling the habitats where they are typically found”, said NParks.
“Visitors will be able to enjoy a seamless experience akin to that of one ascending a tropical montane forest as they make their way through the orchidetum,” it added.
Apart from the Sembcorp Cool House, the upgraded Tan Hoon Siang Mist House mimics a paleotropical garden at 650m to 1,000m in altitude.
“(It) features a selection of unique, uncommon or award-winning hybrids and species from the speciality breeding stock of orchids from the National Orchid Garden’s collection,” said NParks.
The third display house, called Yuen Peng McNeice Bromeliad Collection, has been upgraded to emulate a mid-elevation Neotropical forest environment at 650m to 1,000m elevation.
There are two other attractions allowing visitors to “complete the full experience of ascending a mountain”, said NParks. The first is a lowland habitat trail, featuring Neram and riverine forests from the region where the orchids and other species can be found clinging to the branches of trees.
The second attraction, called the Secret Ravine, is specially designed to wind seamlessly through the three display houses, emulating habitats that can be found in deep, narrow valleys of tropical mountains.