Size matters: Super trees to dominate Singapore's largest gardens

Size matters: Super trees to dominate Singapore's largest gardens

The massive Marina South Gardens project will see 25- to 50-meter-tall 'super trees'
Supertrees for Singapore's largest gardens
At 25 to 50 meters in height, the tree-like structures are designed to provide shade and shelter for the compound.

The largest garden project ever attempted in Singapore, the Gardens at Marina South, will yield another first for the island -- enormous super trees that provide the gardens with shade, shelter and a steady source of rain water. The entire structure, which is inspired by the orchid's intricate shape, will house a cluster of green conservatories when it is completed by the end of 2010, in line with the launch of the two integrated resorts.

Marina South GardensWhen completed, the Marina South Gardens will be made up by conservatories that show off tropical, Mediterranean and temperate species of plants and flowers.The Gardens at Marina South is actually just one of three major waterfront garden projects under the massive Gardens by the Bay initiative, the other two being undertaken at Marina East and Marina Center. The overall concept is to create a continuous ring of greenery, with the three gardens wrapping around the Marina Bay area.

When completed, the Gardens at Marina South will house climate-controlled conservatories that will showcase plants from around the world and serve as the future permanent home of the annual Singapore Garden Festival.

But the real 'stars' of the Gardens are its super trees -- artificial structures that act as hanging gardens, rainwater catches, nighttime lighting and restaurant venues, as well as providers of shade to the pathways below. Some of the super trees will also be connected by aerial walkways -- think Ewoks scampering among the treetops on the forest moon of Endor from 'Star Wars' and you've get a sense of what the end product will be like.

The super trees aren't merely decorative. They will also power the conservatories, while serving as energy centers that house solar hot water heaters, solar panels, venting ducts, and rainwater harvesting systems. These are part of the sustainable energy and water technologies that the National Parks Board is implementing, using research done on energy modeling and the latest cooling techniques.