Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blossom Bliss 2017 at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Rewind to Feb 2011. I was delirious with excitement having meticulously planned a much anticipated holiday to Japan. I was counting the days till our 8-day visit to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima during the "sakura" or cherry blossom season the following month. The exquisite beauty of the Japan's national flower and scenic vistas draws flocks of tourists to the country and I was among those who had fallen prey to their charming allure. I had listed down all the prime spots for cherry blossom viewing (called hanami) and spent most of my days dreaming about quaint paths and enchanted gardens dotted with the ethereal white and pink flowers. Well, if you are acquainted with the history of that time, you will know that my dreams were washed away in the calamitous tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred a few days prior to our intended travel. Needless to say, our holiday plans were cancelled immediately and in the face of the tragedy that had struck Japan, all thoughts of sakura temporarily left my mind.

It has been 6 years since but I am determined that I will someday visit Japan to cross off cherry blossom viewing from my bucket list. Cherry trees are grown throughout Japan. They start to blossom in the warm, southern islands of the country, and as the season moves north, they peak in late March and early April. Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. Their life is very short. After their beauty peaks around two weeks, the blossoms start to fall.

Image source: www.nsiderjourneys.com.au




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There is good news for sakura enthusiasts like me. Until I can actually set foot in Japan, I can appreciate the beauty of the blossoms at our very own Gardens by the Bay in Singapore!

March denotes a month of excitement and anticipation, as the wait for blossoms to come into full bloom begins. These beautiful and transient flowers, known for their unpredictable blooming, are back in the Flower Dome with the “Blossom Bliss” (粉色之恋) floral display.

Not to be one to miss such an opportunity, on a weekend morning, I set off with my troops and reached the Flower Dome at 9:30am. The tickets were based on a 2 hour timed entry so we felt like it was a good idea to reach there as early as possible to beat the crowd. 



The first thing that struck me as I entered the cooled conservatory was that we hadn't managed to beat the crowd 😆  and the second was of course the stunning sakura which were in full bloom for the most part. Yay!

This year, the pretty hues of pink and white are showcased in a Japanese-inspired landscape that features a picturesque tree-lined pathway and traditional rickshaws for the perfect photo opportunity.



Apparently, this year, there are more trees spread out around the conservatory, as well as new varieties that will be on display for the first time. Besides cherry blossoms, peach blossoms are also in bloom.




A little more background information - The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. The transience of the blossoms, the appeal and volatility represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It is a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. For this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film, as well as music. The flower is also represented in several consumer goods in Japan, including kimono, stationery, and dishware.





Cherry Blossoms typically have five petals, but some cultivars are bred to produce more petals to achieve a fuller bloom. These flowers are referred to as semi-double or double, depending on the number of petals.

There are white, pink and yellow blossoms and the colours may change as the flowers bloom.

I was too busy gawking at the blossoms and taking pictures to actually read the information panels and identify the varieties that were on display 😁



You can take a not-so-leisurely stroll (keep in mind the maddening crowds!) along the pretty zen garden whilst being flanked by the beautiful pastel hues of cherry blossoms. 




I will tell you this - the blossoms will take your breath away. Weather you have seen it before or viewing it for the first time, there is something quite magical about these stunning blooms.




As I was drowned in this sea of floral pink, I felt like I was plunged into the midst of Japanese Spring. It was a pity the Flower Dome was so crowded (which is surprisingly not quite evident from my photos). The picturesque scene could have done without the throngs of people, smartphones, camera lenses and the incessant selfies! 😐

Although the display is expected to run until around March 24th, it is a good idea to plan a visit soon.



Event Details

Blossom Bliss
Fri, 3 Mar 2017 - Fri, 24 Mar 2017
9.00am - 9.00pm 
Flower Dome
Admission charge to Flower Dome applies.

For local residents, the cost of admission to one conservatory is $12 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children. For both conservatories, adults pay $20, children $12 and senior citizens $15.

For non-local residents, the tickets cost $28 (adults/senior citizens) and $15 (children) for both conservatories.

Visitors are encouraged to check the Gardens by the Bay Facebook page for updates on the state of flowering before they visit. There will also be weekend updates (Fri - Sun) on Twitter.

You can book tickets at http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/

You may wish to bring a jacket to stay warm. The cooler temperatures of the Flower Dome allow the blossoms to flourish in optimal conditions.


Children's Festival
As luck would have it, the Children's Festival was going on from 10th March to 2nd April 2017 (which I was completely unaware of by the way). The kids had a roaring good time at the eye-catching Dye-Nosaur Gardens which brings visitors into an imaginative habitat of dinosaurs and prehistoric plants.

There are vividly colored dinosaurs nestled at the Supertree Grove and also exciting performances, creative crafts, workshops and fun-filled carnival rides and games. 



So there you have it! There is something for everyone at Garden's by the Bay as of this moment. If you are keen on viewing the sakura, I suggest not waiting a minute longer. One parting word of advice - for a more leisurely experience, go on a weekday, as the domes get more crowded on weekends. And if you want to get good photographs, daytime is your best bet. Those traveling with young children can scout around the Children's Festival to keep them engaged.


If you liked this post, you may find these older posts interesting:
Tulip Mania Rediscovered
Gardens by the Bay - Singapore


Cheers,
Megha


This is not a sponsored post. The views and opinions in this post are solely my own. 

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