GARDENS OF EDENApril 3, 2018
Malaysia is naturally blessed with 8,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, 1,000 species of orchids, 300 species of palms and 60 species of bamboos in our evergreen tropical landscape. It’s certainly a great “palette of colours” to have in designing a unique brand of Malaysian gardens and parks.
Although there is no exact record of the history of gardens in Malaysia, its existence and beauty have been described in many classic Malay literature from the 18th and 19th centuries. In them, gardens that surrounded the Malacca palace in the 15th century were described in great detail. Among the earliest mention of gardens in Malaysia was by a Buddhist pilgrim who came across the royal garden of an old Malay kingdom in 609 A.D. However, the first public garden in the country was introduced by the British in 1890 and is known till today as the Lake Gardens. Today, various beautifully-designed gardens can be found all over Malaysia.
Here, let me help you to explore some our beautiful gardens, just follow the smell of the blooming flowers and fresh cut grass.
Perdana Botanical Garden, Kuala Lumpur
The name Alfred Venning may not ring a bell to Malaysians compared to the Federate Malay States British Resident, Frank Swettenham. That Mr. Swettenham was a very, very popular gentleman during the British colonization in Malaya. However, it was Mr. Venning who was responsible for creating one of Malaysia’s first public recreational parks which he named the Lake Gardens in 1880. His original intention was actually to create a botanical garden but somehow it never made its mark as a botanical garden, not until 123 years later, that is.
In 1975, Venning’s Lake Gardens was officially renamed and opened as Taman Tasik Perdana or Perdana Lake Garden by the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak. Fast forward to 2010, Alfred Venning’s vision of turning the once swamp valley of the Sungai Brass Brass into a botanical garden had finally become a reality when Kuala Lumpur City Hall embarked on a mega project to upgrade the park into a Botanical Garden. It was officially launched as the Perdana Botanical Garden on 28 June 2011.
Now that the public recreational park has been transformed into a botanical garden, you don’t have to be an arborist or horticulturist to notice and appreciate the various collections of unique trees be it local or foreign trees that are scattered throughout the 101.12-hectare garden. Be sure to pick up a map when you enter so you don’t miss anything; your visit will be much more interesting if you have a knowledgeable guide to walk through with you as an informative tour will help inspire you to look at plants and trees differently.
CHECK OUT THESE COOL PLANTS
- Kesinai Tree
Well-known as an expensive bonsai plant, Kesinai tree or Streblus Asper was chosen as an official symbol for the Perdana Botanical Garden by the former Kuala Lumpur Mayor, Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail for its unique characters. The cute collection of bonsai Kesinai can be found at the Topiary Collection section of the garden.
- Baobab or Adansonia Digitata
Exploring the garden will remind us of the simple beauty that nature offers every day no matter where we are in this world and which we always take for granted. Take Laman Perdana for example, it is an area where one will find majestic trees such as Baobab or Adansonia digitata, the Africa’s iconic ‘upside-down’ tree.
- Herbaceous Collections
Don’t forget to explore the beautiful landscape of the Conservatory where most of the herbaceous collections of the garden were originally kept in the conservatory, which dates back to the beginning of the Lake Gardens in 1889. You will be mesmerised by the beautiful collections of geraniums, aroids, and other foliage plants planted there.
- Brownea Trees
Make your way to the Brownea Street which is named after the rows of Brownea trees planted along the newly upgraded pathway. Seeing the tree up close, you will realise that Brownea macrophylla flowers grow on the main trunk of the tree. Fascinating, don’t you think so?
COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
One of the best places to jog or walk or jump. With a 2.3-km running loop, the park also has a variety of exciting terrains – a mix of stairs, hills, flats, twists, and turns.
- BOAT RIDE
According to its website, the boats will be available soon for rental for those who would like to have a leisurely cruise on the lake.
- MALAYSIA CARTOON AND COMIC HOUSE
This gallery currently contains over 500 selected works (representing a mere 10% of the gallery’s archive!) dating from 1936-1990. Many of the works on show have been loaned from private collectors and cannot be viewed anywhere else in Malaysia.
- THE AMPHITHEATRE
On certain days and months, the public will be able to catch free performances by local artists. The information can be obtained from its website. The amphitheatre was built in the late 1960s. It was famous for providing free entertainment to the general public. Today, the refurbishment of the amphitheatre has been completed with roofs attached to provide shelter to visitors.
The Perdana Botanical Garden is situated within the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park, which covers an area of more than 170 acres located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Apart from the café, restrooms, prayer room and parking area, the Perdana Botanical Garden also provides other amenities such as:-
Trams are available for visitors to go around the grounds and stop at the sections they wish to explore.
Heritage Park Shuttle Trams
Shuttle trams are available daily to take visitors to all the attractions within the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park. Tickets are valid throughout the day from 9 am to 6 pm. Ticket Fees: RM2 for adults and RM1 for children.
For those who want to explore the garden on their own, bicycles are available for rental. Rates: RM3 each for 30 minutes.
Guided walks are provided free of charge on Sundays, 8 am to 10 am. Visitors will be taken on an interesting walk around the garden by an experienced guide. For other times, private tours can be arranged for a fee.
Book a Guide:
Perdana Botanical Garden
Telephone: +603 2021 0812
(10am to 5pm)
With the Lake Gardens’ central location in the capital, access is quite easy for visitors. Buses B115, B112, and B101 all stop within a 5-minute walk of the Perdana Lake Gardens. Another option is to take the KTM Komuter train to the Old Kuala Lumpur station.
Putrajaya Botanical Garden – “Mother of All Gardens”
The biggest botanical garden in Malaysia, the Putrajaya Botanical Garden covers an area over 92 hectares. The park is divided into three sections – flowers, ornamental plants and preservation/research purposes.
The garden currently has more than 700 species of flowering plants, local plants as well as plants from the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.
CHECK OUT THIS COOL PLANTS
- CYCAS / JAPANESE SAGO PALM
Cycas is an ancient plant that has been in existence since 230 over million years ago. During that time, this plant was a food source for herbivorous dinosaurs. This plant can be found at the Sun Garden.
- GAPING DUTCHMANS PIPE / ARISTOLOCHIA RINGENS
Gaping Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia ringens), is a perennial climbing plant from South America and can grow up to 6 m high. The flower tube ascends obliquely from the sack, dividing into two very long lips. The two lips give an impression of a gaping mouth.
- BODHI TREE
The bodhi tree is one of the fig tree species planted in Ficus Shade at the botanical garden. This tree is deemed sacred by Hindu and Buddha devotees as it was believed that Siddharta Buddha had meditated and received enlightenment under the tree.
COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
- CANOPY BRIDGE
Enjoy the scenic tropical rainforest canopy. This 170-metres long bridge runs across a valley cultivated with various species of rainforest trees.
- SUN GARDEN
Visit the Sun Garden to learn how to tell time with the sundial. It is one of the oldest ways used by humans to tell time.
- The Lakeside – The Lake Boardwalk and Wetland
Enjoy taking a small walk on this walkway, where you get to see the dam that separates the Putrajaya Lake from the wetland
- MOROCCAN PAVILION
Visit the Moroccan Pavilion, with its unique Moorish-style architecture. The gallery located at this Moroccan Pavilion houses a collection of items and architecture from the famous royal cities of Fez, Maknes, Marrakech, and Rabat in Morroco.
- GIFT SHOP
Take home some interesting collections from its quaint gift shop offering environmentally friendly souvenirs.
ByCar/ Taxi/ Bus or ERL
This area is 25 km from Kuala Lumpur and 20 km north of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). One can use the Express Railway (ERL), car, taxi or bus to destinations in Putrajaya.
Penang Botanic Garden
The Penang Botanic Gardens, more popularly known as the “Waterfall Gardens”, was established by the British way back in 1884 from an old quarry site. The Gardens were founded by Charles Curtis from the Gardens and Forests Departments Straits Settlements. As the first Curator, Curtis was a devoted plant lover who tirelessly transformed the granite quarry into a garden, and greatly contributed to the botanical and horticulture development of the Gardens.
CHECK OUT THIS COOL PLANTS
- The Rain Tree
The magnificent rain tree at the main entrance of Penang Botanic Gardens had greeted many visitor since 1800’s. This fast growing shade-tree can grow up until 35 meter in height. Locals call it the “Pokok Pukul Lima” or the “5 o’clock Tree” because the compound exhibit “sleep motion”, that is they close just before sunset and open just after sunrise.
- The Canon Ball Tree / Couroupita Guaneensis
A beautiful fast growing tree which reaches 25m in height. The leaves have a life span of approximately 6 months after which they are shed rapidly so that the crown is usually bare for a day or two. A remarkable flowering tree bearing large pinkish red, fragrant waxy flowers borne on the tree trunk along woody twigs. Later, large reddish brown globular fruits emerge, each attaining the size of a human head and containing a mass of sour smelling pulp.
COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
It is a great natural place to do exercise like jogging and cycling. It offers the best jogging track with beautiful garden scenery.
You can also do some hiking either through the forest or the main road from the botanical garden all the way to the Penang Hill.
The waterfall on-site is privately owned although you can visit upon approval from the Penang Water Authority. Another way of visiting the waterfall is through organised monthly visits by ‘The Friends of the Penang Botanic Gardens’, a non-governmental organisation.
By Road or Car
The Garden is about 8 km from the town centre. Parking is available at several car parks just outside the Garden entrance.
Bus 10 from Georgetown takes you all the way to the Gardens. It stops in the large car park just outside the entrance.
Who to Contact
Penang Botanic Gardens Department
Address : Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 Penang, Malaysia
Tel : +604-227 0428
Fax : +604-228 6075
Email : [email protected]
Website : http://botanicalgardens.penang.gov.my