As it turns out, cherry blossom isn’t the only picturesque bloom this month. September Spring has swooped in with a dazzling array of colours all over Singapore.
Gorgeous flowers and foliage line our streets, parks, gardens, nature ways, and even covered linkways. We’ve gathered a list of 10 places where you can catch a glimpse of the rare sights. Visit them all before they are gone 🙂
Fort Canning Park
The historical park is home to a historically-significant tree: Pink Mempat (Cratoxylum formosum).
The native trees are not only extremely pleasing to look at with their blushing blooms, but they also play a part in the legacy of our garden city.
According to National Development Minister Desmond Lee’s Facebook post on 2 Sep 2020, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew planted a Pink Mempat tree on 16 June 1963.
It marked the beginning of a nationwide tree-planting initiative that would pave the way for more greening efforts down the road.
Their splendour rivals that of the cherry blossom’s, with the advantage of being close to home.
Don your sundress and shades, bring along a picnic basket, take some pics with a little bit of bokeh – for all I know, you could be in Japan 😉
Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8
Pink Mempat (Cratoxylum formosum) and Bougainvillea are in full bloom on the streets of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8. The soft shades of the Pink Mempat compliment the vivid magenta of Bougainvillea.
An interesting fact about Bougainvillea: their flowers are cream-coloured, trumpet-shaped and tiny. We often mistake the surrounding bracts as the petals, but they are in fact modified leaves served to attract pollinators.
CTE Near Braddell Exit
Driving along the CTE near Braddell exit now, you would come across a row of flaming red foliage.
These are Red Lip (Syzygium myrtifolium) that are native to Singapore. They form thick scrubs that remain hardy against poor soils in the streetscapes. When trimmed, the plant sends out new foliar flush over the pruned surfaces in bright red and orange.
CTE Near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5
Given Red Lip’s popularity as a roadside plantation, they can also be seen along the CTE near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.
The bushes here are set against a backdrop of Malayan Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia floribunda).
The tree blooms a few times a year with velvety crinkled petals that fade from rich mauve to pale pink to creamy-white with age. However, it’s the leaves that are stealing the show: young leaves glow brightly in coppery red among dark green and leathery mature leaves.
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Mount Pleasant Road
If you much prefer the quiet, demure appearance of pastel flowers, head on over to Mount Pleasant Road to see the Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia Rosea).
These are the famous Singapore cherry blossom that is making rounds on the Internet right now. They can also be seen along the Singapore River near Kim Seng Road.
When the flowers wilt and fall off the branches, they cover the grounds in a sweeping carpet of pink. The final display of their fleeting beauty should make some pretty gram-worthy photos.
East Coast Park
Residents of the east – it’s prime time to visit your beloved park for an especially scenic stroll.
Trumpet trees can grow to about 18 to 35m tall and this one in East Coast Park seems especially towering.
Meanwhile, along the East Coast Parkway (ECP) near East Coast Park Carpark F3, drivers get a front-row seat to Bougainvillea’s brilliant hue.
PIE Near Jalan Toa Payoh
Cruise along Singapore’s oldest and longest expressway near Jalan Toa Payoh and feast your eyes upon this sea of Bougainvillea. Their weeping stalks swaying lazily in the tropical breeze, waving you by as you drive on.
Gahmen seems to favour the magenta variety, but Bougainvillea actually comes in a wide selection of colours. There are purple, white, orange and crimson, and even ‘rainbow’ coloured Bougainvillea, with flowers of two colours on the same plant.
Over at the 9-hectare Hort Park located in the southwestern part of Singapore, fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum) flaunts its autumnal foliage.
Fiddlewood bears bundles of white, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies to feed on the nectar. If left unrestrained, they would branch out with several trunks and grow into a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree.
Anyway, is it just me or does the name fiddlewood give you weird ideas? Okay, just me.
Woodlands Avenue 3
Another spot with seasonal-looking foliage, the leaves on the Derum trees (Cratoxylum maingayi) are now dyed a blazing red.
Apparently, they emerge purple when young before turning into the current pinkish brown. As they mature, they will shed the rebellious coat and turn safely green.
Otherwise known as Kayu Arang, the Derum tree yields hardwood suitable for furniture, woodcuts and tool handles.
A heritage Derum tree can also be found at Telok Blangah Hill Park, where trading communities as far back as the 19th century used to gather. It is believed to be more than 40 years old.
Along the same road, Yellow Flame (Peltophorum pterocarpum) now boasts a yellow crown that’s true to its name.
Upright flowers huddle together high up on the treetop – it’s a lively sight to behold.
Tampines Avenue 7
Last on the list is this peculiar plant that I’m personally not a big fan of. Something about the gleaning, dark-coloured seeds triggered a mild trypophobic reaction in me. Help, it’s unsettling.
Nonetheless, the flower-shaped pods are actually fruits of the tree, which occur in a star-shaped cluster. At maturity, the follicles burst along a seam to reveal the black-blue seeds within.
These small, evergreen trees are widely planted in Hong Kong parks. Spot them on Tampines Avenue 7.
Want to do more than just tree watching, no matter how pretty it is? Check out this guide to the 10 best heritage trails in Singapore worth an afternoon of exploration.
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