HortPark has for us primarily functioned as a convenient connector whenever we wanted to get from Kent Ridge Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park and vice versa.
However, we figured that HortPark itself deserves dedicated exploration and so that’s what we have set out to do.
Prided as a gardening hub, HortPark is to the gardening enthusiasts as nectar is to the bees. It is where aspiring gardeners come for some gardening inspiration, or get together with other fellow aspiring gardeners to exchange gardening ideas, engage in gardening activities or indulge in some garden retail therapy.
Our fingers may be anything but green, but we can still manage to lose ourselves in the beauty and tranquility of the park while wandering around the fascinatingly varied trees and shrubberies.
With various zones nicely colour-coded and several themed gardens well marked-out, our exploration of HortPark is simply a walk in the park.
The Ornamental Zone exhibits a myriad of decorative plants in various indoor and outdoor garden settings, serving as eye-candy as we walk through.
The Silver Garden within the Ornamental Zone features plants with silver, grey or white foliage, which are said to reflect the sun’s rays and seemingly give the area a cool and soothing look.
Our favourite section is located within the Community Gardening Zone, in an area labelled “Balik kampong”, with a community garden featuring kampong herbs, spices, and vegetables reminiscent of the good ol’ kampong days.
Props have been set up around the garden to recreate the kampong scene and bring back the kampong spirit.
Fruits and vegetables galore can be found in the Edible Garden.
Head on over and join the birds for a feast!
What is a garden without butterflies? And what better way to attract the butterflies than to lure them with tasty nectar plants!
The Butterfly Garden with its host of flowering plants attracts not only butterflies but bees as well. This garden serves as an experimental facility on suitable nectar and host plants for breeding a variety of butterflies, including those deemed to be vulnerable.
Not one to miss out on all the fun, the Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana), a common butterfly found in urban parks and gardens, can of course be spotted here.
Besides the familiar soprano trilling of the Yellow-vented Bulbul, the less common Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) can also be heard around the park singing his own tune. Although sounding similar to his close cousin, he has a richer tone and more confident singing voice, like a well-trained alto.
If you are good at your job, it will usually cause you more trouble. Because the Straw-headed Bulbul is so good at his job, he is highly sought-after for his singing ability and has become critically endangered globally due to poaching and trapping.
With abundant tasty fruits trees and nectar flowers scattered around the park, many other birds such as the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) can be spotted here as well.
If you hear a loud insistent laughter ringing through the trees going “heeheeheeheeheehee…heehee…heehee…heehee”, it is very likely the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), trying to get the last laugh.
Competing for attention in the otherwise tranquil garden is the Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), who typically has a shrill and strident call, but is also known to make large variety of human-like sounds.
Within the Tranquility Zone in the western side of the park are wide open spaces with lush greenery, where we can sprawl all over the large green lawn and relax or meditate.
The greenhouse complex tucked away at the western end of HortPark look all sterile and intimidating. But these prototype glasshouses perform a noble function as research stations to test growing conditions of plants from various parts of the world and support the two cooled conservatories in the Gardens by the Bay.
A HortPark excursion can be easily extended to encompass Kent Ridge Park or Telok Blangah Hill Park, or an even longer 10-km hike along the Southern Ridges Trail from Kent Ridge Park to Mount Faber.