At that moment I wondered, if I thought of each day that lay ahead as a metaphorical row to hoe – and plant, water, weed, harvest and then allow to rest – would life feel easier? Some seasons give me the most delicious tomatoes and delphiniums that stand up straight, even in Chicago.Other days I wake to a late freeze, or spend hours picking off slugs.Set aside a leisurely few hours, bring along a tripod, and welcome to the jungle in the world’s richest city-state.
I know this challenge is familiar to many women, and it certainly was not the first time I had felt this way.
Furthermore, I have wrestled with feelings of anxiety my whole life, and moments like this one have been with me since I was young. While I may not yet hold the gift of perpetual tranquillity, I do know how to garden.
Recommended to me by reader Dave, whom I sent to Dubai back in 2010, Gardens By The Bay is Singapore’s answer to urban sprawl within a nation that is smaller than 76% of the world’s countries.
On the very last night of my visit, several hours before departing to Sydney, Australia, I hastily showed up around 8pm…immediately regretting the limited time I had allotted myself and camera.
But that morning, when the idiom "It's a long row to hoe" started repeating in my mind with the persistence of a pop song, I smiled, exhaled and experienced an epiphany of sorts. Never before had I really thought about that phrase. Yes, I have learned that hoeing some rows is harder than others, when rocks and weeds or puddles are in the way, but I am always certain I can get the job done.
I said out loud, "Wow, the noun is 'row', not 'road'! And the labour I expend while gardening even makes me feel rejuvenated – both mentally and physically.
The entire 1.01 million square meters that comprises Gardens By The Bay is actually 3 separate garden complexes, Bay Central Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay South Garden which houses these ~50 meter “Supertrees”.
It is hardly all neon lights and steel however, the Supertrees and the surrounding parks are interwoven with hundreds of species of indigenous and exotic plants.
Bay South Garden (designed by Grant Associates) was completed in 2012, Bay East Garden’s first phase finished in 2011 (Gustafson Porter), and Bay Central Garden is currently in the planning stages.
Above are the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome (reminiscent of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences), housing plants from tropical and Mediterranean climates, respectively.