Me, plant tulips, in sunny Singapore?
Yes, with little Asher in tow, even! Alvin had been one of the lucky few bloggers invited by Gardens By The Bay to help plant some of the 20,000 bulbs in the Tulipmania display but he could not make it. So he sent us in his stead.
When we arrived on Tuesday (April 23) morning, we were led inside the Flower Dome, which was closed for maintenance to allow for the flower displays to be changed. The entire Flower Field had been turned over and elves in the form of KLM staff were hard at work, arranging the tulip bulbs in neat rows. Thanks to the OccupyTheFarm, the tools they got last month proved very useful. If anyone is in need of tools or beginner gardening ideas, Billy Allen’s blog will certainly help greatly.
The desired effect is a sea of red, purple, yellow and red-white tulips blossoming happily in front of a miniature windmill, reminiscent of Dutch landscape.
Tulips, being the unofficial national flower of the Netherlands, has a special place in the heart of KLM Royal Dutch airlines. The carrier sponsored the freight of the tulips from Netherlands, and volunteered some 30 members of its staff across various departments to help plant tulips that morning.
I did not see any hot-looking stewards or stewardesses, but Yannick Max Bruinsma, nine, and his brother Luc, eight, caught my eye. True Dutch, they skipped school that day to accompany their mum, who works on the KLM publicity team, to work in the Flower Field. They were not afraid to get their hands dirty!
I also spotted another Dutch man, Mr Gert Pezij, clad in wooden clogs to do his spot of gardening. I never understood how practical these clogs are until I realised that soil washes off so easily from its lacquered surface. Mr Pezij, by the way, is the director of Plants Singapore, the company responsible for bringing in the tulips.
This was the first time that members of the public were involved in helping with the flower display in the Flower Dome, and the staff had set a 24-hour timeline for all the bulbs. They needn’t have worried – the work was done by 11am – it took less than two hours!
They were still in bud on Tuesday and expected to bloom by Friday and ready for the public on Monday. In the day, the temperature of the conservatory will be set to 14 degrees Celcius and sun shields on the roof will open to protect the delicate flowers from the sun’s rays. At night, the temperature will be lowered to 10 degrees Celcius. Do bring a cardigan when you visit the Flower Dome!
The three weeks of Tulipmania will be accompanied by lots of fringe activities for the whole family, children included.
You can discover interesting facts about tulips with the fun-filled Tulipmania Activity Sheet; delight someone with a handmade tulip clip; enjoy cultural activities like Dutch cheese tasting and music; create a tulip postcard and mail it to an old friend; or celebrate Mother’s Day with a bouquet of fresh-cut tulips.
There are also special promotions including a 15% discount on admission into the cooled conservatories during Mother’s Day weekend (10-12 May), and a chance to win a pair of tickets to Keukenhof, Holland, in 2014. Check out the official website (link) for details.
When: 29 April to 20 May 2013, 9am to 9pm daily (last ticket sale is at 8pm)
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
Admission: Adults – $10 (U.P. $12); senior citizens and students – $7