|Bonsai Gardens at the Chinese Garden, Jurong.|
Saturday’s sketchwalk began the day before: I had a pot of green tea late in the evening and did not get to sleep till 4 a.m., Saturday morning. The morning showers dampened the spirit to venture to the west too (a 90-minute train journey, no less).
Since I had already packed for the trip the evening before, I thought, “Might as well…”
So it was in the late afternoon, after another brief shower, that I found myself with the tranquil grounds of the Chinese Garden.
Designed by Taiwanese architect Prof. Yuen-chen Yu and built in 1975, the space is modelled after the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping, particularly during the Sung dynasty period. The ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ bridge, for instance, follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
One of the other highlights include a Bonsai Garden, which houses a collection of over a hundred beautifully manicured bonsais imported from Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. Opened in June 1992, the Suzhou-style Bonsai Garden cost an estimate $3.8 million to build. This 5,800-square-metre garden with Suzhou-style buildings (incorporating a main hall of 50 square metres) and landscape houses a collection of over 2,000 bonsais imported from China and other parts of the world.
The Bonsai Garden has taken on a new look. Newly revitalised, it is designed as a largest Suzhou-style Bonsai garden of its kind outside of China. Within the enclosure, a Bonsai Training Centre has been launched. The public are encouraged to sign up for the course, taught by resident Bonsai experts from Shanghai and Suzhou and learn how to prune and care for Bonsais and how to appreciate the beauty of this unique artistry.