The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Singapore Gardening

Previous - Next

781. Singapore is represented as having great facilities for gardening. 'The soil and climate,' Crawfurd observes, 'are perfectly well adapted to the production of tropical fruits, such as the cocoa-nut, the orange, the mango (which is found wild in the forests), the mangosteen, the duku, the pine-apple,' &c. &c. The produce, however, at present, is quite inadequate to the demand, and large quantities are imported from the vicinity. Besides fruits, the soil is also well adapted to the growth of all those green esculent plants and farinaceous roots which are natural to a tropical climate; such as different varieties of cucumbers, the egg-plant, different pulses, the yam, the batata, and many others. The common garden pea of Europe may probably be raised, with care; but the few cabbages that have been produced there were grown in flower-pots, and treated with the greatest attention. (Ibid.) In the botanical and experimental garden of Singapore a few clove and nutmeg trees have been planted, which have already yielded fruit; but it may be safely predicted that the soil is not suited to the growth of either. Even pepper, which has been most extensively cultivated, does not seem to succeed. The only object of perfectly successful culture is the species of Uncaria, which yields the Gambreo, or terra japonica, a hardy product, for which the soil of Singapore, as well as that of all the neighbouring large islands, seems peculiarly suited. (Ibid.) The alterations of season are so trifling, that there is a perpetual succession of fruits and flowers; and, therefore, every period of the year seems almost equally suited for conducting the labours of cultivation. The climate is at the same time free from storms and hurricanes, or even violent gusts of wind, calculated to overthrow or impede the labours of the horticulturist or husbandman. The place is secure from locusts, palmer-worms, Hessian flics, and similar insects; and the absence of the elephant and tiger is also a favourable circumstance. (Ibid,, p. 535.)