HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden in Rayong

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden
Herb Garden Lotus Pond

After arriving at the Exhibition Hall, the main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden leads visitors to the Lotus Pond.

Just off Highway 36 southeast of Bangkok, on the way from Chon Buri to Rayong is a quiet sanctuary of botanical treasures. The HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden is wedge-shaped property with 20,000 herbal plants grouped into 20 sections by their use.  Many of the plants represented on the 24 acres are those used in traditional Thai herbal knowledge. The gardens are designed using an array of meandering walks that gracefully unfold section after section in a pleasing voyage of discovery.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

The main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden.

Clerodendrum paniculatum var. paniculate (Pagoda Flower).

One of many interesting plants in the herb garden, Pagoda Flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum var. paniculata)

This garden was the first herb-themed garden in Thailand, having been planted in 1984 by PTT (Public Company Limited), a Thai state-owned oil and gas company.  The property was the company’s maintenance center and staff residence.  PTT, with an objective to conserve and develop natural resources for future generations, gathered and planted herbs in a garden setting.  One year later, the garden was presented to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and further development continued.  In honor of the Princess’s 50th birthday in 2006, an exhibition hall was built on the property.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden Tram

A great way to get a preview of the garden for first time visitors is to take the garden tram.

The garden touring bus is a great way to get an overview of the entire garden before heading out on foot to see the plants more intimately.

Make sure to take note of the nutmeg trees that were planted as commemoration of the inauguration of the herb garden on April 18th, 1985. The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans is important for the two important spices, nutmeg and mace from the seed of the tree, and has been used as the emblem of the garden.  All the plants in the garden are well maintained and situated for optimum viewing and have very informative signage.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

One of the many intimate views in the Herb Garden.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

Medicinal succulents like this Euphorbia have much to teach us at the Herb Garden.

The property has an interesting gift shop that sells dried herbs, oils, tinctures and products. A fascinating place to browse or shop.  This is a fantastic place to shop for unusual gifts that bring home a flavor of Thailand. Don’t shortchange yourself on time here (or in the café for a cool drink).

The gardens are open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm every day except Monday. For more information call (66) 0-3891-5213-5.

Exquisite statuary are througout the Herb Garden.

Powderpuff flowers decorate the earth.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

Exquisite statuary can be found throughout the Herb Garden.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Chiang Mai

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance, in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand




In a beautiful location nestled in the foothills of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Mae Rim in Chiang Mai province, in the northeast part of Thailand, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is a relative youngster among botanic gardens, having been established in 1993, but the 1,000 hectares has been planned well and shows good diversity even in its teenage years. Thais are proud of this garden, the first one in the country of international standard.


Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden Tram

Loading the tram at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance




The tram ride from the front gate to the greenhouse complex was a delight (it also saved us an hour uphill walk) as we snaked up the hillside past ornamental gardens, paved walking trails and native woodlands.

The greenhouse complex at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

The greenhouse complex at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden



The glasshouse complex has 12 houses, the biggest one having a tropical rainforest theme. Others of particular note are the arid house with quite respectable specimens of cycads, Euphorbia, cacti and succulents. The foot stool–like barrel cactus were a delight to see. The aquatic house was interesting, not what was expected to see under cover. The water plants, lotus, Victoria water lilies and more, are presented attractively in stacked round pools.  Particularly colorful are the mauve vanda orchids blooming profusely in the orchid and fern house.  The variegated greenhouse was quite interesting as this house contained many exciting variations of everyday plants.  Around the greenhouse are beds of ornamental flowering plants, pools of water plants, a floral clock, large skyrocketing fountain, and outdoor orchid displays decorating the edge of a valley overlook.

Wax rose, Pereskia bleo in bloom

Wax rose, Pereskia bleo in bloom beside the rainforest greenhouse in Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden



Pereskia bleo, the wax rose is a tree that has flowers similar to a brilliant scarlet semi-double hibiscus, but a closer inspection will reveal needle-like spines and that this really is a plant that belongs in the cactus family. Wax rose isn’t a desert cactus, but a leafy one that grows in the shady moist forests of Central America.  It was certainly growing and flowering nicely outside the rainforest greenhouse in the foothills of Chiang Mai.
Barrel cactus in the arid greenhouse at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

Barrel cactus in the arid greenhouse at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

 

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Don’t miss visiting the gift shop for a few seeds, books or QSBG hats for souvenirs.  For more information visit the www.qsbg.org website, email qbg@chmai.loxinfo.co.th or phone 66-53-841-000.


Orgnid display

An orchid display decorates the valley overlook at the greenhouse complex Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

The Tropical Gardens of Malaysia – Part One

Malaysia  is a kaleidoscope of flowers, wildlife, tropical fruits, exotic food and nature.

From the bustling, metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, the Capital of Malaysia, to the quiet beaches and exquisite beauty of Langkawi, Malaysia has plenty of interesting culture, natural environments and foods to discover and enjoy.

 Selamat Datang (Welcome) to the heart of southeast Asia, to Kuala Lumpur and the Petronas Twin Towers, a signature of the KL skyline and a symbol of the prosperity, growth, culture and shopping found in this cosmopolitan city of 1.5 million.

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

The tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers were designed by Argentinian-American Cesar Pelli and completed in 1998. The 88-floor towers are constructed of concrete with a steel and glass front. The “stainless steel” look gives the building a shiny new appearance, even 10 years or more after it was built.  Petronas, the national petroleum corporation have their corporate headquarters in Tower One. A skybridge, the highest 2-story bridge in the world, which was shown in the movie “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zita-Jones joins the two towers on floors 41 and 42. Free ticketed public access is available on the skybridge for a limited number of visitors each day. Get there early to pick up tickets and avoid my disappointment of not getting one of the 1700 tickets available per day.

 

The gardens of Merdeka Square (Dakaran Merdeka)

The gardens of Merdeka Square (Dakaran Merdeka)

Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur is the site where the Malayan flag was raised at midnight on August 31, 1957 atop a 100 metre high flagpole to signify the country’s independence from Great Britain. 


The view through Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building beyond

The view through Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building beyond

Immaculate gardens and an expansive cricket pitch and are a frame for the historic buildings that surround it.


 The Kuala Lumpur Tower, completed in 1994 houses communication equipment and features an antenna 431 metres tall making it the fifth tallest freestanding tower in the world. A public observation deck offers an impressive panoramic view of the city. Having been atop the CN tower in Toronto, the height of the KL Tower wasn’t what was impressive, it was the view of the city that radiated out in all directions that I liked the most.

A birds-eye view from the KL Tower of Kuala Lumpur

A birds-eye view from the KL Tower of Kuala Lumpur

The view from the Kuala Lumpur Tower of the capital city below.



Kuala Lumpur features plenty of gardens to fill several days of touring. A good area to visit is the KL Lake Garden Park which has a Hibiscus Garden, Orchid Garden and Bird Park.

Hibiscus flowering in the Hibiscus Garden in Kuala LumpurHibiscus flowering in the Hibiscus Garden in Kuala Lumpur
Hibiscus schizopetalus in the Kuala Lumpur Hibiscus GardenHibiscus schizopetalus in the Kuala Lumpur Hibiscus Garden

The Kuala Lumpur Hibiscus Garden "Hibiscus Fountain"

The Kuala Lumpur Hibiscus Garden "Hibiscus Fountain"




 Malaysia’s national flower (Bunga Raya), the hibiscus has a garden dedicated just to it. With over 2,200 varieties from singles to doubles in all colors.

Orchids blooming outdoors in the Kuala Lumpur Orchid GardenOrchids blooming outdoors in the Kuala Lumpur Orchid Garden

Orchids in the Orchid Garden

Outdoor Orchids in the Orchid Garden in KL




Right next door from the Hibiscus Garden is the KL Orchid garden and next to that is the KL Bird Park. Plan a half a day and visit them all.

The gardens of the King's Palace (Istana Negara)The gardens of the King’s Palace (Istana Negara)
The King's Palace gate in Kuala LumpurThe King’s Palace gate in Kuala Lumpur
Istana Negara, the Royal Palace public gardens

Istana Negara, the Royal Palace public gardens



KL is also home to one of the King’s Palaces (Istana Negara) with its massive expanse of park-like lawn, formal gates and considerate garden areas in the public parking area. Even though the gate and much photographed Royal Guard on his horse are the only close-up attractions, a corner of the palace can be viewed with a long driveway from the gate and some nice gardens can be admired in the public parking lot area.

Garden sculpture in the Thean Ho Buddhist TempleGarden sculpture in the Thean Ho Buddhist Temple



Many temples are available for worship or visiting in Kuala Lumpur. One, the Thean Hou Buddhist Temple is a six-tiered Chinese temple nestled on a hillside and having impressive architecture. It is thought to be one of the most picturesque in KL. Visit early in the day before the sun gets too hot.

Many gardens throughout Malaysia featured a highly showy vine with brilliant orangey-red blooms.

The showy Red-Trailing Bauhinia vineThe showy Red-Trailing Bauhinia vine

Red Trailing Bauhinia is a dramatic native, woody vine in Malaysia that is grown as an ornamental on arbors and posts.  Botanically known as Bauhinia coccinea (B. kockiana), with vine blooms year round. The blooms change from red to orange to yellow as they age.


Heliconia in Kuala Lumpur

Heliconia in Kuala LumpurThe Sealing Wax Palm in KLA silver palm in KL

Silver Palm in KL

Silver Palm in KL

The Sealing Wax Palm growing in KL

The Sealing Wax Palm growing in KL


 


The Tropical Gardens of Malaysia – Part Two

 Malaysia is a different world when visitors travel outside of Kuala Lumpur. Leaving the city, is always a pleasure after a few days for me. So a trip from KL to Cameron Highlands was a welcome relief to escape the city life and also the heat and humidity. A favorite stopping place for many on the way to Cameron Highlands is Lata Iskandar Waterfalls. The narrow two lane road takes a “U” turn right at the base of the waterfalls and a small collection of roadside stands has sprung up to tempt those that stop for a rest.

Lata Iskandar Waterfall

Lata Iskandar Waterfall

Local bananas for sale at the Lata Iskandar waterfall

Local bananas for sale at the Lata Iskandar waterfall

The base of the waterfall is a favorite splash party play area for kids and adults seem to naturally migrate to the roadside stalls for a local Malaysian snack, fresh fruit or handicraft purchase.

 

Armed and ready for a blow dart demonstration in the Cameron Highlands

Armed and ready for a blow dart demonstration in the Cameron Highlands

Not far from the Lata Iskandar waterfall was a roadside house of a native Malay who demonstrated the art of blowing darts for our little group of tourists.

Cameron Highlands

Strawberries for sale in the Cameron Highlands

Strawberries for sale in the Cameron Highlands

At 5,000 ft above sea level, this area of Malaysia enjoys breezy, cool temperatures, rarely above 25 deg. C. and is ideal for strawberry, rose, vegetable gardening and tea plantations. The mountainous and sparsely settled area is full of interesting things to do and see. After the exceptional strawberries and tea have been sampled, there are the butterfly farm and insect display, honeybee exhibit, cactus nursery, roadside vegetable stand and several rainforest trekking tours are also available.  

 

 

 

BOH tea plantation in Cameron Highlands

BOH tea plantation in Cameron Highlands

Trimmed tea plants at the Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation

Trimmed tea plants at the Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation

One of my favorites is the BOH Tea Plantation. BOH (for Best of the Highlands) is the largest tea plantation in Malaysia and produces amazingly smooth, mellow tea. The best I have ever tasted!  BOH has a great visitor center with a tea shop and seating area that overlooks a beautiful valley full of tea plants. The tea growing areas are not terraced and often have to be picked by hand if the 2-person hedge trimmers can’t be used. The tea plants are kept to knee height and trimmed with hedge shears.  They are harvested year round whenever they have 2 new leaves of growth. The tea “shrubs” are from 30-60 years old and have thick woody trunks.  The plants can produce harvestable tea for over 100 years. All the BOH plants are from Assam, India.

The Gardens outside the BOH tea factory in Cameron Highlands

The Gardens outside the BOH tea factory in Cameron Highlands

The tea tasting room at BOH Tea Plantation

The tea tasting room at BOH Tea Plantation

Tea plants if left uncut form large trees. The high elevation of Cameron Highlands, the better the tea. The increased UV levels increases the tannins and produces the quality tea. “Lowland tea tastes like grass,” commented a local tea drinker.  “The perfect cup of Cameron Highlands tea is brewed 2 minutes (1 minute if you like light tea).


 

Pluck your Own Strawberries in Cameron Highlands

Pluck your Own Strawberries in Cameron Highlands

Strawberry growing is a big feature of the Cameron Highlands. Many “Pluck your own” opportunities exist and some “Do not pluck your own” nurseries too. The strawberries are grown hydroponically on raised benches under small greenhouses. The cool temperatures in the Highlands are perfect for strawberry growing and they can grow four crops throughout the year.


 

Roadside native bamboo orchids (Arundina graminifolia) in Cameron Highlands

Roadside native bamboo orchids (Arundina graminifolia) in Cameron Highlands

Native pitcher plants blooming in the rain forest of Cameron Highlands

Native pitcher plants blooming in the rain forest of Cameron Highlands

 The Cameron Highlands also offers plenty of nature tours to explore the wilder rain forest parts of the region. Over 150 types of ferns, the showy pink, bamboo orchid (Arundina graminifolia), native rhododendrons, tree ferns, wild cinnamon, and many wonderful Nepenthes (pitcher plants) grow in the quartz soils and spongy humus soils in the Cameron Highland hillsides. 


 

Baby orang utan in the Orang Utan Island Nursery

Baby orang utan in the Orang Utan Island Nursery

An orang utan baby in the nursery of Orang Utan Island

An orang utan baby in the nursery of Orang Utan Island

On the way to Penang island from Cameron Highlands is a unique private sanctuary for rehabilitating Orang utans called Orang Utan Island and EcoPark. Here adult orang utans roam freely on a 35 acre island and young babies are nursed back to health in a care facility. The facility is part of the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort and houses about 20 orang utans. Built to provide safe accommodation for the animals and human visitors, the nursery for example has big glass windows for visitors to interact with the babies.


 

Penang

Penang Island just off the Northwest coast of Malaysia is reached by bridge from the mainland. But be prepare for lots of congestion and slow moving traffic when traveling to the island.

An artist painting the Cannonball tree at Penang Botanical Garden

An artist painting the Cannonball tree at Penang Botanical Garden

Flowers of the Cannonball Tree at Penang Botanical Garden

Flowers of the Cannonball Tree at Penang Botanical Garden

Fruit of the Cannonball tree at Penang Botanical Garden

Fruit of the Cannonball tree at Penang Botanical Garden

 

Just outside of Georgetown, on the island of Penang is the Penang Botanical Garden. The gardens have been operating since 1884 and were known as the Waterfall Gardens.  The very tall waterfall still exists but it is out of bounds to the public as it is on water utility land.  The downstream portion is very visible through the gardens though.  The botanical garden was built on the site of an old granite quarry and the resultant bowl shape topography is still present. Today the gardens cover 72 acres.

One of the signature plants in the garden are the cannonball trees, and there are several planted in the main garden area. The cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) is native to tropical South America (the northern part) and the southern parts of the Caribbean. The attractive, fragrant, orange-pink flowers bloom on 3 metre long dangling branches close to the trunk. When pollinated by bees or bats, these form large, brown, woody fruits the size and shape of cannonballs. Often the flowers and fruit are on the tree at the same time. The cannonballs are also found on thick stems that grow from the trunk of the tree. Once the fruit is ripe, it falls from the tree and cracks open exposing up to 300 seeds. A word of warning… don’t stand under the cannonball tree.  The fruit has been used for medicinal purposes for its antibiotic, antiseptic, and analgesic properties. [Do not self medicate without consulting a professional.] It is hardy to zone 9b.

 

Cactus and succulent sollection in the Sun Rockery garden at the Penang Botanical Garden

Cactus and succulent collection in the Sun Rockery garden at the Penang Botanical Garden

The tools of a gardener's trade at Penang Botanical Garden - an umbrella, wheelbarrow and a homemade broom

The tools of a gardener's trade at Penang Botanical Garden - an umbrella, wheelbarrow and a homemade broom

Long-Tailed Macaques at Penang Botanical Garden

Long-Tailed Macaques at Penang Botanical Garden

 

Many rare cacti and succulents can be enjoyed in the Sun Rockery at the Penang Botanical Garden. The gardens have long been the home to several troops of Long-tailed macaque monkeys, which fascinate and can scare some visitors. The botanical gardens brochures warn against feeding the monkeys, walking while eating or staring down the dominant male – always good advice when avoiding a confrontation. 

 

Carrying the bell at the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddist Temple on Penang Island

Carrying the bell at the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple on Penang Island

Dhammikarama Burmese Buddist Temple Penang

Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple Penang

Penang is home to many very beautiful temples and mosques. Beautiful in their architecture and homage to various Deities, whether Muslim, Buddhist or Hindi, these sacred places are fascinating to visit.  Two noted ones are the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, a Buddhist temple built in 1845 with Thai, Myanmarese and Chinese architecture. It houses a 33 meter long gold-plated reclining Buddha. Across the street the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple, founded in 1803, offers a different feeling and reflects the look and feel of Burma (Myanmar).  The Monk on duty is readily available to offer advice and prayers.

Selling Dragon Fruit at the Tropical Fruit Farm in Teluk Bahang

Selling Dragon Fruit at the Tropical Fruit Farm in Teluk Bahang

Up on the hillside, 800 ft from sea level in Teluk Bahang is the 25 acres Tropical Fruit Farm. With an orchard as varied as any in the world, the harvest for sale in the shop run the gamut of shapes, colors and sizes.

It was fascinating to discover that Dragon Fruit, the round pink fruit with white fleshy interior and black seeds are from a vine-like, epiphytic cactus called Hylocereus.  Dragon fruit is usually eaten raw and is served quartered with the outer flesh attached.

 

 

Durian fruit for sale (bottom left) at the Tropical Fruit Farm

Durian fruit for sale (bottom left) at the Tropical Fruit Farm

Dragon Fruit and red bananas at the Tropical Fruit Farm on Penang Island

Dragon Fruit and red bananas at the Tropical Fruit Farm on Penang Island

Not so fascinating was the discovery that ripe Durian fruit tastes like nothing that I would ever want to put into my mouth again. It is definitely an acquired taste that you have to grow up with, as our tour guide said. Yuck, bleah! To me, the large, lumpy spiky fruit, native to Malaysia, fully deserves the signs banning it from many hotel properties where we stayed. Even in the husk, the distinctive odor of the “King of Fruit” can be had.

Tropical Spice Garden samplings

Tropical Spice Garden samplings

Nutmeg and red mace at the Spice Garden

Nutmeg and red mace at the Spice Garden

The Tropical Spice Garden on the island of Penang is an excellent destination for the plant lover. Covering over 8 acres, with more than 500 varieties of exotic plants, the garden has three trails with excellent signage for visitors to explore. Well worth the uphill hike, or tram ride, is the spice museum, gift shop and cafe, located strategically away from the main entrance to entice visitors through the gardens first.  The shaded garden trails meander up and down the stream valley and offer an up close view of many great useful plants.


 

The view into the Tropical Spice Garden on Penang Island

The view into the Tropical Spice Garden on Penang Island

Silver Joey Palm (Johannesteijsmannia magnifica) at the Tropical Spice Garden

Silver Joey Palm (Johannesteijsmannia magnifica) at the Tropical Spice Garden

The Water Garden at the Tropical Spice Garden

The Water Garden at the Tropical Spice Garden




 

Destination Langkawi, a group of islands off the northwest coast of Malaysia

A birdwatching hut in Langkawi
A birdwatching hut in Langkawi
Composting in old bathtubs in Langkawi

Composting in old bathtubs at a resort in Langkawi

Spider Lilies in Langkawi

Spider Lilies in Langkawi

 

 

With so much nature and wildlife around, we found a bird watching hut erected at the Frangipani Langkawi Resort that was made of bamboo walls and a palm roof.  The resort has taken significant steps to be eco-friendly, including making their own compost in recycled bathtubs. The compost decomposes in 3-4 months with this method.

 

Bougainvillea flowers after the rain in Langkawi

Bougainvillea flowers after the rain in Langkawi

Bougainvillea in Langkawi

Bougainvillea in Langkawi

Bougainvillea, with their long-lasting colorful bracts after a daily mid-afternoon rain in Langkawi.
White, dwarf Mussaenda, also known as white wing (Mussaenda luteola), with its silly single white bract was a shrub growing in the hotel gardens. Hardy to zone 8.

 

 

 

 

Fragrant Frangipani at sunset in Langkawi

Fragrant Frangipani at sunset in Langkawi

Frangipani at Langkawi

Frangipani at Langkawi

Frangipani (Plumeria sp.) is a gangly shrub or small tree when not in bloom and wouldn’t rate a second glance. The fragrant, vivid flowers though are definitely a sight to behold.

 

 

 

 

 

Three week old rice paddies at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Three week old rice paddies at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Gardeners at work in the Rice Museum (Laman Padi) in Langkawi

Gardeners at work in the Rice Museum (Laman Padi) in Langkawi

A unique and very informative destination on Langkawi is the Laman Padi, The Rice Museum. The self-guided museum features the history and development of the Malaysian rice growing industry.  The museum also offers an elevated view of the padi fields from their rooftop. 

 

 

 

 

Coconut seeds at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Coconut seeds at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Coconut sprouting at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Coconut sprouting at Laman Padi in Langkawi

Screwping (Pandanas) on the beach in Lamgkawi

Screwpine (Pandanas) on the beach in Lamgkawi

 An interesting herb and edible garden lies between the museum and the rice fields. 

 

Water Buffalo in Langkawi beside the Rice Museum - Laman Padi

Water Buffalo in Langkawi beside the Rice Museum - Laman Padi

Dwarf White Mussaenda in Langkawi

Dwarf White Mussaenda in Langkawi

 

 

 

 Picturesque and authentic water buffalos reside in the nearby rice fields. 

 

 

 

Heliconia in Langkawi

Heliconia in Langkawi

Ixora in Langkawi

Ixora in Langkawi

Wooly Morning Glory (Argyreia nervosa) in Langkawi

Wooly Morning Glory (Argyreia nervosa) in Langkawi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset on the beach in Langkawi

Sunset on the beach in Langkawi

 

Putrajaya – An intelligent Garden City

Putra Mosque from Putrajaya Lake in Putrajaya

Putra Mosque from Putrajaya Lake in Putrajaya

 Putrajaya, a city of the 21st century is Malaysia’s designated Federal Government Administrative Center. The city was started in 1993 and is expected to be completed by 2012. At the heart of the city is a 400-hectare man-made lake that can be traversed in a wooden traditional Malay perahu boat. The boat cruise is the best way to see the impressive landmarks that border the lake. These include the Putra Mosque, large enough to accommodate 15,000 worshipers, the palace (Istana Melawati) of the King and Queen, the Taman Botani (Putrajaya Botanical Gardens), the office and residence of the Prime Minister and the palace of the Sultan of Selangor.

 

 

Putrajaya Botanical Garden visitor's center

Putrajaya Botanical Garden visitor's center

Canna blooms at Putrajaya Botanial Garden

Canna blooms at Putrajaya Botanial Garden

 

Taman Botani Putrajaya Botanical Garden
This relatively new botanical garden has “matured” nicely during the 10 years that it has been open and now is a fitting landscape for the new city of Putrajaya “City in the Garden”.
Most of the plants are well labeled and the garden is laid out well to lead the visitor from one section to another in a meandering pleasant way. A modernistic visitor center adds a dramatic flare to the garden entrance and a focal point to the garden.

 

Local Ladies waiting for a tour of Putrajaya Botanical Garden

Local Ladies waiting for a tour of Putrajaya Botanical Garden

From the visitor center, the first views of the garden are from the canopy bridge, suspended 170 metres across the valley and culminating at palm hill. The canna collection and vine garden were two additional highlights.

Handkerchief Tree at Putrajaya Botanical Garden

Handkerchief Tree at Putrajaya Botanical Garden

Handkerchief trees (Maniltoa browneoides) provide visitor interest from the parking lot to the visitor center.

 

 

 

 

 

Maiden's Jealousy in Putrajaya Botanical garden

Maiden's Jealousy in Putrajaya Botanical garden

One evergreen vine that caught my eye inside the botanical garden was Maiden’s Jealousy. This fragrant, native, yellow blooming vine blooms year round and is called Tristellateia australasiae.
 

Carnation of India Tabernaemontana at the Shangri-La Putrajaya hotel gardens

Carnation of India Tabernaemontana at the Shangri-La Putrajaya hotel gardens

The Shangri-La Putrajaya Resort gardens and the neighboring city park provided great floral attractions during a couple of short walking tours at the start and finish of a busy day of touring. One interesting plant was the Carnation of India (Tabernaemontana divaricata) which reminded me of gardenia with its fragrant white flowers.

 

 

 

 

Turnera in Putrajaya city garden

Turnera in Putrajaya city garden

Adjacent to the Shangri-La is a city garden Putrajaya Taman Putra Perdana with many additional interesting plants and a panoramic view of Lake Putrajaya.