Concrete jungle or Garden City?

Singapore is often called a concrete jungle – but actually, the government has done a pretty good job of trying to plant out every last verge and pocket of space, and I’m always impressed that the urban thoroughfares are so remarkably green for a high-rise city. The girls have been enjoying little glimpses of nature in our everyday comings and goings, and are constantly noticing that the plants and wildlife here are so different from what they’ve been used to in Edinburgh. You don’t get the seasons (we’re missing Autumn!), the grass is much coarser, flowers are often more robust and waxy-looking; there are a lot more bugs. So we’ve pulled together a few quick photos and videos of our local surrounds!

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Common varieties of ginger flower and bird of paradise

lily_heliconia

Not sure what the waxy lily is. The other plant is Heliconia.

There are also lots of mango trees and the ripening fruits hang irritatingly just out of reach behind our bedroom windows!

The girls also love stumbling across patches of mimosa, which is a common weed here. Little Miss calls them “tickle plants”. When you “tickle” the leaves they close up (because obviously, they are very ticklish!) Unfortunately whilst putting this post together last minute I realized our video was rather blurry… so I’ve also found a better video on YouTube (below) to show you how these fun plants behave!

Our walk to the bus stop on the way to preschool can be long and hot, but has recently been broken up by two milestones which help coax the kids along: the Grasshopper Leaf and the Yellow Butterfly Bush.

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Mummy and baby grasshopper

This frondy leaf is home to a little grasshopper which surprisingly always seems to sit in the same spot as we walk past. We never fail to stop for a wee chat. One day we noticed a baby grasshopper next to it! The larger grasshopper was then renamed Mummy; Mummy could always be reliably found on her favourite spot; Baby likes to explore the leaf. After a recent torrential storm, we have not seen the mother grasshopper at all, but have now found two babies on the leaf. And so each day a little story unfolds…where is the mother? Are those two little ones sisters – like us?

There is also a stretch of roadside bush near our bus stop where half a dozen or so cheerful little yellow butterflies (the Common Grass Yellow) can usually be seen frolicking among the leaves. They are so quick and fluttery I found them practically impossible to video on my phone! We always stop to watch awhile and see if we can spot any cocoons hanging among the twigs. At least, that’s what we think those woolly egg-shaped things are?!

The girls also wanted to show you the snake we saw at nearby Labrador Park. It was sitting in the middle of the path with its head raised as we approached on our scooters. We didn’t quite dare go round it, and after staring back at us for a few moments it slipped quickly away into the forest!

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A snake in our path!

I had to reassure the slightly petrified kids that it was very uncommon to see snakes out and about in Singapore. Although having said that, this recent video shot near a local university went viral and is a good reminder that behind those shiny shopping malls…there is proper dangerous wildlife lurking out there!

And finally, here are our new pets:

Well, not exactly ours. There is a little fish and turtle pond right next to our new apartment so we kind of call it Our Pond. It’s been an exciting and exhausting week exploring the ins and outs of our new condominium and getting the flat ready. Aiming to move in a few days time!

2 Comments

  1. It all looks very exotic (& warm!) compared to Edinburgh!

    • Warm it is! I think the kids are starting to acclimatise. The other day Miss Chu said she was “cold” in the air-conditioning (all of 25°C)!

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