Helping out to make a greener earth

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changi Airport (Part 3 - Five Airports in Two Weeks)

This airport is a botanical garden first, an airport next!!!!

As a garden designer and plant collector, I could not help but rave about how gorgeous this airport in Singapore is.  I would just let the photos speak of the beauty of the place which is a tribute to the green-sensitivity of the people behind it.

The luggage carousels were decorated with very neat looking indoor plants and some Christmas decorations that reflect the season at the time of my trip
Blooming orchids occupy small spaces all over the airport

A lot of people doing garden maintenance are from other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines included.  It is not surprising to see this typical "bahay kubo" or nipa hut inspired display.  The designer must have been filipino.

The Main Lounge which featured some very nice Duty Free shops also featured some landscaped areas that one would normally expect to see in garden shows or botanical garden displays.

A display of blooming orchids which included phalaenopsis, dendrobiums, and oncidiums.

The designers of the airport must have really intended to package this airport as a greenhouse especially with the high glass roofs that allow maximum space and light penetration.  The amount of space devoted to plants is admirable considering how premium space is in a place like Singapore.

Palms are growing so well in this area with its almost greenhouse conditions.  Live specimens grow luxuriantly, in contrast to most indoorscapes of this scale where artificial palms (and trees) would have been used instead.

Plants have been wisely selected for their adaptability to the special growing conditions that the area offered.  Shade loving palms were used for most areas while aglaonemas, marantas, diffenbachias, all known for their low light tolerance and hardiness were planted in beautiful masses under the very tall palms.

Just the size of the planted walls above make the strongest message to any visitor that in Singapore, plants are valued and appreciated.

Truly, Changi deserves all the accolades it has been receiving as one of the best airports in the world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Part 2 - Taoyuan Airport (Five Airports in Two Weeks)

Taiwan is a very progressive country.  Small in terms of area, it is one of the richest countries in Asia. Horticulturally, it is known for its very progressive orchid industry, being the world's top producer of phalaenopsis.  Interestingly, only a small number of species of this type of orchid are native to Taiwan.  In contrast, most of the most significant parent species are from the Philippines which does not figure even as a minor player in this commercially important agricultural commodity.

Taoyuan Airport is the international airport near Taipei, the top city in Taiwan.  While Taiwan has two international airports, one on the notherth side (Taoyuan) and another in the southern side, the former is undesputedly the more busy of the two.

This busy international airport is rather small in comparison with the other international airports in other similarly progressive countries.  Maybe, the best description would be that its a no-frills, very businesslike airport, an airport catering to business travellers and not to tourist or sightseers.

It should not come as a surprise then that the airport does not have extensive spaces for plants and plant arrangements.

However, what came as a surprise was the quality of the plants that were used to spruce up the little space that was allocated for greening up the airport.

The plants were all very healthy, well groomed to the point that an ordinary traveller may even think that they are artificial because of their uniformity  and high quality.

Though it is understandable that given the environmental conditions that the plants in use will be mainly indoor foliage plants like aglaonemas, dracaenas and diffenbachias, there was still some effort to put flowering plants such as the row of flowering kalanchoes.

Surprisingly, this trip I did not see any orchids on display at the airport.  Well, I guess I will have to travel another time for that.