Montgomery agreement with Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Photo of staff meeting in SingaporeMontgomery is working very closely with colleagues in Singapore. From August 14-29, Chad Husby, at the invitation of Dr. Kiat Tan, Chief Executive Officer and Dr. Adrian Loo, Deputy Director of Research, was hosted by Gardens by the Bay (GB), a remarkable new botanic garden in Singapore. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen ties between our gardens through staff exchange to enhance horticulture, science and conservation efforts at both gardens. Chad presented a lecture at GB entitled: “Plant Exploration in the 21st Century: Where horticulture, conservation and botany come together”. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed to formalize our ongoing collaborations. Afterwards, Chad and Mr. John Tan of the GB Board of Directors, planted a Podocarpus costalis in the Discovery Garden along with a plaque to commemorate the agreement. Next year staff from GB plan to visit MBC to learn more about our garden and to foster collaborative work. MBC is honored to be part of the first agreement signed by GB and looks forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

The visit overlapped with the 2014 Singapore Garden Festival, which drew large numbers of people to explore the wonders of horticulture at GB. Chad explored GB extensively got to know key staff, collections and operations at the garden. Learning about the operations of the garden’s innovative and state-of-the-art conservatories (the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome) was a special highlight.

Photo of the plaque commemorating the partnership between MBC and Gardens by the BayChad’s visit also included exploration of key natural areas in Singapore, including Pulau Ubin (an island), where Chad and GB colleagues were guided by expert botanist Joseph Lai, and the Macritchie Central Catchment Nature Reserve. During these explorations Chad collected two new native Singaporean palm taxa for MBC’s collections (Licuala ferruginea and Oncosperma horridum), new wild accessions of two other palms (Nypa fruticans and Caryota mitis), and the only conifer native to Singapore, Podocarpus polystachyus. Dr. Adrian Loo, Chad’s primary host, is a the authority on native palms of Singapore, the primary author of “A Guide to the Native Palms of Singapore”, and has recently rediscovered several palms thought to be extinct in Singapore. With Dr. Loo’s help, we look forward to including more Singaporean native palms in our collections.

Our two gardens also exchanged many plants from our collections, which was coordinated by Anton van der Schans, Deputy Director of Plant Introduction and Health at GB. Chad also visited nurseries in Malaysia to learn more about horticulture in Asia.

The visit to GB was followed by a visit to Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG), where Chad was hosted by Dr. Nura Abdul Karim, Assistant Director of Horticulture and Plant Records and Dr. Nigel Taylor, Director. Chad collected many tropical conifers at SBG to enhance MBC’s conifer collection.