A group of Darwin horticulturalists has returned from a study tour of Singapore with ideas on how the Territory might use horticulture as a driver for economic development.
A group of Charles Darwin University Horticulture Aquaculture Team students and staff, as well as leaders from the NT’s ornamental horticultural industry, recently undertook the four-day tour.
Organised by the Nursery & Garden Industry NT (NGINT) and CDU’s Horticulture Aquaculture Team, the tour provided the opportunity for the 24 delegates to experience the development of parks and gardens in a neighbouring tropical city.
As guests of the Singapore National Parks Board, the delegates saw first hand how the small but wealthy country was essentially creating a city within a garden.
With most of the plants used in Singapore landscapes also used in Darwin, it became clear to the delegates what could be achieved with a long-term vision and commitment to implement projects that created social, economic, and environmental benefits to the country.
Horticulture and Aquaculture Team Leader at CDU, Scott McDonald said the Singapore National Parks Board had recruited experts in landscaping, urban planning and related areas from around the world, including Australia.
“In recruiting these industry experts, the Parks Board has been able to ensure that the country makes the best use of every inch of available space,” Mr McDonald said.
“This is demonstrated in the landscape through the use of roof-tops, car parks, and even the walls of buildings as suitable places for planting.
“Heritage has not been disregarded with all the original colonial buildings in Singapore being preserved and beautified with surrounding parkland and landscaping. These important historical buildings have then been given other uses such as restaurants, visitor centres and offices.”
One of Singapore’s goals was to link parklands with infrastructure through the park connector project. The connectors include bridges, elevated walkways and green belts. The integration of the forests and landscape in urban development was considered essential throughout Singapore.
Mr McDonald said the Territory’s future and current industry leaders returned with a wealth of knowledge, ideas, inspiration, and motivation to help drive the Territory’s amenity horticulture development.
“There were several business opportunities identified as well that could see Territory-grown plants become more common in Singapore’s landscape,” he said.
Mr McDonald thanked those who made the study tour possible and acknowledged the support of CDU Horticulture Aquaculture Group, Nursery & Garden Industry NT, Horticulture Australia Limited, and the NT Government.
“I particularly want to thank our generous hosts, Singapore National Parks and Assistant Director - Industry Development, Neil Power.”