Monday, 9 July 2012

Mad dogs and Englishmen ...

Trying to enjoy a visit to a large tropical garden in the middle of the day can be quite exhausting especially when it's very hot and humid. Recently walking on my own through the large Perdana Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur the lyrics of Noel Coward's comic 1930s song 'Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun' soon came to mind. With sweat pouring down my head I could see hardly any one in the gardens apart from a few park workers resting under shady tropical trees.

Perdana Botanical Garden is dominated by a large ornamental lake
Located just north of the equator, Kuala Lumpur - or KL as its more popularly known - is the capital of Malaysia. While there are few outstanding ornamental gardens in the city the large Perdana Botanical Garden is well worth a visit, even in the heat of the day.

Plan of the gardens 

Dating from the 1880s this park-like garden was originally known in colonial times as the Perdana Lake Garden but  has since been elevated to the status of Botanical Garden. Perdana is now over 100 hectares in size and is dominated by a large ornamental lake. Dotted through the gardens are a number of themed sub-gardens which are well worth seeking out. These include collections of heliconias, hibiscus, plumeria and even herbs. Children would also like seeing the deer park.

Dynamic colour contrasts are a feature of the Panggung Aniversary garden
While lesser-known, internationally, than the nearby Singapore Botanical Gardens, Perdana Botanical Garden seems to strike the balance between ornamental park servicing a city in urgent need of green space and the role of scientific botanical institution in an area desperately under threat from habitat loss.While some parts of the gardens were not to my taste, overall the look of the garden is visually appealing and you can easily spend a couple of hours mooching about.

The orchid garden 
As well as the themed gardens within Perdana, close by is a small orchid garden that is also well worth a visit. Most of the plants are labeled and there is also a shop that sells orchids.

Dendrobium 'Rafidah Aziz' is named after a prominent local female politician 
Although located in the middle of KL I would recommend getting to the Botanical Garden by bus or taxi as the road system is not conducive for pedestrians.

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