You don’t have to hail King Nebuchadnezzar for a special invitation pass to visit his famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to admire the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, or travel all the way to the lost city of Simeria to feast your eyes with one of the marvels. Quite recently I was tip-offed by a self-confess garden enthusiast that there is one right here in our Bolehland. A beautiful and inspiring garden hanging mystically above the ground.
With that very important piece of information, last weekend my entire clan headed to the location in search for the mysterious spot and with the intention to reveal that hidden treasure. The location was no other than One Utama Shopping Center. Yes, you hear me right, the place fondly known by our shopaholic kakis as OU has been keeping the best hidden secret to the unwary eyes for so many years (I have no prior knowledge on the existence of this secret garden as well).
This place really lives to its name. I mean in term of its secrecy. The location was so secluded and purposely designed to confuse visitors, it took us 45 minutes in a wild-goose chase to finally figure out through all the labyrinths (read=kedai makan, toilet pit-stop etc) to the hidden lift that lead us to this heavenly sanctuary. It is actually on the upper rooftop of the building and can be accessed via one of the lifts on the New Wing of OU (one situated in-front of HSBC bank on the second floor and another one, for excitement sake I let you guy to use your creativity and find it yourself :).
I can assure you the visit was worth all the sweating and some UV-exposure spending quality time with family. This is the type of place you want to bring your homesick mother or mother-in-law who longed for a serene and lush kampung
surrounding. This roof-top garden of 30,000 sq ft. boasts 500 species of rare Tropical and Temperate plants. Admission is free and it open only on the weekend from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Don’t forget to bring along your camera and some sunscreen lotion too.
The garden is divided into many themes. You can get a brochure and a pamphlet at the entrance. This will guide you for a brisk walk through this marvelous garden. I don’t want to write all my wonderful experience in this garden as it will spoil your excitement and this garden is supposed to be secret in the first place.
One cautionary remark though, if you want to bring your partner to this blissful and serene place, make sure your partner posses the same plant fetish as you are and doesn’t mind exposing him/herself to the sweet smell of nature because you will be spending hours sweating and mesmerized by this natural wonder. Shopping is not advisable to be carried out on the same day.
As this secret garden is also an experimental garden, you will probably see some new plant species introduced to this garden in the future.
Right after the entrance, you will see this small cactus hill exhibiting some arid and semi-arid collection of the world.
My exploration team congregated in fascination and awestruck by some of the plant collection in the garden. Children can be a good candidate for this natural exploration as this garden will promote awareness and the appreciation of plants.
These peculiar plants (far left), Madagascar tree arum are one of the accent plants in this garden. They lead our eyes straight to this spot when we enter this section of the garden. In the background is the weeping willow – the leaves hang freely and move gently by the wind.
Big pergolas and patios provide shade from the raging sun. They provide a perfect place for city dwellers to unwind during weekends.
A cereal crop from Africa, Sorghum sp. can also be seen wilting in the garden waiting to be harvested.
This yellow passion (Pacciflora flavicarpa) fruit hanging down from a pergola among other climbers and vines. This fragrant fruit is used for juice extract and rich in vitamins. There are also purple passion fruits in the garden.
This particular plant, Jatropha podagrica (pokok jarak) shares similar family with the rubber tree (Euphorbiaceae) blooms beautiful flowers. Their sibling, Jatropha curcas is commercially planted for it promising biofuel production.
I didn’t capture the name of this beautiful inflorescent, but it can easily become a focal point to any garden landscape.
Multitude array of colors from this cacti make a very pleasant subject to the eyes.
This brightly colored Heliconia lines the garden entrance.
This bizarre flower of a Brazillian Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia gigantea) that shades the pergolas and patios looks very beautiful. But the smell is not that friendly and gives quite a strong scent to the nostril. My little explorers said the smell resembles rotten fish. (erratum : my life partner cum a full-fledged-botanist pointed out my mistake and gave the correct name for this flower – thanks darling)
My exploration team was very happy and looking forward to visit this roof-top hideout again in the future.