Nature’s Colony: Empire, Nation and Environment in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
The history of Singapore Botanic Gardens is now a walk in the park thanks to Assoc. Prof. Timothy Barnard’s (Department of History, NUS) latest book, Nature’s Colony: Empire, Nation and Environment in the Singapore Botanic Gardens (2016). Salient events from Singapore’s colonial era leading to her independence in the 20th century are masterfully woven into the Garden’s narrative. As Singapore developed, the purpose and landscape of the Botanic Gardens responded in tandem. Zoological efforts were ceased and horticultural research for economic and medicinal use became the primary focus. Moreover, the scientific inquiry conducted in the Botanic Gardens by the British was also a means to understand our environment. Barnard’s history of the Botanic Gardens comes at an important time as the Gardens become Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, thus deepening the roots of Singapore’s heritage and story.