We don’t live in space colonies yet, but when we do, I imagine the biodomes we erect to recall our formerly terrestrial lives will look something like this.
As Hollywood would have us believe, life in the beyond is barren, and the terrain spreads indiscriminately in dull monotones. Nature exists only in the abstract; outside the bubble of civilization, there is nothing in the way of living things. But we will have a home, verdant and familiar, in which the air still tastes of grass.
Even in cities now, armored in steel and concrete, we have eked out green spaces in which to breathe. Petals wither and tree trunks weather to remind us that fragility breeds resilience. That a maple is a living phoenix.
Those spaces are the proud flag-bearers of a losing army. They cannot turn back the encroachment of industrialization. One day they too may fall.
When our Earth has crumbled beyond the point of repair, we will pack away the people and the animals on spaceships, like a fleet of interstellar Noah’s Arks. And on another planet, another promised land, we will repopulate the world with seedlings that spring into conifers, that unfurl as orchids, continuing a lineage that will outlive us all.
Botanical gardens are often predictable, but this futuristic iteration challenges convention. Expansive and variegated, Gardens by the Bay is easily recognizable from afar, thanks to the plumed towers of the Supertree Grove, which glow at night and resemble digital dragon’s blood trees, and the two ribbed-dome conservatories. Both conservatories, which are ticketed, are unmissable, but Cloud Forest is the more impressive; the artificial mountain housed within soars into the mists.
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore
Mon-Sun: 05:00-02:00 (conservatories: 09:00-21:00)
Free (conservatories: $28)