Tropical Spice Garden
gardener, botanist, and tour guide in Penang, Malaysia
The tropical spice garden was once an abandoned rubber plantation along Penang’s northern shores.
Spread over 8 acres of secondary jungle, Tropical Spice Garden opened to the public in November 2003 – showcasing over 500 varieties of exotic fauna and flora with an emphasis on spices.
Actual work on-site took one and a half years to complete, and involved the major challenge of harmonising over 500 species of tropical flora with the natural valley fronting the Straits of Malacca.
We worked to preserve as much of the original indigenous flora and fauna while maintaining the original topography of the site to give the Tropical Spice Garden a timeless, natural feel. Many of the existing rubber trees were left undisturbed, to give shade and shelter to visitors (and also to the Garden’s smaller inhabitants).
The Garden Inspiration
Water plays a prominent role in the Garden, and our design team was able to skilfully re-route the water from a small nearby waterfall through a series of man-made canals into a pond by the visitors’ entrance. From many parts of the Garden, visitors can hear the gentle, relaxing gurgle of water meandering through the grounds.
To cultivate the finest garden of its kind in the world, as an inspirational example of fruitful and sustainable relationship between human culture and the natural environment.
Growing out of Penang’s history as a spice island, Tropical Spice Garden is a bio-diverse living museum of the spices and other plants that have long been our medicines, flavours, and companions. We aim to showcase the real cultural heritage of the past and its relevance for the future while educating, inspiring, and refreshing our visitors.