Dahlia Dreams

When is it?

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 – Sun, 21 Feb 2021
9:00am – 9:00pm

Where is it?
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay

How much?
Free to members.
Admission charge to Flower Dome applies for non members. Singapore resident rate is $10. Everyone else $12.

Booking in advance compulsory under Covid-19 guidelines.

What is it?

A new season of flowers are on display at the Flower Dome to bring in the lunar new year of the Metal Ox. There is a display of 1,400 mixed dahlia varieties. These have all been grown in-house for the first time by the GBTB horticulturists. In addition there are displays of other Lunar New Year floral favourites such as azaleas, cymbidiums and chrysanthemums. We are asked to “bask in prosperity and good fortune at Dahlia Dreams!” as we visit the Flower Dome.

What is there to see?


A golden moon gate is a circular opening in a garden wall that acts as a passageway and is a traditional architectural element in Chinese gardens. This leads to a view of over 200 red lanterns from within the lantern globe. Lanterns play a big part in the Lunar New Year festivities adorning streets, buildings and doors of houses during the festival. They are symbols of luck and prosperity and signify the reunion of people. Red symbolises good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. Yellow or gold corresponds to earth which symbolises Royalty and is reserved for the Emperor. A circle stands for “fulfilment”, “oneness”, “perfection” and “unity”.


The lion dance is performed during the Lunar New Year and is associated with the legend of Nian – an animal that terrorised a village in China. The legend is that on the eve of every Lunar New Year an unidentifiable animal would destroy the fields, crops and animals belonging to the villagers so they named it Nian, meaning “year” in Chinese.

Over time, the villagers discovered that Nian was afraid of loud noises, bright lights and the colour red. To stop the destruction the villagers made a model of the animal out of bamboo and paper and had two brave men use it, beat instruments loudly whilst setting off firecrackers. Nian was successfully driven away.

Since then the lion dance has been performed on Lunar New Year Eve with drums, cymbals and gongs. It is believed to chase away evil spirits, bring good fortune and wealth. The lion dance is also performed during auspicious occasions such as the launch of new businesses and welcoming of important persons. It is very noisy and even more so when shops and businesses in malls have lion dances for new shop openings or to welcome in the new year. Troops are usually very busy at this time of year. 2021 has Covid-19 restrictions in place for lion dance troops, restricting what they can do for the safety of everyone.


In Chinese astrology the year you were born in determines the zodiac animal that rules your sign. There are 12 different animal signs in a rotating 12-year cycle – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There are also 5 elements: earth, water, wood, fire and metal. 2021 is the year of the metal ox.


A Chinese pavilion is like a gazebo in the U.K. as it is a structure without walls but with columns supporting the roof and usually built of wood and can have stone or bamboo which is what differentiates it from a gazebo.
Round pavilions signify perfection and unity,
Rectangular pavilions denote laws and regulations,
Hexagonal ones signify longevity.
The colours of the roof tiles are also significant:
red symbolises good fortune and joy,
green represents vigour and longevity,
yellow corresponds with earth and is the imperial colour.

The Flowers


There are around 30 dahlia species, thousands of different hybrids and come in a wide variety of colours, with variegated and bi-colour ones as well. They range in size from 5 centimetres in diameter to 25 centimetres across. Dahlias are native to Mexico and Central America. Dahlias are perennials (i.e. reoccur and last for a long time) and belong to the sunflower family.


This is one of the “Four Gentlemen” in Chinese and East Asian art. The chrysanthemum is native to East Asia and belongs to the Asteraceae or sunflower family. There are over 200 species with more varieties being developed each year. They come in a wide spectrum of colours, sizes and forms.


These have narrow, feathery, flame-like heads consisting of tiny, densely-packed flowers. They come in vivid colours – orange, red, yellow and purple. They look artificial frankly so would have to be in a brightly coloured flowering garden to not look out of place.


This is a flowering Rhododendron native to several continents – Asia, Europe and North America. It has white, red or pink flowers which bloom in spring and often last for several weeks. There are some fabulous displays in the U.K.

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