Violets and More are Blue at Gardens by the Bay

Blue is the latest feature in the Gardens by the Bay's Flower Dome. Blue Beauties, as the Gardens refers to them, is one of the least common colours for plants. As it happens to be my favourite colour, I just had to go have a look. Alas, it was an underwhelming show compared to some of the others in the past. Perhaps true blue is indeed a hard colour to find but it would have been great to see some blue irises or forget-me-nots. On the bright side, I still managed to give my macro lens...

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Villa Carlotta is another Lake Como Gem

Lake Como's Villa Carlotta

Among Lake Como's grand villas, the Villa Carlotta is one of the three key ones to visit. The villa dominates the landscape near Tremezzo, with its grand garden facing that of rival Villa Melzi's across the lake.

In our three day visit of Lake Como, we started with Villa Carlotta and I think this was the right move because the villa itself pales in comparison to the Villa Balbianello. This is because the Carlotta is not as well furnished and doesn't occupy that grand promontory over the...

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Bellagio’s Grand Garden – the Villa Melzi

Lake Como's gardens

Lake Como is dotted with grand villas and for a few of them, the gardens probably exceed the beauty of the villas themselves. Two of the best known gardens are Bellagio's Villa Melzi and across the lake, near Tremezzo, is that of Villa Carlotta. Since we were staying in Bellagio, we spent a lazy late afternoon strolling the garden of the Villa Melzi.

The villa has been in the same family since it was built in 1810 for Francesco Melzi d'Eril. While the villa itself is closed to the...

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Lake Como’s Star Attraction is the Villa del Balbianello (not George)

The Italian lakes are famous for their villas and probably none is more recognised than Lake Como's Villa del Balbianello. The villa has held its own in scenes from the Bond movie Casino Royale as well as in Star Wars, where a young Anakin Skywalker romanced Padme. I was even more impressed on my visit here because the story behind the house and its rooms are in themselves remarkable.

Built in 1787 on what used to be a monastery by the Cardinal Durini, the villa had passed from the...

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Mid-Autumn Lights at Gardens by the Bay

The giant light displays at the Gardens by the bay are a nice reminder of the Mid-Autumn Festival that used to be one of my favourite childhood festivals. Every evening until September 18, these "lanterns" will be lit highlighting the various folktales that surround the festival. In addition, as the Singapore Art Festival is also going on, Ron Arad's 720 degrees art installation is set up in The Meadow of the Gardens. The installation consists of projected images on a "curtain" of silicon...

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