Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

Notice Board

Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rooftop Secret Garden of 1-Utama

The Secret Garden of 1-Utama is located at the rooftop of a 7-storeys building at the 1-Utama Shopping Complex in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

I have already published 18 posts about flowers and plants from this garden and yet to my surprise, I found that I have not written about this garden before. Well, today I shall take you on a journey of discovery to this eco-friendly garden.

"The Secret Garden of 1-Utama", a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on 18th December, 2009.

Our journey starts here at the Lower Ground Floor (LG) near the centre of the shopping complex. The zone here is labelled "Entertainment Zone". The landmarks are the Secret Recipe outlet on the right and the Nippon Yataimura Japanese Restaurant on the left. The centre path leads to the Rainforest of 1-Utama.

There is a lift directly in front of these 2 restaurants.

This is the special lift that leads to The Secret Garden of 1-Utama. Look at the stack of container plants and the prominent signages in front of the lifts. You can't miss this. This same decor is applied to the other upper floors where this lift passes by.

Take the lift to the floor marked "UR" meaning Upper Roof.

The garden is opened to the public on weekends and public holidays only and visiting hours are from 10:00am to 10:00pm. Here is the wonderful part. Visitors are welcome to take as many photographs as they like but smoking is prohibited. Admission is FREE. You just need to register at the entrance. Do wear sunblock and bring along an umbrella or a cap as this is an open rooftop concept, so visitors may be exposed to the sun and rain.

This garden is the brainchild of 1-Utama director, Datuk Teo Chiang Kok who was concerned about preserving the environment. The project here is lead by distinguished botanist and researcher Dr. Francis Ng who recently was awarded the prestigious David Fairchild Medal 2009 (Plant Exploration), presented by the National Tropical Botanical Garden of the United States. Dr. Francis Ng writes his own blog, Tropical Gardening and you can visit him here.

It was fondly called the secret garden by the few who knew about it because its very existence was not revealed to the public or to most of the shopping centre staff and tenants. Previously accessible through one hidden lift, now it is opened to the public.

The size of this garden is 30,000 sq ft and it houses about 500* species of tropical, sub-tropical, rare and unusual plants. The names of the plants and their origins are provided in small labels at the base of the plants. The plants in the garden are arranged under several themes such as:

a) Cacti, Succulents & Dry Climate Plants
b) Climbers
c) Accent Plants, Palms, Cycads, Giant Aroids, Century Plants, Conifers and Bananas
d) Flowering Trees, Shrubs and Herbs
e) Foliage Plants
f) Temperate and Highland Plants
g) Herbs, Spices and Food Plants
* now it is close to 600 species

According to press reports *,

1. The garden uses high performance, building-integrated technologies such as chilled water irrigation sourced from 1 Utama’s air conditioning system to grow temperate plants and a rainwater harvesting system to recycle rainwater for general irrigation, making it energy efficient and environmentally friendly".

2. From as far back as 1995, the 1 Utama shopping mall in Petaling Jaya had incorporated green architectural and engineering initiatives into its design plans. These features include a rainwater harvesting system that reduces its usage of treated pipe water by 30%, and a building automation system with sensors that automatically adjust lighting and temperature.
* Source of information: Secret Garden at 1 Utama Unveiled by Isaac Hiew (Mon, 04 May 2009)

At this point, I'd like to thank Michelle of Rambling Woods for hosting Think(ing) Green Thursday. As many of us gardeners are green thinkers who has already started practicing green concepts, I do wish that more will join and support her weekly meme. To participate or to view contributions from other green thinkers around the globe, please visit here.

The soil medium is based on granulated horticultural carbon (a form of charcoal).

There are so many rare and unusual flowers and plants. You can even find padi, pandan, coffee and tea plants here.

The view from above is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. It is really a great place to go to for garden and photography enthusiasts.

This post is dedicated to Deb of Dragonfly Treasure blog from Newman, California, USA my first commenter for my previous post, Wordless Wednesday- Daisies. I really love her creative ideas and beautiful blog designs. She has beautiful bird pictures in her latest post.

This is my entry for Blooming Friday, 3rd Week of December. The theme this week is 'Blooming Amarylis'. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.

This is also my entry for Fertilizer Friday. My grateful thanks to Tootsie at Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, visit

This is also my entry for Today's Flowers #71. My grateful thanks to the TF folks: Santilli, Denise, Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting Today's Flowers. To participate or view other floral displays around the world, click


  1. Omg! Thank you :~)
    This garden is simply amazing! And on a rooftop! It just goes to show you can garden just about anywhere.
    Datuk Teo Chiang Kok is such an inspiration and Dr. Francis Ng so creative. The Secret Garden is the perfect name for it.
    Thank you for sharing all of these with us.
    Happy Holidays!

  2. This is fantastic. You've done a marvelous job of documentation in photos and words.

    I stopped by to thank you for visiting my blog and commenting on the portrait of Erin and Livy. I took your comment to heart and worked the image to create the softness it deserved. I just posted the new image and a tutorial of how I did it on my blog. You may want to stop by to see the results. I think you'll like the new photo.

  3. I seem to remember being up on that roof before, but it still amazes me, such a striking beauty it offers, and on top of a Mall!! Thank you for showing :)

  4. What a wonderful place to visit I am sure you could enjoy it time and again.

  5. Hello AutumnBelle,

    I just am amazed that this beautiful garden is on a roof! It is truly a unique garden. I have enjoyed your previous posts about this garden, but I like that you gave more information about it. Thank you.

  6. Wow is that really beautiful. I wish some of our shopping malls would follow their lead. I imagine that the people who came to just see the garden would end up staying to shop too. A win win situation for both showcasing roof top gardening and the commercial aspect as well.

  7. Many thanks, Autumn Belle for this tour of the Secret Garden. You have done a much better job than the PR unit of 1 Utama. We keep adding new plants to the garden. The total may now be close to 600 species.

  8. Wonderful oasis in that world... amazing garden. Thanks for the terrific tour... great photography Autumn Belle. Carol

  9. Just beautiful and I love the dainty yellow blooms on the Dahlberg Daisy.

  10. Beautiful secret garden. It must be a treat to visit it.

  11. The garden is amazing and you did such a wonderful job making us feel like we were there with you.. Thank you for supporting Think(ing) Green.... Michelle

  12. I've seen and admired many of the blooms in your posts on The Secret Garden but never did I once imagine it was on a rooftop! It's amazing! And your pictures and text has given such interesting details.

    What a fascinating post, Autumn Belle. The collection of plants is amazing!

  13. OMG!!!! WHAT I WOULDN'T DO TO HAVE A GARDEN LIKE THIS!!!! I am sitting here gaping!!! I wish I could take a walk there myself...
    thank you so much for posting this wonderful secret...and for linking in to my meme to share it!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year!

  14. It's been wonderful to hear about the plants that they grew there. Thank you! Nice pics of the garden here as well!! And what an idea to have a garden at the upper roof of 1utama. I enjoyed the garden very much when I was there last time. I hope the garden will be there forever and open everyday :-D

  15. What an amazing garden in the sky!

  16. How wonderful! Thank you for telling and showing. This really talks to ones fantasy! What a man to create something so magical.

  17. No wonder its called 'Secret Garden' so secret that I did not know of its existence. Shall have a look out next time in 1 Utama. Nice greens. TQ

  18. Hi, everyone. I am so touched by your uplifting words and delightful comments. It will further inspire me in my blogging.

    Dr. Francis Ng, thank you very much for your comments and compliments. I will update my post regarding the additional plants quantity. I am very honoured indeed to have your 'fingerprints' in My Nice Garden. I salute you for all the hard that you have done and I am very proud of you.

  19. I am a bit late because you have given your final speech, but this is just like a "belated happy birthday". You are doing and did a very wonderful job for that Secret Garden of Dr Ng. Your previous posts made me plan to visit the 1 Utama the next time i go to Malaysia, and this post made me want to go there ASAP. You should be given the honorarium for being a good tourist guide and exposing it to the world. The tourism agency must give you additional appreciation for the wonderful pictures you posted...and the environment agency must also give you a plaque of appreciation for espousing green environment and urban gardening. Congratulations for all those awards!!! and thank you for sharing with us.

  20. Thank you for sharing this inspirational garden. It's fascinating and breathtaking at the same time.
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  21. Its a Terrific post... encouraging, inspiring us to go green @ 19th floor. Beautiful pictures and Thx for sharing... Kudos to the director and the Garden Designer to come up with such a novel idea!

  22. The idea sounds very good, where people can go refreshing themselves after some heavy shopping.

  23. If I ever go to Malaysia, I would really like to visit this roof garden. It seams very nice, and I think it's a smart thing to do, creating gardens on roofs. That means that the gardens become available even to the busy city people.
    Thanks for showing and sharing!

  24. If only every roof could have such a beautiful garden. It looks wonderful and it is good that it is open to the public. It should be appreciated by as many people as possible.
    Have a good weekend.

  25. I love the idea of a Secret, Public Garden. Much thought and planning had to go into this project. I wonder how many gardeners it takes? It is very beautiful.

  26. Thank you so much for the tour of this fabulous garden! I visited kensington Roof gardens in London this spring - and now I've almost visited this one too!
    Wishing you a great weekend!

  27. What an amazing secret garden. I think he child in all of us is filled with joy when finding such a garden. Thank you for this amazing post. What a nice way for me to start my morning - Gloria

  28. Dear Autumn Belle, thank you so much for your visit and lovely comment in my blog, it´s has been quite a while since we visited each other, I´m so happy you came.
    I wish you and your family a very happy christmas, and may next year be of much blessings and happiness to you all.
    Con mucho cariño,
    Maria Cecilia

  29. Beautiful garden!!! amazing to see and your photos are fabulous!
    Thanks for sharing this!!!

  30. I've always enjoyed seeing your photos from this rooftop garden. It's very cool - you can see a bit of it from the outside, but it's so comprehensive when you get up there! I like how you included the photos of the shopping mall and elevator - it really puts the whole thing in perspective!

  31. Finally a good use for a shopping mall! ;)

    That's such a good idea I must say. I read somewhere that planting grass on rooftops can cool down buildings and save energy.

  32. Great post, Autumn Belle! A wonderful tour. I hope we get more visitors and everyone can enjoy nature up in the sky:)) keep it up!

  33. Oh my gosh Autumn Belle! This is a gorgeous garden no matter the location. Being on a roof makes it that much more amazing. Thank you for sharing it - looks like it's not a secret anymore!

  34. Thank you for letting us see a glimpse of this "secret garden". I would love to spend my free wekeends there, especially during the flowering season.

  35. Wow! This garden will definitely be on my new year's resolution list...must visit! to get my beloved spouse to learn how to get there by hook or by crook. You've done a marvelous job introducing it to the world and us, locals to a hidden treasure by your fantastic and alluring images! Great job, Autumn Bell and thanks!

  36. What a wonderful idea! Normally the rooftops of malls are such uninteresting places. This is truly a beautiful change.
    Do they also allow you to buy plants from there?

  37. Stunning! Please visit my very first entry in today's flower. Blessed Xmas and Happy New Year to you and to your family!

  38. Amazing, Autumn Belle. If only all tall buildings could give something back for the natural space they take the way this one has. Very interesting. I wonder how non-high flying insects respond to the scents coming from way up there. Do they visit?

  39. Thank you my friends for the nice comments. Every compliment here goes to Datuk Teo and Dr. Francis Ng, for without them, there will be no Secret Garden at 1-Utama.

    Nell Jean, I usually see around 4-5 gardeners there. There are also 2 security guards on duty.

    Jacqueline, remember to visit Rainforest at LG too. You'd be amazed at the jungle trees and pletora of freshwater fishes there.

    Sunita, there are no plants for sale here. Maybe if we are lucky to meet Dr. Francis, we can ask him nicely for some FOC cuttings and see what he says, lol.

    Among Trees,I have seen butterflies, birds, wasps and bees here. Maybe they were released here, otherwise I can't imagine how they can fly up 9 storeys high.

  40. Thanks for introducing us all to this beautiful place. I'm adding it to the list of places I want to visit some day - that list has grown considerably since I've started reading garden blogs. Garden bloggers know about good places! What a great post. Barbara

  41. Babara, thank you for your nice comments. I welcome you to Malaysia and hope you can visit The Secret Garden too.

  42. I wish I had read this post earlier. I only went to the Rainforest, and now I have left KL... oh well, next time.

  43. Wow, what a nice garden !!! I wouldn't know about this garden, if I hadn't read this post. Thank you for introducing this 'Secret Garden'. By the way, I'm new to your blog and I would like to know more about native plants of Malaysia, as I have thought of growing native plants only in my garden. At the moment, I'm completely clueless about Malaysia's indigenous plant and where to get them. I would really, really appreciate it, if you could enlighten me on this matter. Thank you very much. - Chong(Mr.)

  44. Mr Chong,

    Some of the native plants of Malaysia and South East Asia are as follows:

    1. Murraya paniculata (kemuning) which has many fragrant white flowers
    2. Spathoglottis ground orchids
    3. Bunga kantan (Etlingera elatior)
    4. Ixora
    5. Elephant Ear Plants or Alocasia plants e.g. Alocasia macrorrhizos
    6. Pitcher plants
    7. Ferns
    8. Cat's Whiskers (Misai Kuching)
    9. Fruits such as rambutan, assam gelugor, cempedak, chiku, nangka, custard apples and durian.

    I have already written about some of them. See under 'labels'.


Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

Note: If you are unable to comment on my latest post, click on the post title to reopen the post and try writing your comments again. Comments under "Anonymous" will be automatically treated as spam if no name is included.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin