PICK OF THE CROP
Where: Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre,
Gardens are the hot ticket this month in Singapore.
Fresh off the opening of the $1-billion Gardens by the Bay last week, the biennial Singapore Garden Festival takes root today for nine days downtown.
One of the mostly hotly contested show garden contests in the world, it has 15 entries including one featuring an igloo.
Designers from around the globe including Singapore – who have to be
specially invited to take part – are given a $100,000 budget to create a temporary
garden structure. Each show garden is in a plot just 10m by 10m and entered in either of two categories – fantasy or landscape. Judges award either gold, silver or bronze to each garden, though only two will snare the top prize of the Best of Show garden.
There are also awards for a Floral Windows To The World section and Balcony Gardens, created by top garden and floral designers from 19 countries. In total, there are more than 280,000 plants and over 70,000 stalks of cut flowers displayed on levels 4 and 6 of the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
While the festival, which is in its fourth edition and on till next Sunday, bursts into bloom so soon after Gardens by the Bay, organisers are not worried about garden fatigue.
Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens Nigel Taylor says: “Both the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Garden Festival are unique attractions that complement each other and provide different experiences for visitors.”
To entice people to check out both attractions, a price deal has been put together.
Dr Taylor says: “We anticipate more visitors who wish to visit both attractions. So, to cater to them, we have been offering visitors who hold tickets to either the Flower Dome or the Cloud Forest conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay or the festival a 20 per cent discount at the other attraction.”
The feast of fun at the garden fest, which costs $9 million to put on, includes fringe events spread over two floors of the convention centre, such as a marketplace where visitors can shop for gardening tools and services.
Crowd favourites from past editions that are back include the Singapore Orchid Show, while the Garden Fiesta offers educational, recreational and entertainment activities for everyone.
New additions include a Floral Table Series segment where visitors can pick up tips on how to make a table floral arrangement. Home owners seeking inspiration for their balconies can check out the first Balcony Gardens competition to see how local designers maximise small spaces.
Over at the show gardens, the duo behind the igloo in a garden are Canadians Robert Boltman and Alex Bartlett of bsq. Landscape Design Studio. They are excited to be back after winning a silver for their fantasy garden in 2010.
Their new garden, called Northern Light, was inspired by the rugged landscape of the Canadian north. Mr Boltman says: “It is daunting to compete with such established names but it’s great that the standard of the show is quite high and the organisers are really focused on the quality of design.”
Northern Light by: Alex Bartlett and Robert Boltman (Canada, above and below)
Won: Silver in the Fantasy Garden category
I f you are looking to chill out, head straight for the only igloo in the room. And if you are lost, look for a n I n u i t/ inukshuk, or stone marker, just like those the native Inuit people of Canada make.
Canadian designers Bartlett and Boltman pay homage to that community with their display. Peer through the clear perspex glass of the igloo to glimpse eight pieces of original Inuit artwork.
To create a fantasy feel for their garden, they hung colourful, lighted baubles to resemble the Northern Lights in the Canadian wilderness. With windswept-looking pine trees and white orchids to resemble snow, you almost feel that you are away from the hot, sticky weather here.