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REGARDLESS of whether you are an avid gardener, or just someone who likes flowers, you are in for a treat at this year's Singapore Garden Festival (SGF). Taking place at the Gardens by the Bay, this year's SGF is spread over 9.7 hectares, almost double the size of the 2014 showground.
There will be more than 70 gardens and flower displays, with over 40 international and local designers vying for top honours in the Landscape Garden, Fantasy Garden, Balcony Garden and Floral Windows to the World competition.
Apart from countless Instagram-able moments, you can also buy plants and other gardening products at the Marketplace. Acting on feedback from previous shows, the organisers have now included booths selling food and drinks. With lots to see, you are likely to spend the whole day at the show. Don't have that much time to spare? BT Weekend picks eight highlights not to miss.
The Treasure Box
By Inch Lim
INCH Lim is one of Malaysia's best-known horticulturist -garden designers and a regular participant at SGF. His displays never fail to wow.
For SGF 2016, he's created The Treasure Box, designed as a big box, with a small waterfall to contain green treasures. The 5m tall walls and floor of this box are covered with rice plants to create a cocoon-like effect. The rice plants symbolise the real treasure, representing the life and sustenance that people rely on. The Treasure Box was awarded Gold, Best of Show and Horticulture Excellence awards in the Landscape Garden category.
The Sugarcane Maze
By Yu Kong Jian
MOST designers use a variety of plants and flowers for their gardens but Chinese Yu Kong Jian, a globally celebrated leader in ecological planning and design, has used sugarcane for his garden instead. Mr Yu picked sugarcane to emphasise productivity as it is a common agricultural crop that can be found in South-east Asia and Southern China. The sugarcane is arranged in a maze formation to challenge typical perceptions of an ornamental garden. Visit the garden on a hot afternoon, and the countless stalks of sugarcane may just inspire you to grab a cold sugarcane drink.
Back to Nature
By Leon Kluge and Bayley LuuTomes
THE founders of Kluge LuuTomes Design, Leon Kluge and Bayley Luutomes, have created a garden showing how man-made elements and nature can coexist in a harmonious and symbiotic environment. There's a welcoming pod shelter with seating, nestled in lush greenery.
Just in front of the pod is a body of water, representing a healthy, clean and vibrant life. Relaxing on the loungers does look enticing, but sadly, you are to admire this Gold award Landscape Garden from afar.
By Stefano Passerotti
STEP in front of this garden by Italian designer Stefano Passerotti and you may wonder if your eyesight has suddenly deteriorated. The hanging display, made of numerous acrylic boxes which have been strung up, flutter in the wind, and in the process, creating a blurry image.
The boxes are filled with suggestions and thought-provoking sketches that outline the optimal relationship between Man and nature. The garden won Gold and Best of Show awards in the Fantasy Garden category.
By Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam
In today's busy and noisy world, it is becoming increasing difficult to experience total silence. Landscape designers Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWillian, the founders of Wilson McWilliam Studio from Britain, want visitors to be able to experience a silent environment.
The garden they have created is enveloped in a concrete wall shaped like an inverted cone. In the centre is a small floating pond, surrounded by greens. Upon seeing it, you can't help but lower your voice and just enjoy the silence for a few fleeting moments. This is a Silver award winner in the Landscape Garden category.
Singapore Orchid Show
By Alan Tan (Orchid Extravaganza)
By Orchid Society of South East Asia and NParks (Singapore Orchid Show)
Held in conjunction with SGF is the Orchid Extravaganza and Singapore Orchid Show. This year, there are more than 12,000 orchid plants on display. They include unique species not commonly seen in Singapore such as the Cat Face Cattleyas, Tulip Orchids, Pansy Orchids, Monkey Face Orchids and Kite Orchids. The centrepiece of Orchid Extravaganza, which is designed by Singaporean landscape garden designer Alan Tan, is a spiral display of 1,000 orchids. .The Singapore Garden Festival is on till July 31 at Gardens by the Bay, from 10am to 10pm daily.
Dare to Dream
By John Tan and Raymond Toh
In 2015, Singaporean designers John Tan and Raymond Toh won a Silver-Gilt award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. This year, they hope to win over Singaporeans and tourists alike with their Dare to Dream garden.
To fully appreciate this garden, you have to look up. A small pavilion, and a bench have been mounted on the wall. Walking through this garden is like being in a scene from the movie Inception, where the characters walk vertically up the walls. The designers say they hope this Bronze award Fantasy Garden will inspire everyone to dare to dream.
By Chen Nina
SGF isn't only about big garden displays, but at the Celebrations! Floral Table Series, you can get ideas on how to dress up a dining table. For example, floral designer Chen Nina has set up a dining table inside a cocoon like structure as a way of showing how she's protecting her child. She has jazzed up the dining table with a hanging display of pitcher plants, roses and even chilli padi.
- Tickets are priced from S$12. For information, visit www.singaporegardenfestival.com.