And the winner weighs... 17.6kg

Retiree Joseph Huan (right) with the 17.6kg wintermelon.
Retiree Joseph Huan (above) with the 17.6kg wintermelon. PHOTOS: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The inaugural Community Garden Festival attracted more than 6,500 visitors over the weekend

It was a weighing contest like no other. About 900 huge wintermelons, bitter gourds, cucumbers, pumpkins, lady's fingers, brinjals and other greens were heaved onto weighing scales at HortPark yesterday.

They were the entries for the first Edibles competition, which was part of the NParks' inaugural Community Garden Festival that began last Saturday.

There were 12 categories - each for a different vegetable. The greens had been grown by amateur gardeners.

The winning entries tipped the scales at between 3.8kg for a pumpkin to 17.6kg for a wintermelon.

  • VIEW IT / COMMUNITY GARDEN FESTIVAL BY NPARKS

  • WHERE: HortPark, 33 Hyderabad Road, off Alexandra Road

    WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 9pm (Saturday), 9am to 6pm (Sunday)

    ADMISSION: Free. Go to www.nparks.gov.sg/communitygardenfestival

Prize winners received cash awards, with a $500 top prize for each category.

  • Festival highlights

  • 1. Heaviest wintermelon - 17.6kg

    Retiree Joseph Huan, 72, won in the heaviest wintermelon group category with this 17.6kg wintermelon. It took him and his fellow gardeners at Jelapang RC community garden three months to grow it to this size. He credits its large size to the use of organic fertilisers and seeds from China.


    2. Longest Bitter Gourd - 33cm

    This is what the longest biggest gourds look like. Awards were given in the individual and group categories. Bukit Panjang Zone 2 RC got the group prize for a 33cm bitter gourd in the group category.

    The Jalan Besar Boon Keng Ville Community Garden got the top award in the group category for a 37.2cm lady's finger.


    3. Light-bulb Terrarium

    Architecture draftsman Hamzah Osman's light-bulb terrarium is part of the SG50 Community In Bloom Garden.

    The terrarium uses 50 light blubs. He worked on it for almost a year.

    He says: "I have been making terrariums for 23 years. The message I want to send is about saving the earth while using something associated with Singa- pore's past. We used these light bulbs in the past."

The Edibles contest was one of the highlights of the weekend festival, which is being held to bring people together through a range of activities centred on gardens and gardening. It also runs this weekend.

Over the past weekend, more than 6,500 visitors showed up to take in the sights, as well as shop at a farmers' market and explore HortPark.

Another highlight was the five SG50-themed community gardens created to take part in the special SG50 Community In Bloom Awards, held as part of the festival.

Fifty community groups took part. Playgrounds, bird cages and all things vintage provided sources of inspiration.

The garden titled 2065 by the North East District community gardeners won the Best Community In Bloom Show Garden award for showcasing the strongest horticultural merit and landscape design attributes.

Ms Wei Shan, 31, who visited the festival with friends, told Life: "This is great. I never expected to see so much.

"I enjoy gardening with my neighbours and it is great to see how others are bonding through community gardens islandwide."

Mr Kelvin Wu, 41, a manager in an information technology firm, was there with his wife and three children aged three to 10.

He said: "Not only is this a great place to meet others interested in gardening, it is also a great way of educating our children. We can take them away from their gadgets and show them something new and help them connect with nature," he said.

NParks, which hopes to attract a total of 10,000 visitors over both weekends, said this will be an annual event.

This weekend, visitors can look forward to tours to see and know more about the plants at Pasir Panjang Nursery, watch an outdoor movie screening and shop at the farmers' market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'And the winner weighs... 17.6kg Festival highlights'. Print Edition | Subscribe