First-timers at Singapore Garden Festival win top awards

Mr Michael Petrie won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Michael Petrie won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Michael Petrie won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Michael Petrie won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Andrew Wilson and Mr Gavin McWilliam's two-storey garden, Sacred Grove, won the gold and best of show in the landscape gardens category. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Andrew Wilson and Mr Gavin McWilliam's two-storey garden, Sacred Grove, won the gold and best of show in the landscape gardens category. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A British landscaping duo and an American garden designer have won the top prizes at the Singapore Garden Festival.

Mr Andrew Wilson, 54, and Mr Gavin McWilliam, 38, founders and directors at Wilson McWilliam Studio, won the gold and best of show in the landscape gardens category.

Mr Michael Petrie, 62, won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display.

These and other winners were announced on Friday at the festival, which opens to the public on Saturday at Gardens By The Bay and runs till Aug 24.

Mr McWilliam, who is taking part in the festival for the first time, said: "We were trying to produce something ambitious and memorable. After all, it's a show garden and our design had to be something that could only be done in this arena."

The pair designed a two-storey garden called Sacred Grove, complete with 37 trees on the roof to create a canopy, while Mr Petrie - who is also exhibiting in Singapore for the first time - made a garden which mixed recyclable materials and plants, creating the impression of a modern city overrun by nature.

These two gardens, together with 13 others by Singaporean and international designers, are the centrepiece at the biennial festival.

Now in its fifth edition, the festival has moved from its previous indoor venue, the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The festival grounds span 2.2ha and and is spread out across the Gardens by the Bay - from The Meadow to the Flower Dome, where an orchid extravaganza featuring 18,000 blooms is on display.

Aside from various types of gardens such as balcony gardens and floral table displays, there is also a marketplace where more than 80 vendors will sell a wide array of plants, gardening and landscape products and services, as well as arts and crafts.

Mr Petrie, who has participated in numerous garden shows around the world, gave this one the thumbs up.

"The Singapore festival is an up-and-coming flower show in the world, and it's going to get bigger each year," he said.

"International designers want to come, as it's a well organised event and is held in a beautiful location... the perfect spot for a garden festival."

natashaz@sph.com.sg

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