Singapore Garden Festival 2014 wins top award in France: What's unique about the festival

Annette von Einem of Denmark poses for photos in her floral display creation, The Ice Queen Spring Breath, during the Singapore Garden Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Annette von Einem of Denmark poses for photos in her floral display creation, The Ice Queen Spring Breath, during the Singapore Garden Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A floral display by award-winning Japanese landscape designer Jun-ichi Inada at the Singapore Garden Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A floral display by award-winning Japanese landscape designer Jun-ichi Inada at the Singapore Garden Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
John Elliot, a member of the Orchid Society of South East Asia, looks on in front of his example of the world’s largest species of orchid, the Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum Speciosum). -- PHOTO: AFP
John Elliot, a member of the Orchid Society of South East Asia, looks on in front of his example of the world’s largest species of orchid, the Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum Speciosum). -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese landscape designer Jun-ichi Inada decorates his floral display at the Gardens by the Bay on Aug 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese landscape designer Jun-ichi Inada decorates his floral display at the Gardens by the Bay on Aug 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Vertical, a landscape garden by Australian designer Brendan Moar, at the Singapore Garden Festival. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Vertical, a landscape garden by Australian designer Brendan Moar, at the Singapore Garden Festival. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The recently-concluded Singapore Garden Festival 2014 has become the first festival in Asia to win the International Garden Tourism - Achievement of the Year Award.

The biennial event, which was held from Aug 16-24, saw more than 300,000 visitors attend. The move to stage this year's edition at Gardens by the Bay for the first time was cited as one of the key considerations in the festival winning the award, which recognises organisations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction.

The Straits Times was the official media partner of the Singapore Garden Festival 2014.

We recap some of the highlights of the festival:

Landscape and Fantasy Gardens

The festival's biggest draw was undeniably its show gardens. Professional landscape designers let their imagination run wild as they created the ultimate landscape and fantasy gardens, which featured cascading waterfalls, courtyards and, of course, brilliant plant species.

A British landscaping duo and an American garden designer took the top prizes this year. Mr Andrew Wilson, 54, and Mr Gavin McWilliam, 38, founders and directors of Wilson McWilliam Studio, won the gold and best of show in the landscape gardens category.

The pair designed a two-storey garden named Sacred Grove (above), complete with 37 trees on the roof to create a canopy.

Mr Michael Petrie, 62, won in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display (above), which blended 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, like British designer Andy Sturgeon's Full Circle? (above), formed the centrepiece at the biennial festival.

Orchid Extravaganza

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The orchid got its day in the sun with Japanese landscape architect Jun-ichi Inada's kaleidoscope tower. The 10m-tall column was filled with 18,000 orchids of every imaginable shade to reflect a rainbow spectrum.

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The tower was part of the Orchid Extravaganza, which was held in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. Apart from the centrepiece tower display, orchids adorned an arched walkway.

Learning Garden

Little tykes got to run around little pathways in this garden, which was set up to explain how enthnobotany - which studies the relationship between people and plants - works.

It featured herbs, such as holy basil, vegetables, such as pumpkin and brinjal, and fruit, like the golden papaya (above).

Community In Bloom Gardeners' Cup 2014

This friendly gardening competition allowed amateur gardeners to show off their green thumbs. This year saw teams from residents' committes, schools, companies and housing estates, divided according to their districts - North-west, South-west, South-east, North-east and Central.

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Taste Fiesta by the North-east district emerged as the champion, while Carnival By The Bay by South-west district won the Innovative Award.

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Sound Of The Forest by North-west district took the Biodiversity Award; Scent-alising by South-east district garnered the Educational Award; and Touch The Heart (above) by Central district took home the Best Theme Award.