Stroll among 11,000 plants at Community Garden Festival

The three-day showcase, which ends on Nov 5, is part of this year's Community Garden Festival, organised by the National Parks Board.
The three-day showcase, which ends on Nov 5, is part of this year's Community Garden Festival, organised by the National Parks Board. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - From Friday (Nov 3), visitors to HortPark, off Alexandra Road, can stroll among more than 11,000 plants, including giant pumpkins and towers of mushrooms.

The three-day showcase, which ends on Sunday, is part of this year's Community Garden Festival, organised by the National Parks Board (NParks).

The festival is inspired by edible plants, and entry and activities are free, except for a number of paid workshops.

It is the work of more than 100 gardeners under NParks' Community In Bloom (CIB) initiative, which brings together people with a passion for gardening.

The centrepiece, however, is a horticultural artwork by local award-winning floral designer Harijanto Setiawaan. The 3m-tall display in the shape of a crimson sunbird, is made up entirely of chillis, paprika, long beans, tomatoes, carrots, passion fruit and grapes, and weighs more than 200kg.

There will be five garden displays: 2065; Play Mosaic; Block 50; Talk Bird, Sing Song; and Balik Kampung.

The 2065 garden celebrates Singapore's past 50 years of gardening, and hopes to inspire visitors for the next 50. It adopts a futuristic theme, showcasing mushrooms in multi-tiered raised planters and mushroom cultivating towers, as well as plants in recycled plastic bottles that were repainted by community gardeners.

The other garden displays focus on memories made in Singapore's heartland - the iconic dragon playgrounds of yesteryear, kampung days and shared community spaces.

The festival will also feature landscaped gardens by two local designers and a Japanese one. There will also be an innovation and technology showcase, talks, cooking demonstrations and paid workshops, and family-friendly activities.

Visitors can also buy unique plants - such as orchids, succulents and even rare plants - gardening tools and accessories, and more, at a retail MarketPlace.

In total, there will be more than twice the number of plants from the first festival in 2015.

Festival director Dennis Lim said this year's theme of edible plants aims to share the passion and bond among community gardeners, and celebrates the increasingly health-conscious Singaporean public.

One of the gardeners whose work will be on display is Mr Lim Keng Tiong. The 75-year-old retired contractor helped build the 2065 garden display with other gardeners from Singapore's North-East District.

A gardener for more than 10 years, and an NParks CIB Ambassador since 2013, Mr Lim said: "All of us working together reminds me of the old days, of the 'kampung spirit'."

He added: "We put in a lot of hard work. But when you see the result, it's so worth it. I want nothing more than to see the smiles on people's faces - especially young kids' faces."

Winners of the Community Garden Edibles Competition, featuring some of the biggest and freshest fruits and vegetables grown by local community gardeners, will be announced on Friday.

Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, will be at the festival launch on the same day.