Pre-school garden with herb and butterfly corners among hundreds honoured with Community in Bloom Awards

Gardeners tending to the Balik Kampung garden, one of the five garden displays at the Community Garden Festival, on Nov 2, 2017. The festival is the work of more than 100 gardeners under NParks’ Community In Bloom (CIB) initiative.
Gardeners tending to the Balik Kampung garden, one of the five garden displays at the Community Garden Festival, on Nov 2, 2017. The festival is the work of more than 100 gardeners under NParks’ Community In Bloom (CIB) initiative.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Community In Bloom Awards recognise excellence in gardening by community groups, including a pre-school

From a pre-school garden with upcycled materials to a garden at Our Tampines Hub that uses compost from foodcourt leftovers, hundreds of gardens across the island have been honoured with the Community In Bloom Awards.

The biennial awards by the National Parks Board (NParks) recognise excellence in gardening by community groups.

This year, 541 community gardens from public housing and private estate areas, schools and organisations took part - the largest number of participants since the initiative was launched in 2005.

There are more than 1,300 community gardens under the Community In Bloom umbrella, which promotes gardening here.

For the awards, every participating garden was given an achievement band of platinum, gold, silver or bronze - depending on the level of community involvement, garden quality and environmentally-or biodiversity-friendly practices.

Other accolades include the Diamond Award, Best Community Garden, Best New Community Garden and recognition in the new Special Mentions category and the ongoing People's Choice contest.

Depending on the award, all participants will receive gardening gift packs or cash prizes, or both.

Mr Ng Cheow Kheng, NParks' group director of horticulture and community gardening, said the participating gardens have shown more expertise and creativity in recent years.

"Today, we are encouraged to see that community gardening has gone beyond a shared hobby, with many gardens at the heart of close-knit communities," he adds.

The awards and achievement bandings will be presented during the Singapore Garden Festival, which runs from July 21 to Aug 3 at Gardens by the Bay.

PCF Sparkletots Preschool at Queenstown Block 46 in Tanglin Halt Road was named the Best New Community Garden in the schools category, which comes with a cash prize of $500 and a gardening gift pack worth $500.

The garden has herb and butterfly corners as well as a vegetable plot.

It has converted upcycled pots, tyres and an old children's wading pool into gardening plots.

The school's principal, Ms Tan Sow Wah, 42, says: "We feel that helping to manage and maintain the community garden makes outdoor learning fun and interesting for the children... They experience a great sense of fulfilment when they harvest what they have planted."

• People's Choice contest: From now till July 15, the public can visit seven shortlisted gardens and vote for their favourite one at www.nparks.gov.sg/cib_awards. Participants stand to win tickets to the Singapore Garden Festival.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Awards for community gardens'. Print Edition | Subscribe