Botanic Gardens, Gardens by the Bay sweep top awards at mega orchid show
The Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay swept big honours at the Asia Pacific Orchid Conference, showcasing their niches in floral display and cross-breeding technology.
About 700 hobbyists and professional growers from the region showcased their best orchids in the Singapore Expo on Wednesday, competing across more than 100 categories. This is the first time the Republic is hosting the conference.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens emerged first under the Orchid Landscape Competition, where participants were tasked to create a 25 sq m garden.
The winning plot, featuring 76 species and hybrids from the Botanic Gardens and breeders from here and abroad, highlighted Singapore’s orchid heritage and diplomacy, with visiting foreign dignitaries getting new hybrids named after them.
Orchids in the plot include the country’s national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim and several breeds under the Botanic Gardens’ orchid hybridisation programme. The latter has created numerous hybrids for foreign politicians and celebrities including British leader Margaret Thatcher and tennis player Serena Williams.
Dendrobium The Straits Times, a hybrid named after the newspaper and unveiled at its 160th anniversary in 2005, is also among the flowers featured in the plot.
ST is the only news outlet here to be gifted a new hybrid in its name.
Mr K. Gopalan, co-chair of the conference and president of the Orchid Society of South-east Asia, said: “Judges must be attracted by the beauty of a plant. It must be an eye-catcher. For dendrobium hybrids, the flowers must have a firm and straight structure.”
The competition winners received the awards from President Halimah Yacob who attended the conference’s opening on Wednesday.
He commended the country’s ventures into orchid hybridisation and breeding as he noted that “the strong capabilities we have built up over the years in the germination and propagation of orchid seeds have allowed us to produce some of the finest orchids which have been exported all over the world”.
Mr Lee added that the National Parks Board (NParks) will be publishing a second edition of the “Native Orchids of Singapore – Diversity, Identification and Conservation” guidebook within the next few months. The first edition was published in 2013, and since then, new species have been recorded.
The conference, organised by NParks and the Orchid Society of South-east Asia, will run till Aug 20, with Singapore Expo’s Hall 2 displaying more than 8,000 orchid plants of almost 1,000 species and hybrids.
Among them is a blue orchid plant from Japan. While it did not receive an award, it drew attention because its colour was derived through the help of genetic modification.
The more common way of turning a flower blue is to inject dyes.
This is the first time the Phalaenopsis Blue Gene ‘311NR’ is showcased outside of Japan.
The conference that runs from 10am to 9pm throughout the five days is ticketed while entry to the marketplace within Hall 2 is free for shoppers.