The Straits Times: Community garden groups in full bloom

The Straits Times reports that the number of community garden groups has doubled since 2008.

Community garden groups in full bloom

There are today 500 groups of residents who have got together to tend to garden plots near where they live under the Community in Bloom programme run by the National Parks Board (NParks), said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development and for Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman yesterday.

He was speaking at the opening of the biennial Singapore Garden Festival organised by NParks, which opened to the public yesterday. The event runs until July 15 at the Suntec convention centre.

He gave out 11 top Community in Bloom Awards to community gardens. The Gardeners’ Cup was also awarded to five gardens set up at the festival by groups of community gardeners. These five were top in their respective categories.

The overall winner of the Gardeners’ Cup was the entry titled The House by the Mangroves, which depicts an early 19th century attap house, complete with cooking stove and fishing nets, amid 120 species of mangrove.

Recycled materials were used to make animal topiaries of crocodiles and birds.

Mr Zahir Taib of the Tampines Starlight Residents’ Committee led six community groups such as the Seletar Hills East Neighbourhood Committee and the parent support group from Dunman Secondary School to come up with the garden in less than a year.

The 51-year-old taxi driver said: ‘We want to take people back to that era and show them what it was like in Singapore before Sir Stamford Raffles came.

‘It is hard to describe, but much easier to show today’s kids what it used to look like.’

He added with a laugh that his son had said he ‘wouldn’t want to live in that kind of environment’.

Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens Nigel Taylor, 56, told The Sunday Times that the standard of community display gardens this year was a ‘quantum leap’ from the last festival two years ago.

‘They are no longer just amateurs,’ he said. ‘There are still not enough professional horticulturists here, so my personal hope is that the community gardeners can turn professional to help build a city in the garden.’

Another highlight of the festival is the Singapore Orchid Show, with an Orchid Wonderland theme inspired by amusement parks.

A 6m-tall ferris wheel showcases unique orchids from around the world, while a 5m-tall carousel highlights winning plants from various competitions.

Image by USDAgov

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