SINGAPORE GARDEN FESTIVAL 2014 – ORCHID EXTRAVAGANZA

The biennial Singapore Garden Festival (SGF 2014) is back!  For the first time, the event has moved its venue to the award-winning Gardens by the Bay.

Photo taken from the official website of Singapore Garden Festival 2014

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Map taken from the official website of Singapore Garden Festival 2014

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This is one event that I have not missed since 2008.  I believe, likewise for the flowers and photography enthusiasts!

Decorations @ Gardens by the bay, near the cooled conservatories

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Orchids everywhere! 🙂

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As DS had to be in the office for some work this morning, I decided to make my way to the Orchid Extravaganza exhibition, part of the SGF 2014 event that’s being held in the Flower Dome of the Gardens by the Bay.   I was not planning to spend the whole day there, and in anticipation of the large crowds today, I decided to just focus on the Orchid Extravaganza first, and visit other parts of the festival on a weekday which hopefully, will be less crowded.

Outside Flower Dome.  A nice spot for a souvenir snap here.

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I arrived at about 845am.  A long queue was already forming up before the Flower Dome opened at 9am!

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In the Flower Dome…..

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View from the observation deckOrchid05

View from another angleOrchids06

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I like the overall design of the orchid displays this time.  It is simple but elegant, in my opinion.  I also like the fact that this time, the competitive orchids are organised in sections and classes such as Moon Orchids, Dendrobium, Climbing Orchids, Lady’s Slipper, Vandas and New World Orchids, with short but useful descriptions of the characteristics of each group of these orchids.   I found these descriptions educational.

With its glass roof which allows in natural bright lighting from the sun, Flower Dome is definitely a much better venue than the convention centres where the event used to be held.  I used to find the lighting in convention centre too dim for better appreciation of the orchids, and photography.

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Variety of Moon Orchids, characterized by large showy flowers that last for months.  I like this group of orchids the best.

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Variety of Dendrobium, the most hybridised groups of orchids in Singapore as most are well-suited to the local climate.  They are characterized by many shoots or canes (pseudobulbs).

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Variety of Climbing Orchids which form a major group of local orchids.  This group of orchids need a lot of sunlight.

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Variety of Lady’s Slipper.  They are characterised by the appearance of the pouch at the centre of the flowers.  They are among the rarest and hardest to grow of the orchids.  They have been so much sought after that many wild species are threatened, and all are now protected by international regulations

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Vandas comprises many orchids with large, showy, often patterned flowers.

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New World Orchids – Orchids from the New World (the America) are often grown in Singapore, especially cattleyas and their allies, with large flowers and spectacular lips.  Also common are smaller Oncidiums and their allies, sometimes called dancing lady orchids

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It got more and more crowded by mid morning but that did not actually bother me.  I was really having a good time immersing myself in admiring the flowers and happily clicking my shutter away until I began to hear repeated voices from the staff of the Flower Dome urging us to have our final shots and make our exit.  What a spoilsport!  Isn’t this an event for the people to take time to appreciate the beauty of the orchids, and also for the photography enthusiasts to capture their best shots?  If the management was concerned about being over crowded, then they should have exercised some control like limiting the number of visitors to the Flower Dome.  Just as these thoughts were going through my mind, I then realised what was actually going on when I looked up.  No wonder!

 Two big shots – Mr & Mrs Goh Chok Tong – have come to the Orchid Extravaganza!  They were accompanied by a big entourage of people including Dr Kiat W. Tan (CEO of Gardens by the Bay), staff , body guards, photographers etc.  I didn’t realise they were actually so near where I was!

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Mr & Mrs Goh’s visit had surely attracted a lot of attention, even from the visitors!  Many were excited, and some even rushed to take photo with him.

Mr Goh (the man in light yellow shirt) surrounded by many visitors on his way out!

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 The stunning 10-metre centre-piece at the Orchid Extravaganza with a lot more orchid displays in its inner wall.  I have decided to go see it on a weekday in the coming week before I visit other parts of the SGF 2014.Orchids11

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The long queue waiting to get into the centre-piece, and this was just part of the queue.  So, I didn’t want to waste too much of my time queuing for it.

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 Crowds near the entrance by the time I made my way out at around noon time.

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Marketplace which sells a variety of plants and related products, at the Supertree Grove area.

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I had a pleasant surprise while walking out to the Bayfront MRT station!  I finally came to this part of the Gardens by the Bay and saw this huge sculpture called Planet, after so many visits!  I have read about the installation of this sculpture early last year but somehow did get to see it until today.

Stunning!

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Mascots of SGF, seen near Dragonfly Lake (near Bayfront MRT station)

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It is very thoughtful of the organiser to have provided covers for the pavement leading to Bayfront MRT station.  It makes it a lot more pleasant to walk to the station under our hot and humid weather condition.  I wish these covers are permanent!

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Despite the little fuss during Mr & Mrs Goh’s visit, overall I have enjoyed the Orchid Extravaganza very much.  I am looking forward to return to the Gardens by the Bay very soon to see the rest of SGF 2014.  It is one great event not to be missed.

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