CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN THE TROPIC!

Cherry & peach blossoms in the hot & humid island of Singapore?  Yes, no kidding about it.  It’s happening right now in the Flower Dome, even earlier than Japan and Korea.  What a treat!

This first-ever experimental blossom display – Blossom Beats – is presented by the Gardens by the Bay.

Blossom Beats celebrates the delicate nature of life.  It features a good variety of blossoms including cherry (sakura) and peach.  The overall display was designed in the setting of a Japanese garden, decorated with a Torii (a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found in Japanese Shinto shrines), kimonos and other Japanese-themed decorations.

Torii in the midst of a variety of beautiful blossoms

IMG_2155IMG_2205 (1)IMG_2135IMG_2141IMG_2235Not all had blossomed yet at the time of my visit last Sunday (13 Mar)

IMG_2188IMG_2237Near the entrance of Flower Dome, a Japanese garden with cherry blossoms (behind the bridge).

IMG_2109Bonsai arrangement is another highlight in this two-week (only) display.

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It has been almost 9 years now since I last saw cherry blossoms and it was in South Korea.  Though I have also seen it in Japan, it was certainly a joy to have this opportunity to appreciate these beautiful blossoms again, more so for the first time here in Singapore.  I was actually hoping for another holiday in Japan later this month for a true Hanami experience in the parks but my plan could not materialise due to other commitments.  Save it for next time.

IMG_2183Prunus Accolade – pink flowering cherry

IMG_2186Prunus Yodoenis Yoshido which are white in colour

IMG_2203Peach blossom Prunus “Genpei Shidare” which is characterised by flowers of two colours – red and white

IMG_2133OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrunus Fujishidare which has pendulous branches

IMG_2159Close-up of Prunus Fujishidare

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cherry Shirotae (Prunus Shirotae) – known to flower abundantly. Flowers are white and lightly fragrant

IMG_2178Prunus “Okame”

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Later in that afternoon, we were treated with a beautiful traditional Japanese music performance – Blowing in the Sakura Wind : Sounds from Japan – by two renowned musicians from Japan.

Mother & son pair : Kaho Irie, Koto (Japanese stringed music instrument) Grandmaster and Yosuke Irie, Shaku Hachi (Japanese end-blow flute) artiste from Japan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis performance was a joint collaboration between Japan Creative Centre Singapore and Gardens by the Bay, held in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake (11 March 2011) and also in celebration of SJ50 (50 years of Singapore-Japan diplomatic relationship) in 2016.

I was glad that hubby could finally take a breather from his furious work schedule for many weeks now, and joined me in this special experience in the Gardens by the Bay.  I think our government should do more to enforce work-life balance in private corporations and take action against companies that make their employees work like headless chickens!!

Blossom Beats is surely one unique event not to be missed especially for those who have not seen cherry blossoms before.  I imagine it involved massive efforts from many to make it happen.  Beautiful blossoms aside, a visit to the Flower Dome is educational too, as I always find it.  There is always something new to discover, and new knowledge to bring home too.  All we need is just to pay a little bit more attention to what’s being displayed together with the flowers, like these ones below.

IMG_2129 IMG_2161IMG_2224Should there be future cherry blossom displays planned, I think it will great if the designers could consider creating a better Hanami experience like organising the trees more closely in rows and allowing visitors to walk under the trees.

This time, while the blossoms are beautiful, I find the overall display too cluttered with irrelevant decorations such as the huge artificial rocks and wood-carved monkeys from the past display (Dahlia Dreams) that was held over the Chinese New Year period.  These don’t seem to fit into the theme, and the huge artificial rocks are too overwhelming and distracting.  Perhaps there was not enough time to clear them since Dahlia Dreams had just ended on 8 March and the people had only 3 days to put up this new display.

If time permits, I may make my way down to the Flower Dome again for another round of visit before the display ends on 27 March. 🙂

More photos here

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YULETIDE IN FLOWER DOME

We are on the last page of the calender for year 2014.  Time seems to slip away at such a blinding speed!  And, 2015 is already quietly making its way in!

I still have no plans for this Christmas yet.  I would like to have DS joining me on outings to enjoy the Christmas decorations, and be soaked in the mood of this festive season which is my favourite time of the year.  It is just too bad that DS has been so bogged down by his work this year, even at this year-end.  I just can’t wait for him to get over the current project!  So much said about work-life balance in Singapore but I have not heard of any employers that actually care about and practise this, from people I know!

I visited the Gardens by the Bay recently. This time for the Christmas floral display themed “Yuletide in the Flower Dome“.

Yuletide in the Flower Dome

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I have already lost count on the number of times I have visited the Flower Dome.  It is one attraction in Singapore that I have visited most.  Unlike other attractions, the seasonable or thematic floral displays and the beautiful blooms from the permanent display, make it interesting to visit the Flower Dome over and over again, and without getting sick of it!  There aren’t many such attractions in Singapore.

This year’s Christmas floral display in the Flower Dome is definitely much better than last year’s.  The wooden Christmas trees found both outside and inside the Flower Dome, are an eye-catcher.  Although looking plain and simple, they stand out amongst the other typical Christmas trees.  They are a piece of art.

Centre decorations after the entrance of the Flower Dome

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Lots of bears are used for this year’s decorations.  Surely this will be an attraction for the the little ones and also the bear-lovers!

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Bear Santa

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Bears, Christmas trees and poinsettias aside, the decoration is set in a little snowy, western town with building, cathedral, snowmen etc.  There is also a candy factory (but no candy sales!).  Very Christmasty feel!

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The tall tower which is recycled from the Orchid Extravaganza event a few months ago, lights up every evening, from 6:30pm.

This shot was taken towards the end of my visit.  The sky was dark, the reindeer were all lighted up but not the lights on the tower

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I was so hoping that the lights would come on earlier, given the dark sky but they didn’t.  That was a little disappointment.  So, I reckon I will have to make another trip to the Flower Dome one of these evenings in order to see the lighting.  I think I also should not miss the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay event which is an outdoor event that started on 29 November.  I have read that the Luminarie light sculptures in Christmas Wonderland were specially constructed and flown in from Europe, for the first time. I just hope for a good weather on the day I go!

Photo from Gardens by the Bay website

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Flower Dome never fails to surprise me every time I visit.  This time it was this new installation.

La Famille de Voyageurs, Sculpture in Bronze (2014) by Bruno Catalano.  It is a gift from Singapore Changi Airport to Gardens by the Bay that embodies the strategic collaboration between the two organisations

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It was pouring at the time I left Gardens by the Bay.  Thanks to the very thoughtful driver of the shuttle tram between the garden and Bayfront MRT station.  Instead of dropping us in the usual drop-off point which a walking-distance away from the station, he actually drove us all the way to the sheltered lift-landing area of the station and spared us from getting wet!  Thanks Mr Driver!  This is one very good example of a GEM (Go the Extra Mile) service which I would say unusual in Singapore!

19 days to Christmas!

SINGAPORE GARDEN FESTIVAL 2010

Last Saturday (17 July), DS and I spent a good 6-7 hours at the Garden Festival 2010 which is being held at the Suntec Convention Centre, 15-22 July 2010.

We bought our tickets for this event online well in advance.  Thanks to the event organiser for making available online ticket purchase (for the first time) from a few months ago.  This really saved us the trouble and time of queuing up to purchase the tickets there and then.  All we needed to do was to pick up the tickets at a separate dedicated counter at the ticket booth.

As we had expected, the event has attracted large crowds, young and old, just like the previous ones.  I also noticed that they are a lot more photography enthusiasts at the event this time.

LANDSCAPE & FANTASY GARDENS

The Man Who Planted Tree – the centrepiece in the Landscape Garden Section
This centrepiece is inspired by the French eco-fable, The Man Who Planted Trees, a charming fictional tale of a shepherd who set out to reforest the ruined eco-system of a desolate and abandoned valley in the foothills of the Alps, near Provence in France.
The Tree House – Modern Kampong Lifestyle by John Tan Chee Hian (Singapore).  Winner of Best of Show in the Landscape Garden Category
Hometown in Tianjin, Surplus Year After Year by Wang Hong Cheng (China).  One of the silver winners in Landscape Garden Category.
The Last Australian Garden by Rick Eckersley, Myles Broad and Scott Leung (Australia).  One of the Gold winners in the Fantasy Garden Category.
The Spice of Life – A Grenada Garden by Suzanne Gaywood (UK/Grenada) , One of the Bronze Winners in the Fantasy Garden Category.  DS and I like this the best!  I imagine it would really be a fantasy to have such a lovely garden!
The Paradise Lost, An African Fantasy by David Davidson (South Africa), another Bronze Winner in the Fantasy Garden Category
Design with Nature by Brigitte Heinrichs (Germany), Best of Show in the Floral Windows To The World Category.
In the Beginning, There was Light… by Alex Choi (Korea), another Gold Winner in the Floral Windows to The World Category
Rhythm of Nature by Janet Alesich (Australia), one of the Silver winners in the Floral Windows To the World Category
Mother of Nature by Irene Hee
Hoerikwaggo (meaning Mountains in the Sea) by Emmie Pabst & Marjolijin Malan (South Africa), Floral Windows to the World Category
Click here for MORE PHOTOS ON LANDSCAPE AND FANTASY GARDENS

According to what I had read, the event is said to be even more spectacular than the previous ones.  While DS and I had enjoyed the visit, the floral displays did not actually impress us as much as the last two, especially the one in 2008.  We somehow felt the lack of that “wow” factor in the Landscape & Fantasy Gardens section.  However, there was certainly no regrets in going to such an event as there were great photography opportunities.

The Orchid Show with participations from overseas countries, local floral organisations as well as schools, was nice too although we found it largely the same as the previous one in 2008.  Within the same hall where the Orchid Show was held, there were also a lot of floral arrangements on display.  These are works from two competitions – Floral Harmony at Nanyang : Inter-School Floral Competition and the 7th International FDSS (Floral Designers Society Singapore) Cup Floral Designing Competition.  There were also Bonsais.

ORCHID SHOW

Entrance area of Orchid Show

By Taiwan Orchid Growers Association and Taiwan Orchid Breeders Association
By the Organising Committee of the China (Sanya) International Orchid Show
Wind of Okinawa
By Naval Base Secondary School, Singapore
Philippines Orchid Society, Best Display (10 Square Metre), Straits Times Press Challenge Cup
Peranakan Garden – Gardeners’ Cup Champion – by Assumption English School, Mayfair Park Estate Neighbourhood Committee and Moulmein Goldhill Neighbourhood Committee

HARMONY @ NANYANG INTER-SCHOOL FLORAL COMPETITION

7th INTERNATIONAL FDSS CUP FLORAL DESIGNING COMPETITION

One of the works of Hung Mo Joo (Korea), 1st Prize Winner of Professional Category and winner of FDSS Design Excellence Award
By Kazuhiko Tanaka (Japan) Merit Award Winner
Identity Crisis by Novembriati (Indonesia)
Metamorphosis, also by Novembriati (Indonesia)
By Fan Ian Ian (Macau)
By Lim Li Jun (Malaysia)
Bonsai Gold Winner
Can you read the Chinese character formed?
Can’t explain why but this one somehow caught my attention!

Please click on the following for a lot more photos.

ORCHID SHOW

FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS & BONSAI

Flowers are such a beauty.  I don’t think I will ever get sick of watching them, and I am certainly looking forward to the next one!