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Gardens celebrating SG50 with rare orchid showcases

SINGAPORE — Rare orchids will be on display at the Republic’s newly minted World Heritage site, partly to celebrate its successful inscription, but also to kick-start the Botanic Gardens’ series of activities leading up to the Golden Jubilee weekend.

Gardens celebrating SG50 with rare orchid showcases

Mr Simon Tan, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Events & Exhibitions at Singapore Botanic Gardens with Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Ministry of Communications and Information at the new exhibition called "Botanical Inspirations" launch today, July 10, 2015. Photo: Constance Yeo

SINGAPORE — Rare orchids will be on display at the Republic’s newly minted World Heritage site, partly to celebrate its successful inscription, but also to kick-start the Botanic Gardens’ series of activities leading up to the Golden Jubilee weekend.

The new exhibition, called Botanical Inspirations, was rolled out today (July 10) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and also marks the National Orchid Garden’s 20th anniversary. The celebrations will culminate in a live telecast of the National Day Parade.

The various SG50 activities offer Singaporeans a chance to discover both old and new reasons to cherish the Gardens and see it with fresh eyes, said Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong at the launch of the exhibition todayy.

The activities include carnivals, concerts by local artistes, guided heritage walks, cultural booths showcasing botanical-themed batik paintings and calligraphy, traditional games, badge-making, balloon sculpting and screenings of local films.

Meanwhile, Botanical Inspirations comprises two separate showcases: “Orchids Of Singapore Botanic Gardens And Their Heritage” and “Tropical Splendour: Plant Portraits From The Shirley Sherwood Collection Of Contemporary Botanical Art”.

The former boasts more than 16,000 orchid plants in three categories. The first category includes heritage orchids that clinched international awards and those named after historical figures. The second and third include orchids named after dignitaries, such as Prince William and his wife Catherine, and celebrities such as actors Jackie Chan and Shah Rukh Khan, respectively.

The second showcase features 55 illustrations by 36 artists of botanical art, on loan from Dr Shirley Sherwood, a collector of contemporary botanical illustrations since 1990. Ten reproductions from the Gardens’ own collection will also be on display.

“This exhibition is unique, as it encompasses two different but complementary showcases that illustrate how varied and diverse the work of the Gardens is,” said Mr Simon Tan, assistant director of Horticulture, Events and Exhibitions at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

“We not only deal with live plants, but also herbarium and botanical art.” 

Botanic Gardens volunteer Betty Wee described the orchids displayed outdoors as a burst of colours and shapes.

“I’m overwhelmed; the creativity is unparalleled. It’s also nice that we can see the two hybrid orchids, Aranda Lee Kuan Yew and Vanda Kwa Geok Choo, side by side,” the 68-year-old added.

The free exhibition is part of the Gardens’ ongoing efforts to increase public awareness of its rich heritage and role as a leading botanical institution.

Commenting on its United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) inscription, Mr Wong, who is also Second Minster for Communications and Information, said: “It represents the highest form of commitment that can be made to protect the Gardens for future generations of Singaporeans and all humanity.”

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