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The most lavish garden festivals in the world

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show just wrapped up in London yesterday. Held every year, the grand horticultural event transforms Covent Garden into London’s largest outdoor floral art gallery blooming with events and displays at dozens of the area’s shops and restaurants.

This year’s highlights included the Moments of Reflection exhibition at Covent Garden Piazza, a conceptual installation designed by world-renowned landscaper Gavin Jones and Covent Garden’s newly installed head gardener. The installation combines mirrors and living walls of Britain’s favourite spring blooms, such as flowers, herbs and fruit trees.

While the RHS produces 13 flower shows a year, its Chelsea spectacle is by far the most popular. One of the oldest and best-known of its kind, it launched in 1913 and attracts about 165,000 visitors yearly.

The Chelsea Flower Show isn’t the only one. In fact, there are many horticultural shows around the globe for floral enthusiasts and passionate gardeners alike — one of which takes place right on our shores. The presentation in question? The Singapore Garden Festival, which is back for its seventh edition this year. It’s preceded by last month’s inaugural SGF Orchid Show, which showcased a variety of award-winning and heritage orchids at the National Orchid Garden, part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

If you still can’t get enough of these floral wonderlands, here are the garden festivals you shouldn’t miss around the world.

(Main photo: Country and Townhouse

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Singapore Garden Festival

The Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) will return for its seventh edition from 21 July to 3 August. Taking place across two conservatories at Gardens by the Bay, the biennial festival comes back even better this year with an expanded show format, with three flower and horticultural extravaganzas instead of only one main show.

This year’s highlights include creations by 30 internationally-acclaimed garden and floral designers around the world, such as British-based Andy Sturgeon (who won a gold medal and the best in show award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2016) and Australian Jim Fogarty. Award-winning local director Royston Tan will also work on the creative concept and direction for the display.

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Flora, International Flower Festival

The inaugural Flora, International Flower Festival launched last October in Cordoba, Spain, and saw public patios in the city transformed into beautiful works of art. Taking place across eight public courtyards in the city, selected international floral artists crafted eye-catching floral installations inspired by the city’s heritage and the famous courtyards themselves.

Highlights from last year’s edition included Waterlily Pond’s “Duende”, a pink arabesque made of flowers and tulle ribbon inspired by the whirl of a flamenco dancer’s skirt, as well as Belgian artist Tomas De Bruyne’s “Paradise: Delirium and Desire”, which showcased a row of rose-tinted blooms climbing up a tree-like structure of Cordovan filigree. While a second instalment hasn’t been announced, we’re certain we’ll hear more about Flora soon.

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Melbourne Royal Flower Festival

The annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest and most beloved horticultural event. This year, it was held in March for five days at the heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding Carlton Gardens. The exhibition attracts floral aficionados and gardening enthusiasts alike, with the exhibition building blooming with show gardens, floral displays, workshops, plant sales and more.

Highlights this year included a floral design workshop conducted by Melbourne Flower School, where participants learnt to arrange different textures, structural pieces, and flowers. Designers involved in the most recent edition included MPF Gardens, Ben Hutchinson Landscapes and Stem Landscape Architecture.

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Philadelphia Flower Show

Each spring, the Philadelphia Convention Centre transforms into a floral wonderland — also known as the Philadelphia Flower Show. Boasting 10 acres (435,600 square feet) of floral exhibition space, the exhibition is the largest and longest-running indoor flower show in the United States.

It was originally founded by a group of gentleman farmers, botanists and gardeners who got together to share knowledge with each other and other parts of the world. Today, it has bloomed into a vivid paradise of floral designs, landscape displays, talks, demonstrations and a vast indoor market.

This year’s show, which ended 11 March, focused on the rainforest, with an exhibit demonstrating a wild and colourfully immersive experience, and the vital role rainforests play as the planet’s premier natural water filtration system. Next year’s edition takes place from 2 to 10 March.

(Photo: 34th Street)

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Hong Kong Flower Show

Adding a splash of bright colours in the urban jungle is the Hong Kong Flower Show, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Victoria Park every year. The event also includes fringe events such as music and dance performances, green talks,  floral art demonstrations, fashion shows, greening activities workshops, green promotional stalls, guided visits, recreation programmes and games.

This year’s highlights include two installations, a maze garden and a floral marquee, as well as a line-up of special evening concerts and dance performances.

The most lavish garden festivals in the world

Dewi Nurjuwita

Senior Writer

Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.


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