Hardly eight months after hosting the 20th World Orchid Conference, the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA) was called to stage the Singapore Orchid Show (SOS), which is part of the biennial Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) 2012.
Held at the usual location, Level 4 at Suntec City Convention Centre, the Show comprised 18 landscape displays, 10 floral window displays, and over 400 plants submitted for show judging. We had a total of 12 overseas groups who participated, not including 24 foreign judges – a clear sign that many of our overseas friends have recovered from the exertions of the recent WOC event and were eager to come to another Singapore show again, and so soon after the last one.
Though this Show was smaller in scale than the SOS 2010, the features still packed a punch, with a fairground theme that conjured up fun, colour and fantasy for visitors, thanks to the creativity of NParks’ designer, Jason Wright. Plants submitted for judging were housed under ‘amusement park’ tents and the winning plants arranged in a carousel that dominated the show. There was even a giant Ferris wheel, loaded with orchids, which actually worked.
Unlike the previous 2010 Show (as well as the 20th WOC), individual plant judging took place only amongst plants placed on benched specially submitted for this occasion, and not on plants freely arranged in landscapes. This was at the request of commercial growers, who preferred this ‘traditional’ system, for reasons of simplicity and perceived equitability in judging ‘like with like’. This method, adopted and honed to perfection in most Asian shows – albeit with slight variations – was also easier for our stewards and registration personnel.
A stunning Dendrobium Mah Bow Tan, with long sprays of myriad flowers and exhibited by Neo Tuan Hong, won the President’s Challenge Cup for Grand Champion Plant and John Laycock Challenge Cup for Best Hybrid. Neo Tuan Hong was also the exhibitor of the Reserve Champion Plant, Dendrobium schulleri, which won the Best Specimen Plant and the Best Species.
The Grand Champion Landscape award went to Tech Whye Sec School, the very first time in the history of SOS that a school won this highly coveted prize. Woon Leng Nursery was declared the Exhibitor with the most first place awards, and James Frakenfield was judged the Amateur Exhibitor with the greatest number of points, winning HH The Sultan of Johor’s Perpetual Trophy. Other winners included Orchidwoods for the Best Landscape Display in the Open category, John Tan Jiew Hoe for best Renanthera (Ren. 20th WOC Singapore 2011), Song Orchids for Best Vanda Species (Vanda denisoniana), and Chwee Nursery for Best Mokara (Mokara Chao Praya Boy).
As in previous shows, the bustling Marketplace was a regular favourite with visitors, and the popular Batik Painting corner took care of restless children while grateful parents looked on. Public talks on orchid growing were presented to a receptive audience throughout the 8-day Show. Hence, despite the SGF/SOS taking place so soon after 20th WOC, we were glad to see so many people once more thronging the halls and admiring orchids, living up to Singapore’s image as ‘A City in a Garden’.