19 November 2011


This week Singapore hosted the 20th World Orchid Conference and became Asia’s first country to host the event for the second time since its launch in 1954. The conference is hosted in a different location every three years and this year the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Conference Center was the selected venue.

Paul and I followed the Friday afternoon crowds into a space that is typically filled with tables and chairs and walked into something reminiscent of the New Year’s Day Rose Parade. While some orchids were presented solo, others were combined into elaborate centerpieces. 

Some organizations developed grand displays that resembled stationary floats.

I wanted to ensure that we attended the show during the week because, as I have stated many times before, weekend crowds make us crazy. People were in awe of all of the displays. They all got so close to the flowers and captured thousands of images. Everyone in attendance was a professional photographer that day.

Carnivorous orchids

A closer look


Orchids in the shape of an orchid

After viewing the displays, Paul and I were able to attend a special preview of a new venue set to open in June 2012, Gardens by the Bay. We have seen the domes on the edge of the Singapore Strait several times and often wondered what they were. Paul did some research in September and learned about the gardens.

This week, in conjunction with the World Orchid Conference, the Gardens by the Bay venue was opened to WOC ticketholders for a special seven-day preview.

Walking in and seeing the giant-columns that somewhat resembled trees, we were able to see the plants growing all around the trunks. We previously thought these were some sort of construction columns for a new building, bridge or highway of some sort. We now know that they are all a part of the creative garden landscape.

The two architecturally-fascinating domes act as temperature- and moisture-controlled environments that ensure optimal growth of the flora housed inside. Walking into the Flower Dome was like stepping into a different world. There were no walls, just a vast space with exotic trees and other vegetation flowing over several levels.

The casting of the panels in the walls and the ceiling created a flow that complemented the winding paths.

The views outside the buildings were as breathtaking as inside the dome. For those who can make the trip after the official June opening, definitely add the Gardens by the Bay to your list of things you must see while in Singapore.

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