Here are some of the highlights you should not miss:
Landscape Show Gardens
Fifteen award-winning gardening luminaries from around the world present 80sqm creations (outdoors in the Landscape Gardens; indoors in the Fantasy Gardens).
Come see the works of landscape and garden designers from Australia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
First photo is of Singapore designer Ann Teo's The Garden Palette, and the second photo is The Sugarcane Maze by China designer Kong Jian Yu.
But our favourite from the outdoor gardens is probably The Treasure Box by Malaysia designer Inch Lim. Five metre walls enclose a secret pavilion, a small waterfall with running stream and rice plants in water symbolising the treasure of life and sustenance.
The Fantasy Garden is located in an air-conditioned tent, and what sweet relief that is! We ducked in there twice in fact. The one we spent the most time at was the Nature's Resolution. It has a lovely wooden bridge across the water, and dangling "story cubes" that outline the optimal relationship between man and nature. Some plants were specially chosen for their benevolent properties.
In the background, meditative Chinese instrumental music bring us back to the past when the world was different. Interestingly, this is all from an Italian designer.
Dare to Dream is by Singapore designers. It's a garden of surreal dimensions where the impossible is possible.
Modern-day Maui is a tribute to the demi-god of Polynesia whose name means "to live". It depicts how he would live today...his house and garden. The head sculpture is awesome.
Mystical Depths from the UK draws on folkloric fantasies. The busy woodland envelops otherworldly pools. The twinkling lights are suggestive of spirits in an enchanted world.
14 Floral Windows to the WorldOh this was the most stunning section of all, featuring colourful and vibrant cut-flower displays and floral masterpieces with stunning set design and lighting by 15 floral designers from around the world.
Spectacular exhibits from master floral artists from Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America. We were stuck here for a while because of the rain, but we sure didn't mind! Nadine and Jolie were so inspired, they started taking lots of photos themselves.
Orchid Extravaganza @ Flower Dome
Your ticket allows you entry into the Flower Dome during the festival days. This is where you'll get to see the seasonal floral display. Orchids are the theme this time and there are so many varieties and colours.
The orchids are integrated into different areas within the Flower Dome.
Not sure if these are also orchids? But they are so pretty.
There are even miniature orchids.
These are from the roadside near the landscape gardens. Orchids are everywhere, not just in the Flower Dome.
The Flower Dome alone has many species of plants that grow in dry and cool climates like Australia, South America, the Mediterranean and parts of Africa.
I love these brain-shaped cacti.
There are so many other plants, big and small, that are simply beautiful.
Awesome dragon sculpted from wood! You'll see various sculptures and statues decorating the plant displays.
General DisplaysThere are so many displays, we didn't manage to see them all in one day.
The World of Terrariums is pretty fun. You'll see lots of terrarium displays of all kinds, from tiny hanging ones to aquarium sized ones. Great for ideas.
Benny's Sunflower Farm is a cheery sunflower field decorated with giant bee figurines. Bees are so important to the plant ecosystem.
At the Learning Garden, children can discover plants associated with their favourite food, drinks and desserts. They can see what chili plants and laksa leaf shrubs look like. There's a worksheet for them too.
Gary's Musical Flower Field is blooming with marigolds, angelonias and other shrubs. A piano, cello and harp make up the whimsical orchestra.
The Landscape Design Challenge pit eight teams of students from four tertiary institutions to transorm a 3m x 3m empty space into a "Chillout Garden" within four hours.
Look out for butterflies all over the place.
If you come in from entrance D near the car park, you'll see the Grand Floral Walk itself.
Marketplace (Non-ticketed Area)
There is a public marketplace (free admission) near the Bayfront Plaza with over 100 booths offering food and beverages, plants, gardening and landscape products and services, and arts and crafts for sale. Visitors can also look forward to nightly performances by local musicians.
I bumped into an old blogger friend Gin who was a fellow winner at the Singapore Blog Awards 2010. It's been a long time since that SBA Hong Kong trip we all took in 2010.
She owns Shinnpark (Booth 04) which retails super kawaii everyday products. I'm so happy to know she now has a physical shop at Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #01-43.
I also love this Love in a Bottle shop (booth A1) which specialises in terrariums, mini gardens and flowers, DIY kits and indoor plants. Because Totoro figurines! I picked one up for a terrarium I am building. The Totoro photos were taken by Jolie, my 8-year old daughter using my DSLR.
Dining in the Garden City (Non-ticketed Area)
OK makan! You'll likely be spending hours there, so you need to fuel up! The most economical option is Dining in the Garden City, just beyond the Marketplace. It's a tented area with lots of stalls (many of whom are hawkers) offering food from S$4-8.
It's not air-conditioned, but it's cool enough. We tried Ming Fa Fishball Noodles (edible) and Fatty Weng's seafood horfun (terrible). Both S$5 each.
Lavish had a soft shell crab "burger" (S$8) in choice of two sauces - chili crab style or salted egg yolk. I went for the latter. It was nice but the mantou is a bit too dense and thick, so we ended up eating it separately, dipping it in some horfun gravy. Fries are nice.
Getting Around The Show
Make sure you use the map that's given to you. Get to know the different sections, target the ones you want to see, and plan how to move from place to place. I walked a little randomly and missed some areas like the Balcony Gardens.
Thankfully there's a complimentary shuttle bringing you to different points of the show - it's a pretty long walk from the entrances to Flower Dome, for example!
It might make sense to spend the hottest hours of the day in air-conditioned zones too. Bring an umbrella in case it rains (like it did on our visit).
Keep your ticket also, in case you need to re-enter ticketed areas.
SGF 2016 SHOW DETAILSDates: 23-31 July 2016
Location: Gardens By The Bay (nearest MRT is Bayfront)
Show Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily
Conservatories Opening Hours: 9am to 10pm daily
Ticket Prices: see more details on discounts and where to purchase here
* Singapore citizens, permanent residents and those living in Singapore, including holders of employment passes, work permits or dependent passes. Proof of residency may be required when purchasing tickets or upon entry.