Singapore is known as The Lion City (Singapura was the older name and “singa” means lion). But we are also known as The Garden City (a term coined by our government back in the 1960s as part of its post-independence vision of creating a beautiful and liveable island-city.
We have quite a history when it comes to orchid cultivation, with many new varieties created each year. There are more than 120 orchids named after VIPs including the tough looking Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher, the pure white Dendrobium Princess Diana, and the Paravanda Nelson Mandela. Our national flower is the Vanda Miss Joaquim. (You can read more about our National Orchid Garden located on the grounds of our beautiful Singapore Botanic Gardens.)
Orchids were found in many home gardens in Singapore. I am not so sure if it still true as few own homes with a garden now. My father used to plant many orchids. Here is a picture of me at about 2 years old having a fun time in the garden – you can see the orchids that my father planted just behind me.
As I grew up with orchids blooming in my face, I never really appreciated their beauty until later in life as imported flowers such as roses, carnations and tulips seemed much more exotic. What a mistake – to think that the grass is greener on the other side, and that the flowers in someone else’s garden are more beautiful than those in mine. It robs you of the joy in your midst.
There’s actually something quite sexy about orchids, don’t you think?