The public will get an opportunity to shape Singapore's newest national gardens.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said yesterday a roving exhibition to gather ideas for the masterplan for Jurong Lake Gardens will be launched in April.
The first section of the gardens is due to open in 2017.
"You don't get this very often because we don't have very many national gardens in Singapore," said Mr Wong, who chairs the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee.
"This is perhaps a chance of a lifetime to get something done right and done beautifully for the western region."
He was speaking after touring a quarterly event for gardening enthusiasts at Hort Park in Alexandra with Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.
Designs for five new community gardens in the park were unveiled as part of Singapore's golden jubilee celebrations by the National Parks Board (NParks).
Gardeners from each of the five districts together with NParks landscape architects started work on the designs late last year, and actual landscaping will begin around July.
The Community in Bloom gardens will be open to the public from September this year to 2018.
Mr Wong said a similar process could take place in the 90ha plot - roughly the size of 120 football fields - in Jurong.
"One of the ideas for Jurong Lake Gardens is to provide a platform for community gardeners to work with NParks landscape architects and create showpiece gardens," he said.
One such gardener could be Mr Tony Yau, 61, who has been running a plot inside Chinese Garden for nearly two years.
"We should create more space for communities to come together and form bigger groups of gardeners," said the businessman.
"We could also grow large quantities of vegetables to help needy families in the Jurong area, and herbs to educate people about their uses."
The five new gardens at Hort Park have been designed by 50 community groups, and will each be 200 sq m - around the size of two Housing Board five-room flats. They will have various themes, ranging from birds to dragon playgrounds.
More than 250 gardeners from schools, residents' committees and other groups have been involved in the project.
One of them, retiree Oh Kee Swee, 60, has been tending a 1ha plot - with organic vegetables and animals such as birds and rabbits - in Sembawang Zone E for 11 years.
For the Hort Park garden, his team from the Northwest District came up with a theme of "balik kampung", or "return to the village". They hope to have fruit trees, models of kampung houses and farming plots in the garden.
Mr Oh said: "I owned a kampung house before and most of my friends are from kampung days. We want people to have the kampung feel of friendship and brotherhood."
This article was first published on Feb 9, 2015.
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