Despite battling heavy rains from a passing typhoon and working with a language barrier, a pair of Singaporean landscape designers has won the top prize at the Gardening World Cup in Japan.
Taking home the Gold Award and Best of Show in the international show gardens category, Mr John Tan, 53, and Mr Raymond Toh, 52, beat seven other international competitors.
With 100 sq m of space to work with, and a 6 million yen (S$75,906) budget, they built their whimsical garden from scratch. They partnered with a Japanese contractor, who helped them source for materials and build the garden.
But it was not all smooth running through the set-up phase of the annual competition, which took place at Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park near Nagasaki that has replicas of 17th-century Dutch buildings.
Mr Tan, who runs Esmond Landscape and Horticultural in Neo Tiew Crescent with Mr Toh, said: "Even though we had a translator, the Japanese contractor didn't quite understand how we wanted to execute the design I had drawn. And then Typhoon Danas came, and it was raining non-stop.
"We had to stop work and remove the plants so that they would not be damaged. We lost days setting up but I told myself there's nothing that I can do. We just carried on."
He has been there since Sept 30 to start building the garden. It was designed around the competition's theme of A Prayer For Peace With Flowers And Greenery.
They defeated tough competition, which included New Zealander Xanthe White, who won Silver at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show two years ago, and Japanese designer Yousuke Yamaguchi, who worked at the Japanese Garden in the famed Royal Botanic Gardens, better known as the Kew Gardens, in London.