Garden Festival moving outdoors

This year's Singapore Garden Festival, opening in August, will be a festival of firsts.

For one thing, it will be held in the Gardens by the Bay for the first time in its nine-year history.

The outdoor location means that structures on display can triple in height to 9m, up from the previous height limit of 3m.

Miniature gardens with tiny plants and furniture will also go on display for the first time this year.

This year's outdoor displays will feature tropical plants suited to the local climate, as well as more than 2,000 varieties of orchids in the indoor Flower Dome.

Last year, visitors were treated to massive sculptures made entirely of plants, lavish "landscape gardens" with water features, and smaller-scale "balcony gardens" tailored to the needs of apartment dwellers.

"Singapore is a garden city moving towards being a city in a garden, so we pride ourselves on horticulture and the offerings of the garden," said Dr Kiat Tan, chief executive of Gardens by the Bay and adviser to the National Parks Board (NParks).

He said most famous international flower shows feature temperate plants. "But we are in the land of perpetual summer, and we can therefore showcase a much wider range of plant material."

This year's Singapore Garden Festival is jointly organised by NParks and the Gardens by the Bay. Previously, the biennial festival was held at the Suntec convention centre. The Straits Times is the official media partner for the festival this year.

Organisers are targeting to have at least 100,000 visitors this year, about the same number as the last festival in 2012. They did not give any estimate of the cost of the festival.

"We hope that doing this in a unique setting and creating a show that is far more exciting than the last one will bring more visitors to the show," said NParks chief executive Kenneth Er.

Dr Tan said that the Gardens by the Bay had always been the "intended home" of the Singapore Garden Festival. "The festival is a place to showcase the wonderful biodiversity of plant life in the tropics, and I'm very happy that we are finally bringing it to a garden setting."

The Singapore Garden Festival will be held at the Gardens by the Bay from Aug 16 to 24. Ticket prices range from $5 to $14 for residents, with a special discount for Singaporeans aged 60 and above.