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Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS • P. O. Box 7, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081 • 610.505.8262 •


First-timers at Singapore Garden Festival win top awards

By Natasha Ann Zachariah


A British landscaping duo and an American garden designer have won the top prizes at the Singapore Garden Festival.

Mr Andrew Wilson, 54 and Mr Gavin McWilliam, 38, founders and directors at Wilson McWilliam Studio, won the gold and best of show in the landscape gardens category.

Mr Michael Petrie, 62, won the same awards in the fantasy gardens category for his Back To The Wild display.

These and other winners were announced on Friday at the festival, which opens to the public on Saturday at Gardens By The Bay and runs till Aug 24.

Mr McWilliam, who is taking part in the festival for the first time, said: "We were trying to produce something ambitious and memorable. After all, it's a show garden and our design had to be something that could only be done in this arena."

The pair designed a two-storey garden called Sacred Grove, complete with 37 trees on the roof to create a canopy, while Mr Petrie - who is also exhibiting in Singapore for the first time - made a garden which mixed recyclable materials and plants, creating the impression of a modern city overrun by nature.

These two gardens, together with 13 others by Singaporean and international designers, are the centrepiece at the biennial festival.

Now in its fifth edition, the festival has moved from its previous indoor venue, the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The festival grounds span 2.2ha and and is spread out across the Gardens by the Bay - from The Meadow to the Flower Dome, where an orchid extravaganza featuring 18,000 blooms is on display.

Aside from various types of gardens such as balcony gardens and floral table displays, there is also a marketplace where more than 80 vendors will sell a wide array of plants, gardening and landscape products and services, as well as arts and crafts.

Mr Petrie, who has participated in numerous garden shows around the world, gave this one the thumbs up.

"The Singapore festival is an up-and-coming flower show in the world, and it's going to get bigger each year," he said.

"International designers want to come, as it's a well organised event and is held in a beautiful location.. the perfect spot for a garden festival."


Michael Petrie wins GOLD & BEST OF SHOW at International Garden Design Competition in SINGAPORE

Handmade Garden’s owner Michael Petrie can add the word international to his award-winning garden design titles, having just won both Gold and Best of Show in Asia’s highly regarded tropical garden and flower show—the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF).

This August 2014 win comes on the heels of Petrie’s winning a Silver medal in the 2013 Gardening World Cup (GWC) in Japan last fall. 

The SGF, which took place August 18-24, 2014 at Gardens By the Bay, Singapore, brought together international award-winning designers from all over the world to compete under one roof. Invited participants included recent top winners from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in England; the Gardening World Cup in Japan, the Ellerslie International Flower Show in New Zealand; the Philadelphia Flower Show; and the SGF itself.

In October 2013, Michael Petrie represented the United States in the 2013 Gardening World Cup at Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki, Japan. In this event, Petrie was one of eight world class designers invited to create a show garden on the theme of peace. His entry, “Finding Peace,” was awarded a Silver Medal.

“Finding Peace,” was recently showcased in the August 2014 issue of Country Gardens® magazine, along with the gardens of four fellow designers in the show (see photo, below left). The Country Gardens® article, which was written by editor James A. Baggett,  featured photographs by photographer extraordinaire Rob Cardillo (Private Edens, The Layered Garden). More photos by Rob Cardillo from the 2013 Gardening World Cup can be seen in this A Flower Show at the End of the World "Garden Rant” guest post.

Michael Petrie won Best of Show award in the fantasy gardens category of the 2014 Singapore Garden Festival for his “Back To The Wild” display, above.

Petrie’s Singapore win was in the Fantasy Garden category, one of three main competitive categories in the SGF that are the star attractions at the Festival. For each category, judges can hand out Gold, Silver and Bronze medals with the overall winner being awarded with the title of Best of Show. Petrie’s garden, a 9-metre by 9-metre landscape called “Back To The Wild,” mixed recyclable materials and plants to create the impression of a modern city overrun by nature. As a 2014 Best of Show winner, Petrie is invited to participate in the next Singapore Garden Festival which takes place in 2016.

Michael Petrie’s 2013 Gardening World Cup Silver winner featured in Country Gardens®

Below, left to right: Garden designers Lim In Chong (Malaysia), Xanthe White (New Zealand), James Basson (France), Country Gardens® editor James A. Baggett, Michael Petrie (United States), and Leon Kluge (South Africa) at Gardening World Cup at Huis Ten Bosch in southern Japan.  Below, right: Michael Petrie and his garden, “Finding Peace,” which won a Silver Medal in the 2013 Gardening World Cup. PHOTOS © 2014 by Rob Cardillo.