Speech by Professor Leo Tan, Chairman, NParks, at the Singapore Garden Festival Awards Gala Dinner
15 Dec 2006
15 December 2006
President & Mrs Nathan,
Minister Mah & Mrs Mah,
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the inaugural Singapore Garden Festival, on behalf of the National Parks Board and all their partners, who have worked so hard to make this event possible.For those of you who are visiting Singapore for the first time, a warm welcome to you too, to our island city.We hope your stay will be pleasant and fruitful.
The Singapore Garden Festival is, in many ways, the culmination of more than four decades of greening efforts in Singapore.Our heritage of greening has its earliest beginnings in the colonial days, with the Singapore Botanic Gardens, established in 1859 as a showpiece of botanical study, cultivation and presentation.Since independence in 1965, Singapore has carried on this tradition with more zeal and passion.We have trimmed every bush and sometimes, literally, left no stone unturned, to look after our garden environment.Our Garden City has become known around the world.
Indeed, the Garden City is an ecosystem comprising of parks and gardens, our nature reserves, tree-planting along our roads as well as gardens in private homes.We are expanding the ownership of greenery, with initiatives such as the "Community In Bloom" programme to promote a gardening culture in Singapore.Today, gardens consisting of flowers, herbs, spices or even vegetables can be found in public and private estates, schools as well as other organisations such as hospitals.These gardens are taken care of by residents, students, staff and volunteers, in which gardening has become very much an integral part of their lifestyle.They are even reaching out to other communities to help with the setting up of new gardens.
We are also moving into a new phase with a quantum shift to the international stage with our Gardens by the Bay project and, now, the Singapore Garden Festival.We are proud to present to the world this flora fiesta with its beautiful garden and floral displays put up by top international garden and floral designers.
I would like to thank the President of Singapore, Mr S R Nathan for gracing the occasion and Minister Mah for his guidance and unstinting support for the Singapore Garden Festival.I wish all visitors an enjoyable time at the Singapore Garden Festival and a happy festive season. For our friends and partners who are participating at the Festival, I trust that you will enjoy the rest of their stay here.