IMBIZO yase Afrika at the
Singapore Garden Show
‘IMBIZO’ is an African Zulu word (‘Indaba’ in Xhosa) meaning an important Assembly or Gathering
I was invited to participate at this event in 2008 (held for the first time in 2006) and again in 2010 as one of the international creators of a fantasy garden.
It was the first garden show in the tropics to showcase creations from the world’s top award-winning garden and floral designers under one roof. The inaugural show, held in 2006, attracted over 200 000 visitors. The 2010 show featured exhibits designed by top garden designers from around the world including Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Thailand, UK and USA.
The fantasy African garden featured an eclectic collection of native plants and various traditional design inspirations from the African continent including the tribal wall art of the Ndebele people combined with the architectural style of West Africa’s mud buildings and a bee-hive domed roof typical of royal Zulu dwellings. Also included in the display were a family of ornamental giraffes sculpted in steel by local craftsmen which occupied the central space in the pavilion and an entrance arch with two columns representing giant elephant tusks.
The framework of the exhibit had to be light-weight and was pre-fabricated in solid polystyrene by a company in Paarden Eiland called Hotwired which uses computer-based technology and ingenious hot wire cutting frames to mould three-dimensional objects of any size.
The exhibit featured winter-flowering fynbos flora (June to August) available at the time along with some larger tree aloes and succulent plants. Proteas, restios (thatching reeds) and ericas (heaths) are the main components of this flora, known as the fynbos biome. I was able to also source some South African plants in Singapore such as the Sansevieria (Mother-in-law’s tongue) and the Impala lily (Adenium) which originated in Africa but were introduced to horticulture in the East by the King of Thailand.