The Royal Flora Expo, Ratchapruek, Thailand
The Royal Flora Expo Ratchapruek was an international event to commemorate the 80th birthday of King Bumibol of Thailand and also the 60th year of his reign. Governments from around the world were invited to create the 'Gardens for the King' sector of the event, which brought about the establishment of a permanent new park.
Ratchapruek is the name of the tree (Cassia fistula) chosen to represent the King because of its yellow flower - the colour representing the month is which he was born.
The South African Department of Agriculture funded the South African exhibit, which was created in record time (just two months - because they had forgotten about it until the last minute!). Other international exhibitors worked on creating their gardens for almost a year. The show ran for three months and in the initial judging the South African exhibit was given 2nd place in the category 'gardens under 1000 square meters'. When the gardens were again judged at the end of the event, the 1st prize was awarded. Over 3 million people visited the show. The park was reopened later as a permanent recreation facility in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
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.