Gardening World Cup – Winners Announced and Feted in Grand Style

John Tan and Raymond Toh of Malaysia SINGAPORE took top honors in the Show Garden Division yesterday winning both the Gold and Best of Show awards. They ecstatically accepted their awards in front of the Huis Ten Bosch Palace at an elaborately staged event complete with orchestral fanfares much like the Oscars.

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Their exhibit, “Timeless Tropical – Peace with Nature”, featured a rusted metal pathway and fence leading to a petal-like seating pavilion within lush sweeps of orchids, peace lilies  and sansiveria.

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Leon Kluge of South Africa took the Gold in the Home Garden Division for “Breaking Free”. He’s shown here sharing the honor with his construction foreman and family.

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The red carpet night was filled with black tuxes, gorgeous kimonos and exquisitely served delicacies .

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Capped the evening with a ear-thumping fireworks/laser show over the canal.
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Gardening World Cup – Prejudging in the Rain

Prejudging took place under rainy skies this morning.  This year’s judges (from left, Pascal Garbe, Drew Becher and Bob Sweet) along with note takers and umbrella holders questioned each designer and then sent them off while they discussed their creations.  “A Prayer for World Peace through Gardens and Flowers” was this year’s theme — fitting for this green oasis so near Nagasaki.

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The expected post typhoon clearing was not in the stars today. Rain fell heavily and made garden photography nearly impossible.  Rather then sip tea at the hotel, a few of us ventured out towards nearby Sasebo a twenty minute train ride, searching for a taste of real Japan.

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Once there, we aimed for the old city perusing fruit markets and fish stands trying to decipher menus.  Found this gent feeding his costumed ferret at a busy intersection of alleys.  We both tried for conversation but didn’t get far.

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Gardening World Cup – The Build Up

My first day here at the Gardening World Cup and the display gardens are well underway. Designers from South Africa, New Zealand, France, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, U.K. and the U.S. are franticly raising walls, moving mulch and planting trees with local crews. Image While Typhoon Danis didn’t rip anything apart, it did delay some installations and they will be working through the night getting ready for the judging tomorrow. Image There’s also a team of Ikebana experts filling the Hotel Europe (where I’m staying) with over the top arrangements. Image The back drop for all this is Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch inspired theme park that is so far beyond description, it deserves a post of it’s own – maybe later this week. Image

The Wooster Garden

Peter Wooster’s fabulous CT garden is featured in the NYT’s Home and Garden section today and Anne Raver captured the story in her usual brilliant fashion.  I visited a few weeks after Anne and spent a long afternoon waiting for the sun to mellow and getting to know Peter.  Limited by a stroke several years ago, his vocabulary is restricted to a few words but how he inflects them could fill a dictionary.  The garden is overseen by his gifted friend Rob Girard who knows the art of balancing formal elements with naturalistic rambling accents.  Who knew how wonderful simple squarish beds could be once filled with a multiculture  of fine foliage plants?

Peas on Grid

For years Jon McGoran cranked out a cheeky editor’s column for my local coop’s newsletter.  With wicked wit (and well aimed puns), Jon poked at the serious GMO, gluten-free, locavore issues of the day or just playfully skewered fellow staff members.  At night, he penned gripping ecological thrillers, most recently Drift,  to be released in July. Jon is now the new editor of Grid magazine, and for his first issue, he asked me for photos relating to seed saving and celebrity food historian Will Weaver.  I didn’t expect the cover but I’m delighted with their choice along with the excellent design by Jamie Leary of Red Flag Media.

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