Singapore bling: Irish garden designer wins gold at Asian garden festival

Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 01:00

IRISH GARDEN designer Paul Martin has won a gold medal at the Singapore Garden Festival.

Fresh from winning a gold medal at the recent Bloom festival in Dublin, with a garden designed for RTÉ’s Lyric FM, Mr Martin said he was “delighted” with the win. “We’re on a roll.”

The Singapore Garden Festival, in its eighth year, is one of the biggest flower and garden shows in the world with an estimated 30,000 visitors this year.

In its eight years, no European has previously won gold.

“They pick the top designers from the top 10 shows in the world.

“I won gold at Hampton Court Flower Show last July and was therefore chosen to go,” Mr Martin said.

UK designers Andy Sturgeon and Sarah Eberle were also chosen to compete.

“This year all three representatives from the British Isles will be returning home with medals.”

Mr Martin’s entry garden was entitled The Path of Life and is described as a “journey, with views and experiences changing with each step”.

The garden was influenced by the verdant Irish landscape using “many shades of green”.

The winning design, sponsored by Kerrygold, also contains a water course and is in a contemporary style.

Mr Martin said that taking part in a world event such as this can be “stressful if you’re not organised”.

“In Singapore you have only seven days to get it completely built and planted.”

Designers from around the world were taking part in the festival including those from America, Canada and New Zealand.

They even included New Zealand All Black halfback Andy Ellis.

Mr Martin said there was “great competition between the New Zealanders and the Irish” in both rugby and flowers.

Mr Martin got his love of gardening from his grandfather and learned from him during summer holidays spent in Dundalk.

He then studied horticulture at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin.

He was awarded his gold medal last night at a gala dinner attended by Singapore president Tony Tan Keng Yam and prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.