LIVING up to the theme ‘Pe-nang In Bloom’, the ongoing 16th Penang International Floral Festival 2006 sees some of the state’s most beautiful flowers, plants and specially designed landscapes on display at the Botanic Gardens.
For the first time since its inception, the nine-day festival has a record number of 43 participating stalls lining the gardens.
Botanic Gardens director Lim Boon Tiong said the response was so overwhelming that more areas had to be allotted for these “green stalls” to be set up.
“In fact, we had to turn many away because there was not enough space to cram everyone in. During the festival, visitors can expect to find everything and anything related to botanic, horticulture and landscaping here,” he said, adding that the Ornamental Plants Competition and Exhibition made its return after a three-year hiatus from 2003.
“We decided to bring back the Ornamental Plants Competition because we wanted to rekindle the public's interest in these beautiful garden plants,” he said.
More than 200 ornamental plants were entered under the competition’s flowering plants, foliage plants, palms, hanging flowering plants and hanging foliage plants ca-tegories.
Bronze medal winner Jinaton Ha-mad, 64, who entered her lush green “baby” under the hanging foliage plants category said it took six years before she was confident enough to enter her “leafy treasure” in the competition.
“I am a regular participant. In 2001, I won a medal in the same ca-tegory,” she said.
Federation of Malaya Orchid Socie-ty (Penang branch) president and the Orchid Competition organising committee chairman Michael Ooi said this year's entries were “truly world class.”
“We have about 50 participants coming from all over Malaysia, Tai-wan, Thailand and Singapore. At least 500 orchids are on display,” he said, adding that members of the public should take the opportunity to come see the exquisite blooms for themselves.
The festival was launched on Sa-turday by Yang di-Pertua Negri's consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff.
In her speech, she praised the or-ganisers for their effort in helping promote the state's tourism industry by organising a floral festival of in-ternational standards.
“This event will give the local community and tourists a chance to learn more about the beauty and uniqueness of various flora and fauna and the conservation efforts undertaken to preserve them,” she said, before presenting certificates and prizes to winners of the ornamental plants, orchid, landscape de-sign, stone art, best stall and most beautifully decorated bicycle competition winners.
Also present during the launch was Tourism Ministry deputy secretary-general Patimah Zohro Hassan and State Tou-rism Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow.