Taiwan exhibit wins gold at Chelsea show

Source: Taiwan Today 
By John Scott Marchant

Taiwan’s exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show won a gold in the Great Pavilion Awards May 22, highlighting the strength of the local orchid industry and its rising profile in the U.K. horticultural market.

Tseng Chun-pi, secretary of exhibit organizer Taiwan Orchid Growers’ Association, said the beauty of the flowers persuaded judges to continue TOGA’s winning ways at the London event, building upon silver and gold performances in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Designed around the theme “universal glory of the dragon,” the display features 2,000 orchids of 50 varieties, symbolizing the people of Taiwan’s best wishes for Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee and the city of London as it gears up to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, he added.

“Through this exhibition, we hope to present the everlasting friendship between Taiwan and the U.K.”

Shen Lyu-shun, ROC representative to the U.K., said promoting orchids overseas is key to demonstrating Taiwan’s soft power and beneficial to Taiwan-U.K. exchanges.

“All of the orchids were shipped from Taiwan and are a tribute to our industry’s high-tech cultivation techniques. We plan to work with British growers to introduce more orchid species to the U.K.”

Stephen Bennett, shows director for the Royal Horticultural Society, said he was delighted with Taiwan’s “fabulous exhibit” and extremely pleased it picked up a gold.

“This is the world’s most prestigious flower show. The orchids from Taiwan are attracting a lot of attention because the quality is superb.”

Bennett, who oversaw preparations for the British Exhibit at the Taipei International Flora Expo, believes Taiwan is adroitly using the Chelsea show to capture the imagination of orchid lovers around the world.

“Taiwan’s orchid industry is second to none,” he told Taiwan Today while visiting the island in November 2010. “Its example should be followed by other local plant and flower growers to market their products globally.”

The appeal of the Taiwan exhibit also extends to British royalty. The queen, the Dukes of York and Kent, and Prince Michael of Kent gave the display the thumbs-up May 21 during a private tour one day before the event opened to the public.

According to TOGA, the show has played a central role in promoting Taiwan’s orchid industry. Moth orchid exports to the U.K. increased from US$980,000 in 2009 to US$2.53 million in 2010, rising to US$3.52 million in 2011.

This year’s event, which is again being held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea May 22 to 26, has attracted over 500 exhibitors from all over the world. A total of 157,000 visitors are expected to attend the show.

Write to John Scott Marchant at js_marchant@mofa.gov.tw