‘Landscapers Got Talent’: Dubai leaves other cities green with envy as DIGC contenders audition to welcome summer in style from 3-6 April

After years of non-stop dedication and thousands of hours spent designing and perfecting their masterpieces, the world’s top gardening innovators are finally going toe-to-toe in a massive audition to impress the world-renowned judges with their creations. The “best of the best” creations will now battle it out in the first-ever Dubai International Garden Competition (DIGC).

The participating companies are as follows: Mirak Irrigation & Landscaping, Toscana Landscaping & Pools, Jenny Flowers, Spring Rose Landscaping, WAHO landscape Architects, Vogue Landscape, Miracle Garden, Terra Verde the Landscape Solution, Greenable Landscapes, Orchid Garden Centre, Akar Landscaping and Lokrit Garden Village.

The competition which is also open for the public to attend is held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality, with Strategic Sponsorship from Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing and Traders Hotel, which is also the Official Hotel Partner; support from the Venue Sponsorship partner Emaar; Diamond Sponsorship from Nestlé and Platinum Sponsorship from the Desert Group, alongside JKD Hortitech, which is also a sponsor. The first edition of the region’s most anticipated garden showcase will take place from April 3rd to 6th, from 10am to 10pm in ‘The Venue,’ on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, at the foot of Burj Khalifa -- the world’s tallest building, developed by Emaar Properties.

The public is particularly encouraged to come and enjoy a magnificent family outing in a spectacular setting surrounded by natural beauty and serenity. To ensure that children don’t miss out on this wonderland, Fun City the Exclusive & Official Fun partner, will be enabling parents to roam the stalls with full peace of mind. The dazzling attractions include the sensational Lokrit Garden Village, Grand Floral Arena Stall, Raffle Draws, the Education Zone & Talks, Furniture Display, Best of Show Award and a Food Court to recharge the visitors’ energy levels.

Nasser Khan, CEO of the organizers Purelife Events, Exhibitions & Conferences expressed his optimism at the upcoming event: “We are ecstatic to be bringing this celebration of natural beauty and innovation to Dubai for the very first time. We expect over 20,000 visitors per day, but we will touch the lives of thousands more who will move into properties with gardens inspired by these designs. Therefore the 6th of April is not the end of this adventure, but only the beginning of an exciting new green era.”

Contestants are hoping to walk away with the Gold and trophies honors. Also up for grabs are special awards rewarding the Best Show Garden, People’s Choice, Special Show Garden. Every winning exhibitor earns a face-to-face session with the judges to gain precious feedback and advice. All gardens must be ready for the spotlight by April 3rd, with the results announced at the Grand Finale on April 6th.

Nadeem Abbas, Director of Purelife Events, Exhibitions & Conferences added: “Dubai is not used to being second best at anything; so DIGC aspires to equal and then outshine established international competitions like RHS Chelsea Flower Show, French Garden Festival and Canadian Garden Festival. That’s why we are bringing together the very best landscape designers, architects and innovators from the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the world. This showcase will inspire the community to appreciate the importance of a green lifestyle and a spectacular garden city.”

The internationally respected judges are Elisabetta Sari, who has written the book on eco-landscaping and won awards in France, Italy and Ireland; Phil Evans, who has attracted a passionate Twitter following for his gardening master-tips; Jo Thompson, who has done everything from urban roof gardens to traditional country gardens in the UK; David Dodd, who is on the selection panel of RHS Chelsea Show Garden; Kamelia bin Zaal, Creative landscape Director atAl Barari Firm Management and Second Nature Landscape Design; and Muhammad Jayyoussi of Emaar Properties, who has overseen stunning soft landscapes at Burj Khalifa, Downtown, The Dubai Mall, The Hotels, Dubai Marina, Community Centers and many others.

The judges described their delight at the red-hot competitiveness of the entries, adding that the intensive selection process was designed to ensure that only the cream of the crop progress to the final displays. Entries were judged on the creations’ practicality and innovation, balance and style, color and texture, unity and creativity, quality finish and ‘out of the box’ features, difficulty and eco-sustainability. The make-or-break deal-breaker which judges particularly zeroed in on was ‘planting’, with horticulturally accurate perfect specimens getting the thumbs up.

Duncan Denley from the Desert Group, is particularly excited about this competition’s potential, explaining: “We are delighted to celebrate our 25th anniversary with our Platinum Sponsorship of the DIGC. As one of the landscape pioneers who have literally changed the face of this region, we have witnessed Dubai blossom. We fully expect this annual event to represent the culmination of not only what we have learned, but also an indication of where we may be going in the industry. Dubai will no longer look outside its borders for artistic inspiration and design expression. Instead, the world now looks up to us as a hotbed for big ideas and bigger ambitions. We look forward to being challenged by new ideas and having our preconceptions turned on their heads. May this first competition be a catalyst for future growth, education, expansion and innovation!”

When asked about their chances of winning, a representative from Terra Verde the Landscape Solution was cautiously optimistic, saying: “The fact that part of the judges’ criteria specifically awards points for the ‘difficulty’ of a creation tells you everything you need to know about the fierce competition here. But that’s exactly what gives us an adrenaline rush: making the impossible possible. Dubai has never been known for taking the easy way out, and neither will we.”

Meanwhile a representative from Miracle Garden was equally upbeat, explaining: “At competitions judges always say every participant is a winner in his or her own way, but in this case we genuinely believe it’s true. This phenomenal experience has so far been eye-opening and mind-opening, and the best prize every visitor could wish for is the green inspiration they will take away with them for years to come!”

Companies are already preparing to wow and woo visitors at their stalls, including Danube Buildmart, AlBaddad, Fiore Rosso, Ibn Nafees, Alomi Real Wood Floors, Gulf Perlite LLC Manufactures & Supplies, Maze Rattan, Foliage, Logical Decking, Amber Garden Centre and JKD HortiTech.

The competition will not only focus on artistic excellence, but also technical and scientific ingenuity. In addition to artists, landscape designers and architects, it will also bring together leading engineers and scientists. To add expertise in eco-friendliness and eco-conservation, top botanists and horticulturists will attend. Thousands of visitors are expected, and corporates are also welcome to participate as part of their social responsibility.

The organizers have expressed their appreciation to the event’s generous supporters who include Dubai Municipality, Emaar, Dubai Tourism Commercial Marketing, Dubai Calendar, DEWA, Danube Buildmart, Al Baddad and Dubai Garden Center. Top media partners include Agriculture, Alsayegh Media, Landscape-Me Magazine, Home Owner Magazine, MK Magazine, Planteria EU, Gulf Agriculture and First Avenue.

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