How Vanda Miss Joaquim Became Singapore's National Flower
In the 1800s, a girl named Agnes Joaquim was passionate about plants. She even learned to grow cool-weather European vegetables in the tropical heat of Singapore. As she grew up, she collected many prizes for her plants. One day, after many trials and difficulty, she created a brand-new orchid. She showed it to an orchid expert named Henry Ridley, who officially named the flower the Vanda Miss Joaquim. This is the story of how one woman’s ingenuity and determination created a flower that became world famous…and Singapore’s National Flower in 1981.
“Agnes and Her Amazing Orchid chronicles the remarkable journey of a brilliant horticulturist. An excellent introduction to our national flower, this wonderful book also provides a glimpse into the orchid breeding process. Singapore has a rich heritage in orchid cultivation, being one of the leading orchid hybridisation centres in the world. I hope this engaging story will inspire an interest in horticulture and botany amongst our children.”
—Kenneth Er, CEO of National Parks Board
“A remarkable story of Agnes Joaquim’s passion for horticulture, whose interest in breeding orchids led her to become the first woman to breed a hybrid orchid – Singapore’s national flower the Vanda Miss Joaquim. Her story inspires us all to pursue our dreams.”
—Rosa Daniel, Deputy Secretary (Culture) Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
An independent publisher based in Singapore, Epigram Books is known for putting together well-designed and thought-provoking titles. It began as a division of the multiple award-winning communications design firm Epigram but registered as a separate entity in July 2011 to champion Singaporean literature.
It is best known for the middle grade series, The Diary of Amos Lee, which has sold over 240,000 copies worldwide. Other landmark publications include translations of Cultural Medallion winners and new editions of out-of-print classic Singaporean novels.
In 2014, a debut short story collection Epigram Books published, Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe, unanimously won the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction.
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