An Armenian woman- creator of Singapore’s National Flower
Ashkhen Hovakimian (Agnes Joaquim), a prominent Singaporean Armenian horticulturist, creator of the first hybrid orchid and the creator of Singapore’s National Flower Vanda “Miss Joaquim”.
Ashkhen Hovakimian (Agnes Joaquim) was born on 7 April 1854, in Singapore. She was the eldest daughter and the second child of Parsick (Basil) Joaquim, an Armenian merchant and commercial agent, and Urelia Joaquim. Agnes was an avid gardener as was her mother. Besides her interest in gardening, Agnes was also an active member of the Armenian Church and a skilled embroiderer.
Agnes Joaquim won prizes at annual flower shows and famously won the prize for the rarest orchid at the 1899 annual flower show. The first prize was for a hybrid that was named after her, Vanda “Miss Joaquim”. Already suffering from cancer at the time, she died three months after receiving this prize.