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Armenian Innovation

Apr 7, 2017

#WhyArmenia: Ashken Hovakimian

You can turn your passion for flowers into a career, just like Ashken Hovakimian did!

Born in Singapore to an Armenian family, Ashkhen Hovakimian (Agnes Joaquim) bred the world's first cultivated orchid hybrid: Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'.

The floral atmosphere in her family planted in Joaquim the passion for flowers. Her father was a board member of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and her mother was an avid gardener. The Hovakimians regularly participated in the Singapore Flower Show and won many prizes.

Ashken’s passion for flowers grew to become her profession. She successfully created a new orchid known as Vanda Miss Joaquim that was a cross between Burmese and Malay orchids. What is also interesting about this orchid is that it is the first of its kind to be a hybrid, and the first of its kind to be created by a woman. 

In 1981, Hovakimian’s creation was chosen as the national flower of Singapore. In 2015, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations inducted into its Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame. The award cited her as the first woman in the world to breed a hybrid orchid.

Naming a perfume after your name is great, naming a flower after your name is awesome!

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