The Mandai Orchid Garden was established in 1951 by John Laycock, a prominent lawyer and one of the founders of the Malayan Orchid Society (now known as the Orchid Society of Southeast Asia). The garden was situated on a 5-hectare plot of land leased from the government along what is now Mandai Lake Road. Following Laycock’s death in 1960, his adopted daughter, Mrs. Amy Ede and her husband John, took over the running of the garden through holding company Singapore Orchids Pte Ltd. Under their charge, the garden was developed into a tourist attraction and its collection of hybrid orchids was bred for overseas export. The garden’s most sought after orchid export was the Arachnis Maggie Oei (also known as the spider orchid), which was bred by Laycock in 1941 and subsequently used to create other hybrid varieties. In 2011, the garden was slated for relocation to a 0.8-hectare site at Kranji to make way for the development of a new tourist attraction at Mandai. The smaller site meant that only 5,000 of the garden’s collection of 50,000 orchids, some of them named after famous people such as former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, former OCBC Bank chairman Tan Chin Tuan, and Singapore's former chief minister David Marshall, could be kept.