Even a small development or new additions inside the Government Botanical Garden never goes unnoticed by the visitors and local residents here.

The latest topic of discussion that has excited the residents of this hill station is the ongoing work on giving a face lift to one of its most prominent features which began on Monday .

The feature is the Fern House, which forms part of the lower garden and is surrounded by verdant lawns.

However not many are aware that the heritage landmark constructed well over a hundred years ago was nearly razed to the ground when preparations were being made for the Centenary Floral Carnival in 1995.

Officials felt that it was too old and had outlived its purpose.

With concern being expressed over its form and residents stressing its role in enhancing the prestige of the garden ,the authorities had retained it after carrying out some improvements.

It was re-christened then as the McIvor House in honour of William Graham McIvor, creator of the garden.

Heritage value

The Fern House had been designed to specifically house and propagate several varieties of pteridophytes or ferns which apart from being attractive were of immense educational value to students of Botany.

It was stated that the Botanical garden,-the pride of the Blue Mountains- is one of the few places where one can come across such a rich collection of pteridophytes.

For public

Besides its utility as a conservatory, its heritage value and the special sentiments that it holds in the hearts of all visitors has made it a valuable property.

Speaking to The Hindu, Joint Director of Horticulture N.Mani said that it is now being repaired without making changes to its original structure.Simultaneously all the ferns would be labelled.

He said that even though the building had remained out of bounds for visitors, there are proposals to throw it open to the public.

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Tourists can now visit Fern HouseAugust 29, 2007

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