Yogender Kumar is the garden supervisor at Central Delhi’s Nehru Park. He has over the weekend spent the night at his place of work requesting visitors to the ‘Delhi International Jazz Festival’ to steer clear off the rose beds and the larkspur bushes.
Despite his best efforts at appealing to “wise people” as he puts it, the thousands of visitors — especially on the last day of the three-day festival — left behind flattened petunias, cigarette butts and chairs in between rose beds.
Yet, the New Delhi Municipal Council staffers at the spot say the destruction caused to the flora over the last few editions of the festival were much worse than this year.
“I went and requested some young people not to sit inside the rose garden but they were in a mood to enjoy,” said Mr. Kumar. “It’s not every day you get to hang out in the park till 2-30 a.m. I did not want to argue with people and spoil their mood,” he said.
Prior to the festival, Mr. Kumar and his team of six requested for additional reinforcements - extra fencing, sticks and security to prepare for the weekend that saw most of Delhi’s residents coming out to enjoy some music in the park. “Families were more responsive to our requests to stay off gardens but the children wanted photos taken with the plants,” he said.
There are nearly 60 gardeners working a gruelling 9 to 5 p.m. shift at the park. Whether its summer or winter, they maintain this 70 acre park that lies in the Diplomatic Enclave of Chanakyapuri. Between December and March, 45 different varieties of flowers — salvias, dahlias, flox, sweet william, gazanias, calendula and many more — light up the park.
With spring quickly coming to an end, the gardeners say that water scarcity will soon become an issue. “This is also a rocky surface so the heat from the ground is even more severe when summer hits. We probably have a few more weeks till we will see the flowers wilting,” said a staffer. “The soil will also need some bed rest till the monsoons hit.”
The team at Nehru Park are quick to forgive the public for trampling on their masterpieces. For now, they are happy the roses this past winter in their assessments where even better than those at the Mughal Garden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.