Coimbatore plays host to floral guests from lands afar, says Anima Balakrishnan

Try spotting Aishwarya Rai here. The tulip named after the Indian beauty might be gracing the verdant ambience of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) now.Amidst the towering tamarinds and royal palm trees, flowers brought from all over the world are sitting pretty at the Covai Flower Show - 2006. The show is being held for the second consecutive year and is organised by TNAU in collaboration with the Rotary Coimbatore Uptown.

Blooms blooms everywhere

The Botanic Gardens is blooming with the tulips from Amsterdam, cut chrysanthemums from Malaysia, orchids from Thailand and ornamental pineapples from Saudi Arabia placed amidst Rock gardens, bamboo bridges and lakes."There was a phenomenal response to the flower show last year. Flowers are natural shock absorbers and appeal to your aesthetic sense. Seventy species and 250 varieties will be on display here," says M. Jawaharlal, Head of the Department of Floriculture and Landscaping.The show is meant to educate school and college students and the competitions will be a lesson on the possible value addition that can be done on flowers.Dry flower arrangements are eye-catching with painted orange peels, ferns and seed shells making it a play of colours.

Health-giving plants

The university is also showcasing an array of medicinal plants like Ashwagandha and elephant apple that have been collected from the horticulture research centres in Yercaud, Ooty and Kodaikanal. Other attractions include a Japanese garden with bamboo bridges, stone benches and a lake for company.The Covai Flower Show brings together private entrepreneurs and also provides a platform for students to showcase their work.Competitions in flower arrangement, floral rangoli and vegetable are being held. The show, on till January 29, was inaugurated by B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Inspector General of Police, West Zone, A. Subramanian, IPS was the chief guest.