Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The Republic Day Flower Show this year promises to be different. The Department of Horticulture has selected as the theme for this year, lesser known fruits or minor fruits as horticultural experts call them. The Mysore Horticultural Society will back the efforts. There will also be displays of flowers of the not-so-exotic varieties.

Participants from various regions of the country have been invited to participate. To add a touch of novelty, a specialist from Lucknow, known for delicacies based on amla, will offer amla laddus and amla burfis, turning this Vitamin rich but rather tangy small fruit into something different.

Another participant from Pune will show different blend of amla juices, known to be good for diabetics besides a nutritional supplement for the healthy. Amla-based pan and chocolates will be among his special creations.

Director of Horticulture Vasanth Kumar says, "Amla is fast becoming a popular `minor fruit'. It can be grown without much water and is suited to dry land conditions. With the kind of demand now in the markets, the growers can also expect a good income.''

"Udupi Mallige, a variety of jasmine grown in the coastal regions, will be among the notable attractions in this year's Flower Show. Not many know about this variety of jasmine which can be easily grown in the backyard,'' Mr. Vasanth Kumar says.

The Horticulture Department plans to promote the flower as a cultural heritage through promotions at the event. Informative pamphlets will be distributed to interested visitors and the methods of growing the plant explained to them.

Illumination of the gardens and the fames and painstakingly restored Lalbagh Glass House, a multi-media presentation at the Fossil Park, laser displays and exclusive landscaping of the show areas will be other highlights. The entry fee is Rs. 15 and the flower show will be open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Special arrangements will be made for groups of students from schools.