They come in many hues in the President's garden

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COLOURFUL: Ranunculus flowers in the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi
COLOURFUL: Ranunculus flowers in the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi

Mandira Nayar

NEW DELHI: There is a brand new show now on at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The blooms from Yash Chopra's dreamy romantic songs over the years -- tulips -- may be a thing of the past now, but there are lilies, ranunculus, cinerarias, dahlias and dog-flowers in all colours for those who are yet to visit the Mughal Garden in the sprawling Presidential mansion here.

"Since the gardens are open for a month, and no flower lasts that long, we have to carefully plan the gardens so that there are flowers throughout that period,'' says Brahm Singh, Officer on Special Duty, Horticulture, at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Having grown tomatoes and muskmelons in the extreme conditions of Leh so that soldiers can eat fresh vegetables and fruits, Mr. Singh is the man responsible for all the smiles in the President's garden.

From planning the minute details of planting patterns to making an attempt to make the garden organic, he is a man who takes his affair with greens seriously.

"In Leh the summer and winter vegetables are grown in one season. They are cultivated in poly-houses and we have managed to almost meet the total requirements of the service there,'' he says with a smile.

While he may be far away from Leh now, he uses his instinct with flowers to bring to life the first gardens in the country.

And it is a measure of appreciation for his work that the Mughal Garden has received 2.5 lakh people so far from when it first opened. "The weather has not been very good this year. But we have still managed to get many people. This time a special day has been introduced for senior citizens and the garden will be open especially for them on March 24,'' says S.M. Khan, Press Secretary to the President.

Apart from seas of bright flowers, there are also fresh vegetables straight from the President's garden. All organically grown, they are probably the only vegetables in the country that have remained untouched by fertiliser and inflation.




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