Rain has been a dampener, but the work of 154 men over the past six months -- adroitly visualising and meticulously preparing the colour scheme, picking out the floral designs and putting together the magnificent Mughal Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan -- for the annual show has borne results. The Mughal Gardens are in bloom and a visual treat.
The horticulture department of the President’s Estate has pulled out all stops to create a riot of colours across the manicured gardens that will host thousands of visitors for a month-long excursion after President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates the “Udyanotsav” this Friday.
The gardens this year have a white and yellow theme with dahlias being given the pride of place. “A floral wall of dahlias more than 8 feet in height has been created all round the Circular Garden. This flower is resilient, it stays longer and looks beautiful,” says Nigam Prakash Semwal, Officer on Special Duty (Horticulture) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the man in charge.
A wide variety of lilies have been planted in abundance, as have cyclamens. “We couldn’t have the tulips this time because of the inclement weather. But we have made up for that by adding the exotic lilies, the China oranges, which are in full bloom after a long time and the cyclamens, which have added a bright colour to the Central Lawns,” he says.
Different types of floral carpets will be added to the gardens once they is open to the public. “We begin preparing the gardens in August. We decide the theme, the colour schemes, down to the exact spots for growing a particular variety of flower. The sowing work starts in October.”
Visitors will be shown round the gardens that have been demarcated on the basis of their design and variety. For instance, 250 varieties of bonsai plants can be seen in the Bonsai Garden. The Herbal Garden boasts of 33 varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants.
The gardens will be thrown open to the public after President Mukherjee inaugurates the Udyanotsav. “The gardens will be open to the public from 12.30 p.m. the same day till 4 p.m. Thereafter they will remain open for the public from February 16 to March 17, except on Mondays, which are maintenance days, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” said Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President.
Entry and exit into the gardens for the public will be from Gate 35 of the President’s Estate, which is located at the extreme end of the Church Road. Visitors are barred from carrying water bottles, briefcases, handbags/ladies’ purses, cameras, radios/transistors, cell phones, umbrellas, eatables. There will be special days when the gardens are open exclusively for farmers , differently-abled and visually challenged.