A herbal garden at Children's Park

Gardeners on the job at the herbal park inside the Children Park near India Gate in New Delhi.

Gardeners on the job at the herbal park inside the Children Park near India Gate in New Delhi.  

FOLLOWING THE setting up of a herbal garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan, another one has come up at Children's Park in India Gate. And while the idea of setting up the garden at Rashtrapati Bhawan was none other than that of the President, those who executed it thought that a garden was needed in public space and hence, this new garden has come up on a 250 square meter area in Children's Park.

"Planning for the herbal garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan was done by C-MAP. We were asked to execute it and will be maintaining the garden till next April," says Dr. J. P. Singh of Greenways Nursery, who has to his credit the development of green landscape at the premises of various government and non-governmental organisations including that of the Nuclear Science Centre and the Airports Authority of India.

While executing the work of setting up the herbal garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mr. Singh, a well-known horticulturist, thought another such garden at a place like Children's Park could help educate large groups of youngsters on medicinal plants. "We suggested the idea to Maruti Udyog Limited which is sponsoring the maintenance of Children's Park and they readily agreed," points out Mr. Singh adding that work on the garden was completed by July end and it was thrown open to the public in August.

Since then, several groups of school children have visited the herbal garden at Children's Park. "The herbal garden at Rashtrapati Bhawan opens only once a year along with the Mughal Gardens. But this is open to school children and even adults who want to know more about medicinal plants round the clock," says Dr. Singh. "ince we have been maintaining the Children's Park since 1998, it became easy for us to suggest the idea to Maruti and get it approved."

While the Rashtrapati Bhavan garden is home to 30 varieties of medicinal plants, the one at Children's Park has 18 varieties. However, species like Ashwagandha, Sarpagandha, Jetropa, Asparagus and Safed Musli are common in both gardens. "There are a large number of plants like these but even the common people do not know its medicinal value which was well-known to our forefathers. We plan to educate the children on these and other varieties of medicinal plants by appealing to schools to bring their students here on group visits."

Earlier, while undertaking the work of landscaping the Children's Park, care was taken that the educative value of the park is increased by having special exhibits. Accordingly, the musical fountain, the Jungle Book fountain and the lily pond were set up. "The herbal garden is part of our effort to make the visit to Children's Park both entertaining and meaningful for children."

Two more additions in the future will be a shaded gaden and a scented garden, both of which are now in the planning stage. "We will be adding more varieties of plants in the herbal garden," says Dr. Singh.

By Kannan K.

Photo: S. Subramanium

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