THE New Year in Ahmedabad began with a spectacular flower show, an annual occurrence over the last four years, at the Sabarmati Riverfront. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) takes pride in this unique event which it organises with great gusto and planning.
We visited the event to get you some authentic details and inside facts. Here are excerpts from the rendezvous with Jignesh Patel, director, Parks & Gardens, AMC.
This is the 5th annual Flower Show at Ahmedabad. How did you get the idea to organise this kind of a unique show?
Earlier, this kind of a flower show was arranged in Bengaluru and Ooty annually. We thought why not try and organise a similar show in Ahmedabad. Since the last four years, we were organising the show outdoors where we just arranged plants brought from nurseries in different landscapes.
What kind of preparation is needed to set up something like this? How long did you plan?
Our major planning goes into seasonal sapling preparation. We started sowing the seeds last September. This was followed by seedling preparations. As soon as they sprouted, we put them into nursery bags. These little saplings took around four months to mature and flower.
Special buses have been organised for people to access this show easily. What other such facilities have been provided?
Yes, special buses are plying from areas that have lower connectivity to this part of the city. We want to make sure everyone can enjoy this show. Visitor entry and parking is free. We have covered the entire premise with CCTV cameras and security guards to ensure safety.
What are the footfalls?
Everyday more than 1.5 million people visit the show. Last year, within a week, almost 12-16 million people had come to see the show. This year we expect at least 20 million.
Every year there is something unique in the show. What is the centre of attraction this time?
This year’s most unique attraction are the moss sculptures. In India, this is the first-time moss sculptures of this magnitude are on display.
We have tried to take inspiration from the sculptures in the Montreal garden in Canada, and created different pieces. The biggest sculpture is 20 ft high (clock tower) and the widest is the Teen Darwaja sculpture which is 50 ft long.
How many types of flowers, plants and saplings are on display?
About 750 different varieties of flowers are on display, both exotic as well as Indian.
What is the main reason behind organising this kind of a show?
Last year plants worth more than `30 million were sold. It shows that people who are away from greenery are coming towards it. We also aim at creating environmental awareness. People can purchase world-class plants from the show too.
Considering the extreme climate of our city, can a round-the-year option be worked out for display?
It is very difficult because there are some limitations. Every season and every time of the year there are different varieties of flowers and plants that thrive.
Winter flowers do not survive in summer and vice versa. During monsoons, most of the plants don’t flower.
Do you consider organising workshops for children where they can learn more about flora and fauna?
We have created a bonsai park at Parimal Garden where everyone, regardless of their age, can learn about everything about nurturing and maintaining bonsai.
In the future, do you also plan include medicinal plants?
This is basically a flower garden so medicinal plants don’t go with the theme. But if we decide to create a garden with that theme we definitely shall.