In the horticultural world of Delhi, Indraprastha Horticulture Society’s flower show reigns as an undisputed crowd puller, second to none. It’s the standard by which others judge themselves. IHS has a rich history, having been established twenty-four years ago. This year, 2022, IHS celebrated its 24th annual flower show on a beautiful day, that made you forget the long winter and instead invited you to turn your face to spring. Men, women and children descended in groups, in two’s and even alone, to be part of the fun and tiptoe through desert plants, palms, petunias and savour the air redolent with the fragrance of flowers in bloom.
As usual, months of preparations had gone into making the flower show a successful community event, with IHS members working tirelessly, understanding that hearth and household must wait. The theme of the flower show was ‘Green Living in the Urban Jungle.’ At this year’s event, a zen garden, balcony garden, water garden, contrasted splendidly with nearly a dozen other displays and stalls.
“Recognising the importance of community gardening, IHS has been working tirelessly towards encouraging home gardening, leading the way by adopting public spaces and turning them into green havens. We believe participation in gardening activities improves wellbeing through increased social contact, and helps in providing fresh, organic produce to local communities,” said Rachna Jain, founder member and secretary of this 24-year-old society.
A star attraction of this year’s show was the zen garden. Brainchild of Dicky Bhatia, a zen garden is a great way to reduce stress, improve your focus, and develop a sense of well-being. Carefully raked sand and gravel, with precisely placed rocks and cacti plants were the main parts of the zen garden. “The result should encourage introspection and meditation and help people find serenity in the natural look of a desert setting. Zen gardens emphasize the principles of naturalness (Shizen), simplicity (Kanso), and austerity (koko), Ms. Bhatia explained. She added, ” We use cacti plants to underscore the fact about how little water we have and how carefully we have to use it. ”
Embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle can be a daunting prospect for the average urban dweller. Synthetic surroundings are miles away from inspiring pastoral scenes. To exacerbate matters, urban dwellers are generally pressed for space and time. The ‘Balcony Garden’ at the flower show, addressed these issues head on, dispelling myths and providing some viable solutions and organic options for a dynamic urban existence. Its balcony garden display encouraged visitors to think creatively about recycling – whether a used car tyre or pipes to channel water and showed visitors that they too could have luxuriant plants and greenery on their balcony. The end results showed that even the most diehard urban dweller could discover his/her green roots with the minimum of disruption.
The ‘Water Garden’ showcased a very beautiful form of gardening. The labour of love of Meenakshi Goyal, the water garden added life to the flower show, irrespective of its size. The garden simulated a natural landscape with a water body and with the use of different plants and other features. The water garden had variety, a pleasing design and planting options that make it unique and personalized in its style.
With landfills filled to the brim, and no space for garbage, the solution to so many of the problems we face today may just be under our nose…or feet, rather. The composting corner at the flower show underscored how pivotal a resource the garbage from our homes is. “Composting is actually an easy and manageable way to make a huge difference in the environmental, economic, and social issues that we face today. Adding this simple step as part of your environmentally friendly habits can go a long way in lowering greenhouse emissions, regenerating the soil, revitalizing water sources, and fostering food security into the future, explained Farzana,” IHS member.
No chemical enzymes, healthy drinks, vegetable and fruit carving, sale of garden and plant memorabilia, painting competition for children, plants and flower pots on sale, a famous poet gracing the stage, the local councillor as chief guest, food to satisfy hunger pangs – the show had it all. The Indraprastha Horticulture Society flower show is known for its rare as well as medicinal plants, eco-friendly gardening displays, development of horticulture, and its pledge in protecting the environment. The show helps in raising awareness and aims to bring people and nature together in a fun way. In a city where gardeners’ passions run from houseplants to rooftop trees, the show had something for everyone.