Bengaluru’s floral artistry on display

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One of the events at Lalbagh that the citizens of Bangalore, always look forward to is the Republic Day Flower Show. The weather is always very pleasant, and the beautiful displays in the Glass House are a great attraction for the visitors to this lung-space of our city.

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Having seen the displays each year, I thought I will go and see how it’s all put together. So, by 630am, I was in Lalbagh with some friends. When I told the guards that I was from Citizen Matters and wanted to cover the preparations, they allowed me into the Glass House. I thoroughly enjoyed what had already been put up, and watched the process of creating the Buddhist Stupa, the central attraction this year.

Apart from the Stupa, I found groups of gardeners and artists, working on the "Flower Pouring Out of a Pot" exhibit, and several other floor-level displays.

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I spoke to Krishnamoorthy, who is with the Horticulture Department, who was working on the floral creation. He has a team of 14 people and was very enthusiastic about the preparations. The preparations, and the sourcing of the flowers and other greens required, start about ten days before the Republic Day.

"For us, it is a matter of pride to create these lovely pieces for the people to come, see and admire," he added. "In the past, we had problems with the flowers fading by the time the actual day came around, but now, thanks to the flower foam (a foam material which can hold the flower stems in a damp condition, preventing them from withering), we are more confident."

I was hoping to meet people like the Dutch floral designer, Ton Van Jaarsveld, who have been asked to design some of the displays, but they were going to be coming in later in the day.

Nrithyanjali, a local group, has put up a theme of the various Dances of India, including the famous Dollu Kunitha of Karnataka. The arrangements are very creative.

The other flowers and pots are slowly being brought by the various participants in the competitions, and arranged around the Glass House. The entire area was a hive of activity, with stalls being put up for vendors and exhibitors.

Several walkers and joggers in Lalbagh were also attracted to the Glass House, but were, of course, held at a distance by security personnel. "I am elderly, and cannot brave the crowds on Republic Day, so I like watching how they are creating it, when I come for a walk in the morning," said Lalitha Siddappa, one of the visitors, who had come for her morning walk.

Gardeners also had folded pieces of turf that they had brought from the nursery, and were laying these on all the edges of the displays, to give a better effect. "You can buy them at the nursery if you like," said one of them. "Two of these folded pieces of turf are Rs. 350. You just lay them on your well-dug up earth, and you have a lawn in no time." He said.

Iqbal, another visitor, said that he prefers the Republic Day Flower Show to the Independence Day one. The weather is very pleasant now, and the flowers last much longer," he smiles. He visits Lalbagh every day, and says, poetically: "The gardens are like a lady, beautiful at all times, but adorning herself especially now, for spring and summer to arrive."

The lights were also being tested at the Glass House, and it looked very beautiful in the pre-dawn light. "Yes, we know that it will consume a lot of electricity," said an electrician who was working nearby. "But this is something for all the people of Bangalore and everywhere else to come and enjoy."

I wanted to ask what arrangements have been made to contain the litter around the gardens, but could not find anyone who had the contract for the cleaning up of the area at that early hour. I do hope that this time we can manage the trash better, and we will not have a festoon of litter after the public show is over.

It felt very pleasant to be a part of one of the public events of Bangalore. I walked off feeling a lot of pride in the beauty Bangalore florists can create for us.

The flower show is on till 29 January and is open to public between 8am and 7pm. No entry after 6pm.
Fees: Adult- Rs. 40, Kids- Rs. 20. No extra charges for cameras.


About Deepa Mohan 152 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

8 Comments

  1. Well written article Deepa. I too went to flower show on Jan 26 but this year I missed my camera a lot. On that date I also frustrated by guards who were running in front of my mobile camera blocking the view. Specially a lady security standing near dollkunitha or keelu kudre

    Thanks for FB link… sure i will visit your FB
    Thank you
    Regards
    Rakesh

  2. I agree with you Sridhar!! Someone told me that the stalls earn a lot of revenue for the Horticulture Dept[?!!] and that is why they allow them. Even early in the morning you have people coming in hordes as entry then is free and then also they are littering!! The litter seems to be more than double of last times!! I did see few personnel cleaning early in the morning which did not happen last time!! Bangalore and the Horticulture Department both really need to come to their senses regarding this!!

  3. Deepa, perhaps they are understaffed. We require Volunteers at least till such time our people learn to behave themselves in public and show come civic concerns. Also people don’t even bother to locate a dustbin. For them, the entire Lalbagh is to be used for littering! Here’s an account of what I saw today:
    Appalled at the behaviour of our fellow Bengalureans who want to take pics at any cost not even minding the damage they are causing to the lovely plants and flowers. Some mothers were even asking their kids to stand behind the ropes for their clicks and in the process damaging the set up. I chided a couple of them but my pleas fell on deaf ears.The crass commercialisation of an event is something that should be stopped.In the first place why should the Horticulture Department allow all kinds of stalls to be put up. These contribute to the massive litter all round and cause hindrance to the movement of people while at the same time causing irreparable damage to the environment. The main aim of the Show should be to promote Mother Nature in all her glorious colours and not anything else.

  4. Jayashree…I can’t understand why volunteers should always be doing the jobs…why can’t Lalbagh personnel themselves be continuously vigilant? After all, Lalbagh is supposed to be a plastic-free area…for several years now. Sridhar…there are boards…they are also overlooked :(((

  5. This well written article by Deepa Mohan covers all aspects of the show. Perhaps the authorities concerned can check the litter by not allowing plastic bags atleast during the time of the event. The horticulture department can also think of adding a byline in the ticket about the importance of keeping the garden clean. Or some volunteers stationed at the entrances could be asked to educate the public about cleanliness. Boards can also be displayed at prominent points requesting the public to keep the area clean.

  6. The litter is all there as big as ever and already stinking! You see some random person in couple of places clearing up. For people who go there everyday it is torture! I even wrote an article with pictures last year in this publication and suggestions as to what could be done. Where are all the voluntary organisation guys?

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