Republic Day Flower Show at Lalbagh Overcomes Challenges for a Colorful Spectacle

by Anna

The much-anticipated Republic Day flower show is set to enchant lakhs of visitors as it kicks off on Thursday at Lalbagh. The grand display is the result of the dedicated efforts of gardeners and horticulture department officials, who have worked tirelessly for a month to ensure that changing weather, pests, and plant diseases pose no threat to the spectacle.

However, a fresh challenge emerged as officials encountered losses of nearly 2,000 marigold flower pots due to rodent attacks, with a few hundred witnessing overgrowth. Despite these setbacks, officials remain confident that the flower show will be a vibrant and colorful event when it commences. The theme of this year’s show is ‘Vishwaguru Basavanna and Vachana Literature.’

Sources within the horticulture department revealed that more than 3,000 pots of marigold flowers were raised by department gardeners for various decorations at their Lalbagh nursery. Unfortunately, almost 2,000 of these pots fell victim to rodents and squirrels.

Explaining the challenges faced, M Jagadeesh, Joint Director of Horticulture, stated, “The moment plants begin to bud, rats and squirrels attack marigold. They don’t eat any other plants, only marigolds because of their sweet, soft sap. They nibble away at the buds and flowers, affecting the growth of the plants. Due to this, plants look stunted with hindered growth.”

In an attempt to prevent rodent attacks, gardeners experimented with various repellents, both organic and inorganic, but none proved entirely effective. The difficulties persisted, with rodents attacking at night and squirrels invading during the day, making it challenging to protect the flowers in outdoor conditions.

Wherever there were shortfalls, officials managed to source a similar number of marigolds from private nurseries to ensure the show’s success.

Similarly, challenges arose in raising chrysanthemums due to fluctuations in heat sensitivity. To address this, 4,000 pots of chrysanthemum were sourced from outside nurseries, along with special chrysanthemum varieties from Kolkata.

The show’s centerpiece, a replica of the Anubhava Mantapa under construction in Basavakalyan, Bidar district, is the tallest floral structure ever installed inside Lalbagh’s Glass House. Constructed with close to 5 lakh flowers, including roses, chrysanthemums, and Gomphrena globose, it showcases innovative solutions such as the use of wooden toothpicks to stabilize globe amaranth flowers.

Other highlights include replicas of the historic ‘Aikya Mantap’ at Kudalasangama and an Ishta Linga floral structure with 10 different varieties of flowers and plants, adding to the grandeur of this year’s Republic Day flower show at Lalbagh.

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