A popular saying goes, “Stop and smell the roses”, to which people would like to ask as to where are the roses and if there are some, where is the fragrance? Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is a botanical garden in Chandigarh spread over 30 acres of land with 50,000 rose bushes of 1,600 different species. Created in 1967 under the guidance of Dr M.S. Randhawa, first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, the garden has the distinction of being Asia’s largest. Being the city’s famous leisure spot and a place to cherish the nature, The Zakir Rose Garden is a favourite destination for the residents and tourists alike.
The garden serves as the venue for hosting the Rose Festival, a major cultural event of Chandigarh held during February or March. The main attractions of thefestival include food, drinks, joyrides, and contests of varying nature, such as photography, gardening, landscaping, bonsai, and Rose Prince and Rose Princess.But the state of the Rose Garden is in a shambles. Once during the bloom season the garden and the surrounding area were heavily scented, but now barren patches dot the landscape. The quality and quantity of the roses has deteriorated.With this year’s Rose Festival around the corner, to be held on February 23 to 25, 2019, the garden does not look to its full potential as it has in the past.
Due to sudden climate change and untimely showers the city experienced over the past few days, the garden is in a complete mess.The flowers have lost their fragrance and the scientists blame it on the gardeners who want to make the flowers pleasing to the eyes. Though there are many flowers without any smell like dahlia, hibiscus and sunflower which are equally breath-taking, yet it’s the fragrance of the roses that makes it so appealing to its lovers all over the world. In the race of making the flower disease-resistant, planters mutate the genes of the flower to such an extent that it loses it’s most unique and distinctive quality. The flowers now grown are pleasing to the eye and are disease-resistant but have lost their smell. Similarly, the roses at the Rose Garden have lost their smell that, in turn, has affected the garden’s grandeur.
However, Krishanpal Singh, Executive Engineer, Horticulture Department, Chandigarh, said the budget allocated to the department is enough and its usage is done aptly. He said that the varieties of the flowers are all home-grown and well kept. He expressed his satisfaction with the strength of gardeners working in the field. He did say that the untimely rain has damaged the plants but the department will have to work towards the restoration before the annual Rose Festival.
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