Are you a flower lover? Flowers of myriad varieties and types and other attractive plants were showcased at the 66th Chrysanthemum flower show in Delhi on December 6. The floral art exhibition was organised by YWCA of Delhi and is a regular feature in Delhi during the first week of December.
The exhibition saw a host of participants like the NDMC, DDA, Delhi Jal Board, Northern Railways, and schools presenting different varieties of the flower.
Locally known as Guldaudi, several types such as spider, irregular incurve, regular incurve, pompons, and the most popular ‘garden variety’ were put on the show. Other attractive plants like coleus, ferns, and bougainvillea were showcased, enhancing the aesthetic quotient of the event.
For garden enthusiasts, garden decor and flowers of different shapes and sizes were put on sale. Floral products, dry flower arrangements, potpourris, and flower-tiaras were available for connoisseurs. One could also witness the diverse nature of work of the YWCA, by looking at the gorgeous products made by underprivileged communities of Trilokpuri and Najafgarh, like Christmas cards, candles, willow wreaths, handicrafts etc.
An exquisite collection from the Rashtrapati Bhavan of several varieties of chrysanthemums was one of the most visited floral attractions at the show. These colourful beauties evocative of balmy Delhi winters in the months of December through February, popular for their ornamental appeal make for vibrant garden choices.
Hailing from the diverse Asteraceae family, a chrysanthemum floret just like marigold inflorescence, is made of several flower heads. Originating from the same lineage, these are similar in appearance and aroma to Calendula, Daisy, Chamomile, Erigeron, Sun flower, Dandelions and Dahlia. Believed to have originated in China, chrysanthemum flowers, along with chamomile and hibiscus are gaining popularity for their utility in floral and herbal teas. White and maroon chrysanthemums are popularly used in garlands and wedding decor during winter season. Grown in abundance especially the garden variety, their cultivation could be promoted on a wider scale so as to encourage efforts in floriculture, farm entrepreneurship, flori-tourism and biodiversity conservation.
Extensive popularity and a vintage aesthetic quotient make chrysanthemums for a sustainable flower crop, thereby lending it commercial viability for farm and floral entrepreneurship. Towards this pursuit, the government through the National Horticulture Board and Integrated Development of Commercial Floriculture is working towards development of floriculture as a viable entrepreneurial option for farmers by working around traditional/cut flowers, and expanding opportunities in flower trade for farmers.
According to National Horticulture Board, chrysanthemum is grown in Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu in the country with National Botanical Research Institute working towards nurturing different varieties, thus making expansion of flower cultivation, an important intervention in agricultural policy. Nurseries, poly-house demonstrations suiting different agro-climatic conditions to nurture different varieties of chrysanthemums should be undertaken. Upgrading methods for flower enterprises and marketing, efforts on enhancing shelf life, and organising market systems will benefit the flori-potential of the diverse Indian ecosystem, and generate alternate opportunities for people.
Flowers are an essential part of our daily living. From being adornment companions to essential ingredients of holy renditions, traditional flowers find a place in our daily lives, in some way or the other. Thus, in order to conserve, preserve and promote these floral necessities, creative efforts could be encouraged in the country, say, by creating ‘green infrastructure’ underscoring flori-conservation.
Seasonal flower clocks of chrysanthemums in public parks, floral walls and carpets in gardens and office areas, Ikebana floral decor, ’green gifting’ of botanical arrangements during events, promoting flower workshops, and awareness programmes for farmers on cultivation practices, are some of the approaches towards preserving the floral heritage of our country.
India already boasts of the majestic ‘Valley of Flowers National Park’ in the Himalayas and Kaas Plateau in Mahrashtra, which are prominent UNESCO world heritage sites. Floriculture has immense creative potential for promoting eco- tourism in metros and cities. A case in point is that of the Mughal Gardens in Delhi. ‘Udyanotsav’ organized at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, every year between February and March at the Mughal Gardens, is an interesting effort in the area of preserving floral heritage, and promoting floral tourism. Similar such nature walks, flower fairs and awareness workshops on different variety of flowers, could be organized across the country especially in the north east, which is endowed with an evolving organic, agrarian, and floriculture sector. Sikkim International Flower fair held in 2013 and Meghalaya’s prosperous orchid farming are valuable efforts, towards this regard.
Swasti Pachauri is a social sector professional, formerly working as a Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh. Views expressed in the article are personal.