Blame it on the weather or the upkeep of roses; but the situation at this year's Rose Festival is not all that rosy.
Wilted roses and trampled flower beds - perhaps because of the downpour on early Friday morning - were all that greeted visitors to the 41st edition of the festival at Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in Sector 16 on Friday.
Strolling down the garden, one could see rose petals strewn all over the flower beds. Though the municipal corporation claimed that it spent Rs. 35 lakh on its famed festival, such was the condition that a flower bed, which had 'Passion' written on its placard, had just one flower.
A few metres away from Passion, a flowerbed titled 'Dora', too, was more of an embarrassment for the organisers. Another variety, its placard read 'Perfect Movement', had no flowers.
Visitors said the three-day festival, which highlights Chandigarh's tag of the 'city of gardens', could be a washout if the authorities did not take the necessary steps. A non-resident Indian (NRI), who last visited the city in 1973, said the garden had undergone massive change.
"Unluckily it is for the worse," Vijaya Bhudia, who had also visited the festival during her stay in the city, said. "Then, all the roses were in bloom. But now the charm is missing."
Contacted, a senior horticulturist said weather had played havoc with the flowers. "They are confused because of the change in weather. Last year, the MC had added 32,000 plants to the garden," senior horticulturist Dr Satish Narula said. "The flowers will improve once the weather gets warmer."
A city resident, Rashmi Chopra, blamed poor planning for the no-show. "Authorities should organise it in March, when the weather is perfect for the roses to bloom," she said.
But everybody was not complaining. A city businessman, HT spoke to, found the festival better this time. "As against previous years, there is no much chaos this time," Vinay Kumar said.
Insider, meanwhile, said everything was fine till yesterday. A horticulture department gardener, whose identity has been withheld as he is not authorised to speak to the media, held Friday morning's rain responsible for the spoiled flowers.