As the Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan reopen on Sunday, visitors will for the first time see roses named after the Indian President and his wife, growing next to ‘ Abraham Lincoln’, ‘Christian Dior’ and ‘Queen Elizabeth’ .
‘President Pranab’, a crossbred variety of rose which was planted last month along with another variety of rose named ‘Suvra Mukherjee’, will blossom in spring. The President’s wife passed away in August 2015.
Spread over 15 acres, the garden boasts of growing around 140 celebrated varieties of roses named after renowned world leaders, including British monarch Queen Elizabeth, American presidents — Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy, first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, legendary French fashion designer Christian Dior, and Mahabharat characters Arjun and Bhim. Two other varieties are called ‘Taj Mahal’ and ‘Eiffel Tower’.
“By the first week of March, both plants will start bearing roses. ‘President Pranab’ will have a yellow flower while ‘Suvra Mukherjee’ will produce a combination of purple and pink flower. These species are developed by two West Bengal-based agriculturists Ashok Maity and Pranay Veer Maity,” UD Kukreti, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), horticulture, at Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
The naming of a newly bred variety of rose is done after the consent of the person, after whom a cultivator wants to dedicate his product. It also requires an approval of the ‘Indian Rose Federation’ (IRF) and ‘American Rose Society’ (ARS), which confers final recognition.
“After seeking the due approval from IRF and ARS, the plants were grown in the Mughal Garden. Flower named after the President is crossbred of two varieties—‘English Holiday’ and ‘Wilfred Norris’ and his wife is a produce of seedling of ‘royal celebration’ and an unknown variety of Indian rose,” Kukreti said.
Apart from roses, large number of colourful, tulip, bougainvillea, dahlia, daffodil, lily, and daisy adorn the garden. Around 14, 000 tulips and 60 types of bougainvilleas are grown here with more than 70 varieties of other seasonal flowers, said Venu Rajamony, President’s press secretary.
The other centre of attractions this year are around 30 air purifying plants, flower walls and floral inscriptions — ‘India’ and ‘Jai Hind’.
The entire complex comprising spiritual garden, herbal garden, bonsai garden and musical garden will remain open from February 5-March 12 (except on Mondays which are maintenance days) between 9.30am to 4pm.
“President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the gardens, as part of the ‘Udyanotsav’, on Saturday. There will be special visiting days too as the gardens will open exclusively on March 10 for farmers, differently abled persons, defence/paramilitary forces and Delhi Police personnel. They can visit the gardens on this day between 9.30am-4pm and the entry and exit will be from Gate No 35 of the President’s Estate, close to where North Avenue meets Rashtrapati Bhavan,” added Rajamony.