The sunny morning of 25th September captivated the imagination of the locals at the marvelousdisplay of greenery and beautiful flowers showcased during the First Annual Flower Show titled ‘Suvas’ by the Sector IV Resident Welfare Society, New Shimla. First of its kind, this is an initiative to encourage the residents to strive for a green environment wherein competitions such as flower shows, creating home and terrace gardens as well as flower arrangements by local children was held.
Pradeep K Aluwalia, President of the society stated “this flower show is the culmination of our efforts to encourage the residents to participate and involve them in such activities. With the assistance of Sages Society we were able to visit more than 30 home gardens and were exhilarated by the response of the residents. We were enticed by the variety of plants that are being grown in our sector collectively, which could be easily seen through the display of more than 150 exhibits during the flower show”.
Dr Gurdev Singh, Director Horticulture who inaugurated the show admired and applauded the residents while apprising them about the usefulness of growing plants. He said, ‘A small beginning from a kitchen garden or as a hobby could be easily turned into a commercial venture and generate avenues for self employment”. Singh also said that since Himachal would soon gain the status of Carnation state, such efforts at community level would only strengthen the state and its resolve to commercially make it more viable. “This would also constitute you people as the extension officers of the department in giving guidance and any help from the department in future endevours would be met with a positive and quick response”, he added.
Dr Amarpal Singh Kochhar, Secretary of the society was grateful for the assistance provided by
the Sages society as well as Dr Raj Gopal Sud, retired deputy director, horticulture department
who provided valuable guidance and information regarding growth of various plants and suitable
measures that needed to be adopted. Smt Sukumaran from Sages society added, “it was a nice experience and appreciated the efforts as well as the enthusiasm of the residents”.
Mrs Hema Khanna, a first time participant and resident of the society was excited about her contribution, ‘I am really motivated and enliven by this show. We always try to participate actively in dissemination of information and involve ourselves with the pursuits and interests of our local community’.
The prize distribution held during the evening was further made lively with the presence of the Mayor Smt Madhu Sood as chief guest who distributed nearly 75 prizes, which were sponsored by STel and the Indian Oil Corporation, in various categories. Sood said, “the whole idea was beautifully conceptualized and the exhibits it their glory are a role model, which could be followed by other localities as well’.
The seven categories on which the plants were judged were foliage, herbs, hanging baskets, cacti/succulents, bulbous, flowering (seasonal), and flowering (perennial). Other displays that were a part of the show were the floating rangoli, flower rangoli, self made vases/planters, fresh and dry flower arrangement, gardeners competition and institutional booth. A team of reputed floriculturists which included Mela Ram, President SAGES, Dr Sood, M Kashyap, Dr. Kareker, Smt Sukumaran helped in the judging of the show. Prominent winners were Amarpal Singh Kochhar, Sunil Khanna, Pratibha Sharma and Kuldeep Maria to name a few in various categories. Mela Ram said, ‘this initiative should just not be limited to potted plants but should further be diversified into making homemade products which could be presented in future shows. Secondly impetus should also be on growing of herbs and herbal plants on a smaller scale as a beginning’.
It was thrilling to see that the residents and local communities are awaking to the concept of self
help and taking initiatives to build something green and environment friendly. Hopefully this small example which now begins from Sector IV of New Shimla sees light and sets itself as an example for others to follow.