Do you dream of planting a rose bush in your balcony garden? Do you fancy having a pomegranate plant of your own? Then you should visit the city zoo and check out the BMC’s annual horticulture exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Tree Authority. It is on till Sunday, February 10.”We wanted to spread awareness of medicinal and ornamental plants. In a city like Mumbai, trees should be valued. But people have to love plants to protect them,” says Vijay Dande, the BMC’s superintendent of gardens and tree officer. Now in its 13th year, the event, which was attended by more than 2,00,000 visitors yesterday, has numerous workshops on landscape gardening, cultivation of roses and bonsai, and vermiculture. Plant nurseries from around India have also set up stalls that feature numerous saplings of flowering plants, medicinal herbs, fruit-bearing trees, ornamental plants and bonsai.

A few visitors discuss the botanical intricacies of the flowers on display. They avidly look at the cacti and scribble notes. “There are so many plants here. This place is a living, dream laboratory for us botany students,” says Swati Suman, an FYBsc student from Thakur College. Plant taxonomist Bapu Gosavi can’t stop taking pictures. “I am going to go back and compare these photographs to what I’ve studied in theory.”

But the display is not for scientists alone. Pointing at the odomos plant, 12-year-old Manav Sheth says, “I didn’t know it looked like that.” Horticulturist Sachin Wagh from Badlapur was visibly impressed. “Each plant is well labelled in English, Marathi and the scientific name, to make it simple for everyone,” he says.

But there were some who were talking about how the city had lost its gardening culture, and how the concrete jungle is only suited for shade-loving plants. “Indoor shrubs are ideal for people who live in small flats. They are low-maintenance and create a green ambience,” says Trupti Gada, a regular at the exhibition.

The BMC has copped a lot of flack on the issues of open spaces and trees, but with this show, they have displayed a green side, that has gone down very well with the public.

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