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Pleasant start to Ooty flower show

By Our Staff Reporter

UDHAGAMANDALAM, MAY 22. The two-day 2004 annual floral carnival began at the Government Botanical Gardens here today. The weather was `tourist-friendly' and the show got off to a pleasant start.

With a formal inaugural function dispensed with in view of the election Model Code of Conduct still being in force, the ceremony was simple. The Governor, P.S. Ramamohan Rao, along with his wife Uma Rao declared open the show by cutting a ribbon, tied across the threshold of a floral tunnel, which led to a breathtaking display of a large variety of flowers in pots and other containers. Mr. Rao and others went around the galleries and stalls displaying different types of flowers.

Earlier, music presented by the Madras Regimental Centre band greeted the visitors. There was a performance by the jazz band of Hebron School. While the number of visitors was less, the show per se reminded long-time residents of this hill station and of flower shows of yore. There were no government stalls.

The unfavourable weather during the last two months notwithstanding, the Good Shepherd International School and the Defence Services Staff College and the growers' associations displayed flowers in a healthy competition.

In the galleries exportable cut flowers such as anthuriums, orchids, carnations, chrysanthemums, asiatic lilies and roses attracted a large number of people. While `ikebana' flower arrangements were done by professionals from Bangalore, tropical and temperate vegetables of almost all varieties were exhibited by growers. On show were also different types of fruits and edible berries of the Nilgiris.

The medicinal plants exhibition organised by J.S.S. College of Pharmacy and the Nilgiris Medicinal Plants Promoters Society was highly educative. On show were 155 varieties of plants including Stevia, Adhada Toda, Vasaka and Omavalli. A display of bonsai, a regular feature of the show. was conspicuous by its absence this year.

From early in the day, all roads led to the venue. A tastefully decorated "Flower Trophy" in the shape of a pyramid put up on the left flank of the gardens was the cynosure of all eyes. It was made with hundreds of liliums.

Though the organisers tried their best to prevent the show from turning into a village mela `carelessness' on the part of some of the watch and ward staff led to a number of hawkers vending various items entering the venue.

The Nilgiris Collector, K. Sellamuthu, the Director of Horticulture, K. Dhanavel, and the Superintendent of Police, Bala Naga Devi, were present.

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