The Cochin Flower Show 2004 begins on February 11.
THE CITY is blooming as the countdown begins for the Cochin Flower Show 2004. Every year, the five-day colourful display of flowers, fruits and vegetables at the Subash Bose Park ends with people carrying away numerous pots and plants to decorate their homes and gardens.
For most of them the interest lasts only as long as plants bear the fruits or flowers, but for others, it is like the arrival of a new member. The guest is tended to with a lot of care and attention. Enquiries are made to find out about the needs and wants of the new plant. Before long it becomes a full-fledged member of the garden.
Says Promila Menon, who's participating in the Home Garden competition for the second time, "I toil in the garden day in and day out. It's been three years now since we moved into this place. I have a gardener who comes once a month because it's a huge garden with not just flowering plants but mangroves, bananas, vegetables etc. Among the special flower varieties are Anthurium, Roses, Gerbera, Ferns, Begonia." She goes around nurseries buying seeds, plants and gathering information about them. "But it's a trial and error method, some make it and some don't." Ms. Menon says that she feels frustrated when plants don't survive, "but my husband is a great motivator" and before long she's back in the garden.
A regular at the Show, Dr Annamma Kurien has won six prizes last year. Despite being busy at the hospital, she makes sure her garden gets the right attention even in her absence. "24 hours is just not enough." While plants interested her long before she moved into her own house three years ago, Dr Annamma is delighted with her own garden, "because there's lot of space for trees too." A gynaecologist by profession, Dr Annamma is participating in the Individual as well as the Home Garden section. "I am participating in Orchids, Anthurium, Grass, Chrysanthemum, Crotons and the vegetables and fruits section."
For Dr Mary Abraham, this is a first time. "I have a collection of about 500 plants at home. For the last few years I've been taking keen interest in the garden, which was earlier tended to completely by my father-in-law. I'm putting up a special variety Euphorbia apart from Anthurium, Hibiscus and Begonia."
Two new competitions are being introduced this time, one is the vegetable carving competition for Individuals and Hotels & Caterers and the other is Lotus & Water Lily competition being sponsored by the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) at the organisational level bringing the total number of trophies to be won to 28. More than 6000 flowering pots will be on display at the flower show by around 200 participants including organisations. The Rose show will have on display about 40 varieties of flowers.
The children's section apart from the regular Flower Prince and Princess contest will have a competition in the Flower arrangement section in below 12 and 12-18 age groups.
The best rose and orchid plant among the exhibits will be selected as the `Rose of the Show' and `Orchid of the Show,' respectively. In the flower and ornamental foliage plants sections, as many as 27 annuals, 27 perennials and 22 ornamental foliage plant varieties are included. Medicinal plants are being exhibited by Tapovan and Port Trust and there is a competition in this section too. The fruits and vegetables have been categorised into Bananas, Other Fruits and Vegetables.
The last date for application for all sections is Feb 6, 2004 while the judging of gardens and campus venues is from Feb 6-9. The competition class includes flower gardens, vegetable gardens and upkeep of trees in campuses. In the latter category there are separate competitions in institutional and residential areas. Avenue trees, fruit bearing or ornamental trees will be considered. The criteria for judgment in the `Upkeep of Trees in Campuses' by individuals and institutions include aesthetical arrangement of variety of plants by creating a balanced design to merge with other elements in the complex, trees planted in adverse conditions like marshy, saline, rocky hard terrain etc. and the general conditions of trees in terms of vigour and appearance.
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