(Clockwise from top left): Schoolchildren present tableaux to spread awareness about the environment; people appreciate the flowers and the greenery; and floral arrangements at the Ikebana stall attract visitors to 73rd Flower Show held at A.K. Khan Park at Seaview, on Thursday. — Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
(Clockwise from top left): Schoolchildren present tableaux to spread awareness about the environment; people appreciate the flowers and the greenery; and floral arrangements at the Ikebana stall attract visitors to 73rd Flower Show held at A.K. Khan Park at Seaview, on Thursday. — Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The four-day 73rd Pakistan Annual Flower Show-2024 organised by the Horticulture Society of Pakistan (HSP) kicked off at the A.K. Khan Park at Seaview in Defence Housing Authority here on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Sindh caretaker Minister for Health Dr Saad Khalid Niaz fondly remembered the founder of the Flower Show, the late A.K. Khan Sahab, who initiated the society in 1948.

“Our society needs colour and greenery,” he said. “We need to focus on our environment and promote what HSP is doing. Flowers bring smiles to faces,” he added.

Earlier, while tracing HSP’s history and work, its chairperson Ms Naushaba Khalil said that HSP had brought horticulture into lives. “Until 1983 there was only one florist’s shop in Karachi but they are everywhere now. Similar is the case of nurseries,” she said.

About this year’s show, she mentioned what was new. “There is a new layout and design for the show this year. We have also given new entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their work,” she said.

Pakistan Annual Flower Show-2024 kicks off in Seaview park

“HSP has 12 allied societies under its banner. The Ladies Horticulture Society is one of them. This year they have provided space for disabled persons,” she informed.

While thanking Salman Khan, the son of A.K. Khan, who is the backbone of HSP and also the Flower Show, she also thanked the participants, the judges and the gardeners, who make the Show happen year after year. “HSP is about to start certification and diploma classes for gardeners to enable them to get better jobs,” she disclosed.

As had been mentioned by the HSP Chairperson, the Ladies Horticulture Club had three different planned green patches for deaf and mute persons, autistic persons and the visually challenged people. President of the Ladies Horticulture Club, Dr Hina Baig, also took one around at their Plant Gala stall to meet the young entrepreneurs they were helping showcase their products. “Everything is plant-related,” she pointed out.

Hence, Fatima Hussain at the Mama June stall was marketing all types of crisps or chips made from banana, sweet potato and lotus root. Sara Malik at CraftsNkraft had paper gift boxes made in the shape of designer bags and purses. Saira Nasir at Mimi’s had all kinds of sauces, dips and drizzles. There was apricot jalapeno drizzle, tomato olive dips, beetroot ketchup, orange vinegar and also homemade spice packets. At the C-Arts stall representing a vocational training centre for special children, there was handmade jewellery, block print and screen-printed canvas tote bags, etc. Hawa Abdullah, who is originally from South Africa, had SA (for South Africa) Delights, including, Greek biscuits, date and walnut biscuits, special chevda, qum quat pickle, tomato savoury chutney, beetroot chutney, etc., on sale.

Dadi Amma Ka Bagheecha was another new concept.

General secretary of Amateur Gardeners Club, Itrat Haseeb, said that through this concept they had tried bringing back memories of how grandmothers in the past had gardening as their favourite pastime and they used to decorate their lawns with swings, pergolas, takhts and local and indigenous plants.

Other ladies’ stalls such as the Jasmine Chapter’s stall showcased contemporary floral art as bright sunflowers bloomed in the form of arrangement displays at the Ikebana International Karachi Chapter’s stall.

The school and college stalls were also worth a mention. At one stall called the Maholiati Baithak stall, schoolchildren presented tableaux to spread awareness about the environment and how to keep it clean and green.

Visitors to the Flower Show also appreciated the large variety of herbs and vegetables for sale at different stalls. There was desi mint, parsley, oregano, Thai basil, curry leaf, celery, thyme, paan leaf, cherry tomatoes, tea tree, chillies, capsicum, seedless lemon, Kaffir lime, and so much more.

The need for pure and organic food items and other things was fulfilled at the Green Valley Essentials stall where one could find natural oils, organic honey, lozenges with kalonji, sharbat toot siah, and charcoal, sandalwood, neem, turmeric, lavender and tea tree soaps.

There was also a huge variety of gardening tools, garden furniture, garden lights including solar lights, garden decorative items such as pretty wind chimes made from seashells, hanging pots and hanging plants available.

The hanging plants, including the sleeping money plant or Shangrila pothos, were costlier than the normal money plant but something quite different at the Reyan Nursery.

The succulents at the Subhanullah Nursery stall must be the most beautiful and affordable cacti.

The bonsai trees at the ‘Let Them Bloom’ stall were to die for. Most were very expensive but then, as Ibad Saeed, a first-time participant at the Show said, “It takes years to nurture a bonsai.” The most expensive bonsai at the stall, a 25-year-old pixie pink bougainvillea, was priced at Rs250,000 and the least costly bonsai there, also a pixie pink bougainvillea, though only three years old, was priced at Rs4,500 only.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2024

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