The more high-tech that we have become, the more we need to be surrounded by nature. It may sound like a broken record, but there is a need to constantly remind ourselves the undeniable impact nature has on our well-being. Especially at a time when climate change and its effects are accelerating and climate related disasters piling up, nature is one of the most effective ways of combating this change.
To encourage this sentiment and bring more people towards greenery, the 69th annual Flower Show was recently held at A.K. Khan Park, Karachi. The park was crowded with visitors from all walks of life, welcoming spring and revelling in its beauty.
The four-day event was organised by Horticultural Society of Pakistan (HSP) in coordination with Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Clifton Cantonment Board (CBC). It featured hundreds of varieties of seasonal, perennial and rare species by the organisers that truly felt as if one was in the embrace of colours. There were around a thousand local and exotic species seen at the many stalls arranged by specialised clubs and societies participating in the show and commercial nurseries like Ladies Horticultural Club, Floral Art Society, Ikebana International-Karachi Chapter, Ikebono Study Group, Amateur Graders Club, Orchid Society of Pakistan, Pakistan Bonsai Society, Cactus and Succulent Society of Pakistan, World Flower Council and Sojetsu Study Group to name a few. Also, there were educational institutions displaying the work of young students and academia stalls which were educating the public on various topics relating to plants and gardening.
Study after study documents the psychological and physical benefits of connecting with the environment. People who are more connected with nature are happier, feel more vital, and have more meaning in their lives. Even merely looking at pictures of nature speeds up mental restoration and improves cognitive functioning. So, having an event like this was a refreshing experience.
Horticulture and gardening is often associated with stay-at-home spouses and senior citizens, but that is not the case. At the flower show, many people were flocked to stalls buying exotic plants to take home. The good thing about the show was that the work of the participants was put on display throughout the park so you could take a leisurely stroll among the flowers and take in the sight of the sea too. This way, one learned about new species and potentially chose the kinds of plants one would like to buy.
For enthusiasts, the exhibition featured a wide variety of gardening tools, supplies and a range of pots and planters. The festival offered unique decor to add in for one’s garden aesthetic, which can be personalised in any way they like. Pebble art, stone tiles, garden gnomes and animals along with garden fountains were also available for purchase. As fountains are amazing additions that can bring life and motion to people’s yard; they engage the senses with its soothing sound making the space a perfect place to unwind. At the flower show, there were a variety of traditional style fountains that one can opt for; such as the stone waterfall or the Japanese bamboo fountain. Besides these, there were tiny ones on display too, which were the perfect size for a working desk. It is quite an adorable paraphernalia to own.
Apart from the nature display, there were food vendors at the event for the attendees to enjoy snacks. Since the evening was very crowded, the lines became too long. While the families chatted, took pictures and the children played, the park was littered with wrappers and Styrofoam cups. Unfortunately, being at such an event, there was a desperate need to educate the public to respect the plants and the park.
There were stalls set up by vendors (such as Code Green, Go Green, TrashIt) selling eco-friendly items and conducting activities for kids for plantations. Despite this, it really did feel like we still need a long way to go when it comes to respecting our environment. A little change is all we need these days. Many people today support the notion that every person, especially every young person, has a right to access quality life. Surrounded by gadgets and pollution everywhere, we need to start talking about the right to access the natural world, because that connection is part of basic humanity.
In our busy lives, it can be challenging to think about keeping single plant alive, let alone a garden. But, as the temperatures begin to rise, it’s time to usher in a spring awakening!
Let this spring come with the idea of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Let this spring be a time of change for a healthier planet.