Facelift programme for Jinnah Gardens
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The Mall Road Jinnah Gardens are to receive separate orchards of palm, shrubs, fruit, roses, climbers, and a water garden for daffodils in a 3-year ‘rejuvenation programme’, Daily Times learnt on Thursday.
“The renovation will transform the garden into a variety-rich botanical house of plants”, said landscape designer Mian Mughees.
Jinnah Garden Superintendent Muhammad Tariq told Daily Times since the programme started last year many things have been done including road edging, rain shelters, a sprinkler system at hills in the garden, setting up of a propagator (temperature controlled room for off-season plants), new rides in the children’s playland and the creation of a flori-culture institute with laboratory.
Mr Tariq said to grow different plant varieties close together, separate gardens are being made or revamped. These new areas include palm, rose tree and fruit gardens. Also featured would be a climbers and creepers garden, and a water garden for daffodils. The superintendent said a greenhouse would be built for off-season plants. He said the gardens currently have around 5,000 big trees and 800 varieties of plants. He said for the reservation and channelising of water a lake is being developed to irrigate the plants.
Mr Mughees who is consulting on the project said the Jinnah Garden is a replica of Kew Gardens in England and is essentially a botanical center. He said the gardens house some 30 species of medicinal plants and in the future more will be grown in consultation with doctors.
Garden Officials said plans are underway for a ‘bat area’ housing bats of different sizes. These bats were an endangered species and the gardens were one of the few places that supported them. There are around 26 species of birds in Jinnah Gardens that include bats, owls, parrots, sparrows and many others, said gardener Muhammad Alam.
Mr Mughees said the garden used to have unlimited varieties of butterflies but with increase in pesticide use the butterfly population has fallen. Gardens officials said they were contemplating charging an entry fee to stop the arrival of drug addicts in the evenings that ruin the family-friendly ambiance.
Recalling the gardens’ history the superintendent said it initially covered over 176 acres of which 21 were given to the Lahore Zoo in 1883 and 14 acres to Lahore Government College for botanical gardens.
The gardens were established in 1862 and were originally named after Sir John Lawrence, late 19th century British Viceroy to India. It comprises 141 acres and houses a ladies club, two libraries, tennis clubs, the Gymkhana cricket ground and botanical gardens there.