Come winter and a visit to the Agri Horticultural Garden in Alipore is a must for every flower or plant aficionado.
The 203-year-old sprawling garden, founded by William Carey, is run by The Agri Horticultural Society of India. It is the kind of place where John Keats or William Wordsworth would’ve idled away their hours by composing verses.
The word ‘idyllic’ comes to mind when describing this park. An area known as ‘The Retreat’ is the kind of place where one might have a picnic on a wintry Sunday morning. One can also go back in time and envision a fencing duel taking place in The Retreat — two Englishmen in 1760 locking horns with their cutlasses. It would’ve livened up the idyllic Retreat.
The most popular attraction is a greenhouse that was gifted by the royal family of Darbhanga. This greenhouse is also known as the Darbhanga House. Plonked right in the middle of this serene place is a fountain. For movie fans, it’s the kind of place where Lisel and Kurt from The Sound of Music may liven up their secret romance by singing I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen. An umpteen number of indoor plants beautify this already beautiful place.
For fans of roses, this is the place to go to. You’re promised a rose garden. You’ve heard of red roses, you may also know of the existence of yellow or pink roses or even the rare black rose. In the rose garden, visitors will find over 250 varieties of roses. Take your Valentine along and gift her a rose garden!
Next up is William Carey Xero Garden where xerophytes, cacti and succulents rule the roost. The cacti look like well-behaved children, not naughty or angry cacti which may prick. Surprise, surprise! They appear so polite that visitors might even be tempted to sit on them.
A rare plant
A sea of orchids welcome visitors to the Orchidarium. The more than 50 different kinds of orchids will surely make you go “So beautiful, so elegant, just looking like a wow!”
If you have an interest in herbal medicine, then Bhesan Udyan is the place for you because of the many medicinal plants there.
Feeling stressed out? Head south-westward, where a Japanese-style garden with a waterfall makes one feel as if in heaven. This writer looked for angels with harps in this calm locale.
And last but not the least, gardening enthusiasts can buy saplings and flowers from the sales counter.