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     Volume 7 Issue 26 | June 27, 2008 |

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Photo Story

The Green Culture

Photos: Zahedul I Khan
Text: Elita Karim

Colourful cacti, a baby banyan tree and exotic fruits -- all in one place. But that's not all. Hordes of tree lovers from all over the city and beyond thronged the month-long Horticulture Fair 2008, popularly known as the National Tree Fair 2008, at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, which finally came to an end last week. Selling a massive number of saplings of different ferns, shrubs and cacti, several stalls from all over the country took part in the fair. An endeavour of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, the fair encouraged a huge number of people to plant more trees and has had a positive impact on the environment. This year, around 88 private nursery owners from across the country participated in the fair, which comprised of 109 stalls, including 15 government stalls. There were also a few pottery and herbal medicine stalls.

Even though the response was poor during the first week, people began to swarm to the fair during the weeks that followed. The main attractions at the fair were the exotic fruit plants and ornamental plants. The fair had a good collection of medicinal shrubs, seasonal flowers, vegetable seeds, cactus, bonsai and indoor plants.

Elegantly potted cacti fascinated visitors with their unique features. Several customers were seen buying these desert greens, which had a special touch to its appearance, thanks to the flowers that had bloomed. Several indoor gardeners were seen crowding a baby banyan tree, which was actually a 31-year-old bonsai of a banyan tree, bearing a price tag of Tk 3,00,000. However, there were other younger bonsai trees between Tk 1,500 and Tk 2,000, which were selling like hot cakes.

Yet another attraction at the fair were the fruits, starting from mangoes, lychees, pineapples and other deshi fruits like Jamrul, Aamra, Lotkon, Kamranga and many more. There were also a lot of foreign fruits like fresh strawberries and rambutans. A delight for all the gardeners with a lawn or a garden behind the house, the Brikkho Mela had all kinds of fruit trees to offer. Ancient medicinal plants like Neem Ashyath and Tulsi were also being sold at the fair.

A variety of hybrid plants were available at the fair. These fast-growing plants were a favourite for a lot of visitors. According to a nursery owner, most people are opting for rooftop gardening, thanks to the growing lack of spaces in the city. Grafted trees and hybrid plants are very popular because they take less time to harvest and have the ability to grow more fruits as compared to the local variety. This is also one of the reasons as to why these hybrids were costlier at the fair. Some of the many indoor plants, which were available at the fair, were the Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, Warneckii, Peace Lily, Corn Plant and Marginata.

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