The display will hence be an annual event to coincide with the Paro tshechu

Floriculture: Mixed scents of flowers drift through the air.  Spring has arrived and the Ugyen Pelri Palace in Paro is bursting with colours, drawing visitors in droves.

Some pose for a picture, while others inquire about the various flowers on display.  Varieties of flowers from all over the world are on display at the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition that opened to public yesterday.

The overcast sky did not deter people from visiting the palace, where each uniquely designed flower garden, belonging to about six participants, sprawl across the palace ground.  Tourists and students, who attended the ongoing Paro tshechu, made up most of the visitors to the exhibition yesterday.

Participants are hopeful that more people will visit over the weekend from nearby dzongkhags as well.  For them, besides paying a tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King, the exhibition is also a proud moment to showcase their years of hard work and enthusiasm.  Each garden comes with special messages inscribed in commemoration of His Majesty’s 60th birth anniversary celebrations.

Some of the popular plants and flowers among Bhutanese, according to participants, were rubber plants, orchids, tulips, geranium, petunias, and daisies.  At the first day of the exhibition, some visitors have already placed their orders for the flowers on display.  The plants would be sold on the last two days.  The price ranges from Nu 150 to Nu 10,000.

Initiated upon the command of His Majesty the King, the exhibition is envisioned to inspire appreciation for beautiful spaces, foster community vitality, and encourage the growth of a vibrant entrepreneurship in floriculture across the nation.  Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck is the royal patron for the exhibition.

One of the participants, Kinley Lham, who owns a nursery in Thimphu, said the exhibition served as a good platform for florists and flower enthusiasts to meet and exchange views.

“We not only get to showcase different plants and flowers but exchange it among ourselves,” Kinley Lham, who has some 7,473 plants on display, said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Another participant, who owns a shop in Thimphu, Karma Yangzom, brings flowers and plants from Serbithang, Phuentsholing and neighbouring Indian districts of Sikkim and Kalimpong.

Some of Karma’s flowers and plants on display are already bought. “The exhibition also helps us create awareness to flower enthusiasts on the various plants and flowers,” she said.

Agriculture officials said the six participants would compete for People’s Choice and Jury’s Choice awards.  The participants include home gardeners, private nursery owners, and institutions like women’s associations of army, police, and the Royal Body Guard.

Besides a varied collection of plants and flowers, the exhibition also displays creative installations incorporating flowers, models of some of the historic Bhutanese structures, like Taktshang monastery and Punakha dzong.  The exhibition also showcases Bhutanese architecture and way of life.

The exhibition that ends on April 6 will be an annual event henceforth coinciding with the Paro tshechu.

By Kinga Dema, Paro