The Agri Horticultural Society of India (AHSI) has inaugurated its 191st Annual Flower Show 2018 ‘Horticultural Extravaganza’ today at 3.00 PM. The Annual Flower Show consists of more than three different classes and nearly 280 sections covering palms, ferns, ornamental plants, cacti, succulents, vegetables, fruits, herbal plants, roses, gladioli, bonsai etc. It is arguably the largest flower show of the country even today. Shri. Keshari Nath Tripathy, Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal along with Mr. Partha Pratim Sengupta, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India were being invited as Chief Guests. Dr. Michael Feiner, Consulate General of Germany and Mr. Jawahar Sircar, IAS Former Chairman of Prasar Bharati, Govt of India Guests of Honour, Mr. Alexey M. Idamkin, Consul General of Russia, Mr. Bruce Bucknell, Deputy High Commissioner of United Kingdom and Prof. Sugata Bose, Member of Lok Sabha Guests of Honour and many other Guests were also being invited for the ceremony who graced the occasion.
There are as many as 204 Sections and 76 Sub-sections in the schedule. Besides Unique pot culture in display there are three Floral arts of different styles, Japanese Style known as “Ikabena”, Indian floral Art with different depictions, cut flowers in HP conference hall, foreign flowers, exhibition of nature photography, a pavilion of Orchids. It is not only the oldest show in India but also one of the bigger and better ones in the world even today what makes the Annual Flower Show of the Society so unique.
The diversity of horticulture is captured in hundreds of Seasonal flowers, perennial flowers, fruits and vegetables, medicinal plants, wide range of foliage plants, cacti and succulents, Bonsai etc. grown in pots. That is not all, cut flowers uprooted vegetables, feature garden. It is no longer restricted to the state of West Bengal; some of the North Eastern States also participate with their exotic cut flowers and outstanding horticultural products. Floral artists and photographer’s excellence have added flavour to this popular Kolkata event. Visitors are assured that in spite of such wide diversity they should not miss the magnificence of plethora of flowers led by dahlias, roses and many winter annuals like Acrolinum, Arctotis, Gazania, Rudbeckia. Cyclamen, Molucella, Mimulus etc. The show has a real mixture, something for everyone, host of competitions, displays the latest gardening products etc. Combined with the comfortable weather/climate, it is no wonder the show is enjoyed by a large number of visitors. The ASHI Annual Flower Show is certainly keeping up the tradition along with contemporary changes.
The Agri-Horticultural Society possesses a traditional garden laid out on a plot over 21 acres in the year 1870 A.D., having a wealth of valuable plants / trees most of which are very old, some of them have crossed a century. The garden is well maintained even today. Some of the notable plants are Elephant Foot Tree whose base stem looks like elephant’s foot, Mad tree whose all leaves are dissimilar either in shape, size, structure, etc; Monodora a beautiful rare plant of West African origin bears highly ornamental orchid like flower and it is very rare in India. Like these plants there are many more uncommon plants which attract all nature lovers. The Society’s own grown annuals in pots and beds are in bloom making the garden beautiful. The garden itself is a spectacle when added with the Annual Flower Show; it becomes a great extravaganza which attracts huge number of visitors for feast of their eyes including photographers, botanists, artists to enrich their professional excellence.
A Certificate from the Society helps growers, breeders, nurserymen etc to earn stamp of their quality / standard. This enables the growers, breeders, nurserymen to enhance their business. The footfall is increasing every year. It has become one of the most popular event of Winter season in Kolkata.
Exhibition of Nature Photography
We have an exhibition of Nature Photography by Mr. Tushar Kanti Dutta who have already won many National and International awards. Besides photography he has directed several short and documentary films which have been screened in many National and International festivals.
The Agri-Horticultural Society of India was founded in 1820 by Rev. Dr. William Carey, with the objective of developing and promoting agriculture & horticulture in India. Its first Agriculture & Horticulture exhibition was held as early as 1828 and the Society meanwhile catered to the needs of the agri-horticultural activities of the country and acted as the de facto Agricultural Ministry of the Government of India, till 1900. First ever agricultural journal in the country was published in 1837 by the Society. The AHSI has a unique history of achievements. It has played a pioneering role in the introduction of a wide array of cereals, cash crops, cinchona, many fruits, tea, sugar cane, vegetables, flowering plants and trees and ornamental plants etc. In the past, Governor General, Viceroys had been the chief patrons of the Society. It is traditional and informal garden. Although it is of 196 years old vintage, it is impeccably clean and well maintained. It is populated by varieties of rare plants. The AHSI today captures the passionate love for plant life and takes Indian agri-horticulture to new realms.
The Agri –Horticultural Society of India, apart from holding regular Flower Shows of various kinds, also holds competitions like – Summer and Winter Garden Competition, House Plants Show, Mango Mahotsava, etc. It also propagates rare plants, shrubs, trees and offers advisory services to plant lovers of the city, to build the bridge between nature lovers and nature. This apart, the AHSI is known for its development and preservation of Medicinal and Herbal plants. It also works with a laboratory for Research and Development now engaged in Tissue Culture. In fact, the AHSI works with “Ipecac”, a special kind of plant with multi-purpose uses, including treatment of dysentery. Educational activities include holding International Seminars, conducting Short Courses Training Programme on Mushroom Culture, Bonsai Culture, Home Gardening etc. This Society holds one-year Certificate course on Horticulture at the Society’s Carey Institute for Boys, affiliated to Calcutta University. Besides this, it also organizes exhibitions and conferences on Agri-Horticultural subjects.
The AHSI is actively engaged in designing, developing and implementing various landscape projects including their maintenance in and around Kolkata. Besides this, AHSI also offers consultancy and advisory services.