Cricket in full bloom


FLOWER POWER: Sarah
Eberle in the garden and
(below left) with Alan Gemmell;
and (below) the India garden
with giant cricket balls and
Himalayan blue poppies
FLOWER POWER: Sarah Eberle in the garden and (below left) with Alan Gemmell; and (below) the India garden with giant cricket balls and Himalayan blue poppies

by Amit Roy INDIA AND UK FANS’ LOVE OF GAME MARKED AT CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW TO BE sure, there are many keen gardeners in the British Asian community, but the propor­tion is not as high as might have been expect­ed, considering so many have come from rural backgrounds, especially in the Punjab. In Kenya and Uganda, too, I have seen bou­gainvillea spilling over garden walls and in spec­tacular bloom on the road between Mombasa and Malindi. In this country, I know Lord Navnit Dholakia loves gardening as does Lakshmi Mit­tal’s wife, Usha. But in a conversation once with Virendra Sharma, the Labour MP for Ealing Southall ad­mitted that there were many Asian homes in his constituency where the front garden had been covered in concrete so as to accommodate two Mercedes for off-street parking. Fresh from attending the royal wedding, the Queen was quick to visit the Chelsea Flower Show as she does most years. This year, the Royal Horticultural Society has joined forces with the NHS “to promote the positive impact that gardening has on mental health in the NHS’s 70th year”. For Asians, who are vulnerable to diabetes and heart disease, the benefits of gardening are obvious. For those of us who spend too many hours hunched over a computer, it is also prob­ably a soothing experience. This year there is a special reason for visiting what is probably the most prestigious flower show in the world. To mark its 70th year in India, the British Council has commissioned eminent landscape artist Sarah Eberle to create a garden inspired by “the UK and India’s shared love of cricket”. And the garden has the blessings of Sachin Tendulkar. Back in February, Eastern Eye trailed the con­cept of the garden and now we can see it in its full glory.…

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