City Nature – The Magic of Portulaca Flowers, Lodhi Gardens
A border of beauty.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This polite sprinkling of colours ought to be a sari border. The composition is so exquisitely fragile that you fear a strong breeze might destroy the arrangement.
This flowery bed snaking around a small, barely visited, lotus pond in Lodhi Gardens is one of our city’s many unseen beauties and this particularly beauty last only a season.
“We plant these portulaca flowers in March,” tells gardener Ram Milan to The Delhi Walla. “They bloom in the heat and go away by the time the rain ends.”. The pond lies inside a butterfly conservatory and though a board claims that Lodhi Garden has six species of butterflies, this afternoon only insects and bees are half-heartedly hovering over the lotuses. “We planted these flowers around the pond to attract the butterflies,” explains the gardener.
The flowers are apparently growing in other parts of the garden too, but the way they skirt around the water makes them look as dreamy as the tapestry woven by an experienced embroiderer.
Although it’s terribly hot, these dainty blooms are immersed in cool tranquility as if the weather’s extremity has no power to intrude into their secretive world.
Come during the first half of the day if you want to see these flowers, the gardener warns, adding that they fold within themselves in the afternoon, blooming again only the morning after. That too is magic.