City Season – The Linum Rockery, Nehru Park
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The month of March has just finished its first week. The sky is sunny and the soil is warm. This is our city’s shortlived spring. Absolutely no time to lose. Drop everything and head to Nehru Park. Walk up to the few yards of a rocky slope that the gardeners here call ‘rockery’. It is next to the park’s multicoloured hanging bridge. Here, thou shall see paradise—only at this time of the year.
You may even call it Delhi’s Red Sea.
The linum flowers are clustered over this small space like a dense thicket, shining as red as Kashmiri apples. These giddy heads are nodding radiantly under the noon sun, and seem to fill the very air with daubs of paint. Each stalk with its singular blossom looks fiercely individualistic, but is also gracefully happy to be a part of this elite gathering. The entire shrubbery seems drunk on life, content in its modest-size home.
“The bloom began 20 days ago and will last for a few weeks,” says Chellaiah, director, horticulture, New Delhi Municipal Council. He says that no other park in Delhi has this variety of linum. There is actually a lot more of these species in another spot in Nehru Park but there they stand confined, pruned and tamed into a circular hedge. The rockery is wilder and, without doubt, more delightful. You can rejoice in its voluptuousness by being a tad adventurous. Lie down on the semi-wet flower bed, look up and you shall find yourself under a canopy of hundreds of blood-red sunsets.
This afternoon, there’s no one else on this magical patch except for a foreigner. She is sitting on a rock that juts out cliff-like towards the flowers. The lady is moved enough by the scenery to take selfies from different angles. Meanwhile, a cool breeze blows through the park and all the linums immediately sway to one side, like the feet of marching soldiers at a Republic Day parade.
The symphony of this dense jungle of red beauties is broken by a dead tree’s naked trunk. It looks like a helpless tower marooned in a circle of raging fire. The sight is so heart-stirring that it shall linger in you like snatches of a movie tune long after the movie has ended.
The gift of spring