AN INSIGHT INTO THE GRANDEUR OF RAJ BHAVAN GARDENS
The Raj Bhavan garden Bengaluru has its own history of over one and a half century. The Commissioner’s Bungalow as it was called earlier came to be called as the ‘Residency Park’ and then as Raj Bhavan. Sir Mark Cubbon when he was commissioner of Mysore resided in this Raj Bhavan building. Cubbon had the taste for gardening and aesthetic values. It is because of special interest taken by Cubbon, the Lalbagh Botanical Garden Bengaluru received the title “State Botanical Garden” in 1856.Thereafter, systematic exchange of plants between the Lalbagh and other gardens of Bengal Presidency, Madras Presidency and Bombay Presidency could take place and while introducing plants to Lalbagh Garden Bengaluru, a few species like Eucalyptus citriodora, Araucaria cockii, Caesalpinia coriaria etc., were also introduced to Raj Bhavan gardens during the period from 1860 to 1870. Later, many species of trees shrubs climbers and other plants were introduced.
Right from the Residency days, the Raj Bhavan garden received special care and attention. The sylvan and colorful garden is adding beauty to the Raj Bhavan Building. The Residency Garden, at one time had about 3400 potted plants, of these the biggest collection was that of Crotons followed by those of foliage plants, Ferns and Roses. This shows that pot culture started from the Residency days and it is practice of growing different varieties of foliage ornamental plants, flowering shrubs and flowers etc., in pots is being continued even today.
The Raj Bhavan garden was originally laid out both as a formal and an informal garden. The formal garden is the area right in front of the Raj Bhavan portico. The central walk path flanked by a row of Royal palms and abutted on either side by lush green lawns, Rose gardens and arches covered with creepers. The informal garden is on the periphery of the garden where it has the fruit trees, such as Mango, Sapota and Coconut and kitchen garden plants. Both the formal and the informal gardens are in harmony with the colonial and classical architecture of the Raj Bhavan building.
The Garden has a well designed landscape, with terraces, parapet walls, and metallic arches covered with flowering creepers which lend a subtle beauty to the grandeur of the building. A Glass House has been added during the year 2000, where the state functions are held here.
An artificial waterfall which has been created in the left side corner of the main lawn provides not only a strategic cover to the buildings, but also relief to the monotony of the place. The bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi just on the right side of the water cascade facing the main lawn provides a touch of serenity, peace and dignity to the atmosphere.
The presence of birds like Eagles, Crows, Pigeons, wood peckers, Myna, Squirrels and butterflies are adding diversity of fauna to the garden.
The Raj Bhavan Garden has different types of plant wealth, such as Albizia saman (Rain tree), Artocarpus altilis (Bread fruit), Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jack fruit), Averrhoa carambola (Star fruit), Bambusa vulgaris (Yellow bamboo), Bougainvillea, Caesalpinia coriaria (Divi-Divi Tree), Callistemon lanceolatus (Bottle brush), Caryota urens (Fish tail palm), Cassia javanica (Pink Cassia), Citrus maxima (Pomelo), Cocos nucifera (Coconut), Colvillea racemosa (Colville’s glory), Couroupita guianensis (Cannon Ball Tree or Nagalinga pushpa),Cycas revoluta (Sago Cycas), Delonix regia, (Gulmohar), Dalbergia latifolia (Rose wood or Beete Mara), Elaeis guineensis (Oilpalm), Elaeocarpus ganitrus (Rudraksha), Erythrina crista-galli (Coral plant), Eucalyptus citriodora, Ficus bengalensis (Banyan tree), Ficus benjamina (Benjamina fig), Ficus religiosa (Peepal Tree), Filicium decipiens (Fern tree), Grevillea robusta (Silver oak), Jacaranda mimosifolia (Blue Jacaranada), Lagestroemia indica (Crape myrtle), Lagestroemia speciosa (Pride of India), Mangifera indica (Mango), Manilkara zapota (Sapota), Millingtonia hortensis (Tree Jasmine), Michelia champaca (Sampige) Peltophorum pterocarpum (Copper pod),Pinus roxburghii (chir pine), Plumeria alba, Plumeria rubra, Polyalthia longifolia (Mast-Tree or Ashoka), Pongamia pinnata (Indian-Beech), Pursea Americana (Avacado), Psidium guajava (Guava), Ravenala madagascariensis (Traveller’sPalm), Roystonea regia (Royal palm), Samania saman (Rain tree), Santalum album (Sandal wood), Spathodia companulata (African Tulip Tree), Sterculia alata, Swietenia mahagoni (Mahagony), Tabebuia avellanedae,(Pink Trumpet), Tabebuia argentia (Golden bell), Tabebuia donnell-smithii (Yellow Tabebuia), Tabebuia rosea (Rosy Trumpet-tree), Tamarindus indica (Tamarind), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa), etc., and many ornamental and flowering plants are present in the garden.
The Raj Bhavan gardens was upgraded and given face lift during the year 2018-19 and 2019-20 by developing new lawns, introducing native plants, butterfly attracting plants, Spice plants, Ground cover plants, Shrubbery plants, Herbal plants, Topiary garden, Bonsai plants, Rose garden, Hedging plants, Exotic plants, Lotus plants, Creeper plants, Bird bath, Seasonal flower, Mini water fall and Sprinkler system, Rain water infiltration well etc., to make more attractive, enhancing the esthetic value, beauty and plant diversity of the garden.
The important ornamental and flower plants introduced to Raj Bhavan gardens from the past eight years are Acalypha wilkesiana, Acalypha godseffiana, Agloanema varieties, Annona reticulata ( Ramphal), Anthurium andraeanum ( Anthurium-Painter’s Palette), Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jack fruit), Asclepias curassavica (Butterfly attracting Plant), Averrhoa carambola (Star fruit), Bambusa ventricosa (Buddas Belly Bamboo), Bignonia megapotamica, Bismarckia nobilis (Silver bismarck palm), Buddleja asiatica, (Butterfly attracting plant), Bunchosia argentea (Peanut butter fruit), Bonsai plants, Burmuda lawn grass, Carmona retusa (The Topiary Plant), Chlorophytum comosum (Spider plant), Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamon), Clerodenrum inerme (Vishama dhari), Cestrum nocturnum (Night Queen), Cuphea hyssopifolia (Cuphea), Citrus siensis (Sweet orange), Citrus reticulata (Nagpur orange), Citrus aurentifolia (Kagzi Lime), Citrus limon (Lemon), Cocos nucifera (Dwarf Coconut), Dracaena varieties, Duranta goldiana, Dypsis lutescens (Areca palm), Ellettaria cardamomum (Cardamom), Canna indica (Indian shot), Chamoedorea elagans (Parlour palm), Codiaeum variegatum (Crotan), Eranthemum varieties,Elaeocarpus grandiflorus (Flowering Rudrakshi), Erythrina cristagali (Coral plant), Ficus carica (Fig), Ficus benjamina (var.blackeana), Ficus benjamina (Var. Starlite), Golden cypress, Hibiscus varieties, Hypophorbe lagenicaulis (Champion/Bottle Palm), Ipomoea horsfalliae (Morning glory), Ixora coccinea (Jungle Geranium), Jasmine varieties, Jatropha, Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe myrtle), Loropetalum chinense, Leucophyllum frutescens, Malphigia punicifolia (Barbados cherry), Mucuna bennetii (Red Jade Vine), Money plant (Golden yellow), Murraya exotica (Kadu karibevu or Kamini), Nerium oleander, Nelumbo nucifera,(Lotus), Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, (Parijata or Night flowering Jasmine), Ophiopogon (Mondo grass), Mexican lawn grass, Myristica fragrans (Nutmeg), Pachystachys lutea ( Golden shrimp or Lollipop flower), Pandanus (Pandanus variegated –Dwarf), Passiflora incarnata (Passion Flower), Petrea volubilis albiflora (white flower) and Petrea volubilis (Blue flower), Persea americana (Butter fruit or Avacado), Pentas lanceolata, Philodendron, Pimento diocia (All spice), Piper nigrum (Pepper), Plumeria abtusa (Plumeria dwarf), Portulaca grandiflora(Porulaca or 9 o’Clock flower), Psidium guajava (Guava), Raphis exelsa (Raphis Palm), Rose, Ruellia simplex(Mexican Petunia), Santalum album (Sandal wood), Sansevaria (Snake plant), Spathiphyllum (Peace lilly), Schefflera arboricola, Spider lily, Spicy Guava, St.Augustine lawn grass (Shade grass), Syzygium aromaticum,(Clove),Syzygium samarangense (Water apple), Syzigium cumini (Jamun), Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pin wheel flower or Tabernaemontana dwarf plant), Tecoma varieties,Tradescantia spathacea (Rhoeo discolor), Vallaris glabra Creeper Plant, Wodyetia bifurcata (Foxtail palm), Quisqualis indica, (Rangoon creeper), etc., and other plants are introduced and planted in Raj Bhavan Garden to enrich the plant wealth and bio-diversity of this garden.
Apart from maintenance and up keep of Raj Bhavan gardens in a befitting manner, the nursery practices for annual flowers, ornamental foliage and flower plants are adopted systematically for multiplication and raising good annual flowers, ornamental foliage and flower plants in pots and containers and are used for arrangement in offices and during special programme and functions conducted in Raj Bhavan.