PHA launches botanical garden project in Murree

LAHORE: The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) of Lahore has begun work on establishing a cutting-edge botanical garden in the picturesque hill station of Murree, confirmed its director general on Sunday.

Set against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan foothills, this 10-acre facility will showcase a variety of gardens, including Japanese Sakura and perfume gardens, a giant water lily pond, and a tunnel adorned with Wisteria trees of different varieties and colors, said Muhammad Tahir Wattoo.

This ambitious project, poised to be the country’s first of its kind, will also offer public amenities such as a children’s play area, zip lines, skybridges, a glow-in-the-dark garden, and dedicated parking.

PHA also operates a botanical garden near Jallo Park in Lahore, covering 80 acres. Around 30 acres feature diverse landscapes and attractions for visitors, including Rose, Bonsai, and Cactus Gardens, a creeper-covered tunnel, a Rhizotron for viewing plant roots, tree houses, gazebos, a Treetop Walkway, and the popular Butterfly House.

Highlighting the new garden’s floral diversity, Mr. Wattoo mentioned it will feature dazzling flowers like Tulip, Tiger Lily, and Geranium, typically found in mountainous tropical regions.

He noted Murree’s unique climate accelerates the growth period of tulips by at least two months compared to urban centers like Lahore, which could help conserve foreign exchange by cultivating the national flower of the Netherlands.

Additionally, PHA plans to host a groundbreaking Tulip exhibition in Lahore this December to celebrate the flower’s rich cultural history.

Mr Wattoo recalled that tulips originated from lilies in East Asia 21 million years ago, later cultivated in Kazakhstan and used as food by nomads. In Persia from the 11th century, tulips symbolised the start of spring, celebrated for their beauty in art and poetry long before gaining fame in the Netherlands.

“Visitors can expect to embark on educational journeys through themed gardens, each representing distinct ecosystems from around the globe,” the director general said. He emphasised that the initiative underscores Punjab government’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable tourism development.

The botanical garden is expected to open its gates to the public later this year.

Separately, the PHA has also decorated the main thoroughfares of Lahore, including Jail Road, The Mall, Johar Town, and Canal, with colorful light structures twinkling like stars on the ground. Ring- and crescent-shaped light installations positioned along these roads offer a stunning spectacle at night.

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