By Zonaira Chaudhry
innaird is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of the country. It has a huge campus with a number of academic blocks, hostels, and wonderful lush green fields and flower gardens. This spring, Kinnaird was recognized by the Horticulture Society for its beautiful landscapes and flower gardens, adding yet another trophy to its already impressive list of honors: ‘best gardens’ among all the Educational Institutions.
A green environment during the hot summer season sounds invigorating and energizing especially for the students who sit under the shade during the study breaks. Kinnaird has always been green; however, flower gardens are relatively a new feature of the campus. The Principal of Kinnaird Professor Dr Mira Phailbus takes special interest in keeping the “natural beauty” of Kinnaird intact. The chief person in charge of Kinnaird Gardens was Dr Iffat Yaqub Chaudry who was appointed by the Principal in 2004. Her keen interest has made significant difference in the greenness of Kinnaird. She was responsible for the grounds for more than four years (till March 2008). Dr Iffat personally supervised the preparation for the horticulture competition.
She is a keen gardener in her own right and a professor of Psychology. “Kinnaird has always encouraged a green and natural environment,” she recalls. Kinnaird has the honor of housing one of the oldest trees in Lahore. “These trees were planted by various past principals of the college, some of them date back to pre-partition. The college at the time lacked flower gardens,” Dr Iffat remembers. “A lot of landscaping and
planning was done by the administration to fill this gap. The gardens were extended from Jail Road to the canal which also included hostel grounds, staff house, and the main academic building,” she says.
“Kinnaird was given a new layout in 2004 with the idea that the Kinnaird girls should be groomed in every way and this should include appreciation of garden art and landscaping, natural environment and ecology. They should learn to appreciate the unlimited wonders of nature, the vast range of colors, without harming them. Large number of flower beds were made in all sections of the college and the girls were encouraged to sit and enjoy them; introducing them to a panorama of greenness,” she explains.
Special trips are periodically arranged by the college administration to places like Pathoki and Kasur along with the gardeners to find diverse plants and flowers for the gardens. For maintenance, special equipment and machinery is used. Seeds are saved from flowers to be used in the next season. There are 28 gardeners to take care of the grounds. Kinnaird has a water fall surrounded by plants and bushes, numerous rose gardens, fragrant bushes and many other unique plants. There is also an in house nursery in the college. “I personally took great interest in planting a large number of seasonal flowers,” Dr Yaqub explains.
She can actually be seen planting with the gardener in college premises. Most of the flowers and flower beds that Kinnaird has are due to her enthusiastic and dedicated efforts. “There is unlimited beauty in nature and one must keep on counting one’s blessings,” she says smilingly. ■
This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, July 2008, Issue 3