BusinessDay

The 1st Abuja Garden Show

I sat under a palm tree at Sarius Palmetum in Abuja on a cool breezy evening and drank up nature. A monkey sauntered down from the hilltops and wondered freely under a light bulb beneath a fig tree. Using both limbs, it lumbered up another palm tree and disappeared. I was alone with nature and drifted in and out of the many plants that beckon at the Sarius Palmetum, my oasis, my place of escape, my writing space.

I stood up fully satisfied and headed for the nursery where I sat with the former first lady Her Excellency Mrs Murtala Mohammed, visioner for the first Abuja garden show, and chairperson organising committee, wife of the Vice President, Her Excellency, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo. Under one of the charming gazebos at Sarius Palmetum and Botanical Gardens along with other committee members they lead the way for what the first Abuja Garden Show would be like.

I am excited because as a plant lover, everything serene, everything green excites me, no end. We talk and strategize under the distinct leadership of HE Mrs Osinbajo, a nature lover, philanthropist and garden aficionado. And as we all leave the planning committee meeting, we ooh and aah and gasp at our new findings, a new plant, a new pathway through what would be nature’s gift to Abuja through the hands and hardwork of one of Nigerias finest horticulturists Mrs Ajoke Mohammed.

Welcome to one of Abuja’s finest venues for palms, gardens, greens and plants. It’s the Abuja Garden Show. Get in there. Best place for all plant and flower lovers to be this weekend

There are anthoriums popping their heads from the pots, there are exotic palms and flowers from far flung places that meander ahead of you and behind you through the Palmetum leaving you in awesome wonder of God’s gifts to man.

Behind you, you can still hear Mrs Mohammed wondering why one plant has not gotten water for two days. At 82, she knows the grounds of the Palmetum and has been at this conservation business for the longest.

Between the passion of our chair, the amiable wife of our vice president, Mrs Osinbajo and Mrs Ajoke Muhammed and the dogged commitment and passion of all committee members, the days for the Abuja Garden Show have finally come.

The day has finally come to host a three-day garden exhibition first of its kind in the Federal Capital Territory, starting today all the way to Sunday, November 27.

Sarius Palmetum and Botanical Garden the venue of the show is home to over 200 species of palms and an amazing variety of plants from all over the world. The venue has for decades been identified as a pioneer in horticulture and conservation.

The Abuja Garden Show promises to highlight all that is available for garden and plant lovers by showcasing businesses in and around plants and gardens for these three days.

There would be competitions where the best exhibitors will win prizes. The judges include award winning actress Mona Lisa Chinda. There would be seminars and sales by participants among other activities.

And as you walk around exhibition stands there would be beautiful spots for that Instagram photograph and places to sit for a minute having toured the stands for bit.

But it is certainly not a sitting down event. In addition to this, there are different refreshments and vendors to keep your energy going.

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Other than visiting exhibition stands with different plants and flowers on display, there is so much to learn at the daily seminars. There are interesting opportunities for children to begin to learn about plants, conservation and horticulture. I am particularly looking forward to the palm tour where I would learn about the different palms in a route already designated by the planning committee.

Everywhere looks ready to receive flower and plant lovers, the curious and the converted. The sun dips slowly behind the largest palm at the Sarius Palmetum and Botanical Garden. Our chief host and our chair are leading other committee members to put finishing touches to the plan for the opening ceremony.

Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is pencilled down as chairman of the occassion. There are hopes for the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, to make an appearance.

The potted plants for flourish are mesmerising, the crocheted gift bags give pleasure and the woven baskets are to die for. So we awake to this beautiful things today of the opening. I skip gaily through the palm tour and bathe in the peeping sun above the Palmetum. Everything is set and ready.

Welcome to the first Abuja Garden Show. The very first with fresh cut flowers, plants, garden accessories and other things all sight for sore eyes.

Welcome to one of Abuja’s finest venues for palms, gardens, greens and plants. It’s the Abuja Garden Show. Get in there. Best place for all plant and flower lovers to be this weekend. Come and tour the exhibition and learn from the seminars. Don’t say I did mot tell you….

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