Miracle blooms in the desert

Miracle blooms in the desert

Miracle Garden that opened in Dubailand on 
Feb 14 is an oasis abundant with flowers in 
over 60 colours, find 
KT Senior Reporter Nivriti Butalia and 
Senior Photographer Juidin Bernarrd

Geraniums play second fiddle to Petunias at an 80,000-square-foot colour oasis called — not for nothing — ‘Dubai Miracle Garden’.

Forty-five million blooming flowers in more than 60 colours — some of which, such as the black velvet Petunia, have been planted for the first time in the UAE — adorn this patch of saline desert soil. Otherwise known as sand.

Miracle Garden is set in the backyard of the Dubailand Sales office, the parent company of Arabian Ranches, Legoland, Universal studios (before it shut down), Dubai Motor City and the Global Village complex. So, behind the garden’s tall hedges and 12-metre-high pyramids speckled with ‘trailing petunias’, you see scaffolds of roller coasters and facets of now defunct amusement park rides. The attraction in this barren neighbourhood is this carefully landscaped flower city.

At 11am on Friday, the parking lot outside the garden is already packed. Locals, expats, tourists, families, strollers and cameras all troop in, after having paid Dh20 at the entrance for those over three. The faces of visitors wear a similar delighted expression when they first set eyes on the mammoth floral spectacle.

The new park opened to the public on February 14, but it started charging the entry fee from Friday.

Becky Brown from the UK with her pram-bound son, Ethan, has been in Dubai for four-and-a-half years. Her friend, Erin Porter, from South Africa has been here for five years. Erin’s son, Tyler, is running free. The two housewives and their sons are in love with the place. “It’s nice to have something so colourful in the desert,” Becky says.

Erin doesn’t want to leave the garden despite the sun. “It’s the colours,” Erin says. “So many lovely colours.”

Farhan Shehzad, project manager and irrigation engineer, points out to the fledgling Washington palms planted as opposed to date palms. He also admires the two tall peacock hedge figures with a tail of petunias longer than the sweep of a royal wedding gown.

Besides petunias that are the thumping majority, there are geraniums, calendula plants, tiny blue flowers called lobelias, and argyranthemums — the cousin of the daisy.

There are no succulents and the place is bereft of trees. This is deliberate because the look aimed for is ‘unique’. There is even a Guinness record bid, for the longest flower wall.

There is, however, some ‘greenery’ by way of the red-leafed Coleus hedges. All flower seeds are imported. From Germany, Italy, the United States, top of the line “F1 varieties”, which mean hybrid flower seeds that are impervious to disease, fungus and whimsical sizes that ensure a certain uniformity of look. A consistency that seems essential to the developers to lend the place symmetry that has been set out to achieve.

However, no matter the quality of the seed, nothing can survive the searing heat which will cause the flowers to die, and Miracle Garden will close for several months in summer.


No sprinklers

  • Watering 45 million blooming plants of 45 varieties is made easier by the state-of-the art underground drip line called the sub-surface irrigation
  • The dripline system minimises water vapour loss from the different parts of plants — no buckets, no flowering cans, no sprinklers. Capillary mats like doormats made with absorbent coconut fibre are used to facilitate efficient irrigation by conserving up to 75 per cent of water and power
  • Sub-surface irrigation also prevents evaporation, as water goes straight to the root of the plants. Water is further saved by eliminating the wind factor that would disperse droplets in directions away from plant roots

Quick facts

  • Total park area: 80, 000 sq ft
  • Developed by Akar Landscaping Services
  • Project started on Nov 23, 2012; inaugurated Valentine’s Day on Feb 14, 2013.
  • For more, log on to www.wthe-miracle-garden.com

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