Floriculture in India, the first book of its kind, written by two eminent Indian scientists, clovers almost the ‘entire syllabus of floriculture and landscape gardening taught at nearly all the Universities in the country, and is designed to help amateur and professional gardeners besides students of the subject.
The book traces the history of gardening in India to its hoary past, discusses the scope and importance of the subject, and reviews the role the growth-hormones play in floriculture. Nursery management and propagation of flowering plants and various cultural operations have been discussed in detail in the book.
Several chapters have been devoted to the cultivation of annuals, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, trees, creepers, bougainvillea, cacti and other succulents, bulbous and foliage plants, palms, ferns, bamboos, etc. There is also an illustrated write-up on bonsai. The chapter on Commercial Floriculture includes various aspects of production. A note on the methods of prolonging cut flower life has been added.
The book covers the principles of garden designs, styles of gardening and different features of a garden such as fencing, garden paths, lawns, dry wall, sunken garden, water garden, rock garden, marsh garden, roof garden, greenhouse, etc. Methods of landscaping highways, railway stations, cities, towns. and the countryside, home gardens, factory gardens, educational institution gardens, etc., have been elaborately and lucidly described. The chapter on indoor gardening, describing how to make window gardens, miniature gardens, bottle gardens, hanging baskets, vertical gardens, etc., will help city dwellers and others to beautify their homes.
The book also discusses diseases and pests of a large number of ornamentals, and remedial measures for their control.
A special feature of the book is a chapter on flower shows and garden competitions and how to organize them. Ikebana or the art of flower arrangement also finds a place in the book. Another chapter describes the salient features of most of the important gardens of India, thus adding to the value of this interesting, scholarly and voluminous book.
Dr. G.S. Randhawa, a prominent figure in the field of Horticulture, took his M.Sc. (Ag.) from Toronto University and Ph:D. From Michigan State University. He had the distinction of being the first Professor of Horticulture at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, and the founder Director of the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore.
Dr. Amitabha Mukhopadhyay was born at Santiniketan, had his early education at Visva Bharati, and took his agricultural degrees from Calcutta University. He-stood first class first in M.Sc. (Ag.) and awarded a gold medal. Dr. Mukhopedhyay worked exclusively in the field of Floriculture and Gardening. He started his career in a senior position under the West Bengal Government in Kalimpong and Darjeeling, and later worked in other cities and States, and thus acquired a vast knowledge or the subjects of his special interest, including cultivation of most of the important crops such as orchids, bulbous plants, ferns, etc.
Private citizens, institutions and governmental units on the large Indian subcontinent -with its considerable diversity of climate, soils, and vegetation - have a need for a ref-erence on landscape horticulture and floriculture that is at once broadly encompassing and detailed. In writing Floriculture in India, Dr. G.S. Randhawa and Dr. A. Mukhopadhyay appear to have achieved the production of such a book. May this volume serve as the beginning of a series of several in this field; it is to be hoped that these and other enterprising authors will follow with additional, intensive coverage of landscape architecture and landscape design applied to specific needs in the widely varying parts of India.
Globally, it is to be noted that, beyond the strictly aesthetic aspects of landscape horticultural plants, serious consideration is now increasingly being given to their environmental functions. Plants are being evaluated for their potential part in noise abatement, in traffic control, as bioindicators of air pollution, as well as for other climatic, architectural and engineering uses, including temperature modification and glare control. With this in mind, the reader of Floriculture in India will appreciate that numerous plants used as "ornamentals" may have much utilitarian value for these other purposes as well. Indian horticultural researchers of the stature of the authors will undoubtedly give attention to the roles of plants in environmental enhancement in upcoming years. The importance of such studies, with implications for quality of life for urban and rural residents, should be apparent.
In addition, use of some of the trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines listed in this book, for agro forestry, social forestry, and horti pastoral purposes, may prove to be quite viable for marginal lands in rural areas. This is another landscape horticultural research frontier in which much research remains to be done under Indian conditions.
At the same time as he or she notes the emerging areas concerning environmental uses of plants, the landscape horticulturist retains an appreciation of the beauty of form, texture, and color in plants, often also fragrance and smoothness to touch. These are given due coverage in Floriculture in India. The reader is exposed to a wealth of information about plant characteristics, site preferences, and cultural techniques, among a myriad of other details. As a result, even with casual perusal of the book, one is exposed to highly useful material on which to base decisions and maintenance practices. All who are interested in the advancement of landscape horticulture (including floriculture) and environmental horticulture in India must express gratitude to the authors for their contribution to the literature in this field. The book will be very useful to amateur gardeners student, and teacher.
The importance of Ornamental Horticulture, from aesthetic, environmental and economic points of view, is not properly understood in India and this subject remained more or less neglected. However, in the past two decades Ornamental Horticulture has attained importance and made considerable progress. Until recently, there was hardly any University or Institute in the country offering postgraduate teaching on the subject. Even today, with the exception of the Indian Institute of Horticultural Re-search, Hessaraghatta, Karnataka, where a full-fledged Division of Floriculture and Landscape Gardening has been created, there is possibly no Institute or Agricultural University which has a separate division of Ornamental Horticulture. In most of the Institutes and Agricultural Universities, Floriculture is clubbed with either fruits or vegetable crops in one department. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that during the past decade or so, almost all the Agricultural Universities have started to teach Ornamental Horticulture as one of the major subjects for postgraduate studies leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Recently, a Centre of Advanced Studies in Tropical Horticulture has been established at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessaraghatta, Karnataka, in collaboration with the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, under an UNDP/ICAR project. In this programmed Floriculture has been included as one of the subjects for advanced postgraduate teaching leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. With this advancement a number of scientists will be trained in Ornamental Horticulture abroad which will go a long way in improving research and education, and also beautifying cities, towns, and even rural areas through well-conceived bio-aesthetic planning using ornamental trees, shrubs, and other plants. In fact, the second author has received such training in the U.S.A., and the field of his training was nursery and greenhouse management, landscape horticulture and landscape ecology.
Another lacuna in this field is the non-availability of a comprehensive and standard book covering all aspects of floriculture and landscape horticulture, thus depriving the students as well as the amateurs of guidance and knowledge on the various aspects of Ornamental Horticulture. Keeping in view the needs of postgraduate and under-graduate students, it was decided to write the present book. The book covers the syllabi of several Agricultural Colleges, Universities, and other Institutes which are offering degree and diploma courses in Ornamental Horticulture including Landscape Horticulture. This book, therefore, will serve as a textbook covering all aspects of Ornamental Horti-culture at one place. It would also be of immense use for amateur ornamental horticulturists and general public interested in beautifying their homes through gardening.
We have taken particular care regarding the spellings of botanical names. Wherever possible, the more common synonyms have also been used. The following books were consulted for the spellings of botanical names : Manual of Cultivated Plants by L.H. Bailey (1951), The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture by L.H. Bailey (1963), The Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary edited by Fred J. Chittenden (1956), Exotica by Alfred Byrd Graf (1973), and Plant Groups by H. Mukherjee and A.K. Ganguly (1964). For the spellings of Cacti, the book entitled The Cactaceae by N.L. Britton and J.N. Rose (1963); for Succulents the book entitled Succulent Plants by H. Jacobsen and translated by Vera Higgins (1959), and for Orchids the book Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids by Alex D. Hawkes (1970) were consulted.
We add with pleasure that recently the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, also created a separate division of Floriculture and Landscape Gardening.
During the preparation of the book several scientists and other staff of this Institute have helped us in many ways. Particularly, the assistance of Dr. M.P. Alexander, Dr. Foja Singh, Dr. R. Doreswamy, Dr. K.S. Amin, Dr. S.R. Sharma, Dr. S.V. Sarode, Dr. S.P.S. Raghava, Messrs. B.G. Bagle, G.J. Bankar, R.C. Alandkar, and V. Padmanabhan is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to Mrs. Sukla Mukhopadhyay, Mr. S.R. Nagabhusan, Mr. A.R. Venkatesh, and Miss Madhura for their kind help.
Lastly, we hope that this book will be useful 'to everybody concerned.
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