Landscaping company Akar intend to attract one million visitors a year to see 45 million flowers covering a 72,000 square metre site.
The definition of the word “natural” might be stretched here however, given Petunias are not native flowers, dry sandpits don’t often produce blankets of blooms, and many man-hours have been invested to create this miracle. So is it a success?
In terms of colour, it is. It’s a riot of pinks, purples and oranges. In terms of creativity, marks do have to be given for effort. Pyramids, mounds, arches and even cars are covered in blossoms. And in terms of interest, there were certainly queues of camera clicking visitors, many from the Subcontinent, where there neither the natural environment, or failing that, finances to create such a fanciful and frivolous project.
However, in terms of horticultural prowess, this is not a green-fingered planting achievement. In fact there is very little planting at all. Plastic plots of Petunias are stacked high or laid in rows. It is also not a garden in the true sense. There is little variety in the blooms. I think I may have seen a Geranium, and oddly some umbrellas. But that was it. If you like Petunias, this is a garden for you. But there is a reason why Petunias are used to create the Miracle Garden. With little water they grow impressively well in Dubai.
This wasn’t an educational nature trail where I would learn the healing properties of plants, or their Latin names.
But it is an achievement that Dubai is proud of. Get too close to the flowers, or roll a baby’s pram over the grass, and a man in a fluorescent vest blows a whistle very loudly in your face. And after all, name another country that would choose to grow a flower garden in the middle of a desert? It wouldn’t surprise me if the UAE’s motto became “It hasn’t been done yet, so why not?” It has the tallest building, the largest dancing fountains, the largest fish tank, the largest indoor ski slope, the largest shopping mall – and that’s just Dubai. It might be short of a miracle but this fanciful flower patch is another first for Dubai, and that appears to be how success is measured here.
The practical bit
· Dubai Miracle Garden is now open to the public from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to midnight on weekends and on public holidays.
· It will close in late-May, reopening in October.
· The entry fee is 20Dhs for adults and children aged three and above.