I am now in Dubai, at the beginning of a two-week journey to learn a little about the Middle East and some of its gardens. After a fifteen hour flight, half of my brain has stopped working and, looking at myself in the mirror, I look like a very old baby.
This morning I went to the Miracle Garden. It is a little hard to describe. It is 72,000 square meters in size and contains 45 million flowering plants, most of them Petunias.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit this ‘desert paradise’. While the future of gardens is based on sustainability, environmental sensitivity, using native plants and so on, public gardens are dependent on popularity. The Miracle Garden is hugely popular and, while I may think it vulgar and kitsch, many don’t share my view, and flock to the garden in droves. It is so popular that they are planning on installing air-conditioning coverings over sections of the garden so that it is cool in the 100 degrees plus weather of the summer.