Sachin Tendulkar    Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar has inspired the first cricket-themed garden at the UK’s annual Chelsea Flower Show to celebrate India and Britain’s shared love for the game. The garden, to be made up of an array of Indian flowers, is being created by award-winning designer Sarah Eberle with ideas sparked by the “hopes and dreams of young people in India“. The special garden will be showcased as part of the flower show, held over five days in May every year by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

The Sachin-inspired creation will mark the culmination of the UK-India Year of Culture celebrated last year and has been commissioned by the British Council to celebrate 70 years of the organisation’s presence in India in 2018.

“We have supported the ambitions of millions of young people through our work to train over one million teachers in government schools and by investing in thousands of scholarships and academic exchanges. The British Council Garden at Chelsea continues our mission to inspire people in Britain and India to build connections for the next seventy years,” said Alan Gemmell, Director India, British Council..

The designer, Eberle, has a long track record with the flower show, having won eight Gold medals for her creations in the past.

“The British Council Garden will celebrate the connections between the UK and India, drawing on the horticultural connections between both countries. I am working with artisans in Jaipur to develop the exhibit and school children in India are creating lanterns for the garden,” said Eberle, who is heading to India this week to tour some of the gardens in the country.

The idea of a Tendulkar-inspired garden followed the release of his biopic last year titled ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’. The layout will be traditionally Mughal in form, with a crease and stumps replacing traditional structures.

The flowers will include the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis), a species found in Sikkim and stumbled upon in the late spring of 1922 by a British expedition led by mountaineer George Leigh Mallory during a failed attempt to reach the summit of then unconquered Mount Everest.

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The Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea), first collected in the Khasia hills of Meghalaya by Thomas Lobb who travelled through India between 1848 and 1853; Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), which has inspired Hinduism and Buddhism as well as artists through the ages; and Roses (Rosaceae), the flower of the Mughals which adorns architecture across northern India, including the Taj Mahal, will be among some of the other flowers.

The British Council Garden will be created in partnership with the Piramal Group supported by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the JSW Group and Dr Gita Piramal and Tendulkar has been invited as a guest of honour when it opens in London on May 22.

“The showstopper in the India Garden will be the rare Himalayan Blue poppy whose colour reflects the blue of the Indian cricket team.”

“Wearing the Blue jersey is a metaphor for the aspiration of every young Indian to make a mark on the world stage,” explains Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairman of the Piramal Group, a Mumbai-headquartered diversified conglomerate.

Shankar Narayanan, Vice-President and Country Head, UK & Ireland, TCS, added: “We are delighted to be part of this special project celebrating the beauty of India in one of the UK’s most historic and prestigious events; the Chelsea Flower Show.”

“2018 is a key year for TCS as it marks our 50 years in business and Tata Group’s 150th year anniversary. By supporting the British Council, TCS celebrates our strong commitment to the Indian and British economies.”

Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, had met the organising committee of the British Council Garden at Chelsea during their November 2017 visit to India.

The royals also planted a mini-banyan tree donated by TCS to mark 70 years of the British Council in India during their visit.