We want the Garden in the Himalayas to grow and flourish for the benefit of the local community and the wider world. We believe that showing new ways along with employing old wisdoms is the best way to initiate a meaningful and lasting change.
And here are the plans:
environmental awareness and education
We'd love to involve local schools by running awareness work shops, plant identification, drawing contests etc. Establishing Garden in the Himalayas as an information centre on organic methods of cultivation, permaculture and native plants of Nepal is another. Running horticulture training and demonstrating that looking after plants can be an occupation (hotels, resorts, public gardens, community gardens) is an ambition that begs to be fullfilled in a country of such an amazing gardening potential. Introducing garden design is a next job on hand.
Planting will go on
In near future collecting more ornamentals, shrubs and trees (in Annapurna region as well as other parts of Nepal, depending on the permits) will take place. We'll also focus on adding herbs, fruits and vegetables and coffee in keeping with the principles of organic farming. As one of the ways to enrich the local diet, we'll re-introduce edible plants whose cultivation has been stopped for different reasons. In addition, we want to encourage the locals to grow medicinal plants, which not only will supplement the houshold income but in the long-term will also prevent depletion of native species (i.e. daphne, paris pollyphilla, orchids). Providing the villagers with training and 'growing kits' will be the first step.
One of the challenges to overcome is the locals' attitude towards ornamentals and plants in general. There's no room for fanciful ideas here so shifting the perception from treating the plants as fodder, fire wood or weed to admiring and caring for them, takes time. For the change to be viable, it needs to have some practical benefits such as the possibility of generating income or feasibility of finding employment using horticulture knowledge.
Future is bright
Even though environmental projects are not being given a high priority in Nepal just yet, we hope that consistency, belief and hard work will inspire others to start similar projects in Western Nepal to preserve local flora, as caring for what's around us is now more important than ever.