Architects of Modern Lalbagh

There are four important people have extensively contributed for the development of Lalbagh - John Cameron, G.H. Krumbiegel, H.C. Javaraya and Dr. M.H. Marigowda.

John Cameron

John Cameron is regarded as the 'Father of Horticulture' in Karnataka. He was born and brought up in England. After his early education, he specialized in botany and later got trained at Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, London. On his arrival to india, he succeeded Mr William New, as the Curator of the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, in the year 1874. He took this assignment as a challenge and did his best to elevate the name and fame of horticulture in erstwhile kingdom of Mysore.

His achievements are numerous and multifaceted. He enriched the plant wealth of Lalbagh by introducing countless native and exotic plants species, many of which later assumed the status of commercial crops. To quote a few are: 'Bangalore Blue' grapes, rubber, mulberry, apple, guava, cabbage, cauliflower, knolkhol, French beans, carrot, radish, etc. His interesting role in popularizing 'Chow Chow' has become a story by itself.

History of Lalbagh
HOPCOMS Bangalore
Medicinal Plants in Bangalore
Origin of Fruits & Vegetables

Lalbagh’s first known plant census, done in 1861, records 1033 species. In the first six years that he took charge of Lalbagh, Cameron managed to introduce an average of 160 new plants every year, so that Lalbagh’s second plant census records 2,020 species in the garden. And eleven years later, the garden had an astonishing 3,222 species, though of course, by this time the garden had also increased in size. It’s no wonder that the 33 years that Cameron was in charge of Lalbagh are regarded by horticulturists as the Golden Era of plant introductions. He toured extensively in the then princely state of Mysore and other parts of India, with a prime objective of exploring the plant wealth for the benefit of the state.

Cameron cast his net far and wide, using his contacts around the world to bring in new plants to the garden: Clematis from Greece, oil palms from West Africa, silkrubber from Indonesia, Qat from Yemen, Fish poison tree from Sri Lanka, blackthorn from Australia… He also tried to introduce many commercial crops, including varieties of coffee, apples, rubber and grapes.

It is John Cameron who conceived the idea of constructing a conservatory (glass house) for acclimatizing exotic plants and also for holding flower shows; and according, the 'Albert Victor Conservatory' (the present Glass House ) was erected during 1888-90, under his personal supervision. This structure, in course of time , became venue for various celebrated events that turned the pace of horticulture in the states as well as the country.

John Cameron also started a zoo at Lalbagh on systematic lines, mostly for entertainment to the children. The zoo that he so lovingly tended was closed in 1933 when all remaining animals were transferred to the Mysore zoo. For a short while, he also served as the superintendent of Government Museum at Bangalore. He attended various exhibitions held at Peradeniya in Ceylon, in 1906.

During his tenure, the Lalbagh tank was built (1890). The compound wall was constructed around Lalbagh. When he assumed office, Lalbagh had an area of about 45 acres. In 1889, 30 acres were added to the eastern side, followed by 13 more in 1891, including the Rock with the Kempegowda tower. Three years later, Cameron managed to add a whopping 94 acres to Lalbagh, just east of and below the Rock. The artistic elegant main entrance and gates were built during his tenure.

After a prolonged and dedicated service of 33 years, John Cameron retired in the year 1908 and after a short while, he returned to England, his native land.

G.H. Krumbiegel

Gustav Herman Krumbiegal was born at Lohemen, near Dresden, in German,on 18th December, 1865. He took his early education at Willsdruff and Dresden and later specialized horticulture and landscape architecture. After having been engaged in various horticultural activities, he entered the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London, and was appointed in the plant propagation Wing. He served the Kew authorities, he accepted the post of the Curator of Botanical Gardens, Baroda, an erstwhile princely state in India.

After a few years of his service at Barod, he was requested by Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the maharaja of Mysore, to serve his kingdom. Accordingly, in the year 1908, G.H.Krumbiegal succeeded John Cameron, as the curator of Botanical Gardens at Lalbagh, Bangalore. As a result of merger of various parks and gardens, hill stations and other historical establishments into the Departmentof Goverment Gardens, Kurmbiegal's position was relevant to the cadre of superintendent, and subsequently, to the post of Director of Horticulture.

His tenure as the Director of horticulture started with hectic plant introduced activities. He had keen insight about the methodical development of horticulture, on both aesthetic and commercial lines. To raise the reputation of the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, he introduced an incredible number of exotic flora by making global correspondence and contacts. Thus, he proved himself as worthy successor to John Cameron.

During his office term, he did many outstanding contribution to the state as well as country. He is specially remembered for his contribution in laying out almost all the important parks and gardens, including the renowned Brindavan Gardens at Kirshnaraja sagar, near Mysore. During his term, the Mysore Horticultural Society came into existence (1912) and conducting of flower shows in a grand manner became a regular feature of the horticultural activities.

In Lalbagh,he initiated various programmes such as cultivation of economic plants, opening of the 'Bureau of Economic Plants', and Horticultural Training School. The cultivation of 'Rome Beauty' apple reached its zenith by the special effort made by Mr. Krumbiegal. By all these activities, he gave a new dimension to the world 'Horticulture'.

Thus, he served the state for memorable 25 years and retired in the year 1932. After his retirement, he settled at Bangalore and worked as the 'Landscape Advisor' to the state of Mysore, till his death in the year 1956.

H.C. Javaraya

Rao Bhadur H.C. Javaraya was bornin the year 1889 at Mercara, Coorg district. HE had is higher education in agriculture at Coimbatore. After this, Mr.Javaraya entered the service as Botanical Assistant at Lalbagh, Bangalore, in the year 1918.

Mr. Javaraya started his carrier in a most dedicated and disciplined manner. He was sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, and underwent rigorous training in Horticulture. On his return, he assumed the post of Assistant Superintendent of Lalbagh and Government Garden in the state of Mysore. Under the able guidance of G.H.Kurbiegal, the Superintendent of Lalbagh, he laid out beautiful gardens and parks in Mysore city.

In the year 1933, he was on deputation to the then imperial Government of India, as the Chief Marketing Officer, at Delhi, for a period of five years (1933-1938). During his stay in imperial capital, he did meritorious works, especially in the field of horticulture, which later won him the coveted title 'Rao Bahadur' (1914). He promoted and assisted the authorities at Delhi to conduct regular flower show on the lines of those held at Lalbagh, Bangalore.

After his proud return from Delhi, he was elevated to the post of the Superintendent of Government Gardens and after a short span, he became the Director of Horticulture. Thus, Mr Javaraya was the first and foremost among the native officer, who occupied the highest post in the Department of Horticulture in Mysore Kingdom.

The Contribution and achievements of Mr Javaraya are really amazing. During his tenure, the eastern wings of the Glass House was erected during the year 1935. During the last thirties, a 'lantern shaped' guard tower was erected at the Basavanadudi gate of Lalbagh. This entire structure was brought from the residence of Dewan P.N Krishnamurthy, and this is the ever first building to be transplanted in the entire state. The skillful efforts of H.C.Javaraya shown in this feat won the great appreciation from Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore state. During his times, an artifical cascade was made with great effort and labor, near lotus pond and was named as 'Java Cascade' and was inaugurated by Mr.K.V.Anantharaman, the then Minister for Revenue, in Mysore state. Apart from this, various avenues were laid out throughout the length and breath of Lalbagh, during the times of H.C.Javaraya.

The full credit of starting Maddur Fruit Orchid and Ganjam Fig Gradens goes to Mr .Javaraya. During his tenure only the Government Fruit Research Station at Hessaraghatta was started (in 1938), with the financial assistance of the Imperial Council of Agriculture Research.

He retired form service in the year 1944. After retirement, he became the advisor to the Nawab of Bhopal on Horticultural matters. He died at Bhopal in the year 1946.

Dr. M.H. Marigowda

Dr. Marigowda was born on 8th august 1916 at Mysore. HE had his early education at Mysore and later higher education at Lucknow, leading to degree in Botany.

He joined the service at the Lalbagh in the year 1942, as the Assistant Superintendent of Gardens, under Rao Bahadur H.C.Javaraya, the then Superintendent of Government Gardens. In 1947, he was sent to England to undergo a rigorous training in horticulture at Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, for a period of six months. From England he proceeded to United states of America in 1948. There he joined the world famous Harvard university and obtained his in Botany in the year 1951. In the same year he returned to India and assumed the post of Deputy Superintendent at Lalbagh; and in a short while, he rose to the post of Superintendent of Government Gardens and in 1963, the Director of Horticulture in Mysore state.

It is Dr. Marigowda who is entirely responsible for elevating the minor Department of Horticulture to a major Department , by effecting around expansion of the horticulture activities in the state. He set into implementation an unique pattern of horticulture development out of his long-standing experiences and forethought. He called this model as "4-Limbed Modle of Horticulture". To suit to this, he established the Horticulture Produced Cooperative Marketing Society and the Bangalore Nuserymen's Cooperative Society, at Bangalore. To spread the horticulture knowledge to the people, he started 'The Lalbagh' journal in English and 'Totagara' in Kannada.

During his office tenure, Dr. Marigowda started as many as about 380 farms and nurseries, all over the state. His visualization of these farms and nurseries was in developing them as progeny orchards, nursery centers and places of demonstration of new crops and new technology to the farmers. Similarly, he started very useful programmers such as production of Tall x Dwarf coconut seedlings at KRS, Dwarf x Tall coconut seedling at Bellara (Tumkur district) and elite Tall x Tall coconut seeding at Kannamangala near Bangalore.

Dr. Marigowda felt that for the modernizing the horticulture, there should be banking of scientific laboratories. This of idea of his led to starting Plant Protection Laboratory, Soil Testing Laboratory and seed testing laboratory, at Lalbagh, Bangalore. These Laboratories gave new fillip to the development of horticulture in the state. He is alsoresponsible for starting aDehydration Unit at Lalbagh. Dr. Marigowda, did not lag behib in plant introduction;he introduced many indigenous and exotic species into lalbagh and other farms and nuseries.

Dr. Marigowda was a staunch advocator of dry land horticulture, and to demonstrate the worth of this, he started many dry orchids in the state. He also popularized many special methods of soil and water conservation to aid dry land crops. Mixed and inter- cropping got special fillip during his times.

Thus, through his achievements and feats, the state of Karnataka became the 'Horticulture State' of India and Dr. Marigowda's name became immortal in the annals of horticulture in Karnataka.

He retired from service in the year 1947, and since then residing at Bangalore. He is still actively working for the cause of horticulture and rural development.

Lalbagh Botanical Garden