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UAE garden that set Guinness World Record shut down

Sunday December 05, 2010 05:06:55 PM, IANS

Abu Dhabi: A garden in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that made it to the Guinness World Record for having the maximum number of hanging baskets has been shut down as its creators were upset with visitors who plucked flowers and stole plants.

The garden is in Al Ain, an oasis city located about 160 km east of Abu Dhabi.

The Al Ain Paradise Garden was shut while employees at Akar Landscaping, the firm that built and designed the garden, put in place new security measures.

Abdelnasser Rahhal, a Jordanian who designed the garden and is co-owner of the landscaping company, said he was not aware about what let visitors to turn destructive.

"You know, in some cases it could simply be that when a couple go to the garden the husband picks a flower and gives it to his wife as a romantic gesture that they think is harmless," The National quoted Rahhal as saying.

"But when someone uproots an entire plant and it simply disappears, I can only assume that it was taken from here to be planted in someone's garden," he rued.

Rahhal said that he would be hiring security guards and installing cameras to monitor things.

"Once the new measures are in place, it will be reopened," he said.

The gardens were thrown open in March last year in a 7,000 square metre area. The official Guinness count states that it features 2,426 plants that were imported from countries around the world, including Italy, Uganda, the US and Japan.

Rahhal said that Dh5 million was spent in building it and he had seen it suffer "constant damage" ever since.

"It takes months for the flowers to grow and as soon as they begin to show, people start picking them before the stalk has fully bloomed. I remember a little boy accompanied by his parents stepping on the flowers while they looked on. They just let him walk freely without any consideration for the fact that someone worked long and hard to create a beautiful space for all to enjoy."

Locals residents are upset with the garden's closure.

"I jog three times a week...and take a break at Paradise Gardens before heading back to the university campus in Falaj Hazaa (district)," Nayef Hamad, a 22-year-old engineering student at the UAE University, was quoted as saying in the paper.

He said he was disappointed to learn about the garden's closure. "I don't understand why people have to be selfish and ruin it for everyone else. It's sad and disappointing. Someone should be held accountable for this."





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