• With Valentine's Day approaching and the perfect outdoor weather, Oasis Living visited Dubai Miracle Gardens for a tour of a record-setting slice of paradise

    A city of steel architecture and an ultra-modern landscape with a desert environment that severely limits gardening options, Dubai can’t really be thought of as green. So it was nothing short of marvellous when Dubai Miracle Garden – aptly named – opened its gates on Valentine's Day fve years ago.

    And in true Dubai fashion, not only did they prove to have an exceptionally green thumb but set a record at the same time by making this Dh40 millionproject the world's largest natural flower garden.

    SLICE OF PARADISE

    Spanning more than 72,000 sq m, the garden is currently in stem count of 5 million flowers and weighs over 100 tonnes.

    New highlights include a 12-metre teddy bear structure as well as Gate 1 being converted into a huge turtle with a garden on its back. The crowning jewel of this season though is its theme titled Sunflower Lovers, promising a wonderful sensory experience for people of all ages.

    Sunflowers symbolise adoration, loyalty and longevity, making this a symbolic Valentine's Day stop this year for any couple.

    "SUNFLOWERS SYMBOLISE ADORATION, LOYALTY AND LONGEVITY, MAKING THIS A SYMBOLIC VALENTINE'S DAY STOP THIS YEAR FOR ANY COUPLE"

    To get the right variety of sunflower suitable for the Dubai weather, the specialised team of landscapers and engineers behind Dubai Miracle Garden experimented with 15 different varieties of sunflower for a whole year.

    "In every season, Dubai Miracle Garden challenges itself to carve a special place in the hearts of visitors, with breathtaking visuals and an experience that they are sure to share with friends and families," said Abdel Naser Rahhal, founder and creator of Dubai Miracle Garden on the launch of the new season.

    "With our unmatched legacy in botanical landscape and creativity of the designers, we have reached a stage where people anticipate out-of-thebox installations every year. Our preparations are aligned with the expectations, and this season is no exception," he added.

    ONE FOR THE NATURELOVERS

    Attracting around 55,000 visitors on a weekly basis last season, Dubai Miracle Garden is a popular spot for both residents and tourists to check out not only because of the revitalising environment (think of all the oxygen being produced) but also thanks to its swoon-worthy setups begging to be Instagram backgrounds.

    Planting for every season begins three to four months before the opening each year, starting mainly in July to ensure the grounds are ready.

    The flowers are then maintained by reusing of wastewater through the drip irrigation method with an average amount of 757,082 litres of water used per day.

    This season also showcases many new add-ons such as the frst 3D mapping system on a flower screen, a redesign of the ground's "Lost Paradise" section, two flower plazas, flying floral birds as well as 3D animalshaped – parrots, kangaroos, giant ants, and swans – floral work including various prominent cartoon characters made of flowers.

    There is also a number of sitting areas including hammocks and floating beds, and live shows at the new amphitheatre.

    Dubai Miracle Garden has also received major international recognition in recent times such as the "International Garden Tourism Leader Award 2017” at the Garden Tourism Awards and the “Grand Award” given by NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals) Awards of Excellence, Under the Category of Commercial Design Build.

    Located nearby is also Dubai Butterfly Garden, opened in 2015, and is the world’s largest (as well as the region’s frst) indoor butterfly garden and sanctuary for over 15,000 butterflies from 26 species.