Every year, a man covers the edge of the pavement, planting tulips all along Zarafshan Street in Shahrak-e-Gharb, Tehran, as a memorial to his late mother. This year the pavement became a tourist destination with 30,000 tulips.
“My Mother Loved Plants”
When you’re passing by the area, you will be drawn in by the scents of the tulips toward North Zarafshan Street. 37-year-old Houman Ardebili is a GP. Many years ago, he went to the USA to complete his studies in nuclear medicine, but left his course uncompleted and returned to Iran. Now, one day a week he works as a GP, spending the rest of his time as the manager of a company working on agricultural raw materials. It’s not only his neighborhood pavement, but his whole house that’s covered in flowers: from beautifully laid-out plants in the little garden, up to his room’s window-sill. His mother is one of the main reasons for such love and care. Sadly, she passed away three years ago.
This is how he narrates the story for us, “My mother had a great love and passion for plants. She passed away three years ago. I really wanted to do something to keep her memory alive. There were many ideas at first, like cooking food for her or doing something particular during different religious or other festivals. During this time, her love for plants was always in my mind. I wanted to make the idea something that other people could enjoy as well, so I started planting tulips three years ago. The first year there were 6,000 tulips, last year 10,000, and this year I made it 30,000. People really loved the idea.”
Visitors from All around the Country
He talks about how much his idea was welcomed not only by people from different parts of the city but also by visitors from across the country. “The idea was greeted warmly by the people in the neighborhood, but there were also many people from other places who came here to visit the tulips. Our street was turned into a sort of tourist destination. On Sizdah Be-dar [the thirteenth day of Iranian new year known as Nature Day], for example, nearly 2,000 people came here to visit the tulips and take photos. They all seemed to enjoy it very much. The positive energy of the ambience infected the visitors, and everyone was very happy.”
30,000 Tulips Cost nearly $11,500
$11,500 is what Houman Ardebili has spent on the 30,000 tulips. “I paid the cost of the project from my own pocket. I was involved in all stages, from maintaining the tulips and changing their soil to buying them or even hiring people to help. I should of course thank Tehran’s 2nd Region Municipality for allowing me to install a type of awning to keep the tulips out of direct sunlight, which helps them to live longer. One of the neighbours has volunteered to water the flowers. I will definitely continue this plan every year if everything goes as well as it is going now.”