A couple of days ago, Divya Gandhi wrote a short piece about a book on plant biodiversity in the IISc campus: Indian Institute of Science Campus: A Botanist’s Delight by Prof. Sankara Rao. The book is expected to be released during the Centenary Conference.
One hundred years ago, when the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) acquired its campus in the city, it was not quite the green oasis it is today. In 1909, the campus was essentially a vast tract of thorny shrubs and rocky outcrops characteristic of the stark landscape of the Deccan Plateau.
Interestingly, the exotic flowering trees, orchids and sedges that set apart the IISc. from the concrete jungle (and keep it several degrees cooler), were brought from all over the world as part of a greening project that began in the 1930s.[...]
The large woody creeper that twines around the CES building was brought from the Western Ghats; the vermillion-flowered Sterculia colorata outside the metallurgy department comes from south-east Asia and the tall coniferous trees that flank the main administrative building are from Australia, he explained. Among those to whom IISc. owes its greening is Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, one of the chief architects of Lalbagh Botanical Gardens who introduced several exotic plants in Bangalore. “However there are still precious pockets of original vegetation left. There are several old trees, including the banyan that pre-date the campus,” he added.
Here is some visual evidence for the statement that a hundred years ago, "the [IISc] campus was essentially a vast tract of thorny shrubs and rocky outcrops characteristic of the stark landscape"!