Regardless of the style, area or theme, it’s always nice to have a green space in your house that allows you to stay connected with nature. Lush, well-tended gardens — whether they adorn humble cottages or sprawling estates — add beauty and personality to any property and truly make a house into a home. Homes with herbaceous borders and hundreds of rhododendrons are just some of the delights to be found inside home gardens that have been short-listed for the Annual Dasara Home Garden Awards.
This Weekend Star Supplement takes you on a tour of some of the marvellous home gardens that don the cultural capital of Karnataka.
By Shadan Muneer
Their thumbs are not Black, but Green
A famous English philosopher and Statesman Francis Bacon aptly said, “Gardening is the purest of human pleasures” which implies the joy of cultivating and being around a garden. Gone are the days when gardening was considered as the territory of only women and pensioners. Today, people of every age and gender are picking up the art of gardening and deriving aesthetic benefits of being a gardener.
The world-famous Mysore Dasara along with presenting rich cultural extravaganza also offers an opportunity for local residents to showcase their gardening talents through Dasara Home Garden competitions. The contests are held under various categories — Ornamental Garden, Terrace Garden, Vertical Garden, Lawn, and Kitchen Garden — and under these too, there are small, medium, big and large categories.
Looking at these gardens, any ‘Black Thumb’ (failure as a gardener) can turn into a ‘Green Thumb’ (natural talent for growing plants). Take a look.
- Kitchen waste not wasted
Neeta Shivanand, residing in K.C. Layout is a home-maker and married to Dr. Shivanand, is a passionate gardener who spends three hours a day attending to her garden. Being an environment-conscious person who derived the skills and passion for gardening from her mother, she quips, “I encourage people to love nature and grow plants. And on the occasion of any event at my house, instead of coconuts, I give away saplings of various plant varieties.”
Neeta has an enviable collection of plants in her garden which includes Marigold, Rudraksha, Sunflower, Collins and other ornamental plants along with fruit-bearing trees.
Another unique feature of Neeta’s garden is that she prepares the organic manure needed for her garden by herself out of the kitchen waste. Apart from adding to the beauty of the house, Neeta excitedly says that the garden helps keep their house cool all-round the year.
- Is it a terrace or a Rainforest?
A graphic designer by profession and a gardener by passion, Syed Abdul Azeez is the creator of a mind-blowing terrace garden located above his house in Shanthinagar. He says that the nature lover in him and the joy of seeing flowers blossom along with added bonanza of being able to listen to the chirping of birds drew his interest towards gardening. Syed Abdul Azeez opines, “Nothing beats joy of spending time in gardening.” He was focused on creating a rooftop garden which resembles a rainforest and today his terrace garden has a humongous variety of plants is beautified with the presence of verdant greenery all around.
He also adds that by consciously growing plants which can combat air pollution and generate oxygen, he has been able to clear his breathing problems. He picks up plants from various nurseries. “Apart from escalating the attractiveness of my house, the garden provides an ideal and serene location to socialise with family and friends,” signs off Syed Abdul Azeez.
- Treasure trove of plants
A commonly heard disgruntlement amongst city dwellers is lack of space in urban areas, stifling their ambition of having a beautiful garden. Contrary to this thought, Sharon Prasad is the proud owner of a special three-step terrace garden at her residence situated in Bannimantap.
Her garden is a reflection of diversity in plant world and has a rich collection of ornamental plants, bonsai plants and fruit-bearing trees along with an organic kitchen garden. The collection of bonsai plants includes apple, guava and litchi fruits.
I love to pamper my plant collections by arranging them artistically and also send bouquets made out of my garden flowers to my friends and relatives”. Apart from being pleasing on the eyes, the biggest outcome of engaging in gardening for Sharon Prasad is that she can feed her family with organically-grown vegetables which includes tomatoes, beans, brinjals etc. and a host of fruits like guava and pomegranate.
- Innovative gardener
Gardening is an art as well as a craft and this holds true for the gardening skills of Seema Rajesh, a resident of Kuvempunagar and wife of Rajesh Babu, an industrialist. Seema says, “My interest in gardening grew over time and I have developed landscaping skills also. With my innovativeness and creativeness, I have developed rock garden as well as vertical garden.”
She has appointed an expert gardener to visit and attend to her garden once a week. The fountains in her garden add extra charm and succulent plants provide the glamour.
- Heady mix of beautiful and medicinal plants
Ravindra Baliga is a blessed man in the city of Mysuru as he lives amidst greenery in the middle of a concrete jungle. Residing in CFTRI Layout after working in Saudi Arabia for 25 years Ravindra Baliga, along with his wife Shanthi R. Baliga have utilised the front yard and backyard space of their 50X80 residential area judiciously and have a created an enviable garden which boasts of diverse variety of plant species.
Baliga, explaining his gardening concept, says, “We don’t concentrate much on beautification of our garden with flowering plants but ensure that the garden is of multi utility and contribute to our food palate and we also grow many herbal plants which are beneficial in treating common ailments.” As we walked around his well laid out garden beholding the diversity of the plants, our eyes fell on healthy custard apple, jack fruit and other plants and trees.
- Thematic flower display
So here we present a garden and a gardener with high gardening pedigree, Roopa Nagaraj, a resident of Gangothri Layout. The noticeable feature in Roopa’s garden is that unlike the regular gardens around the city, her garden is created with a particular theme, which she keeps changing annually.
She has been participating and wining numerous awards in Dasara home garden competitions from the past seven years. Her garden is masterfully created by including a range of flora and given a face-lift by arranging pebbles, miniature models and small waterfalls. Informing us about her plans for this year’s Dasara home garden competition Roopa says, “This year I have created a miniature village in my garden and I like to keep experimenting with themes and gardening techniques.”
- Rainwater and solar energy keep this garden blooming
Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of Towell Engineering Group of Companies was born and brought up in Mysuru but with business setup in Muscat, is the proud owner of 4,000 square feet garden at his home in Dattagalli. His multi-faceted garden reflects his love for the nature and the place is a gardener’s paradise.
An innovative and trendsetting feature of his garden is that he makes use of rainwater harvesting and solar energy for maintenance. The landscaped garden with neatly laid out and well-maintained lawn, surrounded by palm trees is a joy to behold. Your sensory organs will be treated with aesthetic pleasure as you walk around Balaji’s garden.
- Tougher than raising children
Gardening is tougher than raising children and plants need to be tended to very carefully but the pleasure of seeing them blossom washes of all the strain and stress” says Prathibha Krishna, a resident of Niveditha Nagar and an enthusiastic gardener.
You are welcomed by bright coloured pink and white bougainvillea as your approach her gate and as you enter inside the neat display of flowering plants of varied varieties arrest your attention. Assisted by her husband Krishna, a retired Divisional Manager of LIC, Prathibha has been able to create a beautiful garden which not only energizes your but also introduces you to rare species of flowering and ornamental plants.
- Perfect chemistry with plants
Gardening is a hobby that has the power to attract the attention of anyone and everyone. K.S. Poornima, a chemist by profession (she owns Preethi Medicals and Pet Shop Kuvempunagar) has a spacious garden at her home in Dattagalli which has 15 varieties of hibiscus along with a kitchen garden where she grows vegetables and fruits.
Her plants are tended by helper Nagaraj and Poornima puts in two hours of labour everyday in her garden which she mentions like “enlivening, enriching and energy boosting routine.” Apart from growing fruits and vegetables for their consumption, she also shares excess produce with her neighbours.
- Out-of-the-box idea that clicked
Pretty plants nestling in attractively painted coconut shells and thermocol boxes seize our attention as we approach Violet Rose’s garden situated in Vijayanagar III Stage. With the name of a ‘rose’ in her own name, Violet Rose, along with her husband P. George Rakjthilak, puts in three hours of hard labour in the maintenance of their beautiful garden.
“I love to be surrounded by greenery and by having our own garden, the quality of our life has improved and it proves to be a useful physical activity too” says Violet Rose when quizzed about her interest in gardening. They have diligently utilised the space and the painted hanging pots, miniature dolls and a rich collection of medicinal and fruit-bearing plants have provided a unique appeal to their garden. Along with growing ornamental flowers, they also ensure that they have a regular supply of organic vegetables from their kitchen.
- Impressively designed environs
You might be hoodwinked to believe that Hina Kausar’s residence in Vijayanagar is actually a boutique hotel by its attractive appearance. Kausar, wife of businessman, Mohammad Ashraf has been promoting gardening in her surroundings and has been an example herself with an impressively designed garden which includes vertical garden, indoor garden and fountains. The coconut bonsai plant is the star attraction amongst her enviable collection of plants.
Apart from enhancing the natural beauty of her house, Hina Kausar has also been involved in creating a neat public footpath which attracts attention. She adds, “Even before the government launched cleanliness drive, we in our locality, have been organising sanitation and hygiene drive regularly from the past 7 years.”
- An Emerald among gardens
Who would not love to be surrounded by one acre of expansive and stunning greenery? But only a handful of lucky people will be blessed with such a privilege. Savita Ramesh, wife of Ramesh Kannan, the owner of Kaynes Technology is one of those rare persons.
“After a long and tiring day at work there is no better place to unwind and relax than a well-kept garden” she says. Her residence is aptly christened as ‘Emerald Enclave’ and it is a serene experience to walk around this carefully designed and laid out garden at Hebbal. The Mexican lawn, eye-catching hanging pots, decorative stones keep you engrossed. The gardener Swami Gowda informs that the collection of 100 bonsai plants and bed of flowers are the most striking features of the garden.
- Heightening the sensual pleasure
Dr. Anitha Rakesh has created an unwinding spot for herself with a beautiful garden in Vijayanagar Third Stage. “The sound of chirping birds, the sight of colourful butterflies and flowers swaying to the gentle breeze are the best therapy for relaxation,” indicates Anitha.
Her stone pergola is an attraction in the garden and is dotted with climbers and shade-giving plants. A Christmas tree adds to the beauty. The specialties of her garden are the scented and aromatic plants which heighten the sensual pleasure as you loiter around the garden.
- A rewarding Green Silver Jubilee next year
Shamala Prasanna’s garden is a well-planned landscape in front of her Lakshmipuram house that provides a place to enjoy nature. Through the years of tender love and care, she has incorporated both natural and man-made materials in her residential ornamental garden. Her garden includes trees, shrubs, and many different varieties of plants that provide a warm welcome to whoever visits her home. It is 24th consecutive year of her Dasara garden show.
Gardening for her has always been a great passion and has helped her create a green and healthy environment. It is a great way to be a part of the nature and enjoy its fruits for the years to come.
There is nothing better than nurturing the plants and caring for them. One can spend hours in her garden without getting bored. Many beautiful birds visit her garden and build nests in the trees. Overall, the experience is extremely rewarding.
She has many varieties of plants displayed in accordance to their requirements. Cacti in a sunny corner, plants that need shade under the Neem tree, Bonsai in special places, and seasonal flowers in pots, all covered by a lush green Mexican lawn.
The specialty of her garden during Dasara is the way she decorates each corner with Terracotta, porcelain figurines, and many special and unique accessories to create themes like Indian, Peruvian, and Chinese villages, Christmas time, a forest with animals next to a waterfall, Dasara procession etc.