The Constant Gardener
Feature Articles

The Constant Gardener

September 26, 2019

Today’s fervent green thumb is not your mom, wife or sister but men in their 20s and 30s and even elders who are growing their own flowers, ornamental plants and veggies. The ancient art of gardening is now being embraced by a new demographic. For decades, the typical gardener has been woman, while guys who gardened tended to be grey-haired grandpas. Now younger men are muscling in as you can see in this Weekend Star Supplement that throws light on Gentlemen Gardeners and also features some of the women who are taking part in this year’s ‘Dasara Home Gardens’ competition. 

Guy Gardening: When males call the landscape shots

When M. Vijay Kumar built his new house at Brindavan Extension in front of the Railway Block, he had his vision clear: To have a beautiful garden. Discussing his passion with his family members, Vijay Kumar received ample support. 

A structural engineer and building contractor by profession, he has enough experience in landscaping and he guided each inch of the garden of his house. Be it placing of the flower pots, granite slabs, place for hanging plants, and ornamental stones, he called the shots and the result is for everyone to see. 

M. Vijay Kumar

Continuing his mother’s passion

For businessman Ajit Pai, passion for gardening has come from his mother late Jayanthi R. Pai who had won many prizes during Dasara competitions for garden at the factory and home near Aditya Hospital, Gokulam. 

“When we renovated our home, we changed the garden completely and replanted it. It is now being taken care of my wifePrathibha Pai. While I enjoy the garden and did enjoy creating it by going to nurseries and buying the plants, I am not into real-time gardening.  My interest is limited in its upkeep and enjoyment,” he says. Garden consultant Keerthi helped Ajit’s family in creating the garden. 

A builder’s idea turns into reality

Builder and real estate businessman G.S. Ashok Kumar who has built many homes in Mysuru planned it out when he built his home at Vijayanagar Third Stage.

A science graduate, Ashok Kumar wanted it to be a beautiful house with greenery around. He planned saplings such a way that enough fresh air emitted by plants enters his house. A main feature of his house is that there are several flower pots, shapely pruned trees and of course, artworks amidst them. He is ably assisted by his wife Shyla Ashok Kumar. 

G.S. Ashok Kumar

For him, his dad was the inspiration

Having a house at Vidyaranyapuram amidst greenery makes Anil Kumar proud. An employee of Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), he says that he has two bonsais – lemon and ‘Herale Kai’ that continuously bears fruits. “I have harvested more than 1,000 lemons from this one plant,” Anil Kumar says. 

Anil Kumar

He inherited his passion for gardening from his father Nirmal Kumar who was also an employee of KPTCL. Anil Kumar has best utilised whatever area available around his home to create a green space — both flowering and fruit plants. 

Passion for vintage cars and greenery

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M. Madhava Shenoy, son of Savithri Shenoy and Gopinath Shenoi has a liking towards gardening too. But his mainstay is vintage cars. His father owns a fleet of 32 vintage beauties. 

Madhava Shenoy’s house Dewan’s Road, Lakshmipuram sports a beautiful garden with attractive landscaping. 

With greenery, murals, small water bodies, bonsais and attractive artefacts all over, the house can be termed as a gardener’s paradise. “My mother is into full-time gardening and I just help her.  I trim the bonsais and spray fertilizers,” Madhava Shenoy says. 

A perfect place to have morning coffee

A gazebo inside a garden where the house owner loves to have his morning cuppa along with newspapers – that is the house of V. Deshikan Hemmige. “We constructed this house at Kuvempunagar in 1989 and the garden was done by my mother late Lakshmidevamma and late Vedanth Hemmige (former MLA and freedom fighter). We got all the plants from Krishna Raja Sagar Horticulture Department,” he says. 

After a stint of 20 years in the top echelons of corporate world, Deshikan is on a sabbatical since a couple of years. “I just got the lawn re-laid and got some landscaping done and built a gazebo in the garden,” he says. He lives with his wife Bhargavi D. Hemmige who is an Assistant Professor and head of the department of Journalism at Mahajana First Grade College and two sons. 

V. Deshikan Hemmige

A MySooru in Mysuru

Dr. T. Srikanth’s house at Dattagalli Third Stage sports a name board “MySooru” that is a combination of English and Kannada and at the same time gives out the name of the city – Mysuru. ‘My’ is ‘mine’ in English and ‘Sooru’ is shelter in Kannada. A MySooru in Mysuru.  Apart from an eye-catching garden in front and the sides of his house, Dr. Srikanth has a garden inside his living room too. 

Dr. T. Srikanth

Street Art and House Art

Enter this particular area in Venkatalingaiah Layout near Mysore Dairy on the Mysuru-Bannur Road and you will face a different world. The entire street and sidewalls are dedicated to greenery, beautification and paintings of wildlife, birds and mural art. Businessman Pradeep Kumar is the brain behind this street art. 

Even his home in the same area is pleasant to see with greenery and paintings all over. After his work hours, Pradeep Kumar dedicates his entire time to his home garden and the street garden. His message is loud and clear – save greenery, save yourself. 

So much to learn at this garden

Prof. M. Rudraradhya’s house at Vijayanagar Third Stage is a treasure trove of plants. Meticulously planned and executed, his garden is an ocean of knowledge. Apart from a host of flowering plants, this garden is a home to various vegetables, ornamental plants and fruit trees. There are many plants at “Ashwini Vana” inside the garden that are used in home remedies that can cure most of the common ailments.

All the plants are grown in terrace garden and visitors have called Prof.Rudraradhya’s house as “Krishi Brahmanda”. Instead of spending retired life reminiscing the past deeds and mistakes, Prof. Rudraradhya utilises his time and energy on his roof garden of his 60X40 house. 

Prof. M. Rudraradhya

Queens of the Garden

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An award-winning garden at Kalyanagiri

Hashmath Fathima’s home garden in Kalyanagiri has been winning prizes at Dasara Home Garden competitions. She has been doing this since the past 15 years. “A Fashion Designer by profession, gardening is my passion. My father had keen interest in gardening and inspired by him I started planting and ornamenting my garden since my childhood,” she says. 

Her garden is an attractive combination of natural greenery with artificial attractions. Both complement each other and gel well in entirety. 

Hashmath Fathima

A garden is a great teacher

For A. Pallavi Adarsh, gardening is glory and it is a great teacher. “Hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul,” she says. Located at V.V. Mohalla, Pallavi’s house is a steady combination of greenery and concrete. 

While her husband Adarsh K. Murthy looks after A. Shankara Chetty & Sons jewellery group, Pallavi is into full-time gardening. “Participating in the Dasara Garden Competition has brought boundless joy. Being third time participant and winner in the large category of home gardens in 2013and 2015 was a learning experience,” she says. 

Her garden houses fruit-bearing trees like Mango, Avocado, Jackfruit, Chickoo, Custard Apple, Papaya and Gooseberry. Plantation crops include coconut and lemon. An old and massive Badam tree provides shade to the entire front-yard with a rockery at the base hosting many flowering and ornamental plants set in a backdrop of bamboos. 

A. Pallavi Adarsh

Lawns of various kinds like Mexican, elephant and munda grass at different nook and corners, creepers like money plant, tanbergia, four-winged beans and tinospora cordifolia also are a part of the garden. Special features include a bonsai garden, pergola feature adorned with creepers, lotus ponds, an old conserved well, cactus, shrub and kitchen gardens. 

Gardening is a truly rewarding experience

For Shamala Prasanna, gardening is a passion that she pursues with vigour, intensity and dedication. This has made her win awards for ‘The Best Garden’ by the Mysore Horticultural Society every year, since the last 22 years. Her house is in Lakshmipuram. 

“It has been an exhilarating journey that has encouraged me to try out innovative ways of displaying my garden. It is a round-the-year work that involves taking regular care of thousands of plants, repotting them, fertilizing them and ensuring that they are disease-free,” she says. 

Shamala Prasanna

“To improve my gardening skills, I never miss opportunities to learn more about gardening by participating in conventions and workshops. All the efforts I have put in has resulted in  a variety of gardening attractions – the wide varieties of bonsai, cacti, ornamental plants, seasonal flowering plants, vertical gardens, living murals and Penjings are arranged in my landscaped garden with a lush green Mexican lawn. This year, there are new additions – a rockery with cacti and succulents,” she explains.

The unique selling point that helps her stand apart in the Dasara competition is incorporating   Mysore’s traditional doll-display spread around her garden.

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “The Constant Gardener”

  1. Govind Pai says:

    Nice article and some lovely gardens! Liked the title too! From the title of the wonderful (and disturbing) novel by John Le Carre (and film based on it). There’s always a serpent in the garden of Eden.


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