BANASHANKARI:Puppetry exponent Anupama Hoskere’s terrace garden has won the first prize at Lalbagh’s Independence Day horticulture show for the 12th straight year.
Standing amid the luxuriant vegetation in her house in Banashankari II Stage, it’s hard to imagine you are on the third floor of her tastefully built house. It’s a complete garden with a pond, lawn and the seasonals.
“These are some of the aspects that the judges factor in while deciding on the winner,” says Anupama.
Gardening has been a part of her life since childhood. “My grandma, plaiting my hair when I was a little girl in the garden of her spacious compound in Shankarpuram, found that there were no jasmine flowers to deck my hair with. She then got us to plant the jasmine and other flowering and fruit-bearing plants,” recalls Anupama. After her return from the US in the 1990s, Anupama found that it was difficult to have gardens in the new layouts of Bengaluru. That’s when her husband Vidyashankar, an engineer, designed a house with an integrated garden on the terrace. “He took care of aspects like water proofing and load-bearing capacity,” says Anupama.
The result, a 2,000 sq ft green space on her rooftop, allowing her to replicate a complete garden, boasting of some rare species. “A 20-year-old leaf anthurium from a nursery in Siddapura is said to be very rare and according to the vendor, it used to grow in the Wadiyars’ garden in Mysuru,” says Anupama.
She regularly visits Bengaluru’s nurseries. “Some of our best ferns are from our treks in the Western Ghats and Ooty, including the rare snake skin fern. And we have one wild grape from the US too,” adds Anupama.
Bengaluru’s climate is conducive to the growth of plants from across the globe, she explains. “From Ooty to the coast, or Europe or South America, plants from anywhere thrive in here.”
Though tending to the garden is a daily affair, the preparation for the competition begins three months in advance, according to Anupama. “The seasonals are seeded in April and are in full bloom by July, when it’s time for inspection ahead of the competition,” she says.
The contestants are judged on the basis of their display at Lalbagh and their garden at home. “The plants are marked depending on their health and age. The categories include cacti, anthuriums, ferns, mixed foliage and succulents,” says Anupama.
She tends to her garden between 6.30 and 8.30 am every day. “The sprinkler system is a boon and I do the weeding and seeding myself, leaving the more strenuous repotting to the gardener,” says Anupama.
“Gardening teaches you a lot of things about life. Finding a flower that you have been tending to suddenly curl up teaches you how to take disappointments. On the other hand, a lily that springs up from nowhere is a pleasant surprise. Waking up to new blooms and shoots is something to look forward to,” she says.