Garden in a bottle

Garden in a bottle

The Kitchen Garden Association (KGA) is not a club. It’s a group of plant lovers,” declares Manorama Vira, the president of the KGA, which she founded in June 1996 with an aim of creating awareness on the importance of gardens and gardening.

“Before coming to Bangalore, I used to live in Delhi, and was a member of the KGA there. People asked me to start a similar association when I moved to Bangalore in 1983,” informs Manorama. “We were just the four of us when we first started the KGA — myself, Lalitha Sundaram, Vijaya Mani and Geeta Ramdas.” And today, the association boasts of around 100 members.

The general activities of the club include visits to gardens, picnics, exhibition-cum-sale of plants, lectures and video shows relating to gardening and environment. Some of the topics of lecture-cum-demonstration programmes of the KGA are bonsai, mural with plants, ikebana, western flower arrangements and dry flower arrangements. Basic gardening activities of the association include indoor and outdoor plants, flowering and fruiting trees, roses, environment protection and water gardens.

Says Lalitha Sundaram, the treasurer of the KGA, “All of our activities are related to plants.” Her personal garden has a variety of plants ranging from hibiscus to roses, along with palm, mango and jackfruit trees. However, she says modestly, “It’s just a small garden.” One of the most memorable meetings for Lalitha was the 100th meeting of the KGA, which was held a few years ago. “It was a great get together and was extremely appreciated,” she informs .

Lakshmi Jagadish is another member, who is extremely passionate about gardening, and joined the KGA over nine years ago. “I decided to join the KGA after seeing a demo on bottle gardening,” she recollects. She has a sprawling garden in her house along with a roof garden with water lilies and a lawn.

“I have orchids, African violets, cacti and bonsai in my garden,” she says proudly. Lakshmi spends a lot of her time tending to her plants. “In fact, once I go to my garden, I don’t feel like coming back to the house,” she laughs. Ranjani is another member, who has been a part of the KGA for nine years. “Due to my love for plants, I thought of joining the KGA.” She has small gardens in the four balconies of her house and tends to them regularly.

Manorama fondly recollects the first meeting of the KGA that was held on 27 June, 1996. “I gave a demonstration on landscape gardening,” she smiles. “Once I am in my garden, I just forget myself. It’s so involving,” she exclaims.
According to her, nature is divine.“It teaches us so many things in our day-to-day life. It teaches us to be humble, submissive, and soothes every sense of ours,” she says. “If you are in tune with nature, you are in tune with divinity.” She adds, “So through the KGA, we strive to achieve one fraction of the truth of life.”
The KGA members meet at each others’ houses on the last Thursday of every month. “Every meeting of ours is different from the other and is so enlightening,” feels Manorama. The annual membership for the KGA is Rs 250 and the association is open to any plant lover.

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