Constant gardener's picturesque backyard

prized garden

Winning ‘Best Garden’ trophy at Dasara festival is a cakewalk for R Lalitha Bai, a resident of Yadavgiri. However, she is leaving no stone unturned as she plans to retain the trophy this year also, writes Manish

At a time when the district administration is yet to make any plans for Dasara festival this year, R Lalitha Bai, a resident of Yadavgiri in the city, is meticulously planning to retain the trophy for best ‘Big Garden’ at the Dasara Flower Show, even though it is five months away.

Having already won the trophy five years in a row, Lalitha Bai is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the trophy remains with her.

Speaking to City Herald, she said the preparation for the festival has to start at least five month earlier. Each sapling has to be planted at an appropriate time so that the flowers bloom exactly during the flower show held during Dasara.

Lalitha bai has been participating in competitions held for best gardens during Dasara festival since 10 years. Earlier, when she was in Raichur for nearly 15 years, she had bagged several prizes in competitions organised by the district administration.

Reminiscing on how she took to gardening, she said, “When we were in Raichur, a lecturer’s family was our neighbour. They had four pots and when the flowers bloomed, it was a sight to see. That’s when I decided to start gardening.”

Beginning with four pots, Lalitha Bai went on to add another 16 by the end of the year.

At the end of four years, she convincingly won the ‘Best Garden’ prize for Raichur district.
Later, when she moved to Mysore, she cleaned the garden around the house and went about planting saplings. Lalitha Bai’s garden comprises a variety of plants, including 25 varieties of anthuriums and Begonia along with hibiscus.

Bonsai plants including lime, orange, mango and several others dot her beautifully maintained garden. She has bonsai plants, which are between 10 to 25 years old. Plants lined up with a mural in the backdrop are a delight to visitors. “I’ve made a lot of friends because of my garden,” she says.

But, maintaining a garden is not easy. She wakes up at 5.30 am and ensures that the plants are given their share of water. “I had a book with me in which, the writer says ‘You need to take care of the plants each day’. It’s very true. The plants feel happy when someone cares for them,” she says with a gleam in her eyes.

When tending to the garden, she is not alone. Lalitha Bai says her children bring her a variety of seeds from places they visit.

Sharing her experiences about gardening, she says it is important to water the plants and ensure that you see them everyday. Also, the soil needs to be churned out each month so that the plants get sufficient supply of air.

Another important aspect is regularly remove weeds. On one of her birthday, when her children asked her what she wanted as a gift, she wanted a fountain to be installed in the garden. However, she says, nothing is difficult. Her parting statement is, “You can do whatever you want, but you have to do it from your heart.”

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