A garden with a difference amidst concrete jungle

Amidst the concrete jungle of Mangalore city, spotting a garden with wide varieties of plants and trees would definitely be a treat to the eyes.

When most of us continue to blame on lack of land for sustaining and promoting greenery in our house surroundings, here is a man who has developed a sort of model garden in his small land in the heart of the city.

Meet Commodore Cyril Pereira, a retired Navy officer, who is the proud owner of ‘Monica Garden’ at Bendoorwell, which accommodates over 250 varieties of fruit bearing, flower bearing, ornamental and medicinal plants and trees in an area not exceeding 45 cents. This tiny piece of land is literally a marvel for it consists of plants and trees which are even rarely found in the villages.

An array of fruit bearing trees including mango, jackfruit, African saphota, banana, star fruit, passion fruit, berry berry, lemon, tamarind, papaya, jamun, pomegranate, coconut surround the old monolithic house of Cyril Pereira. The garden also accommodates a wide range of flower bearing plants like hibiscus, lilies, jasmine, violet flower, bridal bouquet, jatropha, red cocktail etc.

The garden of this energetic ex-navy man is also a source of medicine for his friends and relatives. Leaves of several medicinal plants like tulsi, pacholi, solanum, kalmegh, sarsaparilla grown in his garden are generously given to others on request, thus helping fellow-mates to counter the diseases.

Sharing his story of developing a full-fledged garden with Deccan Herald, Cyril Pereira said that inspiration from parents and his personal interest towards plantation led him to develop the garden. “Monica Garden is an ancestral property which I have developed and shaped in the last 10 years, following my retirement. Love towards nature made me to beautify the garden by planting a wide range of plants in the small available land that I own,” he said.

Having travelled all around, Pereira has mostly collected saplings from Western Ghats, Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra in Bangalore and some varieties from abroad too. Pointing at an 80-year-old asparagus plant, he says it was planted by his father and is nourished till date. “By living amidst this garden surrounded by plants and trees, I do not feel that I live in Mangalore city. The weather here is so calm, unlike the humidity outside. I can happily say that my family is free from dust and sound pollution that most of the city dwellers are prone to,” Pereira says.

The garden takes the visitor to a different world altogether as it also accommodates vanilla, pepper, coffee, cardamom, ginger, bamboo plantations and what not. The Tabasco chilly grown in his compound is one of the spiciest chillies in the world. Explaining his love towards plants, he says he has not only purchased plants from nurseries, but also picked them from drainages. In fact, a lily plant picked up from drainage is one of the finest flower bearing plant in his garden.

Having grown kus kus plant that is used to prepare traditional mats, Commodore Pereira is now eagerly awaiting to prepare a mat using it. He has developed two compost pits, one for organic waste and another pit for dumping coconut fronds. Compost generated in these compost pits are used as manure to his garden.

“The garden which at present requires some additional maintenance will be developed further in the days to come,” says Pereira who has a never dying spirit.

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