Bengaluru relies on the green thumbs of people like Manjula Subbanna, a long-time resident of Jayanagar, to retain its tag of ‘Garden City of India’.
As someone who grew up among greenery, Manjula developed a love for plants at a very young age. “As a child, I used to get saplings and seeds from our neighbours and plant them. At that time, all I knew was that plants required watering and nothing more,” she reminisced.
It was only after her marriage did someone – her husband – encourage her to cultivate her hobby of gardening.
Her curiosity led her to learn from gardeners themselves about the various techniques of horticulture. It wasn’t long before her efforts were recognised.
“People from Lalbagh noticed and appreciated my garden. They suggested that I apply to some competitions. I ended up winning some of them too,” Manjula beams as she narrates her story to Metrolife.
Manjula said that the youth should actively participate in conserving the environment.
“Youngsters these days are hooked to gadgets. By maintaining a garden, you can grow daily necessities, medicinal plants or simply flowers which please the eye.”
Not just youngsters, everybody must be conscious about their environment, she said. For starters, it’s enough to keep the roads you live on clean. “I keep an eye on the garbage collector and make sure he collects the waste regularly. Taking a cue from me, my neighbours have also understood the importance of keeping the surroundings clean.”
She suggests that organic and food waste such as coffee or tea residue and vegetable peels be made into manure. Adding a powder called Suphala (where nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are present in equal proportions), she converts her food waste into manure for her garden.
The 65-year-old has always aspired to improve the charm of her 100-year-old house.
She is currently volunteering at an NGO school where she teaches children how to keep their surroundings clean, how to plant a seed or sapling and what kind of plants will come of use to them.