Game show: Who will have the best garden after lockdown?

The eco-warrior, the one who sings to her plants, or the first-time gardener? Or you?
Dr Sanjay Nigam, an accidental gardener has an adenium laboratory and he grows from seed, hand grafts and regularly repots
Dr Sanjay Nigam, an accidental gardener has an adenium laboratory and he grows from seed, hand grafts and regularly repots
Updated on Oct 04, 2020 03:35 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Karishma Kuenzang

Radhika Shah, 24, Ecological restorator

Radhika practises harmonica near her plants
Radhika practises harmonica near her plants

Previous experience: Radhika started gardening around nine years ago. Now, at her parents’ place during the lockdown, she’s rekindled her love for it and how!

What’s growing? Shankhpushpi, hibiscus and rose, which she uses in teas and natural sodas. She puts vegetable scraps and seeds in the pots to see what comes up.

Plant pampering: Radhika puts cow dung, leaves, vegetable and flower remains into the pots, besides making her own bio enzyme for cleaning purposes. She talks to them and also practises her harmonica around them.

Future plans: Radhika will transplant some of her plants in a park before leaving.

Why I’ll win? “I’ve been tending to plants for almost a decade now and also study them!” says Radhika.

Avino Solo, 30, Saleswoman

Avino sings and plays music to them
Avino sings and plays music to them

Previous experience: Avino would help her mother out in their garden, while growing up in Dimapur, Assam. The lockdown has motivated her to spend time with her plants.

What’s growing? Basil, capsicum, butternut, mint, chillies, neem, aloe vera, tomatoes, lemongrass, hibiscus, hydrangeas, lily, money plant, dwarf date palm, snake plants, fig plant, and jasmine!

Plant pampering: She makes fertiliser with fruit and vegetable waste, and egg shells, and sings or plays music for them!

Future plans: Avino plans to give her home interiors a makeover with these plants she’s tending to, so lovingly.

Why I’ll win? “I’m mindful of my plants’ needs, and water them at regular intervals on particularly hot days,” says Avino.

Maithili Bubna, 23, Publicist

Maithili dedicates one hour daily tending to them
Maithili dedicates one hour daily tending to them

Previous experience: This is the first time Maithili’s trying out gardening as she finally had some free time. She perceives gardening as an art that requires patience and dedication.

What’s growing? More inclined towards growing edibles like fruits and vegetables, Maithili has grown a tomato plant and a papaya tree.

Plant pampering: She dedicates an hour everyday to tend to them and uses vegetable scrap and tea for an extra dose of nourishment.

Future plans: Tomatoes for marinara sauce and papaya for Sunday brunch.

Why I’ll win? “I’m thorough in my research for what my plants could need,” says Maithili.

And the winner is… Maithili Bubna

“A loner’s experience that you start enjoying!”

Clockwise from top left : Adenium fixation that became a garden; Dr Sanjay Nigam (inset) has special names for his plants; He calls the flower Bianca Castafiore after the Soprano in Tin Tin; ‘Han Solo’ or The Uncanny black; A white Adenium called Mr Spock
Clockwise from top left : Adenium fixation that became a garden; Dr Sanjay Nigam (inset) has special names for his plants; He calls the flower Bianca Castafiore after the Soprano in Tin Tin; ‘Han Solo’ or The Uncanny black; A white Adenium called Mr Spock

“Maithili wins because she takes out time to tend to her plants, which is more crucial than singing to them or playing the harmonica,” says Dr Sanjay Nigam, who has been gardening for the last 15 years, and leads by the example of an impressive terrace garden at his home, in Noida.“The only thing I’ll point out to Maithili is to ensure the protein breaks down as plants can’t digest raw protein. And don’t use cow dung to make organic manure as it takes six months to break down. ” adds Dr Sanjay. “The kind of focus gardening gives you is akin to meditation. It’s a loner’s experience that you start enjoying.”

Dr Sanjay Nigam is an accidental gardener, whose terrace garden at home impresses the hardest professionals. Always fascinated by the Adenium or the ‘Desert Rose’, his ‘Adenium Laboratory’ started as a a fence to secure his air-conditioning units, 15 years ago. The adeniums followed. Dr Nigam grows from seed, hand grafts and regularly repots. Even the soil is made from sand, gravel, perlite, cocopeat and leaf compost. He has a thousand. His flowers range from red to black. Yellows, whites, mauves and mottled, and you thought that the adeniums were only pink.

From HT Brunch, October 04, 2020

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021