Did you know there is a heritage home in Namma Bengaluru that has won multiple awards for the best garden continually for over 42 years now? Even the home in which this garden is housed has won the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) for the best heritage home in the private residential category in 2016.
When you visit Priya’s beautiful heritage home, the first thing that will strike you even from the outside is the canopy of green that has a calming effect, instantly. Being located in one corner of a dead end road, there is a nice green patch on the outside as well that is a perfect precursor for what to expect inside.
Priya’s garden is spread over a whopping half-an-acre and is organised into smaller sections based on shades of green and types of plants. There are all kinds of ornamental plants and a whopping 25 kinds of fruit trees including the likes of mango, butter fruit, bread fruit, chickoo, figs, guava and native ones like bimbli. “I do not like manicured and stiff gardens. I believe that the garden must flow and while I have lawns, there are several elements whether it is fountains, a waterfall or a bridge that adds to the overall look and feel of the garden. Also my daughter Champa is a special child, and she loves spending time in the garden, especially around the water. In fact the water has been therapeutic for her,” explains Priya. Her garden always wins the prize from Lalbagh on the occasion of Republic Day and Independence Day and as you walk around, you realise exactly why.
The gardens itself are stunningly beautiful interspersed with interesting accessories, masks, white benches, white wood dividers and more. A quaint gazebo area is also a part of the garden, and is surrounded with potted plants. Special mention must be given to the beautiful Buddha stand that has Buddha figurines amidst beautiful flowers. The plants in Priya’s gardens have been sourced from all over the world, and are nurtured by her personally along with her able staff. Incidentally, Priya says that both her daughters have inherited her green fingers and she is happy about it.
Priya’s garden is interesting because she has a variety of plants from ferns, philodendrons, asparagus plants and many species of flowering plants. “My signature plants are all heliconias and I have plants from across the world. However, today you do not have to go all over the world as all the plants are available in Bangalore itself,” says Priya. A passionate gardener, Priya is a coffee planter’s daughter and says she grew up connected to the earth and has gardening and plants in her DNA. Priya says that several nurseries in around Bengaluru have several species of plants and recommends ones in Siddapura and Whitefield as good places to start. Priya adds to her plant collection almost every day and says that she prefers to look for plants to add to her collection over other socialising activities. The garden is a profusion of colour from the several native species of flowers. The pink ginger flowers occupy a special place in her garden too. There is a separate section for orchids and a herb garden is also in the backyard.
Once inside this lush expanse, it is impossible to believe that you are in the heart of the city in Richards Town. This in fact really goes to show that a garden can really have a calming effect, and add positivity to your surroundings. So are you ready to explore your green side?
Photographs by Bindu Gopal Rao...