Urban living is synonymous with stress. Pollution, concrete jungles, traffic snarls etc. have a compounding effect on the existing pressures at work and home, making life seem unbearable at times. Amidst all this chaos a beautiful home, however simple with a pretty garden, irrespective of its size, could make a big difference. Someone rightly said, “As I look out of my garden I feel a sense of pride, it really is a lovely room- except it is outside.” After a stress filled day at office, a stroll on the green grass, or just sitting on the terrace surrounded by pots filled with swaying greens, rejuvenates and invigorates the body and mind. A trickling stream, coloured carps swimming in the lily pond or the soft gurgling of an aquarium soothes the mind and caresses the tiredness away. Smart-city Bhubaneswar boasts of ample urban horticulture. It may be a handkerchief garden or a full blown one, a few pots in a row in the small cramped balcony space or plastic bottles sliced into half to grow a few ornamental plants, the pleasure remains the same.
Who knows it better than Mr. Sanjeev Panda and his wife, Dr.(Ms) Santosh Bala, both senior IPS officers and ardent nature lovers. Their garden has been adjudged as the ‘Best Residential Building Large Garden’ in Bhubaneswar by the Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC), Government of Odisha and Plant Lovers Association, Bhubaneswar at the Annual Garden Competition, 2017. “The garden is like a piece of heaven that we come back to, after a hard day’s work. Our job is very time consuming and sometimes stressful. Both my husband and I enjoy pottering among the lovely plants, enjoying the riot of colours, fragrance and the serenity, which is very relaxing and acts like a stress buster. Even when we go out for vacations we bring back different plants from that place,” says a smiling Dr.(Ms) Santosh Bala. “For me gardening is like parenting the plants and I have almost 20 varieties of different flowers and ornamental plants.
The burst of happiness that I experience when I see the small leaves peeping out of the soil is like witnessing a new born baby opening its eyes for the first time. Caring, nurturing, protecting and keeping the plants healthy is very absorbing just as we do for our children. When it bears fruits or flowers, I savour every scent as myriad emotions fill my heart. There are some very beautiful and interesting plants like the spineless pineapple, anthuriums etc. which add exotic colour and texture to this green haven. The small vegetable patch has varieties like, pakchoy, celery, lettuce, purple cabbage, leeks, purple cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, hybrid pumpkin, fennel etc. which are not easily available in the local market and hence I try to maximize the use of organic manure, “she adds happily. Home is where the heart is and a garden just transforms it into a haven of delight!
By Honey Patnaik