It is like a mini green township at Tathi Lakhmi Kumar’s terrace garden - a world of pygmy trees with full grown fruits and flowers dotting the branches. This is the fascinating world of bonsai, carefully nourished and cultivated by Lakshmi over a span of a decade. Bringing a slice of her green zone at the ongoing Flower Show at VUDA Park, Lakshmi wants to pass on a message. “Nature has a calming effect and can do wonders to heal the mind and spirit. For me, my garden is my soul,” she says. Lakshmi, who is a member of the Visakha Bonsai Welfare Society, has nurtured more than 100 varieties of bonsai plants at her terrace garden. “My plants are a constant reminder of the indomitable spirit and continuity of life even in the face of nature’s fury. During the cyclone, many pots were shattered. But most of the bonsai plants survived the massive destruction due to its strong root system,” says Lakshmi.
With the shrinking urban spaces, cultivation of terrace gardens and bonsai culture has propagated fast across the city. Now there are 160 active members of the society.
While many cultivate gardens as a hobby and a love for nature, N.V. Siva Ramakrishna has turned his passion into a lucrative enterprise through organic farming. Ramakrishna, who is also participating in the Flower Show, started organic farming in the year 2001 on a piece of 10 acres land at Anandapuram. Today, his enterprise ‘Ananya Agrotech’ brims with green glamour with over 300 species of medicinal plants, 60 varieties of bonsai plants and a nursery of rare flowering plants. “I hail from a farmer’s family and have grown up amidst nature. This is my passion that I have nurtured ever since I was a child,” says Ramakrishna. Also a gardening consultant, Ramakrishna says that the city has seen a growing preference for the concept of vertical garden because of space constraints in urban households. In the Flower Show, he is showcasing the art of vertical gardening. “You can have your own tiny piece of green at the balcony and cultivate plants like chillies, tomatoes and leafy vegetables,” says Ramakrishna.
For Anisha Tandon, being close to nature is more of a spiritual process than anything else. Anisha, who has been practicing Ikebana - the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement - from the past 13 years, is highlighting the importance of nature’s abundance and its power to transform the mind through her floral arrangements at the Flower Show. A member of the Hyderabad chapter of Ohara School of Ikebana, Anisha says Ikebana is a lot more than just floral arrangement. While normal flower decoration focuses on symmetry, Ikebana is based on asymmetrical structures under the philosophy that no two things in nature are alike. “The art does not limit you to your own garden. Even a dry leaf can be used to do an arrangement. We are, in fact, using a few dry pieces of wood from the Hudhud cyclone destruction to make an arrangement,” says Anisha. Over the years, Ikebana has become a part of her personality. “The art has made me patient. You start seeking perfection and begin to appreciate small ways of life,” says Anisha, who is a third masters in Ikebana. Having participated in flower shows and exhibitions in Delhi and Tokyo, this is her exhibition at Vizag, which the Ikebana team has dedicated to the resilient spirit of the city after cyclone Hudhud.