Mitra Gupta poses with her flowers. Picture by Saradindu Chaudhury
There are betel nut trees nearly as high as the three-storey building she lives in, little lemon trees growing in pots, Bougainvillaea that add colour to the balcony and Togors that lend their fragrance to her bylane. Mitra Gupta may live in a brick-and-mortar house but she has ensured she is surrounded by greenery. And she sits among her plants not just to tend to them but also when she wants to relax.
I mostly grow flowers in pots but there are a lot of fruit trees growing from the ground around our building. Those had been planted by our landlady Sucharita Sengupta. She loves gardening too and shares both tips as well as the delicious fruits with me.
My plants are kept on the terrace and in our three spacious balconies. In fact, the balconies were instrumental in our choosing to move into this flat as I knew I would get to keep my flowers there. So now I’ve kept yellow and pink Bougainvillaea and fragrant Togors in our balconies.
I love fragrant flowers so there are lots of Bel and Jui flowers on the terrace too. I pluck them, spread them over a bowl of water and place it in our living room. In winter, I grew flowers like Dahlias and Chrysanthemums but it’s the Petunias that have stood the test of time. They’ve still not wilted! Now I’m focussing on plants like Hibiscus, Jasmines and Lemons, that can survive the heat.
There is also a betel nut tree right outside the house and we can reach its fruits by stretching out an arm. My aunt-in-law, who lives with us, adds them to her paan and says they’re great. My husband and son encourage my hobby too.
Being a professor of Bengali, I love books and much of my winter days are spent reading or knitting in the terrace garden. While it’s too hot to spend time up there on summer days, the evenings are pleasant and we host adda sessions there these days. However, I only take my favourite guests to the garden.
As told to Brinda Sarkar
• If you have a garden you are proud of and tend to yourself, send your contact number to The Telegraph Salt Lake, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700001 or call 22600115 after 4pm or email to firstname.lastname@example.org