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Meet the gardener of Salt Lake’s ‘phoolwala bari’

‘It makes us happiest to know that our endeavour has been inspiring others to take up gardening’

Brinda Sarkar | Published 25.11.22, 11:37 AM
Jesmin Islam waters plants in her balcony

Jesmin Islam waters plants in her balcony

“Phool wala bari,” and “nursery” are what her home is known as and “wow!” is a compliment every guest cannot help but utter. Jesmin Islam lives on the fourth floor but has neatly arranged 250 pots around the flat, as well as another 100 in the common area underneath. Peace Lilies to Snake Plants and Syngoniums to Spider Plants, her balconies make space for them all.

I love flowers the most but my flat doesn’t receive adequate sunlight. There’s only the balcony that receives about two hours of direct light from the east for a couple of hours in the morning. So I keep Bougainvillaea, Hibiscus, Nayantara, Mili and even Orchids there.

But I’ve worked my way around the problem. The management of our complex had offered residents to adopt the parking lot area underneath and we jumped at it. Now whenever we feel a flower is about to bloom on any pot, we take it downstairs to absorb light and rain and bring it back up once it’s sturdy.

The practice does cost us some plants — some of our pots go missing from the common area but there is an upside to it too. Many residents leaving the complex quietly leave their potted plants in the space we manage downstairs. We never even get to know these neighbours but they trust us with their precious greens.

We have lots of indoor plants — Aglonima, Coleus, Philodendron, Dracaena… I have them spread over three balconies and five window sills. I had initially earmarked one balcony exclusively for drying clothes but then realised it was looking forlorn without greenery so now even here there are Money Plants. 

My husband, Group Captain Sariful Islam (retired), loves plants as much as I do, especially bonsais. He is now trying one with a Kakra Gachh we got from the Sundarbans. This plant gets its name from its intricate root system.

It makes us happiest to know that our endeavour has been inspiring others to take up gardening. Neighbours, friends and even my own sister, who lives near Axis Mall, have taken up this hobby and is contributing to make our township greener.

If you have a garden you tend to yourself, send your address and contact number to The Telegraph Salt Lake, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700001 or email to

Last updated on 25.11.22, 11:37 AM

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