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Suchitra Binani on nurturing nature

‘My kinship with plants is all thanks to Palzor Namgyal Girls High Secondary School in Gangtok’

Brinda Sarkar Salt Lake Published 25.06.21, 07:26 AM
Suchitra Binani overlooks the Petunias in her yard

Suchitra Binani overlooks the Petunias in her yard Brinda Sarkar

Having grown up in Sikkim, Suchitra Binani is familiar with the brightest of blooms and sweetest of fruits. The colours in a garden, she says, can make one’s day and so endeavours to grow Petunias, Marigolds, Roses and many more flowers. Besides a houseful backyard and terrace, her front yard has been landscaped in the Japanese garden style too.

My kinship with plants is all thanks to Palzor Namgyal Girls High Secondary School in Gangtok. While studying there, we had gardening as a subject and each class had its own space to cultivate on a hill. So besides chasing careers, we were taught to appreciate nature. How I wish Bengal schools would do the same!


I’ve been living in Salt Lake for some 30 years and grow different kinds of plants. Flowers are my favourites and my current favourite among them is Passion Flower, a uniquely-shaped purple bloom.

We have fruits like Coconuts, Pomegranates, Guavas and even Betel leaf (Paan) and Italian Basil, that I use to cook pesto sauce with.

The terrace has different kinds of Spinach, Mint, Adenium…. At one time I had more than 50 Adeniums and would gift them out to relatives. One of these relatives was later shifting from Burdwan to Bihar and I was so touched when he said he was leaving everything behind in his old town — except the Adenium I had gifted.

I used to make fresh wheatgrass juice for my family — it’s a great immunity booster — and they became so popular that I started selling them too. I’m getting lots of calls for these now, what with Covid around, but unfortunately it is too hot for the plants to survive now. I’ll resume in October.

Years ago, my kids had planted a Pine tree in the garden that grew so tall and strong that its roots had started growing through the house. We had to fell it but the tree is still a part of our house. We got a carpenter to make dining table chairs using that wood. Now I proudly tell guests that the chairs they sit on grew in our very own garden.

Previously passers-by would steal flowers from the frontyard. Once they tore off all my Marigolds and I broke into tears. But I’m happy to note that flower theft has reduced of late. Maybe, people are scared of touching them in fear of Covid!

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

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