Sharing plant cuttings from your garden is a great way to keep relationships alive, and the city’s green cover spreading

It was 25 years ago that Anette D’souza, an old friend, gave me two flower bulbs wrapped in newspaper and said, “plant them and tell me when they flower”. That was the typical Bangalorean gift in those days and year after year, over those 25 years, we have enjoyed the most beautiful Scarlet Lilly (Amaryllis) every March.

In spite of nurseries burgeoning across the city and even on the road sides, it’s good to know that people still share plants and watch them grow from scratch.

Share your green thumb

“I love to share my plants with my friends,” says Poornima Kannan, who lives in Indiranagar. My friend Radhika had given me an ornamental ficus plant. I had grafted it and got three more. Two grew into trees, which were too big for my balcony. So, I decided to gift them to my friends who could accommodate them in their gardens. They cherish them the same way I do. In fact whenever I see the tree, I remember Radhika.”

As kids, when the bougainvillea or the wisteria grew too big, my dad would make cuttings of the thicker stems and stick them into a patch of compost. Very often most of the cuttings sprouted new leaves and in a few months, made great gifts for friends. “I have a small collection of foliage plants. When the plants are overgrown, I distribute the cuttings, some of which make their way into the building garden, or plant the cuttings in small pots to give away to anyone who is interested,” says Ranjini Kamath who lives on Brunton Road.

Despite the issue of Bangalore spiralling upwards and gardens becoming almost defunct, one can see the habit of sharing plants has percolated down to young people as well. N. Arun Kumar, a student in St. Joseph’s College, says, “I share cuttings with anyone who wants them — bulbs, stems, plants, seeds anything. I have an exchange policy with a neighbour of mine — that she gives me some plants that she loves a lot and if ever it dies in her garden, she can take it from me. It always gives me immense joy to go ‘plant shopping’ in someone’s garden. Happiness just flows from one to the other and both the giver and taker are equally delighted!”

It’s really quite easy to make your own garden in Bangalore, as we have weather and soil conditions conducive to quick and easy propagation. So, like every generous Bangalorean, Jacqueline Colaco from Cox Town says, “I share plants and cuttings all the time from my garden and promote the idea of gifting plants too, which I purchase from the Association of People with Disability. With a garden of over 120 plants, I’ve made it a practice to gift plants to visitors or on special occasions.”

So, if there is a piece of a decorative creeping vine or a Begonia in a friend’s garden that catches your eye, ask for a piece with a smile. You most likely will soon be the proud owner of your very own potted plant, which cost you nothing but a smile and brings a lot of joy when it begins to bloom.