Horticulture expert B.N. Sathyanarayana wants to make Bangalore the bougainvillea city of the world

Tucked away in the vast campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences, not far from the century-old banyan tree, is a rather unique botanical experiment of Professor of Horticulture B.N. Sathyanarayana.

Within row upon row of glass bottles grow a multitude of plants of horticultural importance. Banana, ginger, patchouli, grape, anthurium and orchids — they are all sold large-scale to farmers and horticultural entrepreneurs on prior booking.

Saplings to be ready

By the end of this year, around 50,000 of the unique Nanjanagudu Rasabale tissue cultured saplings are to be distributed to farmers with the hope of reviving its production in the State.

“We have helped hasten the shoot proliferation of this variety under laboratory conditions and it is on its way to be patented,” says Bharat Kag, senior research fellow who works with the professor. The laboratory produces some 500,000 plants a year.

This, apart from Prof. Sathyanarayana's passion for landscape gardening, culminated in the creation of the world's first ‘theme garden' on plant tissue culture called ‘Sasyagara', in front of his laboratory.

“The idea behind landscaping is to make the place seem bigger than it is. Every component, including the choice of flora or the placing of a bench must be strategic and minimal,” says Charan A., a doctoral student working on theme gardens.

Dr. Sathyanarayana has been part of BBMP's core committee for beautifying Bangalore and believes the potential for gardens in Bangalore is immense, but if only the government and public would realise their importance.

“In Bangalore, if you've seen one garden, you've seen them all. No doubt, each one of them seems beautiful, but in truth, no one notices anything different in any of them. Planning a garden does not involve simply creating a large space of lawn and throwing in shrubbery, flower beds and hedges; there is a great measure of scientific input apart from aesthetics that is largely ignored,” he explains.

He, along with Charan, intends to build a few theme gardens in the city with the help of the BBMP and the Bangalore Development Authority, with the vision of putting the city on the garden map.

According to him, making uniquely different gardens does not necessarily mean huge expenditure. “For instance, bougainvillea is ideal for planting on medians. They do not require a great deal of maintenance, nor do they require regular watering.” He says, just one little change and the city could well be on its way to be called the bougainvillea city of the world!

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Pottering AroundJanuary 13, 2011