It is difficult to stop raving about a garden that is truely awesome and appealing to the senses, Harjeet Kaur Allagh
If we can do up the interior of our home elaborately, why can't we do the same to our garden Sridevi A traditional garden usually is one with a green patch of grass and other plants to co-ordinate with it. But landscape design is producing gardens into beautiful outdoor retreats using plant material along with artifacts, pebbles, marble chips or anything else for that matter to delineate these spaces. Plants and accessories do not have to be expensive, but just well thought out and placed. This is exactly what Atchutha Rao and Sridevi have done in their garden.The huge trees outside the boundary have been given a delicate border of temple Gopurams that provide a peek into what lies in the garden. Two patches of lawn are distinctly decorated. A stone statue of Lord Krishna playing the flute is placed on a raised platform and is surrounded with all kinds of hardy plants.The far east corner has a raised lotus pond with purple blooms opening their petals to the morning sun and closing as soon as it is noon. Three huge ceramic frogs sit at the water's edge basking in the sun. The wall behind has two terracotta fish looking into the pool.The front lawn is slightly different. The border on two sides is of marble chips, interspersed with different species of cacti. One such plant is the pineapple cactus that has flowers blooming in the shape and texture of a pineapple. Violet and magenta flowering plants line the other sides, while different coleus are planted near the boundary wall. Walls are decorated with framed antique tiles and plaques. A tulasi plant emerges from a small traditional, painted pot with the idols of Lakshmi and a nook for a deepam.The piece de resistance of the garden that sets it apart from others is a unique chequered corner, demarcated with bricks. If one block has a rose plant then the other is filled with smooth pebbles, marble chips and different shapes of terracotta art. A bronze garden light has tin lamps. An urli in the center is filled with floating flowers in bright colours and is flanked by two huge swans, which look as ready to take off. A bullock cart trudges along, with elephants, horses and turtles for company. All have plants sprouting from their backs. A tribal woman carrying a pot ambles along, while a potted antler looks on. Tiny rabbits and doves too find a niche and giving them company is a porcupine. Water plants and marble potholders, everything is aesthetically placed lending a harmonious touch to this unique landscape.Though Atchutha Rao and Sri Devi have almost shifted base to Hyderabad, the garden is maintained well in their absence. Being a businessman, he rarely finds time but Sri Devi is passionate about gardening and takes time out from her chit fund business to maintain it. Their efforts did not go waste as the garden was adjudged the best in the city. Sridevi likes to meditate and relax by listening to bhajans. Her husband Rao and daughter Supraja are book-lovers, while Shashank and Pranank, the sporty twins, like to swim, cycle and play tennis."If we can do up the interior of our home elaborately, why can't we do the same to our garden. I like to pick up rare ethnic murals and wall art for my garden whenever I am travelling," she says as matter of factly.The bay windows of the bedrooms are lined with money plants, with chimes of different textures hanging from every available hook. A ledge outside the bedroom has the bust of a woman, Vinayaka in different avataras and a woman with the body of a horse. A sea horse is another exquisite piece positioned amidst the green grass.