Mumbaiwale: A blooming bonanza in Byculla
Pumpkins win prizes, ‘best buds’ means flowers, and stem sells. @mybmc hosts Mumbai’s greenest show. Here’s why you’ll enjoy the 25th edition
I come from a family of green thumbs. Grandma nurtured a perennial plant on the balcony ledge for more years than we thought possible. Mum carries a folding pair of scissors in her handbag so she can take clippings of money-plants from hotel and office gardens. She believes stolen cuttings grow best. Yesterday, my boyfriend, Frank, trimmed the bamboos in his front yard to a “reasonable” 8ft.
My connection to gardening, alas, ends at the annual fruit, flower and vegetable show at the Byculla zoo. Organised by the municipal corporation’s Tree Authority and Gardens Department, it’s a hugely popular display of all things green. Flowering plants? Rare ones sown strategically so they bloom in time for the show. Shrubs? Purple-leaved hybrids and rare species. Fruits and vegetables? Exotic ones in sizes you didn’t think possible. Plus, medicinal plants (they get the longest queues at the nursery’s sales counters), topiary (read on), contests and free, packed workshops on kitchen gardening, composting and bonsai cultivation.
Topiary displays this year feature the usual Mumbai icons: a flower- decked Gateway, a vintage tram, a textile mill and a film camera . ( Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo )
The show has had a central theme over the past few years, usually crowd-friendly ones: cleanliness, selfie points, water, music and such. This weekend’s edition marks the 25th year. And what better theme than Mumbai, in a city that’s madly in love with itself?
Topiary displays this year feature the usual Mumbai icons: a flower- decked Gateway, a vintage tram, a textile mill and a film camera. But for regulars — 2.5 lakh dropped in last year — the attraction is not the attractions. It’s the show itself.
Patricia Trinidade, a research associate at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj museum, heard about the show as a college student and has been attending ever since. “My grandma had a guava and a jackfruit tree in our Mumbai house,” she says. “Gardening brings back so many memories of my childhood and her. If you didn’t love plants before you will definitely be a plant lover after attending the show.”
The show has had a central theme over the past few years, usually crowd-friendly ones: cleanliness, selfie points, water, music and such. ( Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo )
Everyone has their favourite section. I love the cacti. Young people love the selfie backdrops. Trinidade heads for bonsai displays – full-grown mature trees but in miniature, some that fit in the palm of your hand. “They require so much patience to tend and the sense of calm they exude makes them so lovable.”
The flower show runs until February 2. But for plant lovers, the party’s only starting. Trinidade, like many others, head to a second show at Ruparel college, Matunga, organised by National Society of the Friends of Trees the following weekend. For all late-blooming flowers (and late-responding humans), it’s a treat.