If you have a garden and a library, you basically have everything you need! Leaving books for another day, pipe dreams of green fingers and lush canopies, as opposed to sun-baked rooftops and abandoned backyards, are dreams no more for one couple-- entrepreneurs by day and horticulturists by night. Zakir Husain, and his wife, Tania Aziz Husain, managing director and chairperson, respectively, of Apex Polymer Group, have worked for decades in breathing life into their very own 'garden of Eden,' plush with soil, golden and good and gems of blossoms encrusting every bloom.
“The love of gardening is a seed, once sown, that never dies.”
Building on his father's beliefs and expending effort to branch out his glorious rose garden in the front lawn of their house in Gulshan, the couple endeavoured, pot by pot and seed after seed, to add shades of green to their empty terrace. With every burst of pansy and every bloom of petunias, with every vertical vine of ferns and every orchid smiling to the sun-- little by little, their barren bed of a roof sprang to life into an urban oasis that is a true nod to the resilience and glamour of nature.
But beautiful natural cycle is a testament to the hard work put into it. After all, as Kipling says, “Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful,' and sitting in the shade.”
Cool shades of climbing wisteria creepers and scents of roses, pink, and purple whisked into the air are what will come to you after hours of diligent labour and still patience, the two ingredients the Husains swear by when tending to their garden. Besides the commitment to give your garden the time it needs to bloom, simple gardening tricks proven to be tried and true can always be adopted.
Gardening 101 is arguably getting your hands dirty by treating the soil with organic matter such as old manure or compost. Treating the soil of plants with mulch or enriching vitamins will ensure growth and keep weeds out of the way. Moreover, understanding the water requirements of growing plants and realising the right temperature and place for your floras is how you can create the garden of your dreams. Some of these tips have been discovered by the horticulturists through trial and error. Others are trade secrets sneaked away from local gardeners around the city-- all of which have culminated into their green terrace.
Keeping it organic all the way, a bamboo-thatched roof shading a square of the garden, ornamented with lawn chairs and lit with golden fairy lights, secures the charm of the ambience, and makes the garden an incomparable escape. If you want to lose yourself, kick back and put your feet up to be carried away by the warmth of steaming teacups to the first rays of twilight. If you want to play host to groups of 10s in a wintry dusk transcending to a starry night, you will be sure to have a crowd-pleaser in your funny story of the time you swiped a whole tree of a wisteria creeper from your trip to Cardiff, UK, and what a relief it was to see it survive customs and the flight to Dhaka!
Tending the emerald garden means more than the stories it affords the Husains. It gives the couple a chance to create something together and bond. It gives them experience on nurturing life and sharing it with their three beautiful children. In Dhaka's busy life, the Husains' very own creation gives the family a much-needed reason to get together for fun heart-to-hearts during afternoon teas or maybe even without.
Gardens are miniature manipulations of nature. A space unoccupied with the swaying silhouettes of blooms of colour will always seem somewhat empty. Enjoying the cascades of vertical floras and birds mimicking mythical fairies taking in the abundance of lilies truly surrenders you to the beauty of paradise. A paradise worth basking in. And, above all, a paradise worth creating.
Photo: Orchid Chakma
Location: Zakir Husain’s garden