When Lotuses Bloom on Terraces! SDM College of Business Management, Mangaluru Assistant Professor Sneha Bhat has grown 85 Species of Aquatic Flowers, including Lotuses and Water Lilies on her Terrace Garden
Mangaluru: Lotuses in full bloom on the surface of ponds and water bodies are not rare but a sight to behold. Away from water bodies, the floating beauties bloom on the rooftops/terraces too! And here we have Mrs Sneha Bhat, who is an Assistant Professor at SDM College of Business Management, Mangaluru, and an announcer at AIR Mangaluru has proved that lotus and other aquatic flower plants can also be grown on terraces. The terrace garden of Sneha Bhat in the outskirts of Mangaluru has nearly 85 species of aquatic flowers, including Lotus and Water Lilies, all grown on plastic tubs. Sneha, assistant professor at SDM College of Business Management, has nearly 15 varieties of lotus, besides a large number of water lilies, in her terrace garden.
The Lotus flower is universally recognized as pious and pure and the Lotus is emerging as a symbol of purity, because it was considered pure, turning into the throne for Gods. Sources reveal that the veneration of the Lotus could have travelled out of the sub-continent and spread across South Asia and beyond with the spread of Buddhism. And also that Lotus found a pride of place in the architectural forms that began to emerge in the sub-continent from about the late 12th and early 13th centuries to evolve, by the 17th century, into a new style of architecture based on the synthesis of the South-Asian and the Central Asian building techniques and architectural styles.
Prof Sneha Bhat with her Husband and Daughter
But even so, putting in a lotus lawn at the terrace, Prof Sneha Bhat’s terrace is a revolt of colours with water lilies in complete bloom. The terrace garden is home to as many as 85 forms of water flowers, including Lotuses and Waterlilies. Among nearly 15 varieties of Lotus, to name a few are- Purple Joy-Day Bloomer or Komale; White Foreigner Lotus; Yellow Peony Lotus; New Star Lotus; Jinse Lotus; Lady Bingley Bowl Lotus; Charming Lips Lotus; Buddha Seat Lotus; Queen of Hearts Lotus, and so on. There are some non-flowering aquatic -plants like Azolla and Parrot’s feather. Prof Sneha says that the Lotus garden provides her with a chance to grasp the lotus and its variety, which is an emblem of purity and religious enlightenment.
Prof Sneha is lucky to have the support and encouragement for her passion from her husband, Ravish Bhat, employed in the IT section of a renowned bank in the City, and she has procured many of the aquatic plants from various places in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Gujarat. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, she said, “We always look for lotus by the side of roads during our travels. Whenever we see one, we stop and collect lotus and other aquatic plants. There is a wrong notion that lotus and water lilies bloom only in large water bodies like lakes and ponds. I thought of growing them on my terrace. Initially, I brought a few varieties of lotus from local lakes and was successful. When it started blooming, my curiosity increased and I gradually started collecting more aquatic plants”.
White Foreigner Lotus
Charming Lips Lotus
“I learnt the basics of growing aquatic plants from various social media platforms and websites. Being a member of various WhatsApp groups related to gardening, I also found information on sellers. Water lilies bloom regularly, but some varieties open petals only during the night. It is bliss to watch water lilies bloom with the rising sun, and slowly close the petals with the nightfall. This process continues for four days, after which the petals of these flowers fold up. Lotus never folds its petals after dark and remains fresh for a few days till it dries up” added Prof Sneha Bhat.
Bulls Eye Water Lilly
King of Siam Water Lilly
Albert Greenberg Water Lilly
Buddha Seat Lotus
She further said, ” Meanwhile, lotus blooming reduces during winter. Each variety of water lily and lotus has a unique fragrance that attracts different types of butterflies and bees. But one thing is for sure, I do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Many people use chemical fertilizers for the speedy growth of tubers and also leaves and early flowering. Even though snails and dragonflies sometimes damage the leaves of the water lilies and lotus, I remove these snails manually rather than using insecticides. And to prevent mosquito breeding, I have put guppy fish in each tub so that it will eat mosquito larvae, and also keep the water fresh. The water in the tubs need not be changed unless it develops algae”.
On a final note, lotuses are beautiful fragrant flowers with exotic foliage that steals the spotlight of any pond. They are exotic, majestic, and dramatic and have a deep history beyond their beauty. The meaning and symbolism of the lotus is rich and stems from three major groups: the ancient Egyptians, the Buddhists, and Hinduism. It is learnt that the lotus flower symbolizes rising from a dark place into beauty and rebirth, as this is precisely how a lotus flower grows. The lotus is considered to represent a wise and spiritually enlightened quality in a person and is representative of a person who carries out their tasks with little concern for any reward and with full freedom from attachment.
All symbolism associated with the lotus seems to be positive and in the vein of being a good person and finding spiritual meaning in life. Using the lotus in your pond can not only add an exotic aesthetic, but also can attract purity, prosperity, spirituality, and beauty to your water garden. This might be a good addition to your pond come spring! Follow in the footsteps of Prof Sneha Bhat and start growing lotus and water lilies on your rooftop/terraces!