On her roughly 33,000 square feet large terrace, Indira Ashok Shah, an urban gardener, has managed to grow an Alphonso mango tree in a bucket!

We were as shocked as you are. Here is her journey to growing a green oasis in the middle of Bengaluru city with over 600 plants. Growing up in a home where her grandmother and mother would grow their own vegetables, Indira says that gardening comes “naturally” to her.

Before starting her terrace garden, Indira started planting greens in a barren land beside her home.

She says, “One day, almost overnight, the local authorities razed all my plants to the ground because the owners decided to build something there.” It was at this time that she decided to switch to terrace farming. It was an online terrace gardening community that helped Indira set up her garden.

She started with growing plants she had seen her mother and grandmother plant, and then eventually moved to fruits.

I grow fruits like dragon fruit, orange, custard apple, pineapple, watermelon, papaya, water apple, jamun, fig, star fruit, and even cherries,” she says. She also grows a variety of vegetables such as lady’s finger, corn, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, beans, etc.

However, the highlight of Indira’s terrace garden is a mango tree, which is grown in 20-litre bucket! She recalls how the plant came as a surprise to her when the seed of a mango sprouted in her garden.

Apart from that, she says, “A friend was giving away a coffee plant, and I remember I jumped at the prospect of being able to grow coffee on my terrace.” She was successful in growing the coffee beans too, and says, “I get almost a kilo of coffee beans every year from this plant. It takes care of my filter coffee fix.”

A plant lover at heart, she shares a unique connection with her plants. “They start drooping. They miss me. Every time a plant gives me a fruit, I thank them; sometimes,  I even give them a kiss,” she says, “Some people might find this ridiculous and even laugh, but I couldn’t care less.”