BY NICOLE SUARES
The pandemic led to a drought in the event scene in Goa, but the year-end has seen activities return to full bloom. The Botanical Society of Goa’s annual Plant Utsav is back from November 18 to 20 at the Garcia de Orta, in Panjim, after a two-year break.
President of the Botanical Society Goa (BSG) and landscape designer, Daniel D’Souza, highlighted that plants for sale, value added products, nursery plant stalls, agriculture and garden inputs, flowers, handmade products will be displayed at the event. “It is the largest show in Goa. The uniqueness of this plant show is that it brings everybody under one roof,” says Daniel.
RARE PLANTS, TROPHIES & MORE
Along with the seniors, there is a fresh infusion of young blood rooting for Mother Nature. “We received a lot of participants from the younger generation for the Plant Utsav this year. I’m happy with the response. Interest has come from Goa and outside. Small businesses selling plants, organic products, and food stalls will be at the utsav,” shares the 24-year-old, youngest secretary of the society, Stella Pires.
Liza Pinheiro, 23, from Vasco, added that in order to get people into the competitive spirit, the utsav features nine competitions – from potted plants to best honey (from beekeepers from all over Goa), and more.
The 2022 edition introduces two new rolling trophies. The Daniel D’Souza Trophy for the best flower arrangement, and the Olivia D’Souza Trophy for any youngster getting the highest number of awards at a plant show.
Daniel continues, “My mother encouraged me to participate in plant shows, and I owe my success to her. I want parents to inculcate the spirit of green in their children. There was not much scope back then, but today, the returns in landscaping and flower arrangement are high.”
Another youngster raring ahead in the field of agriculture, with the success of Ras Raj Goa Farms, is Priyanka Parab, who credits their mentor, Minguel Braganza, for sowing the passion of Mother Nature in them.
“We gave demos on grafting of plants and potting at Marius Fernandes’ fests. Later, he began to call us to demonstrate kitchen gardening topics. Events like the Plant Utsav encourages people to start their kitchen gardens and nurseries and showcase different wild plants and fruit species. Some are becoming extinct, like the local spinach, etc,” says Priyanka.
THE EXQUISITE DANIEL D’SOUZA COLLECTION
Plant lovers, don’t miss this opportunity to witness, for the first and last time, a slice of the private Daniel D’Souza collection. “It includes extremely rare plants that Goa will see for the first time. Others are found only in Goa or maybe one of its kind in India,” he reveals. It’s not just exquisite foliage on display, Daniel has created an entire set.
The collections come from his travels across the world. “I source them from flower shows across India and collectors who I speak to. Some plants have come from Nigeria, Latin America,” he adds.
Daniel started laying his tiny hands in the mud at four years, and at 50, owns the largest private collection of plants in Goa and perhaps in India. It is a labour of 30-odd years.
On a personal note, he shares that being a cancer survivor, he receives everyday as a ‘new gift of life.’ “It was an inner calling that I wanted to showcase my plants because they are huge. I don’t know if I’ll bring them out again,” he says.