Pervin Zengin has devoted her life to handicrafts and she is quite gifted and talented. All the objects in her home, from her furniture to all sorts of accessories, are her designs. She sometimes gives handicraft lessons as well. She has a special interest in flowers and also makes artificial flowers and paintings with floral motifs. When you take a step into her house in Kanlıca, Istanbul, you feel like you have come to an art workshop. Our goal of being a guest in her house is a different passion of hers: Flowers. She has devoted her life to plants and flowers since her childhood. She does not distinguish her flowers from her children. She has also engrained this love from her family in her daughter Melis.
Zengin grew so many flowers that she could not fit them onto her tiny balcony. She then had no choice but hang the flowers down from the walls with the irons she placed on the apartment wall. She currently has more than 200 flowers from lilium to hortensia, from busy lizzie to begonia, and from geranium to snapdragon.
Three times winner
Zengin also has won the first place three times in Istanbul's best balcony competitions organized by various institutions. Her daughter, Melis, participated in the contests without the knowledge of her mother by taking photographs of her balcony that looks just like a flower garden.
"The jury visited all the applicants district by district. They came to our house two or three times, examined the flowers. I did not expect to be first," Zengin said, adding that growing flowers requires effort. "Money is not everything. You invite a landscape architect to turn the balcony into a garden beautifully, but mine is my own personal effort. For example, I gather the four o'clock flowers from the streets of Emirgan and cut a rose from the side of a rosebush. I preserve the bulbous plants according to the season and grow more of them. I am making an effort here," Zengin said, sharing her happiness at ranking first in the competition.
Zengin was influential in social media before being chosen for the most beautiful balcony of Istanbul three times. The passersby do not pass by without taking a photo. The number of people who ring the bell and visit the house are high. "I gave the flowerpot as a gift to many people who only asked for a branch," she said.
Zengin does not throw away the fading flowers but instead prunes each one. She knows how to keep her flowers alive for the season. She carefully keeps the bulbs of bulbous plants. Her greatest feature is to be able to keep a flower alive for a long time. The goal is to reach thousands of flowers. Describing what flowers mean for her, Zengin said, "Flowers are peace and sadness for me. When my relatives or friends pass away, I plant roses on their graves with my own hands. This is the sad part. As for peace, each flower slowly blooms, fades, then blooms again. All the flowers have a story in me. The flowers love me, they respond to me with a smile when I cut and prune them. They really are my life."
Flowers on the subway
Pervin Zengin does not distinguish one flower from the other. "There are fickle flowers like gillyflower and dahlia. And there are flowers ready to grow old with you such as lemon pine and hortensia. They have been with me for 10 years, and they are very loyal," Zengin said. She mostly loves the four o'clock flowers, and when the flowers reach the size of the flowerpot, she plants them in the gardens. She will introduce her balcony to Istanbulites in the near future at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Subway and billboards. She is happy to be a part of this project. "Istanbul is not just a place to live and visit. People can make a small flower garden on their balcony if they want within the chaos of work, traffic and life. Just like me, you can build a world on a tiny balcony or a window ledge in the middle of a city. All flowers actually like Istanbul and all kinds of flowers are grown here," she concluded.
Tips for growing the best flowers
Water the flowers late at night or early in the morning,
Pay attention to regular cleaning, show care and apply insecticide. It is very important for the soil not to become bug-infested,
Change the places of the flowers that love sun, half-shade or rain according to the weather,
Remove the flowers from the pots at regular intervals every 20 days, depending on the soil quality and the flower, and refresh the soil,
After the soil is removed from the pot, blend it with other soil types. Air the soil out for about a week.
Pay attention to the degree of fertilizer while putting the soil in the flowerpot,
The most important thing is cleaning. The pots need constant changing. It is necessary to clean the soil in the November-December period, therefore the soil never becomes bug-infested.