Chennaiite grows varieties of cactuses, flowers in roof garden

Chennai: The roof-top garden of Mylapore resident Nirmala Bhat, can be certainly called as the pride of the neighbourhood. The green patch is a visual treat with over 300 plants that has different variety of flowers.

Nirmala speaks to News Today about her love for gardening and more. “I always had a fascination for ornamental plants and wanted to grow them in my garden, So I ventured into roof-top gardening 10 years ago,” she says.

In her roof-top garden, she grows variety of flowers like hibiscus, plumeria, jasmine, crepe jasmine among many apart from varieties of cactuses.

“I have nearly 150 to 200 varieties of cactus and nearly 80 varieties of adenuim. I also have different varieties in each flower I grow,” says Nirmala. When asked from where does she gets all these different types of plants, she explains, “I am a traveller so whenever I travel, I collect the flower varieties and cactuses from different places. Especially I wanted to grow more cactus because it is suited to our weather conditions and it is also very rarely grown by people here.”

Another interesting aspect in her garden is the variety of pots that she chooses to grow plants. There are different varieties of colourful vases that are used. “Apart from the plants, I also have a good pot collection. When I see something attractive, I buy it but I also use old items as pots.” She has even converted an old wash-basin, shoe, and even a broken chair, wooden drawer and photo frames into something above which some of her favourite plants grow.

So how does she maintain her garden? “There are many theories but at the end of the day it is practically what you do that matters rather than theories. So, I learnt the art of gardening on my own. We need to know the right amount of sunlight and water that a plant needs and we know it only through experience,” she says.

She also collects her kitchen waste, dry leaves and dumps them in a bin for them to decompose. “There are three different pots and everyday I put all my kitchen waste in the pots. If one pot is full I keep it at the last and when it comes to top on rotation, the manure will be ready, which will take one month,” she states.

Everyday she spends two hours for her garden and says that one has to be committed to their garden once they set it up. “It takes me just half-an-hour to water the plants however, one has to maintain their garden everyday and even if I miss it one day, the next day it will be a total mess,” she adds.

Nirmala, an avid traveller and trekker, who also participates in marathon is a fitness geek and she says that there are plans to setup a vegetable garden soon. “I already get vegetables like bitter gourd, tomato and curry leaves from my garden luckily while dumping my kitchen waste they started growing on their own and shifted it to another pot. So if I have more space I would like to grow more vegetables,” she concludes.

She can be contacted at 99620 75705.

Aaditya Anand M