“People have called me a jungle woman, grass-eating animal and mocked me. Now, they come to me for herbs and natural solutions to their health problems,” says T. Vency John, a resident of Crawford, and a self-proclaimed green finger. With over 300 pots, hanging planters and large trees, Ms. John’s residence is awash with rows of ornamental and fruit-bearing plants.
“Six years ago, I decided to use the small space on my terrace to grow some vegetables and greens. Good care and maintenance is the reason all this has bloomed,” says Ms. John. “I have been giving my son and daughter the fruits of my labour since then. Two years ago, my daughter initiated Green Boutique, and since then, we have been selling plants, pots, planters, gardening tools at stalls across the city,” she says J. Ozsin Thomcy, Ms. John’s daughter and an engineer by profession, quit a well-paying job to run the business full-time.
“My mother loves plants, sometimes more than us,” says Ms. Thomcy. “She spends hours pruning, trimming, replanting the plants.” All the plants were sown as seeds planted in red soil, sourced from an acquaintance while the compost is made using kitchen waste, says Ms. John “We have a large composting pit on our backyard.
Once a fortnight, I mix the compost with the soil in each pot individually. There are no other additives, chemicals or treatment. Just love and care,” she adds.The entire maintenance of the nursery is done by Ms. John and her daughter. “I walk up to my terrace garden at least 10 times a day. I go in and out of my backyard twice that number. That is all my exercise. I do not need to go to a gym and neither do I need to rely on anybody,” she says, adding: “People living in this area refer to me as ‘garden aunty’ and come here to get plants for herbal treatment. Nilavembu, sunberry (‘manathakkali’) grows in abundance. Since dengue fever has become common, papaya leaves, crushed Mexican mint or ‘karpooravalli’ is kept along the entrance so people can pluck it when in need Ms. Thomcy plans to expand the business to Bengaluru where she has relocated after marriage. She says, “even there, we were fortunate to find an independent house with sufficient space outside the city. Soon people there too will be able to buy and keep our plants”.
(source : The Hindu)