CHENNAI:As a professor and the head of the Economics Department at Christ University, Joshy KJ has learnt to strike a balance between work and his love for gardening. “At times it does get difficult. But, gardening is also a great way to relax. So, I do my best to make time for it.”
The resident of Hennur in Bengaluru says, “I was brought up in a family that depended on agriculture for our livelihood. Perhaps, my love towards nature comes from the village I lived in and the lessons I learnt from my father.” Ever since, he has had a close association with nature. “I used to observe plants and trees and their changes across seasons very closely. This slowly led to an interest in planting different saplings and nurturing them.” Also a published poet, his poetry stems from his love for nature and his passion for
Today, his garden boasts of a variety of plants and trees.“We have jasmines, samantis, sunflowers, a variety of roses, palm trees and other decorative plants.” But as of late, he has taken a keen interest in growing fruit bearing trees. “One of the reasons for the reduction in the number of flowers is also because of the shade of the growing trees and banana plantains around,” he says. From mango, jackfruit, coconut, chikkoo, pomegranate and jamun trees, he has also grown shade — poppy trees and silver oaks. “Among plantains, we mainly have the Elakki, Karpooravalli and the Robusta varieties,” he adds.
Tending to a garden this size is no easy task. But, he gets by with a little help from his family. “With a growing set of responsibilities at work, I’ve been finding it difficult to balance my time for the past few years. But, my father-in-law is someone who also enjoys gardening and does his best to look after the plants,” he says.
His advice to amateur gardeners in the city is to estimate the size of the available space and then to plan the garden. “In a city like Bengaluru, we don’t have the luxury of vast expanses of land. This necessitates careful planning. Based on the size and shape of the land, selection of the plants is a key aspect to begin work on a garden,” he says.
He believes that there is a sudden surge of interest in the art of gardening in the city but it needs to be sustained.“Nowadays, emphasis is given to afforestation and gardening. Even children and young adults are enthusiastic to do their part. Schools and colleges hold special drives to inculcate this interest in them. This interest will really help in reviving Bengaluru’s tag as ‘the garden city,” he says.