CHENNAI: When D Paul Chandrakanth retired from Railways two years ago, he was hardly looking at hanging up his boots to rock on an armchair and read the newspaper. Instead, he was looking forward to using his spare time to tend to his 60-yard green patch in his house at Venkatapuram, Secunderabad.
His garden is today home to various birds and colourful insects (butterflies, bees, small birds, grasshoppers etc) and it is not surprising that his garden is his hangout spot.
His garden has ornamental plants from golden bamboo, Lipstick plam, pencil Cyprus to fruit-bearing plants such as chiku, different varieties of mangoes, papaya, custard apple to flowering plants such as Hibiscus, roses, bougainvillea, chrysanthemum and Bhramakamalam.
The garden is the pride of his independent home, he says. The garden is tastefully designed. There is carpet grass on the land surrounded by potted and other plants on both sides of the patch of the grass. A four-level blue water cascade where the water lands into a heart-shaped pool shows his taste for blending creativity with nature. The fish in this pool adds magic to the place.
On any good day, you can find this energetic senior citizen happily tending to his plants in a casual shirt and track pants. Gardening sure is his first love.
His love for gardening started when he was in his 20s, but he took it up seriously in the last two years. He has a keen interest in landscaping and helps his friends and relatives design their gardens. When it comes to nurturing his babies, he believes in going organic. He uses neem cake, neem oil, vermicompost and manure. “I plan to start a terrace vegetable garden soon. I had a few veggies in my backyard but, want to make a separate corner for them,” he says about his activity for 2018.
An active member of ‘Our Garden’s’ Facebook group, Chandrakanth regularly takes tips from fellow gardening lovers. He usually checks out different nurseries in the city and recently visited Kadiyam, near Rajahmundry in neighbouring Telugu state Andhra Pradesh solely to visit nurseries there. Kadiyam has the world’s largest nurseries with about 10,000 different plants and hotels and other establishments abroad source out their plants from here. His family members take care of his garden when he is not in town and a gardener comes mostly to prune and de-weed.
Currently, he spends time between tending to his garden and his little grandson with the same love and looks forward to seeing both of them grow up together.