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Nurturing a green dream

Can one seek sanctuary amid plants? A few Delhi-NCR citizens weigh in as they outline their journey as plant parents and discuss the therapeutic benefits of gardening

Published: 13th February 2022 07:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2022 02:35 PM   |  A+A-

Prasad NP’s wife Sasha Prasad with song of india plant

In 2017, Delhi-based interior designer Garima Tiwari (29) visited a nursery to pick up plants for a client. The visit ended with her buying a few plants for herself. Even though Tiwari grew up in a house with a garden outside, she had never thought of getting plants at her apartment in Kalkaji. That day, she walked out of the nursery oblivious to the fact that she was only getting started to nurture a green thumb.

Four years later, Tiwari calls herself a proud plant parent. “My flat is like an indoor nursery now,” shares Tiwari, who frequently posts about her hobby on Instagram through a micro-blog @the.green.arena. Just like Tiwari, many Delhiites have successfully converted spaces in their homes into green havens by having designated spaces for plants. The time spent looking after and nurturing their “plant babies” provides a sense of calmness and comfort to these individuals.

Therapeutic gains

There are a number of reports which state that gardening has a positive impact on one’s mental health; it can reduce stress and calm an individual. Gardening has helped Tiwari unwind after work. It has also given her a creative edge, something that she misses in her job. “Even though I am an interior designer, it is more or less a corporate job, and tiring. There isn’t much creativity involved. Gardening is the polar opposite to that. It takes me away from the diktats of work. It has also helped me appreciate nature,” she says.

Explaining the reason behind the therapeutic benefits of gardening, Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Fortis Mental Healthcare Programme, shares, “Gardening is a mindful experience. You are doing something in which the sense of smell and touch are involved. Then you also develop a sense of mastery, which gives you pleasure. You are more exposed to the outdoors. There is a joy associated with it, which creates a positive experience for an individual.”

Gurugram-based angel investor, Prasad NP (50), shares that plants have been a constant presence in his life. With over 300 plants—his collection varies from a simple money plant to exotic plants like cacti, succulents, etc.,—at his home, Prasad mentions that the activity has taught him some key life lessons.

“Gardening teaches you a lot of patience. Growing a plant from a seed won’t happen in a day. Once that seed blooms into a flower, it is a very different feeling.” Prasad also says that the activity of gardening has helped his family bond better. “When my daughter first saw the tomatoes growing on our balcony, she was exhilarated,” he says. Prasad has been blogging about his plant journey on Instagram though @desi_peepul.

Intensive journey

Given the time and effort it takes to create a green collection, most people end up building an emotional bond with their plants. Consequently, it is common practice among plant parents to speak to their plants. Ravinder Kaur (52), a homemaker from Rohini has been nurturing a variety of plants for the last five years. From vegetables to exotic flowers, her sprawling verandah hosts over 85 plants, both big and small. “If one is feeling low, they must speak to plants. It is said plants listen to what you say to them. If you speak to them nicely, and treat them like your own children, your plants will prosper,” shares Kaur.

While taking care of a number of plants may seem like a herculean task at first, Tiwari affirms that it really isn't. “The more you pay attention, the more poking and prodding you do, the more you are going to ruin the plant,” comments Tiwari. She looks after her plants once a day, waters them if required but mostly leaves them undisturbed. “They do better when you are not around them,” she jokes. In agreement, Prasad adds that most plants are self sufficient and one must not over pamper them. “It is usually Sundays when I spend more time with my plants. But in general one does not need to spend over thirty minutes looking after their plants,” says the botany graduate.

In terms of the cost as well, Kaur, Prasad, and Tiwari affirm that one can easily plant a beautiful bunch of plants without having to spend a big amount. While Kaur says a minimum of Rs. 500 is enough for one to start gardening, Prasad further explains that one can keep costs limited by choosing to grow local plants and not the exotic variants. “One must go slow and steady. Individuals tend to look at fancy images and straightaway get exotic plants. One must start with the local ones, research, get used to it and then expand their budget,” he concludes.


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Gardening

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