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A green superwoman

All Rangalakshmi wanted was a few plants around the house. But she ended up with 1,100-odd potted plants and a landscaping consultancy service



Rangalakshmi dotes on her potted plants. — Photo: Murali Kumar K.

RANGALAKSHMI'S FRIENDS and relatives often tell her she looks after her plants like her children. This is the biggest compliment they could possibly pay to the landscape consultant and owner of a home garden with 1,100-odd pots.

Rangalakshmi's collection of plants — spread around the house and on the terrace — covers a big range: medicinal, aromatic, decorative...

And there are some very rare varieties as well, from Israeli oranges to begonias and orchids. "I never meant to have such a big collection or even do the landscape consultancy I do now," she says. "All I wanted, like most people, was to add a little greenery to my home. As my collection grew, so did my knowledge. This knowledge, in turn, gave me the confidence to acquire more plants."

Personal care

As Rangalakshmi hovers over her plants, checking each for new buds, fresh leaves, or the dreaded weeds and pests, her total involvement can't be missed. "But then, plants do need that kind of care," she says when you remark on her fondness for the plants. Also, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well, she adds. "Above all, this is my own little private sanctuary!" Which explains why she took the trouble to do a one-year course in gardening and landscaping at Jain College. This course, incidentally, is no longer offered here.

All her meticulous work is evident in Rangalakshmi's impressive garden. She has spent years scouring nurseries, other people's gardens, horticultural shows, roadsides, and even gutters for unusual plants. Gutters?! "Yes, sometimes rare and beautiful species are found even in gutters. When something catches my eye while travelling, I stop and pluck it out myself, since it needs expert fingers to pull out a plant with its roots intact."

Long hours

Rangalakshmi says that her garden takes up at least four hours of her undivided attention every day. She has a part-time gardener and a few woman helpers.

But they all help only under her supervision. Since she dislikes the idea of using too many chemicals on her plants, she uses homemade manure and avoids pesticides too as far as possible. "I personally prepare a decoction of herbs and various juices. It keeps the air around also healthy, unlike chemical sprays which make it difficult to even breathe with ease for days after the spraying is over," she explains. All the domestic waste is collected in a pit, treated with earthworms, and then fed to the plants.

Container gardens

Today, Rangalakshmi is also a busy landscape consultant.

She has already landscaped about six houses and executed the landscape design for two city colleges: NMKRV and SSMRV. She supplies container gardens for office desktops and is planning to add more exotic plants to her already huge collection.

Rangalakshmi can be contacted on 26347616 or 9845574610

ARUNA CHANDARAJU

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