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Budding entrepreneur

Flowers are always in, fresh or dry, says Ambika Varma


I used to collect plants and their parts that looked interesting Mary



FLOWER POWER Dry flowers for all seasons PHOTO: S. MAHINSHA

Some like them fresh and some like them dry. Floral decorations and fresh flowers have made their way into homes, offices and functions. Now, it is the turn of dry flowers.

The advantage of a dry-flower arrangement is that it does not wither. And sensing that money does grow on plants, Mary Vimala, who works as a ticketing officer in Oman Air, decided to set up a small enterprise that specialises in floral decorations.

Her endeavour, `Tulips,' which functions from her house at Peroorkada, has an amazing display of dry-flower arrangements. "Even while I was setting up `Tulips,' I realised the potential of dry flowers. This prompted me to try my hand at them. I voraciously read on flower arrangements and drying techniques," she says.

Her eye for creativity is such that she sees beauty and potential in broken pots, common plants, fruits and even grass. Thus lotus pods, corn sheaths, corncobs and even coloured tulsi feature frequently in her arrangements. "I used to trek a lot, and I used to collect plants and their parts that looked interesting,'' she says. Raw materials in come from Tuticorin and West Bengal and even as far as Australia.


Mary does not limit her creativity to the flower arrangement; it extends to the base of the arrangements as well. "I came across dried arecanut sheaths (paala) being used as plates in a hotel. That is when it struck me that they would make wonderful bases for my arrangements,'' she says. In addition to these she uses conch shells, baskets, driftwood and terracotta pots for her arrangements.

From floral arrangements to making and decorating candles was just another step for Mary. One of her specialties is the `picture candle', which is generally used in Communions. A photograph is cleverly pasted on the candle.

Wallet factor

The candles cost between Rs. 35 and Rs. 100. The cost of the dry flower arrangements range from Rs. 50 to Rs. 2,500.

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