These are all plants that I grow in my farm at Aryanadu. This is my wife’s house, so I decided to sell the plants from this place in the city. There is good demand for plants even though it is the peak of summer.

Now Euphorbia is in. That could be because it does not need much care or water. It flowers well in summer. Adenium, Hibiscus and foliage plants also have many takers.

Fads affect the sale of plants. To satisfy our customers, we get plants from Bangalore and Pune. Nurseries in metros buy many kinds of foliage plants and ferns from us. When our trucks go there, we place an order for the plants we need.

Orchids are popular now and it is ideal for our climate. We get orchids and vividly coloured plants from Thailand. See, these are grape vines, grows well on terraces. Nowadays I supply vegetable saplings as well – ladyfinger, brinjal...

I have been in this field for 30 years now. After my pre-degree, I started working in a huge nursery at Aryanadu. After working there for more than ten years, I left for the Gulf where I worked in Dubai, Muscat and Doha. But I decided to return to Kerala make sure that my two sons did not run wild. I felt it would be good for them to have their father around. So I returned to India. Since then I have been my own master. I am 47.

Now both my sons are doing B.Tech. I am glad I returned to Kerala.

This profession is very satisfying. But you have to know about plants and enjoy the work. It is hard work. You have to constantly monitor the plants, re-pot, manure, water and look after them like children.

Landscaping is also done by us. Once, I choose the plants suited for the topography of the place, my labourers do the rest of the work. The difficulty is to find sincere workers.

I also sell all the materials needed for gardening such as pots, fertilizers, potting material, stands for orchids… It is true that plastic pots are not as good as clay ones but many of my customers living in flats prefer plastic to concrete and clay as it is easier to maintain and lighter too. Good clay pots are hard to find. The ones stocked here at Ambalamukku are bought from Vellarada.

I open at 9 a.m. in the morning and close by about 7 p.m. Fridays are holidays.

(A weekly column on men and women who make Thiruvananthapuram what it is)