Nearly two thousand trees, 50 varieties of flowering plants and 20 varieties of hedge plants add colour to Jagannath Textile near Karumathampatti.

‘This does not look like a factory at all!’ That’s the first thing I feel as I enter the premises of Jagannath Textile Company Limited, near Karumathampatti. The sprawling 55-acre textile factory has around 200 species of trees and flowering plants. White-and-pink hibiscus, bright red plumeria, purple verbenas, hot pink bougainvilleas...it is a riot of colours.

Each block of the factory houses well-pruned gardens, designed by Sunil Khaire. Rows of date palms stand by the roadside. There are at least 70 species of shrubs and five varieties of border plants. A gardener, mounted on a stool, trims a hedge plant in the shape of a hat. The factory has many such ornamental trees, shaped into diamonds, caps and balls. “We mostly use Ficus benjamina (starlight) for ornamentation,” says Prabhu, head gardener.

The sound of bells and the fragrance of white Nerium oleander fill the air at the garden, adjoining the Vinayagar temple. Tiny parijathams with orange stems carpet the lush green lawns. Pretty powder puffs, violet and yellow allamandas, red euphorbia miliis (crown of thorns), songs of India and birds of paradise adorn the fences and statues here. Just-bloomed jasmine, gazanias (treasure flowers) and delicate roses stand pretty on flower beds in the lawn.

We bite into juicy gooseberries at the factory’s orchard. Pomegranates, guavas, sapotas and lemons droop from the boughs. The grove consists of 50 coconut trees, 40 sapota trees, 40 lemon trees, 25 pomegranate trees and a few mango trees.

Dry, brown leaves lie scattered on the ground. “It makes for good manure,” says Prabhu. Since the factory is rich in tree cover, the gardeners do not buy seeds from outside. “We even contribute seeds and saplings to some organisations,” informs Prabhu. There are name boards next to many trees and saplings. These have been planted by dignitaries who visit the factory, says Ganga Rathna, general manager (operations).

“Planting saplings is an integral part of all our social functions. We request each VIP to plant a tree to commemorate their visit. This has been our tradition from the beginning. We want to provide an environmental-friendly and healthy space for our workers and neighbours. It is our way of giving back to Nature.”

Prabhu then leads us to Nakshathravana, a 10-acre garden dedicated to trees such as jackfruit, wood apple, neem and Indian willow. There are at least 27 varieties of ‘star trees’ (trees assigned for each star as per astrology). With cobbled pathways and small bridges arching over ponds with floating water lilies and fountains, it looks straight out of a painting.

A majestic banyan stands tall in the middle of the garden. Bamboos belt out a nice strain as they sway in the mid-afternoon breeze.