With 1,000 plants and 10 cats to take care of, C. Pushpa has her hands full, says Liffy Thomas
A visit to C. Pushpa’s terrace at Nammalwarpet in Otteri gives one a sense of being transported to a nursery.
The banker has an enviable collection of ornamental, fruit bearing and vegetable plants.
The spiral staircase from the entrance of her house to the rooftop is decorated with potted plants such as crotons, bougainvilleas and varieties of cacti and bonsai.
Look closer and what grabs attention is the base of these plants. Rectangular sized thermocol, silver aluminium packaging, paint bucket, modified bubble top water can, rice bags, tooth brush stand and mineral water bottles are where saplings take root. In fact, no containers are wasted in her house.
“I use the old cracked steel and aluminium utensils and tumblers to grow a plant,” says Pushpa, showing us her kitchen where some plants sit near the window.
For more than 10 years Pushpa has been maintaining her rooftop garden and she keeps adding to her collection whenever she visits a friend or relative’s home.
Last week, she received three saplings at a marriage reception. “I make sure to bring saplings that I do not have at home. It’s a vast collection and I don’t keep count,” she says. But, what she keeps count of is whether the guava is ready to be plucked or the red flowers of pomegranate have bloomed to show a fruit is soon-to-come.
“Growing some of them is just an experiment, it would bear fruit or die,” she says.
Pushpa waters the plants on alternate days and nurtures them with organic manure that she gets from the backyard. “If I am at home, I come to the terrace at least 10 times… plants keep me occupied,” says the employee of a nationalised bank.
Not just gardening, Pushpa has more than 10 cats and two dogs that keep her engaged. All of them have names and can be seen scattered all over the two-storeyed house.