Plants, trees, herbs and birds have inspired 50-year-old Jaswant Singh of Mogappair for the past 35 years. On Wednesday, an award for the best garden by Chennai Corporation presented by Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam strengthened his resolve to sustain and promote nature at home amidst a congested urban environment. A number of residents received awards as part of the 66 birthday celebrations of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday.

“I have been growing a number of plants including the State flower of Tamil Nadu Gloriosa lily. This award will sustain my enthusiasm. My house has herbs, a kitchen garden, bonsai trees, a butterfly garden, holy trees, indoor plants and solar power,” said Mr. Singh.

“I planted the Gloriosa lily after three years of research. The flowering happens only once a year (December-January). If we carefully observe the flower, we can notice a tricolour shade, resembling the national flag. We were able to locate the seeds at Madurai, Chengalpattu, Vandavasi and Mamallapuram,” said Mr. Singh.

His garden on Spartan Avenue in Mogappair has 55 varieties of herbs including aloevera, oregano, betel leaf, basil, karisalankani, black pepper, thoothuvalai, perandai, tippili, vallarai, aswagantha, tuthi and sirukurinjan.

He has also planted the Banyan, buddha tree, arsan tree, white madar, kadamba, vanni, rudrasha, vilvam, sandalwood and coconut tree.

The flowers grown include rose, lotus, hibiscus, mali, nandivatam, shenbhagam and musanda.

Vegetables in his kitchen roof garden include tomatoes, brinjal, bitter gourd and beans.

A roof top fruit garden has papaya, jackfruit, orange, apple, blackberry, lemon, dates, mango and sapota.