Taking gardening to great heights

Green crusader’s terrace garden boasts vegetables, fruits, herbs

April 11, 2014 02:47 pm | Updated May 21, 2016 10:32 am IST - KARUR:

Tirunavukkarasu and his wife T. Porkodi at a roof garden, in Karur. PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM

Tirunavukkarasu and his wife T. Porkodi at a roof garden, in Karur. PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM

The sun does not scorch Porkodi’s house in Karur even at summer’s high noon. For, her house at Gowripuram in the heart of Karur town sports a refreshingly green roof-top, a far cry in a district that has less just about 10 per cent of the mandated forest cover and where indiscriminate industrialisation has taken a rather heavy toll on the nature and its bounty.

The energising roof garden is an acknowledgement of Ms. Porkodi’s remarkable zeal and perseverance of growing plants and herbs in all available space in her house.

They are there not just for aesthetic appeal but also to remind the current generation of the utility value the herbs possess.

Ms. Porkodi’s homely visage masks an undaunted green crusader who has only taken her family’s agricultural background, literally, to great heights. Her work with her father at their Sathyamangalam house imbued in her the desire and dream to have her own roof-top garden that has taken shape now after a couple of decades.

When she set about to establish her terrace garden, she meticulously collated details of plants and herbs that could grow with minimal soil, water and aeration. Ms.Porkodi’s knowledge of herbal insecticides and pesticides grew along with that and she became an addict to sustainable gardening in a very short time.

Vermicompost, panchkavya and azolla are household names at Porkodi’s.

From raising the regular roof-top vegetable varieties, Ms. Porkodi’s urge to excel took her to cultivate unique vegetable species for a roof-top garden such as radish, cabbage, malta lemon, banana and even moringa. On the fruity front, malta lemon, rose apple, West Indian cherry, Kerala Nelli, organic pannier grapes, organic ridge gourd, mosambi, guava, Chinese orange, custard apple, pomegranate, and papaya tingle the taste buds as one walks through the green maze of Ms. Porkodi’s garden.

She gratefully acknowledges her husband Thirunavukkarasu’s huge support and that could be vouched from the interest he has taken in bringing to reality and life his wife’s dream. “I would be happy if youngsters take interest in gardening, especially in the limited spaces available to them, so that we can create a green sheath wherever possible,” says Ms. Porkodi on her next level of activity.

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