In the middle of a concrete jungle in Sholinagnallur, Chennai, Jayanthi Prakash proudly displays her sprawling terrace garden, a result of her hard work and love. It’s beautiful to see more than 500 plants look so colourful, well-fed and happy.
Jayanthi has been in love with plants since she was 6 years old. Her family would look at her in admiration as she patiently braided the hair, on the cob of the corn. With every new house, they moved to, Jayanti found a green patch and made it her own.
Every morning, she would wake up to the fragrance from her garden, pluck the low hanging lychee fruits, and also climb the trees to pluck mangoes!
Like her grandmother, she enjoyed spending time with her green friends and was always happy to chat with them.
After her marriage, Jayanti moved to Tripura, in the North East and it was there that she got an opportunity to maintain a large garden. She grew orchids and other exotic plants and soon came to be known as the best garden in the area. Unfortunately, she never got to see the trees in full height, as they had to move to another city.
It was in 1983 that she heard of Bonsai (the art of miniaturizing trees) for the first time and was totally inspired. A few newspaper articles, some wild saplings, a couple of trials (and errors) later, she was on an expedition to cultivate her Bonsai plants. With Bonsai, she could take her trees along with her if she ever had to move again; this made her pursue this art with a lot of enthusiasm.
As the community of Bonsai enthusiasts grew, she attended workshops, demos and what started as 10 plants has now grown to 500!
“It has been an amazing journey”, says Jayanti. “I have a very special bond with my plants. I get my adrenaline rush when I am with them.” Every day, she spends about 3 hours with them, talking to them, making sure that they are happy. Recounting a recent incident, Jayanti shares that they refused to bloom when she had been away on a break. As soon as she was back, she spoke to them and was soon rewarded with the best blooms of the season!
Truly a special green bond!