She grew up in the narrow street homes of Triplicane. The homes there did not offer too much space to grow plants. But as a 10 year old she remembers nurturing the lone tulsi plant that they had.
After she got married she moved to Mylapore. This was in the early 80s. Here she started growing small plants. Later she moved to Rajamundry and Bangalore and came back to Mylapore in 1993.
Her passion has grown multi-fold since then. She now has close to 200 pots with varieties of flowering plants, cacti, crotons, succulents and herbs. Different kinds of jasmine, arali (nerium oleander) and bougainvillea are grown by her too. Outside her home, she has also set up a small fence to prevent the goats and cows from chewing on her neem, gooseberry and bilva trees.
She says, “I did have marigold and hibiscus plants too. But squirrels from a big wild lily tree right next door would chew off the flowers. Luckily they haven’t been too interested in the other flowering plants”.
Any space that she has is converted into a tiny haven for plants. In addition to growing plants on the terrace, she has also lined up her balcony and the stairs with plants. She grows plants inside her house too, the snake plant being one of her favourites.
Vijayalakshmi, who is an astrologer by profession, says the lockdown helped her spend more time with her plants. She can be contacted at 9894816469.
Vijayalakshmi’s tips on growing succelents and cacti
1. A mix of cocopeat, sandy soil and clay can be used to grow succulents.
2. Cacti grow very well on sandy soil.
3. Water should only be sprinkled on cactus plants.
4. Coal bits, dried cowdung and neem cakes are excellent natural fertilizers.
5. Mix a little bit of neem oil and dishwashing soap with water and spray it on your plants to keep pests away.