Nursery Tour: Vriksha in Mumbai

Good morning folks! Do you have fifteen minutes to spare? Yes? Great,  continue reading. However,  if you are short on time, then I suggest you come back because you’ll want to take full pleasure of the pictures and it’s not fair to smell the roses in a fleeting few seconds, is it? But, do come back…we’ll be waiting.

For most of the store tours featured on “dress your home”, I try and visit personally to be true to the words. For the ones that I can’t, I try and connect with the creators through e-mail to understand their journey.  In these three years, I’ve never struggled so much for a post. This nursery tour on Vriksha overwhelmed me and you’ll see why.

Every store owner I’ve spoken to has exhibited that one quality that sets them apart and keeps them going day after day: passion. But, at Vriksha, it was a tad different. The e-mail exchange was full of life, energy to go on, and enthusiasm to do more – it felt as if I were there in Mumbai amidst the greens. I felt happy knowing Vriksha. Yes, happy, was the word I was looking for to describe my virtual experience of Vriksha.

I wrote to Shaan Lalwani, horticulturist and nurturer of Vriksha nursery. His parents created this green heaven in Mumbai 34 years ago. Yes. 34 years. Gardening is close to my heart and I know for many of you too.  There’s tons of priceless information, here, in this post from Shaan, that comes with experience. So soak it all up and let’s put it to good use in our gardens.

Snippets of my conversation with Shaan:

 

A little background about Vriksha in Shaan’s words:  “Vriksha has 100 different herbs fruits and vegetables (local and exotic) all for sale at the nursery. The idea here is to make gardening interactive:  carnivorous plants, insect repelant plants, edibles, aroma plants etc. I’m 26 years old and thankfully have a team of 45 people willing to try (sometimes fail) new things.

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Mom is into the 6th year and next year she heads to japan to give her teacher level exam under the grandmaster in japan. She arranges flowers in offices, hotels, events in mumbai and thankfully she still after 25 years in the line still wants to do something diffrent…

1.  What would be the ideal potting mix – soil and cocopeat and in what proportions for a balcony? 

Every nursery has their own little concoction when it comes to garden soil ….some say 50-50 some say 70-30…our soils at the nursery are a family recipe 30-mud-30-cocopeat-30-coal-10 sand(leached). Reason we do that is it keeps the soil light and airy…also I’ve been playin with the idea of wood chips in india  for a while results are awaited …

 

 

2. What flowering plants and greens thrive well in a limited space and does the direction matter in terms of sunlight while choosing plants?

When you have limited space you need to maximize. First, you need to see is what interests you herbs,vegetables.(thyme,basil,rosemary)(tomatoes,chilli,jalapeno)..are a growing trend…when u have kids u will want plants that keep them interested…so the mosquito eating plants (fly traps,pitchers….sundews(not yet selling them))..plants with big showey flowers(impatience,dhalias,orchids,writias, I can go on n on n on)…plants with brightly colored leaves.(marantas,drachenias,pisonias)..if uv got pets and want them to be at home…you’ve got plants like catnip,mints,doggrass etc that they love.

 

 

3. Your top three tips to care for them – manure, pesticide etc?

We barely use any manure here. The nursery is based on the teachings of 1 mr mario fukoka(japan)…minimilastic gardening is the way foward. Companion planting green manures and simple gardening processes keeps are nursery going. Pesticides are a strict no no…loads of organic ways to keep the pest away.

 

 

4. What are your favorite plants from your nursery? And what are the challenges you face? How does it feel like to be amidst greens all day? 

My favorite plants are my three bonsais. One was gifted to me when I was six years old, one I was eight and the last when i was ten. Though I’m 26 today the plants are well past 50 years old,  one of the sweetest gifts my parents gave me. And, living in the nursery and on the farms I’d have it no other way. It’s my little place of peace and quiet in a city full of noise and hussle…wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Fresh cherries

 

 

That’s not all. You can grow your vaccinations too. For hundreds of more salivating pictures, visit Vriksha on FB. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Of course, there is a caveat. Please note that I haven’t used the services of Vriksha nursery and cannot vouch for the personal experience or quality of plants. Please your discretion if you choose to engage.

Lastly, all you Bangalore readers, I hope you’ve had the time to stop by and shop at Dastkar. If not, do so – it’s the last 3 days of shopping opportunity straight from the artisans, or you’ll have to wait for an year before Dastkar comes to town.

Image courtesy:

Vriksha Nursery

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