Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Green Lovers, Welcome

I met Madhavi Chandan who runs a plant boutique from her Koregaon Park residence. Her potted plants can be good gifts.
Following is the interview, which I did for a daily.

From outside the walls, the garden looks ordinary — a swing, a few potted plants and a patch of grass. It’s only when you step into Madhavi Chandan’s tiny green space, you’ll wonder how she’s accommodated a whole lot of things — a bird house, a bird feeder, an artificial waterfall, ceramic swans, frog pavers and a cast iron stand full of plants, containers, ceramic and fabricated planters and fibre barks!
The answer’s simple: Space is never a constraint for her. Madhavi can work on the tiniest space and transform it into a beautiful garden.
That’s the whole idea — to make use of the smallest space! Not many people today can afford a big home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a green corner! Which is why I have come up with bottle and vertical gardens and so on,” says the owner of Naturecraft, a tastefully-decorated plant boutique.
Madhavi, who has always been fond of plants, decided to pursue a course in ‘Garden and Nursery Development’ after her green corner was featured in a newspaper. “My family said that I should capitalise on my potential. So after 15 years of marriage I joined Fergusson College to do a short course,” adds Madhavi, who has now graduated to landscaping. Landscaping takes up a lot of her time, but she is not ready to give up her first love: Bottled plants.
I prefer gifting family and friends bottled plants or plant bouquets because they last longer as compared to conventional flower bouquets, which lose their charm once the flowers wither. Bottled plants made of bamboo or ferns make perfect gifts because you need not water them daily,” she says and smiles. However, most people prefer exotic plants like anthuriums, petunias, poinsettias and gerberas. Orchids are the latest favourites, because the bottled plant lives for about three months.
As Madhavi deftly works on a fibre bark at her studio, she says, “I can make a plant bouquet in one hour or a week, depending on the theme. I always keep 40-50 designs ready, so I can attend to last-minute requests of my clients.” Her customised bouquets cost anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 50,000, depending on the client’s budget and the occasion — like bhai dooj, birthdays and anniversaries.
So what’s her favourite theme? We ask the ‘green lady’. “Honestly, I have no favourite theme, but I try to sneak in a toy bird in the decoration as often as possible. This way I try to raise awareness about ecology and the decreasing number of birds in the city. I also try to use coconut planters because they are eco-friendly and readily available,” Madhavi promptly replies.
On her travels abroad and within the country, she often comes back with coconut shells, planters, pots, quirky stands, animal designs, etc. “They all come in handy when I am designing a plant bouquet. Nothing goes waste,” says she and adds, “Some of the travel souvenirs also double up as garden artifacts.”
If you are interested in designing your own green space or attending her workshops on vertical gardening and bottled gardens, call Madhavi on 9371022100. But before you begin, read up about plants, keep innovating and most importantly, develop an eye for aesthetics.

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