A backyard full of dreams
If you have a green thumb but do not have the right idea to work on your passion, you have got a friend in Sai Krishnan
If you have a green thumb but do not have the right idea to work on your passion, you have got a friend in Sai Krishnan. The Kodambakkam resident and his gardening-loving mother-in-law, Vasanthi, have set up Backyard, a nursery that stocks herbs, shrubs, climbers, creepers and succulents in many shapes, colours and sizes; rows of macrame plant hangers, ceramic pots and terracotta planters; adenium, agave, aroids, cactus, sansevieria, pachypodium and several other variants.
Respite is what you feel instantly while at the Backyard. “That’s precisely the kind of experience we wanted to offer people. A breath of fresh air from the noisy neighbourhood and bustling traffic,” says Sai, who has over 2,000 plants to his collection, and blogs about them on his personal Instagram page, Madras Plant Daddy.
The nursery was born just before the lockdown, after Sai quit his cushy job to take the green path. “It was a rough start as we had to shut doors and operate online. But, eventually, it worked. The love for landscaping and gardening spiked during the lockdown as everybody wanted a friendly distraction and stay close to nature,” shares Sai, who does not wish to fall under the larger bracket of commercial nurseries. “ECR may be the hub, but I don’t see them as competitors. This is for people within the city limits who want to pick up healthy plants.”
Sai travels extensively to collect seeds from across the globe. “Most of my plants are indoor and semi-shade ones that grow well in this topography. There’s no compromise on quality, and thorough research goes into selecting every plant. I was the first to bring carnivorous plants like the pitcher plant to the city during the pandemic and it was a massive hit. People purchased air purifiers and oxygen-rich plants too,” he shares.
Sai has a process before recommending plants to his customers. “I don’t give plants without studying the topography. You buy them to grow, not for them to wilt and die right? Beyond selling and making profit, the goal has always been to educate people so they make their own decision. Particularly in the Google era, when there’s more scope for misinformation. I do not want people to have false expectations and get dejected,” he says.
Sai is planning to release informative videos on plant maintenance on his YouTube channel to guide beginners. He will also be introducing terrariums at his boutique by December. “We also have the bandwidth to set up miniature gardens, and bonsai, and offer makeovers to your home balconies. That’s been a popular home decor trend during the pandemic. While we encourage people to drop by, we are also shipping across India,” says Sai.
As much as Sai and Vasanthi want you to have the perfect garden of your liking, they want it to be a meaningful experience for you. “Inspired by an elderly neighbour, I’ve been collecting plants since class 8. Monsoon, space constraints, daily schedule...nothing stopped me from working towards a green environment. I want the same for all,” he sums up.
Plants are available from Rs 150. For details, visit Instagram @Backyardbysai, or call 9360571814