Miyawaki forest in Backyards of Kochi
Kadavath S Nair, a senior citizen residing in Ernakulam, has dedicated 30 cents of land to nurturing a wide variety of plants.
Starting a day with breathing in the fresh air, looking at lush green plants can be soothing for your mind and body. Kadavath S Nair, 69, has been growing around 200 varieties of flowering plants and a small Miyawaki forest in his 30 cents of land in the heart of Kochi, affirms this is true.
He worked in Saudi Arabia for 39 years. Upon returning home, he wanted to spread awareness on afforestation and help more people do it.
At his residence in Elamakkara, Nair beams at his newly-bloomed bougainvillaeas. Apart from the usual yellow and pink shades, he has double coloured ones too - white and pink, orange and peach. His love for the flowers even made him plant enough of them at the entrance of his house, creating a flowered corridor.
Striding in his lawn and watering the plants has become a daily routine for him. “I wanted to settle here and create a green zone of my own. I come from an agrarian family in Thrissur. I am an ardent traveller but lockdown spoiled my plans. That is when I decided to focus on gardening and creating Miyawaki forest. The garden is home to many birds and butterflies. Watering and caring for these plants is also a great exercise for my wife and me,” he says.
The garden has around seven kinds of roses, trumpet vines and begonia alongside native beauties like hibiscus, chethi, arali flower and others giving one a feel of some serene resort.
According to him, bougainvillaeas are easier to manage than roses. “Roses need extra effort as they are prone to attacks by insects as compared to other plants. Bougainvillaeas are a good choice for those who want a colourful garden with less maintenance. They just have to be pruned at regular intervals. They are my favourite and I always try to source new varieties. I have also created a 12 feet long green fence using hibiscus plants and bougainvillaeas,” adds Nair who uses organic fertilisers like vepenna and cow dung powder for his garden. He has also created a vertical garden with money plants and snake plants.
Nair has allocated around 13 cents of land in the backyard exclusively for native fruit trees that constitute a Miyawaki forest. Fruit-bearing trees like hybrid jackfruit, mango, guava, sapota, tamarind, plantains and others are part of it.
“We need to preserve the greenery of our planet for the generations to come. I have planted these native fruit-bearing trees inside a busy city so that my grandchildren can have a real taste of them instead of reading about them online. Small ecosystems like Miyawaki will become lifelines of metro cities soon,” adds Nair.
Interestingly, Nair warns us not to burn dry grass or leaves as it scares the plants. “Dry leaves are good fertilisers and they should not be burned. Dry leaves, when decomposed naturally, adds nutrients to the soil and enhance its water retention capacity. Next, I wish to plant orchids in the leftover coconut husks. I’d like to try organic farming too,” he concludes.