Did you know that plants can be your friends? Meet a few Chennai kids with green thumbs...
Growing plants is a lot of fun and worth the effort. Apart from the usual benefits you read about in science books, of plants providing fresh air, reducing air pollution and providing natural air conditioning, raising plants is a great pastime. Plants can even be your friends.
Divya, a 10-year-old at Ewarts School, wanted a pet but since she's allergic to animal fur, her parents convinced her to grow plants instead. "I really like my plants. I enjoy greenery and they look so lovely and fresh after they're watered." She talks to her plants. "They seem to like it. I have a rose and another plant I don't know the name of, for six months now".
K.V. Subramanian of Inscape Garden, a nursery selling more than 3,500 varieties of plants, says plants may not talk back but they can be your friends. He says speaking to and stroking plants actually helps them grow. He says kids of seven years and above, can easily take care of plants without the help of an adult. "You don't need to know any technical details about the plants. You just have to know when and how to water as well as prune them."
Watering techniques are important. " Sometimes if you give them too much water, they could die", says a student of class eight at Good Shepherd School. Subramanian agrees saying that plants do have to be shocked at times. "You shouldn't water them at an appointed time everyday. Sometimes give them more or less and at times in the morning or evening. It's the same with the pruning and manuring don't be too predictable."
Nelson, in Std. X, says he enjoys admiring nature but doesn't "like to go through the pains of growing plants." At present, he's trying to raise a pomegranate tree at his cousin's house. "He does like large trees such as the banyan because they provide shade. "Shrubs give me allergies so I don't like those. I think the flame of the forest is really lovely," he says. "I tried growing plants but they died because the water wasn't good. I felt sad because it had been such fun growing them." Anu, a 13-year-old, who's been growing plants in her balcony for the past three years, says she's more interested in biology since she started growing plants. "They tell us trees bring rain and provide fresh air, but I like the shade part best," says a 14-year-old at Sacred Heart, Church Park. "My school has a lovely garden with peacocks, turkeys, ducks and other interesting birds. I think plants make my school look more attractive. The boys enjoy climbing the trees and sometimes pelt the girls with stones," says Divya from Ewarts. Sanjay from Rajaji Vidyashram, who has been elected class leader on an environmental platform, says he plans to lead a delegation to the principal to ask for permission to plant a tree on campus. His class will be responsible for the care of the tree until they finish school, which is six years away. Anu says "We all know about the benefits of plants but I like growing them because I enjoy taking care of something myself. It's usually the other way round; people are always taking care of me. I'm responsible for the plants and enjoy them more because I'm growing them myself".
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