In this edition of plant parent interview - we have Pune based statistician and homemaker, May D'Souza
Tell us a bit about yourself, who is May and how addicted are you to plants.
Hello, I am May. A statistician by profession, a homemaker by choice. I move places along with my husband and two teens as his job calls for being constantly on the move. I've had gardens in every home I've lived. Whenever it has been possible, my plants have moved along with me. When not, I have given them away to fellow plant lovers.
Do you have a full-time job, if yes, how do you manage both, gardening and office schedule.
At the moment am a stay at home mom. So, I have plenty of time to potter around in the garden with no strings attached. A decade ago, I did work for a few years. Then, I split my gardening time in two: Mornings were spent in watering the garden, evenings in maintenance, de-weeding, pruning, repotting. I looked forward to returning home to spend time with my plants.
Is plant addiction real for you? do your peers support it?
Are you a plant collector or hobbyist, do you love collecting exotic plants or locally available species?
I garden more for my soul. Moving places/homes stress me a lot. Change upsets me. It's gardening that has been my saving grace. It has helped me to challenge myself, learn about the new place, its flora fauna, types of plants that are available and grow well. I always try to grow locally available species. I grew Roses, Chrysanthemums, Begonias in Bangalore / Tulips, Lavender and Daffodils in Germany / Plumeria, Jasmine in Ahmedabad, Now I am back to Roses in Pune and also Lillies. Since moving to Pune, I have begun collecting plants, Begonias, and Orchids. I have discovered that different kinds of Begonias are available here. My grandparent's nursery used to be filled with exotic varieties and this memory rekindled my love for them. Am always on the lookout and try to add to my collection. Though, when summer arrives, it's challenging to keep them alive.
You must be having some fun experiences with any plant nurseries, if you do, wanna share?
I do love discovering new nurseries, but for my plant/soil/potting needs, I go to just one nursery. During my travels, I do look out for nurseries just to walk around, see what's growing in that region. Sometimes, you may find a plant or two which may not be available where you live. In Bangalore, I used to buy my plants from The Lalbagh Nursery. In Pune, I visit Enchanted Gardens.
Any successful plant care tip that you have discovered yourself?
My successful plant care tip is to look out for pests and deadhead plants daily. Set aside time and do it with diligence.
Do you make your own potting media? if yes, do you mind sharing it with us?
My potting media is soil, coco peat, and vermicompost. I do not follow proportions. Soil has to be the major part followed by coco peat and vermicompost
What're your future plans for your beautiful indoor jungle?
Tell us a bit about your experience sharing your hobby with social media?
I have begun sharing my garden pictures on Instagram for the past 4 years. Initially, it was only for my family and friends. The past year has seen so many strangers become friends, some quite close to my heart. I get messages daily saying how I have been an inspiration to them to start their own gardens, quite a few plant queries which I answer willingly. My goal now is to help people garden in whatever space they have, not see gardening as something stressful and not freak out about a plant dying. It should be a learning and enjoyable process at the same time. In the end, everyone should have their patch of green, however small it may be.
Any favorite plant parent/page that you follow for inspiration?
Follow May and her beautiful garden on her Instagram (@may_theplantwhisperer)