A quaint space in Seethammal Colony, away from the bustle of the main roads in Alwarpet, welcomes one to a room with green-coloured walls, housing miscellaneous things meant to amp up a garden. Small yet ingenious, these products ranging from pots to plants, are a respite to the apartment-living urban crowd, who are desperately looking to make their homes green again.
Garden Store, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last week, displays interesting, hand-picked items meant to cater to a garden with space constraints. These products which are sourced from other parts of the country, are most often the findings of Deepa Vijay, the owner with a penchant for travelling. “Looking for such rare things is an excuse for me to travel,” laughs Vijay who started the project to suit the increasing needs of an urban crowd usually put up in ‘concrete jungles’.
From indoor plants to garden accessories that are meant for gifting, the items that adorn the store are unusual in their making. “Most of what we have are knick-knacks, very small, because we are consciously trying to cater to apartments,” says Vijay. One of the main attractions among the line of products is Bengaluru-based Daily Dump’s three-tier compost unit made of mud, which comes with a mini unit for children meant to develop a habit of composting. The coir planting pot is another interesting product which retains water for plants for longer hours. In addition to this, coir paddings for trees are also on display.
Though initially, the store had products meant for a larger space and concentrated primarily on plants, five years down the line, they have revamped their collection based on the demands of an urban lifestyle. According to Vijay, the shift from spacious courtyards to crammy balconies is quite evident in the way their clientele has increased. Today, in addition to soil for potted plants, they sell oxygen plants - ones that absorb carbon dioxide at night as well, like aloe vera and ficus - meant exclusively for apartments. “People want to decorate balconies and not just hang clothes. That shift is definitely happening,” says Vijay.
The city’s response to such products is quite welcoming, according to Vijay. “Chennai, has always been in love with plants and greenery. We sometimes have people to who come in and proudly show the quirky little things that they have made for their plants and otherwise. That in itself, is quite encouraging,” she says.