Gyan and his mother Shobha Shetty from Mangaluru have a lush green terrace garden and own a nursery and an Instagram store called 'Namma Garden'. Here they grow flowering plants, indoor plants ornamental ones and fruit tree saplings too.
As a kid growing up in Mangaluru, Gyan Shetty used to assist his mother with gardening. “Not because I liked it, I just wanted to play with water,” he reminisces with a smile. So, his mother, Shobha Shetty, made him water the plants daily.
Slowly, the kid became fascinated by the growth of each plant from a thin stem to one with lush green leaves, flowers and fruits. He started collecting them from various locations including his grandmother’s house. “There was a big plumeria tree on my nani’s lawn. Once, I took its stem and planted them in a pot on our terrace. It was later replanted in the ground, near our existing home, which has now turned into a big tree,” says 28-year-old Gyan.
Even though Gyan nurtured an interest in gardening, he never thought that it would turn into a business someday. He pursued engineering and worked in the field for three years. But once the pandemic hit and everything came to a standstill, he was a bit freer to rekindle his childhood hobby. He says, “My mom took a step back from gardening and handed it over to me. I posted photos and videos of the garden on my Instagram account. And I found that people were selling plants on this platform and it was a good business.”
Soon, he started getting requests for varieties from his garden too.
Most of the enquiries were from other cities like Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad and others. “It was completely a trial and error process. The first few shipments were utter failures but now it is working well,” adds Gyan, who took tips from his mother and fellow plant parents on Instagram on how to ship the plants.
It was a year after starting online sales that the gardener decided to set up a nursery near his home and get into the field on a full-time basis. In January 2022, ‘Namma Garden’ was set up in a seven-cent plot. Here he grows indoor, flowering, ornamental, water plants and fruit saplings.
“On my terrace garden, which has already spread to balcony, bedroom and living room, there are over 3,000 plants. All of these are available in the nursery too. Fruit plants like five varieties of mango, chikoo, custard apple, rambutan, guava, jackfruit, mulberry, lemon, pomegranate and more are sold here,” says the passionate planter.
The price of the plants starts from Rs 30 and goes up to Rs 8,000.
Additionally, Gyan also takes orders to set up gardens in homes, offices, and cafes and conducts events too. “While I am away, mom takes care of the nursery activities. We also have someone to clean and help with the gardening every day,” shares Gyan.
He adds that it is a real pleasure to see the plants once owned by him flourishing in the yards of others. “Once I sold a stem from the plumeria (Frangipani) tree I grew in my grandmother’s yard to a customer in Rajasthan. She sent me a photo of it a year later. And I felt so much joy,” he says.
All the plants are grown organically by using kitchen compost as fertiliser. Gyan says that even if one is not setting up a garden, it is important to set up a compost pit as it can reduce waste.
He says, “There is nothing that comes in the way of a passionate gardener. Space is never a constraint because plenty of indoor plants are available nowadays that only require a small pot. The bestseller in my garden and online store is always indoor plants like snake and money plant varieties. Today, more people are into gardening, especially indoors.”
Gyan’s mother Shobha is ever ready with helpful tips. And Gyan says he has to consult his mother before taking any decision about their gardening business.
“I feel so satisfied to spend time and energy in this field. I consider it a responsibility towards nature. After all, this is the field that gave me so much peace that no other job could provide,” he says.
Edited by Yoshita Rao; Photo credits: Gyan Shetty/Instagram.