Cardiologist Dr T Gohulabalan’s passion for cacti and miniature gardens has made him popular along the ECR
he FIRST time Ravi Vasudev, a gardening enthusiast, visited Sorrel Gardens, he saw a man in a dhoti digging the ground. What he didn’t know was that the gardener was Chennai-based cardiologist, T Gohulabalan. Currently practising at Global Hospital, Dr Gohulabalan, 35, has been into plants since childhood. Instead of learning about the human body, he was often found collecting cacti and studying caryophyllales (the scientific name for flowering carnivorous plants), his first love. Pursuing his passion, and now offering imaginative gardening solutions for porches, balconies and patios, Gohulabalan and his wife, Padmini, started their own farm, Sorrel Gardens (named after the slender herbaceous perennial plant), a year ago, near Muttukadu on ECR. Specialising in miniature gardens, Gohulabalan says, “We hope to refashion gardening techniques. With a little heartfelt magic, the right choice of plants, added colours, some glued on accessories, small stones, etc, you can create a miniature prehistoric jungle. Imagination, creativity and a little bit of time helped me get a unique one,” says the doctor who makes sure he devotes eight hours every day to his garden.
A small world
Gohulabalan prefers to use dwarf plants. “Unlike bonsais, which are shrunk, these plants come in small sizes. I have around 20-25 different varieties of cacti that I use in my miniature gardens. I travel a lot and pick up small knick- knacks that I include in my creations. My gardens depend on landscapes. Besides greenery, I include small cups, chairs, pots, etc,” he says.Talking about the sought-after cacti, succulents and dwarf varieties, he says they are in demand because they are beautiful and nearly indestructible. “We do have an incredible variety of interesting leaf forms and plant shapes, including paddle leaves, tight rosettes and bushy or trailing columns of teardrop leaves,” Gohulabalan expands. Drawing attention to their variety of plants, which they showcase to the public through quarterly shows, he says the next show is on February 27-28 at the Farmers’ Market at Poes Garden and on March 1 at the Madras Market.
The husband-wife duo has also started making corporate gifts and take-aways for go-green initiatives. With plans of opening a new garden shop inside the city and a cafe at their current farm, the doctor suggests that engaging in gardening is a stress reliever. “I generally deal with emergency cases and I’m posted in the ICU, which can get a little stressful sometimes. Those times, engaging in gardening is a real stress buster. Some people I know like speaking to plants. I think looking at your plant grow is just emotionally satisfying. They create so much positive energy around you. I also get enquiries from people from the Chennai Plant Association and bonsai clubs to pick up some of my plants,” concludes the doctor.
The miniature gardens cost between `750 and `2,500. Details: 9952503181