Flower power

Bina Chand shows a purple orchid blooming in her garden at her home at Naqara, Taveuni. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

IT’S hard to drag the body to do outdoor chores after an exhaustive day at work. But for Bina Chand, even an overcast sky will not lure her away from her flowers.

“These are my babies. I have to visit them every single day,” she said.

If you are travelling to Naqara, Taveuni from the government station, Waiyevo, Bina’s house is the one you can’t miss.

Her collection of blossoms creates a bold statement of sorts on her front lawn. “When people walk or drive past my house and pause to admire my flowers, I feel very happy,” she said.

“When people go “wow” or “beautiful indeed” I know the hours I spend on gardening are paying off.”

The secret to Bina’s beautiful and healthy flowers she says is sweet talking them, telling them positive things capable of producing positive effects.

“I believe flowers have personalities,” she says with a grin, “just like us humans”.

“If you tell them they are beautiful and lovely they will feel happy and always give you wonderful blossoms. When you are not happy, it affects their mood and they give a sickly look.”

The mother of one, who works as an accounts manager for Nakia Resort & Dive, Taveuni’s only family-owned dive resort said she did not inherit her peculiar love for flowers from her mum.

Rather, it stemmed out of curiosity and personal interest. “I didn’t see my mum growing flowers so my passion is a surprise. At home, when I was growing up, we didn’t have space to plant them. My father was a taxi driver so we had a small compound with just a few hibiscus plants.”

“However, my passion for flowers gradually developed over the years and I found I was attracted to practically anything that bloomed.”

From just a few pot plants she now has quite a collection including euphorbias, orchids, everlasting, desert roses, bougainvillea, gladiolas, roses, zebras and daisies.

“I work six days a week but always I find time to be in the garden. When I’m tired from work, working in the garden relieves my stress. As soon as I enter I just feel revitalised.”

Because Bina loves all blooms she does not have a personal favourite.

“My son asked me the other day what my favourite flower was. I told him I didn’t have a favourite because I loved everything that blooms.”

“Planting flowers is a great hobby and I have spent thousands of dollars on it. I’ve bought flowers from the market, bazaars and r gotten them through exchanges. Ron, who works with me, also has a huge collection and we exchange all the time.”

Apart from work and family commitments, Bina also takes part in community work, including those that are part of her temple roles and as executive of the Taveuni Central Sanatan Primary School.

“There’s always something to be done. Despite working overdrive most of the time looking after my family, my housework, cooking, washing and doing other household chores I still have time for my flowers.”

While her garden seems to take up a lot of her time, she does not see herself being a fulltime florist any time soon.

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