Struggles and joys from a bed of roses

IN order to get the beauty of life, you need to go through struggles. Likewise, in order to get a beautiful rose, you need to handle the thorns as well.

This is Pushpa Wati’s motivational quote in her quest to ensure she lives a life that is just like the beautiful roses that surround her compound in Nadawa, Nasinu.

The national table tennis umpire has been involved in flower gardening most of her life not only because of the beauty of the flowers but because roses, as she revealed had given her life’s lessons daily.

“Roses are used on every occasion the world over,” says the soft-spoken teacher.

“Roses not only give beauty to the mind and soul, they also have herbal properties as well for example some of the scented roses like Rosa Damascus … you can actually eat the petals for good health and you can soak it in water and drink the water or you can soak the petals in water use it on your face.

“Many people don’t know this, they have lots of herbal properties, apart from these values adding beauty to your mind and soul, you wake up in the morning and see a rose blooms which makes your day.”

According to the secondary schoolteacher who has more than 50 varieties of roses, they bloom all the time, but during cooler months they bloom less.

Apart from roses, she has her personal collections of orchids, cactus, herbs, geraniums, adenium, everlasting and more.

Her love of flowers, doesn’t end at home, she also pioneered the first natural garden at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School back in 2003.

“I would love to grow more but I have limited space and also time because I work from early morning, late in the evenings and even weekends. I would just want to concentrate on roses.

“All flowers are beautiful but I love roses because it’s difficult to grow and comes as a challenge. I prefer to take that challenge and get success out of the rose.

“Take for example euphorbia … we can just take a cutting and plant it, it grows but with roses, you may have planted 10 cuttings but out of that only one may grow.”

A visitor to Pushpa’s home at Nadawa will marvel at the beauty of her roses and she gladly shares the secrets to nurturing these symbol of love and beauty with those who might aspire to start growing their own rose gardens.

“I try not to use chemicals on my plants, I use neem leaves, I boil the leaves and separate them from the water, when it cools down I add more water to it and spray the plants as an insecticide.

“I also spread the leaves around the plants and I do this at least once a month.

“I do use fertiliser but I also use cow dung, untreated sawdust, rice husks and vegetable refuse.”

These beautiful roses range from $10 to $70 for those who may want to buy them and as she is a month away from celebrating her 53rd birthday, she is already planning ahead of her retirement in two years’ time.

Apart from work, she has her gardens, two guinea pigs and three dogs to look after.

For those who may not have the enthusiasm to plant flowers, she says “whether you are staying at home or working, a garden can give you your own private space because anything germinating gives you that good memories, whether it is flowering plants, herbs or any type of plant in a small pot inside your home or outside, you water it and it gives you this satisfaction that you nurtured it.

“Not only that, it can get you cash whenever you need it, there are markets out there where one can sell their flowers.

“I love seeing beautiful environment, and admiring nature is what I love.”

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