The Joy of Plant Parenthood
We are delighted to hear from Prativa Yakthumba, a passionate gardener and advocate for a sustainable lifestyle. With a deep love of nature and a desire to make a positive impact on the environment, Prativa Yakthumba shares her journey of discovery of the
Meet Prativa Gurung Yakthumba aka Dolly Yakthumba, a warrior who fought and defeated cancer and found solace in the company of plants.
She is not just a plant parent, but a plant specialist, who takes care of her plants with the same passion and dedication as she takes care of her children. With more than 1000 varieties of plant species, including Monster Variegated, Monstera minima, fiddle leaf Anthurium, flowering Anthurium, and many more.
With a wide range of plants that she nurtures and travels with. Her journey with plants began during her cancer treatment when her doctors recommended staying away from plants, but Prativa's rebellious spirit led her to find comfort and strength in the company of her green friends. Let's delve into her inspiring story and discover how her love for plants has helped her overcome life's challenges.
- Could you describe your initial foray into gardening and provide an update on your current progress in the field?
Although it seems like a lot of plants, I am still in the process of learning how to properly care for plants because knowledge acquisition is an ongoing process. My interest in plants stems from my love for nature, which began during my childhood when I enjoyed being around my amma’s garden and watering the plants. However, my passion for plants grew stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting me to start collecting plants from various sources, including international and locally-grown ones. Caring for plants can be challenging, especially when they come from different climates. To ensure their survival, I conduct thorough research on each plant's environmental requirements before planting it. In addition to my personal interest in plants, I also manage a restaurant, farm, and school, which take up much of my time. Nonetheless, I remain committed to gardening and learning more about the fascinating world of plants
- From a professional perspective, what benefits can individuals experience through gardening?
From my personal experience, gardening can offer a range of benefits to individuals. As a cancer survivor, I have personally experienced the positive impact that spending time with plants can have on one's mental and emotional well-being. Gardening can serve as a source of inspiration, helping to divert one's mind from negative thoughts and emotions, while also fostering a sense of motivation and purpose. By investing time and energy in caring for plants, individuals can cultivate a deeper connection to nature and a greater appreciation for the natural world. In addition to these psychological benefits, gardening can also provide a practical outlet for creativity and self-expression, whether through designing and planting a new garden or experimenting with different cooking and baking recipes using fresh herbs and produce grown at home. Overall, gardening can be a rewarding and fulfilling activity that promotes health, happiness, and personal growth.
- How can individuals effectively incorporate gardening and plant care into their busy schedules?
Gardening and plant care into a busy schedule can be a challenging task for many individuals. However, if you have a passion for plants, it can be a great stress reliever and a way to connect with nature amidst your busy routine. The key is to prioritize your plants just like any other important task on your schedule.
To effectively incorporate gardening into your schedule, you can start by setting aside a specific time for plant care each day or week. This can be as little as 15-30 minutes per day or a few hours on weekends. You can also delegate tasks to family members or housemates to ensure that your plants are taken care of even when you're not available.
Another approach is to choose plants that require less maintenance or are easy to care for, such as succulents or snake plants. These plants are ideal for busy individuals who don't have a lot of time to devote to plant care but still want to enjoy the benefits of having greenery in their space.
Overall, incorporating gardening and plant care into a busy schedule is all about finding a balance and making it a priority. With a little planning and dedication, you can enjoy the many benefits of gardening while still managing your other responsibilities with ease.
- Are there any specific plants that hold significant value to you personally? If so, could you elaborate on why they are important?
Certainly! As a cancer survivor, I have developed a deep appreciation for the power and resilience of plants. One plant that holds significant value to me personally is a small plant that I picked up in Mumbai during my cancer journey. Despite its humble beginnings, this plant has grown into a thriving and robust symbol of my own resilience and strength. In addition, I have a special attachment to a neon pothos and Manjula plant that I collected during my Europe trip. These plants have become an important part of my life and I take great pride in caring for them, as they represent my own journey of growth and transformation.
- Plant parenting can be a challenge for many individuals. From your standpoint, what advice would you offer for effectively caring for plants?
Caring for plants is much like raising a child. It requires a nurturing environment, proper nourishment, and positive energy. As with any living thing, it's not just about the monetary investment, but the time and effort we put into them. To effectively care for plants, it's essential to provide them with the necessary conditions for growth and constantly monitor their health. And if a plant does become sick, don't give up on it so easily - try reviving it by keeping it in water or finding alternative solutions before ultimately discarding it. Remember, plants are living beings that need our care and attention, much like our own children. So, transfer your positive energy to them, and watch them flourish into beautiful, healthy specimens.
- Can you provide insight into the best types of plants for different climates?
When it comes to selecting plants for different climates, it's essential to understand their needs and how to create a suitable environment for them to thrive. While some plants are naturally suited to certain climates, others can be grown in different areas with the right care and attention. In my experience, it's not just about the climate, but about doing your homework and understanding the specific requirements of each plant. By conducting research and creating the appropriate environment, you can successfully grow plants from different countries and regions. As a plant parent, it's important to prioritize your plant's needs and make adjustments to its surroundings to ensure its health and growth. With proper care and attention, you can help your plants flourish no matter what climate you're in.
- What are some creative and unique gardening ideas for individuals looking to add some character to their outdoor spaces?
Incorporating creativity and uniqueness into gardening can truly transform an outdoor space. One idea is repurposing items around the house, I try to reuse things available around me such as old bathtubs, bottles, or desks, and turn them into unique planters or decorative features. For instance, I planted a staghorn fern mounted on a pipe, store the aquarium water in a drum, and used it to store water for plants and other many ways that can add character and interest to a garden. The possibilities are endless, and with a little imagination, one can create a one-of-a-kind garden that reflects their personality and style.
- Can you discuss the benefits of incorporating native plants into one's garden or landscape?
Incorporating native plants into your garden or landscape can bring numerous benefits. Native plants are adapted to the local environment, making them more resistant to pests, diseases, and weather conditions. They also require less water, fertilizer, and maintenance compared to exotic plants. By using native plants in your garden, you can help support local biodiversity and attract native wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and bees. Additionally, plants can be propagated by taking cuttings or divisions, making them a sustainable and cost-effective choice for your garden.
- What is your opinion on the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in gardening, and are there more eco-friendly alternatives available?
From my personal experience, I believe that the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers can have a detrimental effect on both the environment and the plants themselves. Instead, I prefer to use natural alternatives such as neem drops and shampoo water to combat any plant diseases. As for fertilizers, I opt for organic ones and even create my own by collecting organic materials like leaves and food scraps from around the country. This not only helps the environment but also promotes healthier and more sustainable growth for my plants. It's important for us as gardeners to be mindful of the impact our actions have on the ecosystem and explore eco-friendly alternatives for a healthier planet.
- what dos and don'ts would you recommend for a novice gardener?
As a seasoned gardener, I would like to offer some valuable advice to all the novice gardeners out there. Firstly, it is important to note that plants require a balance of water, nutrients, and sunlight. Overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering, so it's crucial to find the sweet spot.
Moreover, gardening is not about how much money you spend on it, but rather how much knowledge and passion you invest in it. Don't be discouraged if you don't have access to expensive equipment or fancy plants. You can still create a beautiful garden with the right techniques and resources.
One of the joys of gardening is being able to propagate your plants and create new ones. Learning how to take cuttings and propagate them is a valuable skill that can save you money and give you more plants to enjoy.
Finally, it's important to consider the environment and reuse available resources as much as possible. You can repurpose old containers, use organic fertilizers, and even recycle greywater for your plants. Remember, every little bit helps in creating a sustainable and thriving garden.