February , 2020
Palms for urban landscaping
15:49 pm

B.E. Bureau

Green Mall is one of the largest garden centres in India spread over 15 acres. Dinesh Rawat, Founder, Green Mall spoke to BE’s Aritra Mitra.

Q. How has been the 25-year long journey of your company?

A. At first, this was a small floriculture organisation which I took over and developed. In 1999, I got some land here and conducted various researches on plants. I was involved in a big international trading business but the threat of global warming and the tsunami of 2004 provoked me to do something out of my social commitment for the environment. Due to my trading business, I had various connections and had travelled to more than 60 countries. I was attracted by their gardens, roads and landscaping. I always wondered that why can’t we attempt such a thing in India because climate-wise, India is very conducive. Abundant water and fertile soil are also available.  Earlier people of our country did not realise the sensuous element associated with landscaping. They used to plant trees like mango, guava, banana and flowers like rose, marigold, hibiscus, trees like radhachura, gulmohar, neem, kadam,royal palm, supari, fish tail etc. in the name of landscaping. I realised that in foreign countries, the secret to their landscapes were nice flowering bushes and palms. There are bushes in India as well but the flowering bushes can only flourish in winter. However, palms can grow very well here but are not that popular. Among the palms, only a handful of varieties were used in Indian landscaping. I introduced more than 100 varieties of palms in India including the Fox tail palm which is very common nowadays. I interacted with the directors of various botanical gardens all over the world and visited the research institutes and learnt a lot of techniques. Earlier, only hotels were involved in landscaping. I wrote two books titled ‘Palms for India’ and ‘Green Your Surroundings’ about urban landscaping. So, it can be said that the journey has been very eventful in various ways.

Q. Tell us about the new techniques that you introduced in the area of Indian horticulture.

A. This technique of mixing coco peats with soil for plantation was introduced in India by me. It has proved to be very healthy for the plants. Today, all over in India, no one can imagine of making a pot plant without coco peats.

I was also very unhappy as innumerable trees were cut down in India due to construction.  So, I introduced the technique of excavation of live trees. I learnt this technique in the US and in Thailand. In this method, one side of the roots is cut down. When it is healed in a few days, the other side is cut down. Ultimately, it is taken out from the soil after both the sides are healed. It is a particular technique and is not applicable for all plants.

Q. What is the usefulness of palms in urban landscaping? How has it become so essential?

A. Palm is a monocot tree with a stem and a canopy. So the advantage of palm is that it is nice but not massive. A mango, banyan, litchi and peepal tree grows into a huge structure with roots extending up to 10-15 meters. Though they provide shelter and can produce more amount of oxygen, there are lots of other advantages for palms. In the first place, it is very Vastu-friendly. According to Vastu, trees could be planted only in some sides of the construction. The other sides should be left out to avoid blocking of air and sunlight, scattering of leaves and other factors. These problems are not applicable in case of palms.

Again, nowadays in the multi-storied buildings and shopping malls, there are basements. As a result it is not possible to plant a tree above it. But the builders can leave 2-3 feet soil which is sufficient for palms because of their small root systems. They also maintain a discipline in structure as they will not outgrow the definition of their size.

Q. What are the products offered by your company?

A. Green Mall was started with the concept of delivering everything related to horticulture under one roof. Now, we have the largest varieties of plants including the largest collection of palms in India. As far as garden landscaping is concerned, I can create a ten year old garden within weeks. Artificial plantations are also available with us. I don’t appreciate them but where you cannot place a natural flower, artificial plants are the next best choice.

Q. What are the main challenges that you face in your business?

A. Today, we are facing the biggest threat from sales. You can say that this is an effect of demonetisation and GST and for the last four five months, the figures are really bad. I feel we are moving towards a point of no return.



Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.