ASIA: Colorful Roses From South India Spread Fragrance Around the Globe

ASIA: Colorful Roses From South India Spread Fragrance Around the Globe

Next time you present a bouquet to your loved one or while welcoming a guest, thank the people of few villages in Krishnagiri district in south Tamil Nadu in India. Millions of these petite and fresh flowers spread fragrance in UK, Germany, Australia, Singapore  and Middle East. They bloom in plenty in Krishnagiri district in towns like Thally, Kelamangalam, Denkanikottai, Shoolagiri and Hosur. Though these places are just an obscure speck on the map of India they are some of the important floriculture address of the country. How do these colorful flowers bloom here? Does the hot and humid climatic condition of the country suit them? The response is a little dicey.  The way the flowers are grown in the gardens, situated at an altitude of 1000 feet above mean sea level is the answer to the questions.

Untouched by pollution and tourists these rose gardens are tucked away in small villages spread all over the Western Ghats on the border of the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.     

All along the well-laid roads that meander on these not too tall hills dot rose gardens where men, women and children, with a covering on their head, tend to rose saplings. A few feet away, in what seems like a plastic house and net structures, stand long rows of flowering plants. Inquiries reveal that these ubiquitous plastic shields are polyhouses.

Flowers in full bloom inside a polyhouse

Though they look like simple gardens, they are large farms where the flowers were grown using modern technology. The polyhouse is a structure made of translucent material like glass or polyethylene which help the plants grow and develop under controlled climatic conditions.    

Narrow paths from these polyhouses lead you to hi-tech floriculture companies. It is here these flowers are plucked at the right time, cut to size with the right machines and preserved in huge cold storage rooms before being packed off to the local market and local airport, to be flown abroad.

Those who manage them are not local farmers but engineers, IT and management professionals.

Bright roses, rich marigolds and huge carnations is the capital that drives them to invest more and more in this industry. One such businessmen who turns over crores annually is Jitendra Kumar Bajoria, who hails from Bagalpur in Bihar State.

Author’s daughter in a polyhouse growing marigolds

Attracted by the nip in the air and the lush green landscape, this entrepreneur developed a rose garden on an acre two decades ago. Enthused by the results he decided to go commercial and took a big business plunge. He set up huge flower farms on 65 acres, – Maa Floritech _  at Agalkottai in Denkanikottai taluk in Krishnagiri district in 2006. 

As time flew by, the farms became hi-tech but shrunk to 45 acres.  “We boosted production by modernizing the farm and using Israeli farming technology, said Kush Chokhani, manager of Maa Floritech, Agalkottai village.”   Using  Israeli technology, cultivation of roses and carnations grew in leaps and bounds on these farms.  They did not just increase in numbers but in varieties too. “Today we have 82 varieties of chrysanthemums and 25 varieties of roses on our farms,” said Mr. Kush. 

Growing the saplings

How are saplings actually grown and tended?  “The specialty of Agalkottai are the following. Altitude (1000 m above mean sea level, red soil (ideal for roses), temperatures always hover around 23 – 30 degrees centigrade (good for chrysanthemums, marigold and roses),” said Mr. Kush.  

The cuttings are planted in straight rows inside the polyhouses. Apart from air, water and soil the flowers need nutrients too. “We give them at the right moment when they get depleted in the soil. Thanks to Israeli technology nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur and potassium are sent through pipes embedded in the soil. Similarly whenever there is an increase or decrease in temperatures inside the polyhouses, the technology helps to control it. For instance, there are tiny fogging machines (fully automated drip and fogger system) which sprinkle water over the plants when it becomes hot,” said Mr Kush as he turned on the fogging switch.

It is a sight to watch these tiny robots swirl around and sprinkle water on the plants. For a minute, you are transported to a rainy setting.  “Also when it is cold outside, the temperature is survival- friendly for the plants as the polyhouses stop the greenhouse gases from leaving,” explained Mr. Kush.

Though there are less pests and insects inside a polyhouse, Mr. Kush opines that there is a need for regular consultation regarding the right kind of fertilizers and fungicides for the plants. “We are always on the look out for a a breakout of pests such as thrips, mites and aphids. The plants are susceptible to Powdery mildew ( a disease) when there is less humidity.”   

Horticulture officials in the district are of the view that these enclosures also ensure disease control, fertigation and other agronomical practices.  Thus the farmers of the region are assured of harvesting flowers such as carnation, gerbera, marigold, orchid and roses throughout the year without  worrying about crop loss or damage.

Controlled cultivation

Micro irrigation system ensures right amount of water for the roots (cuts water use by 80 per cent). Mainly the poly houses boost starch production as the carbon-dioxide emitted by the plants at night is retained inside the enclosure.

These polyhouses offer other sophistication too like the photo-synthetically active radiation (PAR) lighting. Plants grow tall under these lighting. But when they reach a specified height, lights are switched off and flowering commences.  Thus the Israeli technology helps control photosynthesis, humidity, good aeration, temperature and other conditions.

Rose buds capped with synthetic mesh

Once flowering commences, care is taken to cap each and every rose bud with a synthetic mesh to control its size. Rose stems ready for harvest during sunny days have to be pre-cooled. Soil and water need to be tested regularly. According to Mr. Kush, one cannot succeed in hi-tech farming without personal attention.

Once the flowers are in full bloom, they are harvested, precooled for 12-16 hours at 8-10 degrees in a cold room. The stems are then de-leafed using machines 25 % from the bottom. The stems are then graded for length. They are then bunched based on the length. “A bunch consists of 20 roses. They are wrapped after cutting and packed in a preservative for storing in cold rooms. They are taken out based on the orders,” explained Mr. Kush.      

Profitable farming

“We keep updating ourselves with new techniques and news about market conditions,” said Mr. Kush. There is regular knowledge-transfer to workers about upkeep of plants, weeding, transplanting, cultivation methods, irrigation, nursery development de-leafing and cutting. The workforce are not only from Tamil Nadu state but also from Northern states like Uttar Pradesh, Jharkand and West Bengal.

While men prepare the flower beds, carry buckets of water and remove weeds, women are involved in harvesting, de-shooting and other light jobs.

Roses being packaged for export

Based on their skill they earn approximately $ 4 to $ 5 every day. With a growing demand for these flowers, it will definitely attract more entrepreneurs . Indian chrysanthemums, roses and marigolds are sure to find a place in many a bouquets in every part of the globe soon.


Lalithasai , a journalist par excellence, with an experience of over 25 years, has penned innumerable articles for the betterment of the society. For over two decades at The Hindu (India’s National Newspaper), she had written with sensitivity and understanding about marginalized women and children. She has also covered public education, communities, urban affairs and development in Tamil Nadu (India). She was actively involved in reporting extensively about the affected families in the fishing hamlets in India, when the tsunami struck in 2004. She has interviewed senior editors and liased with major media organisations to understand the situations and plight of women. Lalithasai who has many feathers in hat, has had her humble beginnings in a middle class South Indian family, but has risen to be an inspiration and tall leader for her own sisters and mothers in the world. she is a mother of two grown up children. Her son is an environmentalist and holds a position of repute in Henkel in Germany. Her daughter is a doctor,who is planning to pursue the subject in mental health. To know more about LalithaSai, please visit -

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BRAZIL: On the Move, Part I — the patchwork house

BRAZIL: On the Move, Part I — the patchwork house

patchwork houseWhen we first married we lived in an apartment in the heart of a big metropolis. It was practical to live near everything we needed and be able to do all of our errands by foot or bus (in fact, we had no car and walked to work). However, we missed having green. We started looking for a house in a nice region on the outskirts of the metropolitan area, near a forest reservation.

When we finally found a place we could afford to rent it wasn’t exactly your typical house. The owner had built two tiny guest houses in the back of a property he had initially planned to build a regular house in the front of later on; but that never happened.

On the upside we were living glued to a fragment of Atlantic rainforest and our son now had a huge garden to play in. On the downside, the house wasn’t exactly practical.

One of the guest houses had two rooms, a kitchen and a terrace. There we installed our son’s room and ours. However, the kitchen was so small it would only fit the fridge OR the stove, so we had to put the fridge in the second guesthouse and crossover all the time, sun or rain.

The second guesthouse, in turn, had a living room/terrace, one room (which became our library/office), the main bathroom and a pantry of sorts (we squeezed in the fridge instead). The roof had no lining, which wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t have constant animal visitors coming in (lots of funny stories about that!).

Later on, when we were able to buy the our place, we decided to apply our limited funds to adapt the two guesthouses. An architect friend did his best to join them together into a single, more conventional house.

Our bedroom was expanded and incorporated the tiny kitchen and part of the terrace. A living room was built to join the two houses, which took the shape of a “J”. The main bathroom and former pantry gave place to the new kitchen. Part of the terrace became the laundry room. We lined the roof, installed mold-proof open wardrobes, and installed a large bathtub where our two other children were later to be born.

Nevertheless, all of this did not happen at one time. As I said, we had limited funds and every time these funds began to wane we had to stop.

At three different and stressful moments a lot of work was done in the house, including once, when during three very challenging months, we had to live at my mother-in-law’s.

Now, years later, we still live in a very unconventional house.

Besides the bedrooms, we never put in windowpanes or doors. The terrace/living room still opens completely into the forest – a curse and a blessing all at once! And even though our financial situation has improved considerably over the past few years, it has been four years since our last attempt at home improvement.

Aside from the occasional efforts to clean/fix the roof from the huge amount of leaves we get, we haven’t done much. Every time we think of all the stress involved we decide to postpone any kind of big project.

Despite everything, I love my house and its garden. I believe things will get better as our children grow older and we have more time and energy for housekeeping and improvement. My husband, on the other hand, thinks there is no way to make this house work and we should just move elsewhere, even though he also loves the closeness to the forest. The truth is he would like to live on a small farm, although I have safety concerns. Thus, every once in a while we go house or farm hunting.

Stay tuned! Part 2 coming soon…

How about you, what are your stories with house remodeling and moving? Please share below?

This is part 1 of a two part, original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor and mom of three in Brazil, Ecoziva.

The image used in this post is attributed to Karen Roe. It carries a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog.

Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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FLORIDA, USA: Responsibility, should not be a chore.

FLORIDA, USA: Responsibility, should not be a chore.

Teaching Responsibility.  Responsibility comes in many forms.

I have two girls. They provide constant blog fodder. For the most part, they are okay with that. I even run certain posts by them for approval – after all, it is their story as much as it is mine.

As a parent, we get to help write the stories of our children. The ebb and flow of day-to-day becoming the chapters of their lives through experience and exposure to the world around them.

About a year ago, I wrote a post here called Raising Responsible Citizens. Raising children who are globally aware and are understanding of the need to make a difference in the world is something that is very dear to my heart. It makes me proud to say that my girls have an awareness of the plight of others and the need to be involved. They know the positivity their actions can achieve in bringing change and that their voices can indeed be heard around the world.

This post is a chapter in that book of life on responsibility…because responsibility is a funny thing. We can teach our children about the world and its people, we can teach them laws and rights, and we start when they are just toddlers with the basics of what is right and what is wrong.  But what about basic responsibility…let me clarify. (more…)

Sisters From Another Mister

Sisters From Another Mister ...
A blog born from the love of 'sisters' around the world who come together to lift eachother up no matter where they are on their life journey.

Meet Nicole, a transplanted British born, South African raised, and American made Mom of two girls living on the sunny shores of South Florida, USA. A writer of stories, an avid picture taker and a keeper of shiny memories.

Sharing the travels of a home school journey that takes place around the globe - because 'the world truly is our classroom'. Throw in infertility, adoption, separation, impending divorce (it has its own Doom and Gloom category on the blog) and a much needed added side of European humor is what keeps it all together on the days when it could quite clearly simply fall apart! This segues nicely into Finding a Mister for a Sister for continued amusement.

When not obsessing over the perils of dating as an old person, saving the world thro organisations such as being an ambassador for shot@life, supporting GirlUP, The UN Foundation, and being a member of the Global Team of 200 for social good keeps life in the balance.

Be sure to visit, because 'even tho we may not have been sisters at the start, we are sisters from the heart.'
Global Team of 200 #socialgoodmoms
Champion for Shot@Life and The United Nations Foundation

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drought_t460We have a wonderful cycling and walkway that encircles most of Napier, some tracks wander along the beach and some meander through the countryside. Along the water front, there are strategically placed water fountains from which fresh, clean water gushes at the push of a button. And we never question its availability.

18 months ago, our family moved out of town. We now have a 15 minute drive to reach civilisation, and we have to collect and store our own water. This shouldn’t be a problem – we have three large water tanks and 2011/2012 we had a wet summer and a decently wet winter. But it has been a problem.

Unbeknown to us, the two larger tanks had a plumbing issue: no matter how much it rained they were either maintaining the same level of water or the water level was reducing. Eventually, when we realized the neighbours had a lovely green patch of grass just near one of our troughs, we found the leak. That discovery happened in October last year, around the same time the drought began. (more…)

Karyn Wills

Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.

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Saturday Sidebar: Who is your kindred spirit in parenting?

WMB Writer Kyla P’an and her kindred spirit in parenting, Rachel Osen.

There are so many different parenting styles in the world, which makes World Moms Blog writer, Tara B. ask,

“Do you have a kindred spirit in parenting? Aside from the bond of motherhood and the fact that all moms want the best for their kid…is there someone you know who operates just like you on the basic nuts and bolts of day to day parenting?  If so, how did you find him/her?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Kyla P’an of Massachusetts, USA writes:
“Yes, my friend in Montana, Rachel Osen. I don’t know if it’s because our kids are the same genders and exactly the same ages, or if it’s because our pre-children adulthood was so parallel, but she’s one of the few people I can be so open with about the trials and tribulations of parenting. I feel like we protect or guard our true selves all the time, much like Ruth Wong discussed in Motherhood is NOT a Competition, but I never feel that way with Rachel.” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.

World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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Saturday Sidebar: In five years, I want to…

Saturday Sidebar: In five years, I want to…

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Maggie Ellison.  She wanted our writers to look ahead and asked them to finish this sentence,

“In five years, I want to …..”

Read on to see how some of our World Moms responded.

Dr. Lanham of Arizona, USA writes:
“In five years I will be impacting lives by being a syndicated columnist managing my family’s careers all while owning and running my teen nonprofit Hodge Podge the Teen Cafe™.” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.

World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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