Meet couple who took up gardening their retirement ‘plan’

George Cicily garden
Gardening became a favourite pastime for this retired couple George and Cicily based in Kottayam.

Most people would be worried and confused about what to do in their free time after retirement. However, for George and Cicily retirement brought them a ‘garden’ of opportunities. George, a former engineer and Cicily, a retired bank officer began spending more time in their beautiful garden after retirement. Soon, gardening became a favourite pastime for the couple based in Kottayam.

Orchid haven

Interestingly, George and Cicily concentrate on two different varieties of plants in their garden. Cicily loves tending to the beautiful orchids and anthuriums while George takes care of other plants and shrubs. Dendrobium, falenopsis and vanda are some of the orchid varieties in Cicily’s collection. The beautiful anthuriums in orange, pink, red and white colours make the garden extremely colourful.

It is the thick bushes of colourful bougainvillea that makes the couple’s house stand out. Besides, they have a stunning collection of begonias and African violets. The plants that do not require too much water would look amazing if grown in the shades in front of the house. A part of the front yard was levelled at a height when the house was built 25 years ago. A mango tree was planted on the highest point there. A small boundary is built around the mango tree using laterite stones. Bushes of ixora coccinea, a kind of hybrid chethi flower, are also grown here. The area near the meadow receives sunlight in abundance. So, most of the orchids that are grown in pots are placed here.

Beautiful creepers

George and Cicily’s house is surrounded by unique varieties of trees, bushes and flowering plants. Rare species like fern, aglaonema and sansevieria too could be seen among them. The mesmerizing garden, which looks like a small thicket, is the highlight of this house. Creepers and flowering vines like mandevilla, bridal bouquet, lantana and golden cascades are spread on metal stands.

The sections of the garden are contoured aesthetically using coconut shells and also with the coloured bottom parts of the plastic bottles. Shiny, white pebbles too are used to decorate the beautiful garden. The couple says that they rearrange the garden, quite often, by trying different designs and patterns. George and Cicily are busy taking care of their beloved flowers and plants as they have to be ready for the forthcoming season of flower shows and exhibitions that begins right after the monsoon showers.


Garden of George and Cicily

» Arranging the plants in various heights would make the garden look incredibly attractive.

» Some plants could be grown on the ground while some others would look good in pots. You could even try hanging pots and metal stands for the vines.

» It is better to avoid huge and tall trees in a small garden.

» If palms are grown in the garden, its root would spread to a larger area. So, it wouldn’t be easy to grow other plants in the soil.

» You could spread a plastic sheet and add layers of soil on it before planting shrubs or bushes.

» The look of the garden could be altered by making changes in the landscape.

» It would look great if the garden objects that are used at a particular period of time are made of the same materials. If terracotta objects are used for 6 months, you could try stone, ceramic or even antique model pots for the next 6 months.

» Changing the looks of the garden at intervals would keep the garden lively, unique and attractive all the time.

» The orchid flowers are likely to be attacked by snails. Try growing orchids in hanging pots to keep away snails.

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