Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cut the other tree

"I will allow you to plant this tree if you cut down the tree on the other side of the shop"
Never expected that I would hear something like this ever. More on this on the Sapgreen blog.

GVK in his comment on the blog asks if property owners can claim their right to the public space in front of their house/building. I hope the government authorities come out with clear policies in this regard.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Painting the town red, with a touch of green

Sapgreen, the tree-plant enterprise, seeks to spread this green message by planting a wide variety of saplings at strategic locations in Mysore. Ashwin of Sapgreen says they have procured some 250 saplings of 20 varieties of trees. They are tall – nearly ten feet; which put these saplings above the reach of goats and stray cattle.

I do not know how they plan to tree-guard the saplings. These pictures, taken in a San Ramon (CA) neighbourhood, prompt us to improvise a supportive contraption, with bamboo and strips of discarded tyre.

Such supportive tree-guards account for a streamlined growth, which is essential for saplings planted in localities such as the shop-front pavement on Devaraja Urs Rd.

Skewed growth, such as this one, on Crawford Hall may be seen as an art form. But this wouldn’t do for a busy street with narrow pavements such as Devaraja Urs Rd.

Devaraja Urs Rd.could do with tree-cover that can provide much needed shade for shoppers and traders alike during long summer months.When I mentioned this to a shop-owner, Mr Prasanna, he welcomed the idea; and offered to do what it takes to plant a couple in front of his own establishment – Sudharshan Jewellers. Another location where Sapgreen could think of planting their showcase saplings is in front of the Coffee Day outlet at the JLB-D-Urs Rd corner. Saplings on such locations could bring Sapgreen the kind of visibility it requires to spread its Green Mysore message.

Yet another suitable spot is Javagal Srinath Circle on JLB Rd., where there had once been a tree. A short distance from this spot is a hotel that is coming up. Its developer could be persuaded to adopt a couple of Sapgreen saplings.

A tree slot on Sitavilas Rd., close to MUDA Circle

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tree-planters of Mandeveli

Internet is a powerful medium which can be used to promote/educate . . . and, perhaps, rediff could support/sponsor for free web hosting for NGO's like Global greenways, wrote a Mandaveli, Chennai, resident in response to a feature by Shobha Warrier. The piece, about a tree-loving duo, Mr V Subramaniam, a retired RBI official, and Dr R Madhavan, was written in 2003. Fellow blogger Naveen Chimmanda fwded it to us the other day.

And this evening, Dr Madhavan, who took my call from Mysore while attending to patients in his Chennai clinic, said matter-of-factly he didn't have time for the Internet and rarely checked mail, though he had an ID. His Global Greenways that has planted trees in thousands over the past two decades doesn't have a website. Dr Madhavan pleads lack of time "for that sort of thing", though, I sense, it is not uncommon for folk of his generation to be unaware of the potentials of the Internet and of what the web can do to promote a cause or an idea. It is for the public-spirited techies to initiate them into the ways of the Internet, and, as Mandaveli Bala suggests, sponsor free web hosting for Global Greenways.

"We don't plant any longer; only supply saplings," said Dr Madhavan, who, with Mr Subramaniam, used to go round Chennai on a tricycle loaded with saplings, looking for vacant space to plant them. When they started this, some two decades back, they were termed by some as crackpots. Within a year of their start, the 'crackpot' duo had planted over 400 saplings in Mandaveli.

When word spread about their activity, the duo were invited by residents elsewhere in the city. And they obliged, planting it for free, on the only condition that the residents undertook to take care of the plants. "We used to get calls from northern Madras asking us to plant trees, and we would travel more than 20 kilometres to plant them," Mr Subramanian is quoted as saying . Dr Madhavan gifted saplings to all his patients.

When I asked him about funding, he said it did not cost them much to supply saplings. He has a nursery of his own. Tree-guards were sponsored by the United India Insurance Co., says the Rediff article. Dr Madhavan, who has a farm in Inchampakkam, said his nursery could supply upto 500 saplings at any given time; the doctor also kept saplings in his Mandaveli house, presumably, to give them away to his patients.

Read Shoba Warrier's Rediff Special - How green is my Chennai.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A tree thats almost gone

When sapgreen first appeared in Deccan Herald, we had a call from a person. The lady asked if we had a "Pagade tree". Now whats that ? Back then we were not specific about the type of tree. We just wanted someone to plant a tree. I said "ma'm, sorry we don't have that" Few minutes latter her daughter called to congratulate us on our venture and she asked us what exactly do we do ? Few minutes of talk and I realized they just loved trees lot more than anything. They protected every branch of a tree that surrounded there neighborhood, requesting,yelling at people not hurt the tree. The Khan's were a great tree lovers. Yet they failed to procure a single sappling of "Pagade tree". This is when we realized the importance of "the type". A little research on this tree (You fill find it here it's called MIMUSOPS ELENGI L) and we came to know there are only few trees of this left in Mysore, yes just 3-4 of them, after lot of searching around, I finally found THE TREE, in the " Chandravana Garden" of Mysore. This is a garden maintained by govt. ayurvedic hospital.

Khan's loved this tree, the fruit was a favorite for her father. It seems it was lost generations back, people haven't heard about such a fruit for long. It is now standing tall as a laboratory specimen.This is when we promised the Khan family to get it for them, now it is a part of sapgreen's goal to get these rare trees back to life. My next visit to Chandravana will be this saturday, I will try to get some pictures an procure the pagade fruit and see if one of our nurseries can grow it back for us. I will get some pictures of this gorgeous lesser known garden of Mysore. This is a place every tree lover should visit once. It is opposite to University swimming pool. It's a beautiful forest with lots of ayurvedic plants, you can try some of these and believe me you will have fun with lot of tongue twisting and sweet leaves.

If anybody is looking for a rare species of a Tree, let us know and we will do our best to procure it for you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gone, a life of hundred years...

Reproduced here, a poem on the death of a tree, aged 100 plus, by a 14-year-old, who chose to voice the unspoken agony of having its life cut short mercilessly by the very people whom the tree had served faithfully.

Poet Deepti Raghuram who calls herself 'freakish', runs a blog - 'Heal the world'. Isn't that a freaky title for a teenager's blog? Here, then, is her piece, as we found it - no Caps; not much punctuation.

gone a life of hundred years
cut mercilessly at its base
yet it neither showed its fears
nor the pain on its face

the cries of 'i served thee faithfully'
could not be heard
nor its sounds of pain; is it right that
death should come as nemesis for others gain?

the killers did not know
about the great life they had taken away,
nor were they bothered
when the birds from home flew far away.

betrayed by the people whom
it first had defended,
yet they were the same people
who were 'friends' as they once had pretended.

as it fell undefended
the tar ground became its first resting place.
was this the respect to pay
to a life of 100 years but still gay?
Alas, not one thought, not one asked.....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No more home delivery

Mysore's green delivery company - Sapgreen - has stopped planting saplings at people's houses because, they say, it costs more than what they charge for the service - Rs.125. Sapgreen's Ashwin, in a blog post, claims transporting saplings posed a hassle. As he put it, "for planting just 2 saplings, we had to travel 10km in one direction, then back and again 10km in the opposite direction of the city. Totally, 40km".And they have just one person doing the job; and cycling 40 km, merely to deliver two or three plants, isn't worth the effort. It doesn't result in "much value addition anyway".
I thought Sapgreen was a Mysore company, in the sense that its tree-planting service would be available to the entire city. Now that they have declared their focus would be "on companies and persons willing to sponsor planting in (designated) public space", my sense is that Sapgreen isn't thinking beyond their current sphere of operation - Gokulum and Vijayanagara.
As someone living in Devaraja Mohalla, Sapgreen's self-centric approach wouldn't hold much appeal to me. Nor would it,I guess, to someone in Vonttikoppal or Vidyaranyapuram. If I plant a sapling to celebrate a family event, I would rather see it planted close by, if not in my backyard. Ideally, we would all want to watch them grow.
Besides, neighbourhood plantings in varied localities ought to make marketing sense for Sapgreen;and even get them the much-needed word-of-mouth publicity mileage. Wouldn't marketing/publicity of Sapgreen's services cost money? Wish Anil-Ashwin do a rethink on their core plan. I wish I could pick up the phone and voice my misgivings, as I used to do when Sapgreen was still in its formative days and its promoters were in regular touch with some of us in FORT-Mysore.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

He Pioneered Treeplanting in Kuvempu Nagar

Meet Mr. S.Y. Sadashiva Murthy retired Executive Engineer, PWD settled in Udayaravi Road, Kuvempu Nagar in Mysore.
Since it was a new layout there were no facilities for collection of garbage from houses in 1996. Mr. Murthy along with his friends started a house to house garbage collection drive in their locality comprising 300 houses and hired a couple of staff to do the same. They fixed a sum of Rs5/ per month from the residents. As it happens in most cases, others dropped off and it was left to Shri. Sadashivamurthy to run it more or less alone. This was run till recently when the Mysore city corporation (MCC) started this drive throughout the city.
When they started the garbage collection drive, Mr. Murthy and friends also thought of planting trees in their locality. After a couple of meeting with Forest Office officials in Aranya Bhavan, it was decided they should plant Honge saplings. They chose Honge because no animal likes to eat Honge leaves or plant. So the chances of survival of plants were very good. Once it grows into a plant Honge doesn’t need so much of watering and grow up as a sturdy tree. They got free saplings from Forest Department who also helped by giving Guards to protect the saplings.
The Group went on a house to house mission to explain their drive and received tremendous help from the residents. Most volunteered to water the plants and look after the same. They planted over 400 saplings which have grown into trees in cross roads around Udayaravi main road.
Mr. Sadashiva Murthy planted around 8 trees on either side of his house which has grown well.
He also setup rainwater harvesting system for his house and makes sure all the water is collected and in a good monsoon season, rarely depends on Corporation water.

The pictures show the trees planted on Udayaravi road and Mr. SadashivaMurthy in front of his house.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ideal time to plant

The ideal time to plant a tree is during the rainy season, after leaf drop or before bud break. Trees that have been well cared for in a nursery can be planted throughout the growing season. Proper handling during planting is essential to ensure healthy growth. Proper site preparation before and during planting, coupled with good follow-up care, allows the seedlings to quickly establish roots in the new location and overconme what is known as transplant shock, a phenomenon that can slow the growth and reduce the vigour of the tree.
Note: It is not recommended to apply fertilizer at the time of planting. Water the seedling thoroughly with a slow stream of water to settle the soil...Taken from Trees of Laughing Waters.