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Think Global, Act Local

Rekha Reddy

Ikebana Master

4 min read

Several decades ago, everything that is locally available was ‘sustainable’. Globalization opened gates to new prospects all around the world. It gave way for commercial production of indigenous goods for exporting them around the globe as a mark of trade and prosperity. It also started the flow of imported goods, some of them are necessary, some are a novelty, and some are an utter indulgence. Because of the pandemic, imports and exports have come to a standstill. It might be a good time to retrace our steps to sustain on local produce and products.

This applies to various fields, and one such aspect is our use of flowers. India has an abundance of flowers and foliage growing in its own backyard. It produces and exports many kinds of commercial flowers. Roses, carnations, gladioli, chrysanthemums, gerberas, lilies, anthuriums are some of the many which grow well here. All these are cut flowers which are found commonly in florist shops and bought for an event or home décor.

The swing towards imported flowers is big time and is preferred by many as it provides the thrill of using something new. It was a visually beautiful phase, no doubt. Now it is about time to focus on the beautiful flowers and foliage, a tropical country like ours has to offer. Like the tuberoses of West Bengal to Tamil Nadu’s jasmine, tulips from Kashmir and heliconias from Kerala. Think of using and cashing in on home produce. The reasons are similar to why we emphasize on local food. No long-distance shipping, reducing carbon footprint, supporting the local economy and more are the perks.

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Even from home gardens or pots from UR apartment balcony, simple kanakambaram, ixora, oleander, temple tree flowers, coloured foliage can be used to bring a pretty touch to the room. They can be used as floral rangolis, garlands, floated in an urli or put together in a small container to give a beautiful touch of nature to the indoors.
Plants can be grown well in apartment balconies and terraces of UR homes. Do keep in mind though that sunlight for a couple of hours a day is essential for these plants to give an abundance of blooms and lush foliage.

India has an abundance of flowers and foliage growing in its own backyard. It produces and exports many kinds of commercial flowers.

Flowering Plants That You Can Try To Grow At UR Home:
  • Bougainvillaea Morning glory
  • Temple tree dwarf variety
  • Clerodendrum
  • Creeper roses
  • Jasmine
  • Hibiscuses
  • Begonia
  • Geranium
  • Periwinkle
  • Pentas
  • Kalanchoe
  • Adenium
  • Verbena
  • Petunia
  • Pansy
  • Marigold
Foliage Plants:
  • Aloe Vera Sansevieria
  • Syngonium
  • Dracaena
  • Asparagus
  • Money plant
  • Jade plant
  • Zamia
  • Rubber plant
  • Areca Palm
Flowering Plants That Do Well In The Deccan Plateau:
  • Bougainvillaea Oleander
  • Lantana
  • Euphorbia
  • Ixora
  • Zinnia
  • Periwinkle
  • Spathiphyllum
  • Sunflower
  • Marigold

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Periwinkle, marigold, nerium, hibiscus, ixora are beautiful flowering plants, most of which have medicinal value apart from the other herbal plants. It would be good to cash in on their beauty and use them for traditional home remedies and health benefits.

Advantages Of Using Local Floral Material:
  • No long-distance shipping; no losses due to a decline in the pristine condition of the flowers. As exported flowers have to fulfil a quarantine period, they may sometimes reach in an early stage of decomposition.
  • Reducing the carbon footprint is an economic gain and contributes to self-sustainment.
  • Supporting the local economy as they will flourish.
  • Community wellbeing.
  • Provide jobs and wages for many.
  • Entrepreneurship goals achieved.
  • Provides product diversity in the local markets.
  • Environmental sustainability.
Significance Of Flowers In Indian Mythology

Flowers and leaves have great significance in mythology. There is mention of different kinds of trees in ancient literature. Have you ever wondered why we use the only particular flower for a specific festival? Each deity is symbolized through some flower and is considered sacred. Here is a small sample of the plethora we have.

  • Lotus is known for divinity, purity and fertility. Goddess Lakshmi is always represented sitting in a Lotus flower.
  • Jasmine flowers and garlands are common in temples and are one of the best things to look forward to in the heat of summer.
  • Hibiscus flowers are said to be the flower for Goddess Kali
  • Parijata is said to be the heavenly tree brought down to earth by Lord Krishna.
  • Bathukamma-Telangana floral festival: The nine-day celebration of this festival features a lot of seasonal flowers. Stacks of flowers like thangedu (Cassia auriculata), marigold, chrysanthemums built up in a pretty mound are made and later released into a lake or a river. These flowers hold medicinal properties, according to Ayurveda.

If there ever was a pressing need to reiterate a phrase of relevance in the times we live in now, it is this. ‘Think global, act local.’ Many decades ago, life and lifestyle, travel and living were local. The last couple of decades all of it swayed to global and now is the crucial time to rebound to local. It’s been 50 years since we officially started Earth Day, every day is one now. Respite for the earth and solace for the soul.