A Personal Botanical Garden

The efforts and commitment of the seventy eight year old lady Mrs. G Devakiyamma, and her daughter retired Professor D Thankamaney  are invaluable in preserving their 4.5 acres of hereditary land as a demonstrative garden consisting of various plants and trees, providing a serene forest atmosphere.

To the western world Kerala is known for its rich green foliage. But the fact remains, Kerala is slowly turning into a concrete jungle as a result of uncontrolled urbanization. In such a scenario, the efforts and commitment of this seventy eight year old lady Mrs. G Devakiyamma, a widow and her daughter retired Professor D Thankamaney, residing at Puthiyavila, Alappuzha district (Kerala, India), are invaluable. They have preserved their 4.5 acres of hereditary land as a demonstrative garden consisting of various plants and trees, providing a serene forest atmosphere.

Earlier there was a huge traditional home in the same compound where they used to stay, which was demolished. Their present residence was constructed about 25 years ago. Accorging to Devakiyamma, years back ayurveda connotations were used for treating ailments and enhancing general health, moreover most of the medicines were prepared at home. To serve this purpose, ancestors maintained different types of herbal plants and trees. This inturn became a hobby for her resulting in planting of wide species of plants, creepers etc. Her daughter Thakamaney, with her professional background, ably supported and helped to source rare variety of plants from different parts of Kerala and selective locations of India.

Prof. Thankamaney said that, out of the whole collection of 400 species are identified and now she is looking for the service of an expertise botanist to document all the cultivation. The collection includes many endangered and endemic species too.

Thankamaney is the eldest of five children and she is residing with her mother. Devakiyammas youngest son is also staying in the same home along with the family. Thankamaney retired as a Professor of Environmental Engineering from College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, in 2010.

Devakiyamma’s efforts have been honored by Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India awarding her the prestigious ‘Indira Priyadarshini Vruksha Mitra’ Award for the year 2003. The other important honours include Vana Mitra by Government of Kerala (2010), Bhumi Mitra Award by Swadeshi Science Congress (2010) and Alappuzha district Social Forestry Award (2003).

Devakyamma and Thankamaney are always happy to receive visitors who are interested to see it. For students researchers and nature lovers this piece of land is a paradise or a live reference book on botany.

Location/ Access: on Kayamkulam Harippad Road (via Pullukulangara / Muthukulam) get down at Parav Mukku bus stop; then take diversion to Keerikkad Ferry Road. From bus stop it is about one kilometer.Kayamkulam is about km and Harippad about 15km.

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