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Meet the person who gave a new perspective to Cactus Gardening; Mr. Errol Rodrigues.

Mr. Errol Rodrigues Garden Story

Mr. Errol

People say Cacti attract negative energies and it is not good to keep them at home. Today I will introduce you to the personality who proved this statement wrong. His name is Errol Rodrigues. He hails from Goa, but was born and brought up in Chandigarh and now has shifted to Panchkula. The entire family happened to settle in the north because of his grandfather’s taking up a job with the Maharaja of Patiala in the late 1950’s. Check Mr. Errol Rodrigues Garden Story.

“Gardening was my passion ever since I was a child. What attracted me most, besides music was and is Gardening”.

Mr. Rodrigues started doing gardening when he finished his schooling and joined college. He started growing flowering and ornamental plants and a phase came when started focusing on collecting chrysanthemum varieties. Well, obviously it is passion, love and inclination towards nature, which made him crazy enough to venture out into this aspect.

He used to visit flower exhibitions and took part in many flower competitions, where he always used to end up getting prizes because of his beautiful collection of flowers. Once he saw a flowering Cactus at a friend’s place. It was a Ferro Cactus and there was a Golden Barrel Cactus too which attracted him the most. That was the point when he actually started collecting cacti.

“When I used to leave for college, my grandmother would give me 50 bucks as pocket money. I started saving from that during those good old days to buy my cacti.”

Mr. Errol R

He bought the first cactus in around 1982. It was a Golden Barrel that lives even today. When he finished his college, he completed his B Ed and began his career as an English teacher and Social Sciences teacher. All the same, he continued taking more and more interest in gardening and adding to his collection. Because of his inclination towards music and being known as a choir master in church he ended up being a full-fledged music teacher.

In the mid 90’s he got an offer to perform at a Chinese restaurant called Chopsticks 2, in Sector 7, Chandigarh and so he discounted his job as a teacher.

“We should do the justice to whatever occupation we adopt. Teaching and live performances was not possible to be going hand in hand, as offers started coming in for gigs abroad and pan India”.

The Rodrigues Chandigarh, (his band) were the pioneers of live bands rendering popular genres of music, both Western and Indian at restaurants in the region in restaurants of those times.

As time went by collecting cacti and succulents became the main stay of his gardening, as cacti and succulents need a lot of dedicated care. This way, in his free time from music, he could focus on maintaining his beauties.

 

I mean Wow! This enthusiasm is missing somewhere in the society. His love for gardening proved that once you surrender to your passion, no matter what, it is hard to quit. What I feel is, gardening is like a drug, and you yearn for more and more once you get into it. In the same way, indeed, he didn’t quit gardening! He found ways to stick to it somehow.

When the family shifted to Panchkula, he lost a few treasured cacti and succulents.

Mr. Errol Rodrigues Garden Story - “Cacti are very sensitive plants, and can undergo shock even if they are shifted within the house. They look very strong but internally they are very soft and I give every special care they need personally. Even my mali is not allowed to handle them”.

Mr. Errol Rodrigues

Not only is he serving mother nature through gardening but, he is the person who has served the society as well, by doing charity shows for orphanages and raising funds for PGI trauma A ward, just to name a few.

Now, for the best protection of his plants he has constructed a rooftop green house. There are desert coolers that help as humidifiers in the dry season and they act as exhausts (sans the water) in the monsoons. Obviously cactus is not the kind of water loving plan.  In addition to the personal touch he lends to his plants, he also has mastered the art of grafting cacti. He has tried his hand at cross pollination by hand and succeeded in producing some new hybrids. His rooftop garden is full of cacti and succulents now.

When asked about the Covid-19 period effect, he asserts and says, “Though, I was struck with it, my cacti survived as they can bear a certain amount of neglect. However, the period took a toll on my soft succulents as they missed my personal handling. But with the never-ending support of my wife and children, I am back with a bang in bringing them all in good shape".

He also propagates and sells online and supplies to the local nurseries. Cacti and succulents for him is a blessing, just like anything else in nature.

I want to give a message to all those people who do not like cacti, that cacti too are a part of God’s wonderful creations. So, I have cacti and succulents all around my home, and I am living a very happy and joyful life. They will neither harm your success nor your health. Do not discriminate them”.

He said, many people suggested to throw away all his cacti as they are termed as ‘manhoos’.

This is such a contradiction. From time immemorial, our ancestors went around searching for ways of survival and well-being.  The same cacti derivatives like ‘aloe Vera’ and ‘haddjordh’ (to name a few only) are being used even today by those very people who look down upon them.

Mr. Errol Rodrigues 2

For those who don’t do any gardening he says with a smile,” Hey, you are missing something in life! If nothing at all, just plant a Tulsi or a lemon grass in a corner of your home and enjoy seeing it grow. Prune it and use it for your daily chai. That way your plant will flourish and you will see how healthy it will prove to be.”

Mr. Errol Rodrigues Garden Story

It was a very inspiring Garden story of Mr. Errol Rodrigues. Thank you Sir, for being an inspiration for many Indians to adopt cacti as some other plants in their collection. We hope that you create more new forms of cacti and succulents, and spread the love for your gardening along with music all around the nation.