© Ganesh Mani Pradhan & Son
The Nursery

And in the beginning.....

PEACE was a movement gathering momentum worldwide and pictures out of Vietnam told the horrors of war and politics. Jack Keruak’s On the Road and Dharma Bums were required reading. Alex Ginsburg was a cult guru and The Beatles  reigned supreme. Life Magazine, National Geographic and Time were windows to the world. Mini skirts were moving into the micro-mini era (I believe the next era in minis was the "Oh my god" era!). A new pairs of jeans had the life washed out of it to make it look old and fashionable. It was a time in life when the mind could get restless. Around this time I, along with my wife Sangita, chose to live and work among plants. This decision has since been our source of therapy for the mind and the body for the last thirty five years and a satisfying means of earning one's livelihood.

I wish I could say that in the beginning there were dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex roving in our garden. But it actually began much later than that, around 1966 when we drifted into the flower nursery business. This decision was, to a great extent, influenced by the fact that my late father, Sesh Mani Pradhan, had studied Agriculture in Sabour College, Bihar,  under a Government scholarship in the period 1922-1924. Subsequently he got a job as a District Agriculture Officer under the then Government of Bengal and was posted as District Agricultural Officer in what is now the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. He was stricken with malaria while in service and was so severely sick that he decided to give up his government job and head back for the more salubrious climate of the hills. He came back to Kalimpong, his birth place, and with his brothers, established Mani Press, a Printing and Publishing unit in 1928. Though deeply involved in his newly established business he was never really far from his agricultural interests. He built his home about 2 miles away from the main town of Kalimpong on a two and a half acre ancestral property, a steep hill slope off the main road. This is where we live and operate our nursery.

I grew up, along with two elder sisters, among vegetable patches and a flower garden, a cowshed with milch cows, goats, chickens, a citrus grove, guava trees, corn on the cob from the terraced fields. These areas of home were the preserve of my mother. Life, as a child, was interesting indeed and I assume the seeds of love for nature and plants were sown sometime during these formative years. I nearly forgot to mention the books. My father had an abiding interest in books and  volumes from his library on floriculture, gardening, nursery manuals, fruit processing and many more take  prized place among books I have added over the years to our small library. After college I came back to Kalimpong and worked with my father and uncles in the Printing business for some time. In 1960 Sangita and I were married and for the last forty one years she has been the bedrock of our family and business affairs.

Around 1966 we started having a closer look at the Orchid plants growing on the trees in our garden and in pots and on the stone retaining walls. One thing led to another and in 1968 I was corresponding with Orchid firms in USA and UK  under the firm name of  Ganesh Mani Pradhan and taking in orders for shipping species Orchid plants from our region. The business developed and knowledge about orchids of our region and general flora was imbibed through journals, books and correspondence. Eventually experimented with sowing orchid seeds in sterile media in jam bottles in the kitchen. After many failures and a home constructed glove-box, got the first batch of Dendrobium densiflorum seeds to germinate. Tissue culture experiments with Cymbidium orchids followed, successfully, and we established a small but well equipped laboratory. The export of Orchids led to experimenting with other plants and Palm Seeds. My son, Mahendra, joined me in business in 1990 and our firm of Ganesh Mani Pradhan & Son was created. Our activities in the field of Orchids is currently limited to small scale laboratory production for sales within India only. Growing for exports of many  types of plants like Gingers, Aroids, various Bulbous plants, Palm Seeds to name a few, is our main activity.

This website is to showcase what we have to offer from our Nursery. For over 30 years we have enjoyed the friendship of plant lovers worldwide and we look forward to many more years of continued friendship and to building new ones.  We look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, seeing you in Kalimpong..

Ganesh Mani Pradhan

Sangita Pradhan                            

                          the 2nd generation speaketh...read on



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