Sri Lankan cacti-enthusiast, 80, says gardening keeps him young

Sri Lankan cacti-enthusiast, 80, says gardening keeps him young

Nimal Ramachandra has been collecting and growing several varieties of cacti for many years. He enjoys the process of cultivating the hardy plants. 

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Gardening has countless benefits for the elderly. It provides an everyday activity, which fosters a routine that gives the gardener the satisfaction of completing a task. Along with this comes enhanced well-being, improved dexterity (since gardening requires the active use of upper limbs), reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and overall relaxation. 

Gardening can also be a social activity, as plant enthusiasts can meet in groups to discuss how their respective gardens are doing. 

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Nimal Ramachandra, a cactus-enthusiast from Katunayake, Sri Lanka, is more of a solo gardener, spending 80% of his time with his cacti. He does, however, occasionally allow people to visit his greenhouse, where he houses an impressive 2000 cactus plants from 700 different varieties.

Nimal has enjoyed great success since spending most of his retirement cultivating the prickly plants.

He has won many awards for his garden and has earned the name 'Cactus Uncle'.
One tip that Nimal has for people who want to follow his example: 'With kindness, you can kill the plant. Leave it alone - it knows how to grow'.

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