February 9, 2024

The Green Thumb Behind Ceylon Tea Trails

Amidst the five charming heritage bungalows at Ceylon Tea Trails, there’s a name that stands out: Ramachandran Iyadurai. He’s not just a gardener but a storyteller, a mentor, and a steward of the lovely gardens that grace these bungalows. He is also a star in the Ceylon Tea Trails feature of BBC2’s Amazing Hotels : Life Beyond the Lobby.

(Click here to watch the full episode)

Born in Hatton, Ramachandran’s life took an unexpected turn when he had to leave school to support his family. However, destiny had a different path for him. His journey into gardening began with a small vegetable garden at home. It was here that he discovered his love for nurturing plants, and he couldn’t resist learning more.

Determined to expand his knowledge, Ramachandran embarked on a journey of self-learning. He voraciously read books, sought wisdom from experienced horticulturists, and gained hands-on experience in various plantations and gardens. It was during this period that he encountered a guardian angel in the form of Mr. Naadan, who recognized his potential and sponsored his agricultural and horticultural courses. This was the turning point in Ramachandran’s life, setting him on a path to become the “walking botanical encyclopaedia” we know today.

Ramachandran’s association with Ceylon Tea Trails spans an impressive 18 years. Even before the retreat’s inception, he was tending to the gardens of Tientsin and Castlereagh bungalows. His journey began with bringing manure, planting seeds, and nurturing seedlings to Castlereagh and Tienstin bungalows’ gardens, and his passion soon led him to take charge of Tientsin’s garden. Despite the presence of a head gardener who checked in occasionally, Tientsin’s lush gardens became Ramachandran’s personal canvas.

His green thumb prowess extended to the neglected Norwood garden, transforming it into a botanical paradise. The pinnacle of his work came when Castlereagh bungalow was renovated, and Ramachandran was called upon to weave his magic. His efforts did not go unnoticed. He was celebrated as the “Best Employee of the Year” by Resplendent Ceylon, a testament to his dedication and talent.

Iyadurai embarked on his journey with the Ceylon Tea Trails family as a humble contract worker, steadily rising through the ranks. He was given the opportunity as the Head Gardener for Tientsin bungalow’s garden, later taking responsibility for all five bungalows’ gardens. In a recent development, he was named the Garden Supervisor, now overseeing all gardeners and the gardens themselves. His remarkable achievement includes implementing effective composting practices across all five bungalows, a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to chemical fertilisers.

The future holds exciting plans too, with vegetable cultivation taking root in all bungalows. Norwood, in particular, has already become a source of fresh produce for Ceylon Tea Trails, embodying Iyadurai’s commitment to sustainability.

Ramachandran Iyadurai isn’t just a gardener; he’s also a gracious guide. Guests at Ceylon Tea Trails are treated to a unique experience as he shares his extensive knowledge of the gardens. He takes them on a journey through the greenery, explaining each plant, flower, and tree in meticulous detail. Guests often return to him, seeking his advice on their own gardens and even taking home seeds and gardening wisdom.

His generosity extends to giving guests seeds to plant in Ceylon Tea Trails’ gardens. This act bridges the gap between the bungalows and their visitors, creating a lasting connection. He mentioned, guests who nurture the seeds often return to witness the plants’ growth, forging a deeper bond with this verdant retreat.

In a world filled with opportunities, Ramachandran’s loyalty to Ceylon Tea Trails is a testament to the people and the culture he has found here. He acknowledges that he had the chance to venture abroad but chose to stay because of the love and respect he receives from colleagues, throughout the company’s management spectrum. The positive energy and unwavering support from the Resplendent Ceylon family have made this place his home.

When asked about his favourite garden, Iyadurai modestly refrains from choosing but admits to a special fondness for Tientsin due to his extensive work there. However, he has a clear favourite plant – the “Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday” flower, which transitions through three vibrant colours over three days.

The gardens at Ceylon Tea Trails are adorned with a colourful array of plants, including Pentas, Salvia, Cuphea, Azalea, Heliconia, Angel Trumpet, and more, each contributing to the splendid landscapes that Iyadurai tends to with loving care.

In the gardens of Ceylon Tea Trails, Ramachandran Iyadurai isn’t just a gardener; he’s a guardian of nature, a mentor to guests, and a symbol of unwavering dedication. He has woven his passion into the very fabric of this tranquil retreat, making it a haven for both nature enthusiasts and wanderers in search of a serene escape.