A Doctor’s Garden

Dr. Udayashree Nune is a family practitioner in Clewiston, Florida.  She’s originally from South India and comes from a family of doctors.  She speaks fluent Arabic, English and  the Indian dialect, Telugu.  She is a doctor of internal medicine, an OB/Gyn who has delivered thousands of babies in India, Libya and the U.S. …. and she’s a gardener

Her family history is absolutely intriguing.  Udaya’s life story is one that I will never forget.  As a little girl growing up in India, she had a series of events happen to her that sounds like the script of a movie.  When she told her mother that she didn’t want to live on a dirt floor anymore and asked what she needed to do, her mother replied that she should become a doctor.  So she did.  Her career started that very moment. 

It was a long, difficult road for her that  had many obstacles.  She sacrificed eating lunch and dinner so that she could use the money for transportation to school instead.  Transportation consisted of  many hours and many buses to get where she needed to go.  Udaya overcame so many trials and tribulations…  most people would have given up.  She didn’t and she still doesn’t.   

Dr. Nune comes from a culture that is so different from mine.  She knows how to maximize her resources and appreciates the little things that I tend to take for granted  (like water always coming out of the faucet.)  She always shows me something new that I’ve never heard of before.  So far, she’s turned me onto Indian yogurt, curry leaves, soap nuts, neem, gongura, drumstick soup,   seagrape leaf dinnerware  and numerous other cool things.

So what does a doctor grow in her garden?

She grows fresh curry leaves and makes delicious meals with them.

Aloe.

Cucumber/zucchini looking vegetable called tindora fry.

Tindora fry (Dondakaya kura).

I know what you're thinking... and it's not what you're thinking. It's gongura.

Lots of eggplant.

Moringa tree. It's called a drumstick tree in India.

Baby neem trees peeking out from under a potted eucalyptus.

Some of Dr. Nune's backyard.

She germinates her seeds under a large patch of banana trees.

Dr. Nune is growing Florida peaches, apples, papaya, bananas, figs, citrus, tamarind, curry, moringa and many other edibles… all on just over a quarter acre lot.  I’ll have to do another post on all the wonderful things she has introduced into my life.  The drumstick soup,  tindora fry,  soap nuts, neem and gongura are a few of my favorites.  When she told me the stories about washing with soap nuts as a little girl in India, I had to find out all about them.  We both ordered some online and we’re using them  successfully.

Gongura is new to me.  My kids and I just love the freshly picked leaves. Dr. Nune likes to stir-fry, pickle and steam them.  When she steams them she puts two green chilis into the water.  If Dr. Nune  ever opened restaurant, there’d be a line around the block to get in.  She makes everything taste delicious!

Her back yard is filled with fruit trees, vegetables and many varieties of pepper plants peeking out from under the trees.  But… her front yard is  filled with flowers.  She is clearly a woman who appreciates the beauty of flowers, from roses to impatiens and everything in between.

Dancing lady orchids.

Ixoras.

She has a large collection of hibiscus.

Her garden art. Were you expecting a flamingo?

Just a few of her flowers.

Dr. Nune next to her gongura plant. I should have asked her to flip her hair over her shoulder... it's down to her waist!

Dr. Nune is one of the most intuitive and open-minded persons I have ever met.  She is also one of the strongest, hardest working women I’ve ever met… next to my mother. 

She never gives up and loves a challenge.  Her personality is infectious and we all love and adore her.  

Come grow with us!

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9 Responses to “A Doctor’s Garden”

  1. Wow, what a great yard! Growing fruit trees is so much more interesting than just flowers. Especially unique plants from other countries. And there’s a special satisfaction from cooking with your own fruits, veggies and herbs. I love Indian food too and always found it impossible to duplicate the complexity of flavors at home. Lucky you to have such a great cook close by!

  2. I’m so happy to have found your post. Would it be possible to contact her, and exchange seeds and tips?
    I’m growing very similar plant, and of many different varieties, but I have had a very hard time with my Moringa tree.
    Please Contact me if it’s at all possible to get in touch with her.

    • Dr. Nune is one of the nicest people on the planet and probably wouldn’t say no. However, I know that her schedule keeps her in the hospital helping patients almost all day, everyday. I’ll pass your information on to her.

      • Soujanya Says:

        So glad to find someone who could help me with my gardening.
        I had a very little success trying to grow drumstick and banana plant in my yard.My drumstick plant is of same size as in above picture but it never gave drumsticks for 2 years now.I was also looking for gongura and curry leaf plants in south florida with no luck.

        It would be great if Dr.Nune can share some tips on this.

  3. hi Doc, It is so wonderful and pleasing sight that you have a great looking green garden , i think you know now a days , it cannot be seen in any indian days ..all like to live in flats , life became busy , but i would like to appreciate you a lot since you are a busy doc you would be defenitly strugling with your time to maintain this garden ..good luck dear DOC .

  4. Narendra Mohan Says:

    Hello

    Telugu is a language not a dialect. It has several dialects principally four Rayalaseema, North Coastal, South Coastal and Telangana.

  5. Sudha Pravinkumar Says:

    Hi,
    I am also a physician from India practicing in Oklahoma. Gardening is my passion
    I have had success in growing quite a few Indian plants here ( since we don’t get our fav Indian veggies easily in this small town in OK)
    I have Indian vine spinach, curry leaves, Indian basil, indian pumpkin, ridge guard, bitter melon ( to mention a few)in my garden each year
    I have been looking around to get a few stem cuttings of gongura and moringa plant for a long time. Would it be possible to exchange a few of my seeds / cuttings for these ? Dr Nune would understand how difficult it is to find our Indian plants here. Please email me if she agrees, I would really appreciate this!
    Thanking you
    With regards
    Sudha Pravinkumar

  6. That’s an awesome yard Dr.Nune.. such a feast to see the greenery u brought to your yard.. and the gongura plants are so big, it makes me think about moving from Chicago to Florida.. I have a small beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables in my balcony at my apartment (Jasmine, kanakampara, roses, mint, tomatoes, egg plants, Asiatic lilies, chillies/peppers, tulsi, curry leaves and few others).. it’s always nice to see plants esp grown at home.. nice post team!

    P.S.: Telugu isn’t a dialect but a language which dates back to 400BC at least.. it’s spoken by more 75 million people..

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