A breath of fresh air

GREEN WAYS

A breath of fresh air

The sobriquet of Garden City does not lie easy on the shoulders of a burgeoning Bangalore. Given the hectic pace of infrastructure development and rapid depletion of green cover, the city is turning into a concrete jungle with gardens fast disappearing.

To cater to the ever increasing population, apartments have surfaced in every nook and corner making garden space restricted. However, there is a new trend emerging with gardens, however small, surfacing in several homes. Informal surveys suggest that Bangalore is witnessing a resurgence in home gardens - big and small - across the city and especially so in new layouts.

Sustainability - the way forward

Focus on gardens : Design firms such as Good Earth believe that a garden should dominate a living space, not the building. Doing your bit to go green is as easy as starting a garden at home. Even if you are in an apartment, check roof top/terrace gardens and plants with high oxygen emission. Home gardens possess a number of sustainability attributes, with regard to their potential to meet several economic, social, ecological and institutional conditions which contribute to their sustainability.

It basically involves using native plants in a garden or landscape that can preserve and protect natural ecosystems and reduce the amount of care and energy required to maintain it. The key to this is a careful choice of plants which thrive in local conditions and combining these plants so that they interact symbiotically. “When it comes to the concept of sustainable garden at home we have to consider basically indigenous species with low consumption of water. I am fond of the idea of creating beautiful outdoor spaces which flow naturally from the inner spaces of the home.

Kitchen gardens

Depending on the space, small kitchen gardens are highly recommended. Also one can develop a separate zone where you can plant medicinal, rare, indigenous species like tulsi, kali miri, gavati vhaha, wala, marwa, vekhand, gulvel, akkalkadha in our apartments,” explains Kruti Jain, Kumar Urban Development Ltd.

Rajesh Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director, RG Group adds, “before one starts a home garden, one needs to research about plants and know the things required such as the quantity of water required, whether plants need sunlight or shade. It is also called vertical gardening i.e. gardening in a limited space.

Plants can dramatically change the way our home looks and feels. In most cases, home gardening contributes to household food security by providing direct access to food that can be harvested, prepared and fed to family members, often on a daily basis.
Gardening provides a diversity of fresh foods that improve the quantity and quality of nutrients available to the family.”

Organic gardening

Sustainable gardening includes organic gardening, the use of native plants and trees, double digging to help the soil hold more water, vermicomposting, backyard composting, a method of returning organic waste back into a nutrient rich soil amendment and drip irrigation - a controlled, slow application of water.

Kamal Meattle, Chief Executive Officer, Paharpur Business Centre & Software Technology Incubator Park explains, “This technology is essentially a biotechnological process where plants are used to purify the air and infuse the ambient air with extra oxygen. Our team has adopted the same to improve indoor air quality. This innovative procedure involves three special plants. The living room plant, areca palm produces oxygen during the day, removes chemical toxins and is easy to maintain indoors.

The bedroom plant popularly called ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’, unlike any other plant, produces oxygen at night and removes chemical toxins and the specialist plant, money plant, removes toxins and bacteria and produces oxygen during the day. Sustainable gardens at home can be a mix of essential greens and vegetables and a collection of diverse local species.

“The most beneficial thing that happens is that we do not have to travel to get the essentials as they are grown at home. Plus the waste is used as manure and the grey water is also recycled and reused. Space is effectively utilised and this small exercise also helps in conserving biodiversity. The home garden acts as a filter,” says Stanley George, Managing Director, Good Earth.

Advises Anuradha Eshwar, Vice President Design & Architecture, BCIL ZED Homes, “Small plants like spinach, coriander and methi are easy to grow in containers. Tomatoes can also be grown in slightly larger containers.

They could be hung upside down as a decorative feature, too. Plants like lady’s finger, chillies, brinjal and knoll-khol grow well in slightly larger containers. Terraces and other common parks in apartment blocks could easily grow some gourds and short fruit trees like guavas, papayas, pomegranates.

Deeper and wider garden beds can line corridors to grow carrots, radishes and potatoes. Potatoes can be effectively grown in double containers, one stacked above the other to provide better yield. Herbs like rosemary, marjoram, mint, tulsi and thyme can grow in smaller garden beds. Grown along with tomatoes, they make the latter taste better than they would if grown singly.”

Today’s garden decor is more of an extension of your living space.  “By growing some edible plants, home gardens can supply a large quantity of inexpensive, fresh healthy food. Planting a diverse garden provides food and habitat for beneficial insects, birds and wildlife.

This keeps your garden healthier, therefore making it easier to care for and increases its beauty. Bringing life into your garden is also an essential part. There are many different ways to accomplish this. Make it a project for your whole family! You do not have to create a beautiful garden just view plants, you could turn them into outdoor labs for children to explore and learn about nature!”

Themed gardens

Projects of Good Earth, a design and construction firm in Bangalore have incorporated the concept of construction being a part of gardens rather than the the other way round!
They believe that a garden should dominate a living space, not the building, so landscaping is naturally the focus while a building is just a part of it.

Likewise Jaypee Greens project Kube was designed with a ‘Garden Living Experience’ and theme gardens played a pivotal role in the planning and development of the entire project. The four distinctive theme based gardens are Japanese Gardens, Renaissance Gardens, Contemporary Gardens, Mediterranean Gardens.

 Each theme reflects its own element in the landscaping giving its residents an expansive view. RG Group has come out with a unique concept called Landscape Podium, which means the landscape work done on the top of the podium with a stilt parking below.
As realtors turn green, there sure seems to be a ray of hope for the environment.

GREEN TIPS

* Demarcate flower beds and plant lines with pebbles. They keep your plants from crowding.
* Creepers and climbers grow anywhere; innovate with corner spaces, pillars and walls.
* Hang cactii in your verandah - they add an old world charm.
*Use terracotta bins, pots and decorative pieces in small nooks of your garden to lend an earthy feel and to break the monotony.
* Old tubs / urns can be used to grow water lilies. Left over PVC pipes can be used to create innovative corner decorative pots. Cut out smaller vents for water seepage and grow flowering fillers!
* Gunny sacks or used cement bags can be cleaned, filled with mud and turned into an unusual pot to grow mint, curry leaves, chillies, sage, lemon grass, etc in your backyard.
* Grow smaller plants and shrubs in the shade of bigger trees. Source local species of plants that don’t need much pesticide - it keeps your garden healthy.
* Use Bermuda grass in place of other varieties - it's good for our land. Even pets eat this variety to cure indigestion.
* Recycle kitchen waste water for irrigating your garden - it’s nutritious for the plants.

Tips: Courtesy Good Earth

Comments (+)