There is something about greenery that can lift your spirits and give your home a whole new dimension. For those with a creative bent of mind, the sky is the limit for what you can do with plants. Miniature gardens – the very term may conjure up images of a bonsai. However, miniature gardens are not just about bonsais. Imagine bringing in a bit of a Hawaiian island to your home or that picture perfect picket fence scene with a little boy mowing the lawn? Or a little girl on a bench, against the backdrop of a huge tree?
Miniature gardens are all about creating a small scenario with your plants and some innovative accessories. Nandini Rao, an IT professional and a gardening enthusiast took to this creative form of gardening around a year ago. The brain and the hands behind ‘Tharu’ (meaning ‘small plant’), a venture that specialises in miniature gardens, she shares some thoughts on this beautiful way of doing up your home.
Nandini explains that the basics of miniature gardening do lie in the art of bonsai cultivation. However, the rules are not really stringent here.
Bonsai pots alone are not necessary and you can use almost anything as a base to create a scene. Ceramic and plastic bonsai pots of every size, driftwood, dried palm leaves, etc are just some of the bases you could consider.
The soil that you use is the same as that of bonsai with the mix being such that it retains moisture for the plant, drains water effectively and allows the plant to remain ventilated. In terms of choice of plants, you can let your imagination run wild.
Moss can simulate a lawn, and common plants such as ficus varieties, arelias and the like can be used.
Explains Nandini, “When I first began, I used to incorporate small elements from my daughter’s toy collection into a scene. Later I began to source accessories from specialised outlets whenever my husband visited the United States. Creating a scene in a pot is about using your imagination. I use a mix of plants so that the scene that emerges is natural and complete. What I also ensure is that all plants used in a pot have the same watering needs.”
Miniature gardens are versatile, explains Nandini, and can be used to blend into any decor that you have. The good part about these plants are that the pots or the base you choose can be brought into any part of the house and used to brighten up the area.
They can be kept indoors for up to two days. The accessories that are used in creating the themes in your pot should be in harmony with the rest of the decor. The fun part is that these themes are easy to create and easier to change.
Should your overall decor theme change or should you feel that the scene you have created can be given a whole new look, you can do so just by moving around the accessories or re-arranging the position of the plants. Flowering plants add to the beauty of the whole scene.
You can use these little gardens to spruce up a kitchen window, the space on your window ledge, the space under a skylight, your front doorstep…and just about anywhere.
Caring for your little ones
Once you are the owner of a miniature garden, you do not have to worry too much about maintenance, says Nandini. They are pretty low-maintenance plants and you need to water them once every two-three days in winters and perhaps once a day in summer. Primarily the plants used in the creation of these gardens are outdoor plants and require sunlight; so they are best placed in the sun. However, you can always bring them in for a day or two when you have guests.
Rotating your miniature gardens in this way gives your decor a whole new degree of versatility. When it comes to pruning the plants, do so keeping the overall landscaping in mind. There are no hard and fast rules on what to pinch, but make sure that you are doing so in moderation.