Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme...

Last Updated 20 September 2012, 10:03 IST

How about a garden on your terrace? You can  have a small space where you can grow herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary without much effort. Sudha Jain offers suggestions on how to turn your terrace space into  a tiny garden.

Terrace gardening is all the rage now amongst garden enthusiasts. What with urban spaces increasingly giving way to high rises and concrete jungles, we are left with little choice but to bring nature home by creating our own little gardening space on terraces and balconies.

With little care and imagination, we can transform our dull, empty spaces and liven them up by bringing in the greens.

You can create your own garden without much effort. A terrace garden not only helps you bring nature home, it also provides temperature control, habitat for birds and insects and your own space to unwind.

You can even have a lush garden in the confined space of your balcony.

Having few pots around may not pose much of a challenge but there are a few important points you should keep in mind before starting a terrace garden with a lawn.

Strengthen the roof

You have to first make sure that the roof is strong enough to handle the weight of the garden. You also have to make sure that the terrace has proper drainage system and has no water leakage problem.

While selecting the plants, you should avoid plants with deep roots as later, these plants may grow into the building and cause much harm. Plants with shallow and short roots are best suited for terrace lawns.

It is extremely important for the area selected for the terrace garden to have a slight slope, so it can drain water easily. Water should not be allowed to stagnate.

As the plants need constant watering and ensuring moisture in the soil to keep it well, it is important to water proof the area marked for the garden very well. You can also install a drip system for your terrace garden.

When it comes to plants in the balcony, you have to take care that the soil in the pots are without pests. Also balconies with sunshine throughout the day can support flowering plants and ones with partial sunlight can have more green plants and flowering plants that require less sunshine. Hardy plants such as varieties of palms, bamboo, phycus, croton, money plants, adeniums and a variety of cacti do well in balconies.

You can even hang plants in baskets or on to the railing of the balcony. With little ingenuity, you can accommodate more plants even in a small balcony. You can have pots kept vertically on a specially made wooden structure. This will not only bring in more colours in the limited space available but also take the beauty quotient up by several notches

How about a herb garden?

We can even have our kitchen garden in our small spaces. Herbs, like coriander, basil, thyme, rosemary can easily grow in balconies without much effort. In the terrace garden, you can give wings to your imagination and grows vegetables like okra, spinach, tomato fruit, chilies, spinach, ridge gourd etc. this way your garden not only serves as your haven but can also bring fresh home grown food on your table.

One quality we should possess as garden enthusiasts is patience. Some plants may die even if we take good care, some may take long to flower, and some will just give good results without much effort. We can start with one just one pot to begin with. And gradually increase the numbers and see our garden grow. Says Nisha jain. ‘I love plants but the limited space in my balcony deterred me from planting anything.

I made space for one tiny, hardy adenium plant, saw that it survived and made me feel happy, I got two more plants. Now my balcony looks like a small garden and passersby love to stop and admire them. The red geraniums that hang from my balcony have added colour and charm to my otherwise dull and boring space. I would recommend judicious and imaginative ways to bring in little bit of nature home.’

(Published 20 September 2012, 10:03 IST)

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