There is a Native American saying that goes ‘When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then we will realise that one cannot eat money’. This realisation is catching up with Bengalureans as the city battles with the loss of greenery.
In such a scenario, the only hope seems to be skywards or vertical gardening. The vertical garden on the Electronic City flyover, the work of ‘SayTrees’, seems to be a great step in this direction.
With more than 10 varieties of saplings, they are using automatic drip irrigation system to water the plants.
The benefits of a vertical garden include reduction of urban heat, increase in biodiversity and it also acts as a sound proofing barrier.
Dr B N Viswanath, a consultant in organic farming and organic terrace gardens, says that vertical gardens are a great way to enliven the city. “Although ‘SayTrees’ has installed a vertical garden, that is not enough. We need more of these in the city. One should realise that the temperature and the pollution level will drop where there are vertical gardens,” he adds.
He suggests that Bengalureans who live in apartments should also install vertical gardens and help contribute to the betterment of the environment. He says, “It doesn’t always have to be an ornamental way of gardening; one can also create a fruit and vegetable vertical garden and use the drip system to save water. We can also convert wet waste to compost, install rainwater harvesting or reuse water for household chores.”
Unfortunately, the vertical garden on the Metro pillar on Anil Kumble Road, which is just a month old, has been dying due to lack of proper attention. Anushree R, a botany student, says, “With many Metro pillars in the city, installing vertical gardens there will be the best way forward. There are also smaller places like cafes which have installed vertical gardens but not all of them are maintained well — most of them perish within a month or two. Since many of us want to bring about a change in the environment, we also have to make time to take care of these.”
Aslam Basheer, the managing director of ‘Cafe Azzure’, points out, “With the restaurant located on MG Road, we realised that the dust and pollution can become unbearable. That’s why we installed a vertical garden — it adds to the charm and provides the oxygen we need. We ensure that we water it twice a day and maintain it well so that it will continue to flourish.”
Vertical gardens in houses will become a reality in future if proper measures are taken.
Bharath Rajashekar, an entrepreneur, explains, “It’s not that hard to set up a vertical garden in the house. As long as you are watering it and ensuring it is will be fertilised, it will be fine. You can either water it manually or use the drip irrigating system which will only use the required water for the plant.”
The time to make the big step is now as Viswanath adds, “We are running out of place to plant trees on the ground, so the only way we can do it is go upwards. People have already started contributing but the government should also help maintain it. This way, we are all working together in harmony and creating a better world to live in.”