Homes & Interiors: Home gardening, simplified

Homes & Interiors: Home gardening, simplified

Vertical gardens can be set up in space-starved locations.

A well-laid garden aesthetically pleases the senses and imparts certain rusticity along with a touch of elegance to any landscape. Gardens are like lung spaces amidst polluted locales as they cool and cleanse the surrounding air. By evoking a sense of warmth, gardening curtails mental stress and can be a relaxing endeavour. Given the unparalleled boons, the pursuit of gardening is indeed a gratifying experience. But people shy away from growing plants giving many excuses.

To overcome the reluctance, the concept of gardening has to be simplified. So, we approached Krishnaveni, who owns a plant nursery in Bengaluru, along with her husband, Naveen Kumar, a horticulture specialist, who does extensive landscaping as well. “On an average, there should be three plants per person to meet the oxygen requisites. Plants can be grown in as small as four-inch containers or pots at homes or on office desks,” she says. Whilst Krishnaveni elucidated the basics of gardening, the nuances gradually unravelled.

Plan the layout first

The making of a garden entails rightful planning that depends upon a host of factors such as the availability of space and sunlight and also the time that can be devoted to tending the garden. Apart from providing seeds, young plants and saplings, nurseries offer fertilisers and pesticides with soil, organic manure and potting mixture. They also furnish apt and functioning solutions to their clients.

The first aspect that comes to mind is the landscaping. Basically, landscaping means making spaces appear more attractive by infusing lawns, pebbles, rock gardens, walkways, water bodies along with the trees and plants in artistic arrays. Even small areas can be turned into interesting lookouts. Terrace gardens are also quite popular these days. Vegetables and fruits, as well as flowering plants, can be grown on terraces where ample sunlight is procurable.

Quite often, shade nets are utilised during summers. Usage of lightweight mediums like coco peat is preferred over regular soil in terraces. Pinewood pots, clay or mud pots or grow bags are usually used, whereas plastic pots should not be used on terraces. Terrace gardening with drip irrigation system can reduce pollution and also alleviate the heat on roofs. For a wholesome kitchen garden, fresh organic leafy vegetables like spinach, coriander, mint, curry leaves and amaranth leaves can be grown. Lady’s finger, chilli, beans and tomatoes are a few vegetables that can be grown easily using indigenous vegetable seeds. Fruit trees like chikoo, papaya, guava and lemon can also be grown in pots using lightweight mediums. In home gardens, one should exclusively use organic pesticides like neem oil and organic fertilisers like vermicompost or green manure.

In apartments and other locations where space is a constraint, a novel idea would be that of a vertical garden. Flowering plants and even vegetables can be grown in containers or hanging pots upon vertical stands which can be watered by drip irrigation or automation of water.

Automated water supply is a system that has a timer which supplies water every day at the specified time and is also very convenient for people who cannot devote time to their gardens. Plants like ficus that absorb pollutants can be grown on compound walls. Wherever abundant space is available like in farms, growing of fruit trees and orchards is recommended.

Get indoors

Indoor plants like sansevieria, palm, money plant, peace lily and spider lily clear air toxins. Sansevieria or the snake plant is a must in the bedroom as per Krishnaveni as it exudes oxygen at night. Jade, money plant, lucky bamboo and the like are some of the indoor vastu plants. All these plants need moderate amounts of water, sunshine and are quite easy to maintain. Medicinal plants like aloe vera, brahmi and insulin plant can be grown in homes. Succulent plants like jade and aloe vera have fleshy leaves and do not require much water.

Green gifts

The notion of ‘gifting a plant’ on special occasions was put forth to spread awareness of the virtue of plants and trees. Flowering plants like the annuals, puja flower plants like jasmine and hibiscus, medicinal plants, herbs like curry leaves and thyme, tabletop plants like money plant can be gifted to guests on corporate events and other functions. Even tree saplings are given when events are held in rural and semi-urban areas.

Gifting tulsi on ceremonies is considered sacred and auspicious both for the donor as well as the recipient. Plants can be modestly used for decorations in celebrations and social gatherings. Rather than arranging just flowers, the whole potted plants like that of marigold, orchids and chrysanthemum can be creatively used for large embellishments.

“Considering the instrumental role of the plants and trees in our environment, they should be part of our daily lives just like the mobile phones or televisions. Earlier, only the cream of the population would indulge in gardening but of late, there is a definite surge,” ascertains Krishnaveni with a gleaming ray of hope in the offing.