Thursday, 6 February 2014


If it is not possible for you to have a garden outdoors, don't worry. You can transport all the greenery, freshness and beauty of the outdoors into your patio, verandah or terrace by having an indoor garden. Most ground plants, ferns, orchids etc bloom well indoors but they may have some difficulties. They will need more care than outdoor plants do which means that they can't be left untended while you move out on a holiday. Mysterious ailments may attack them so its wiser to select plants that need little care.

There are some tough but pretty evergreen plants like coleus, begonia, bougainvillea, azalea, marigold. Watering plants in excess is sure to kill them and so will moving pots from shade into direct sunlight. The plant should not be allowed to become fully dry or it will damage the root system. Before it looks like it needs watering it should be caught. To prevent the root from rotting, water should drain out from the bottom when watering and pots must not be left standing in water holders.

Lilies are plants that take to pots and grow from the bulb. The base of the pot should be lined with chipped pottery, soil should be added and the bulbs planted close together leaving the tip above the surface. They will take around six weeks to develop leaves.

Another way of varying plant arrangements is to firstselect tall, squat, large or small containers and group together plants with different shapes, sizes and textures in one pot. You may put Fucia, Spiky Downers and a palm in one container which will make an eye- catching arrangement.

Houses abroad make use of window boxes but here in this country much importance is not given to window boxes and window sills. A window with flowers outside it looks attractive. Keep a metal planter and screw it into the wall with brackets. Individual pots can be put inside or the soil can be directly laid. After letting it settle for ten days, you should get some cascading plants.

A plant with long bushy greenery is Asparagus meyerii or squirrel tail. Its cylindrical leaves grow in thick clumps and it should be placed in the centre so that it has space for growing. Let the water soak through the soil and let it dry before watering any further. Take a narrow,watering can with a spout and water the plants in the windowsill well without dislodging the soil. Fertilize them now and then.

African violets look lovely on windowsills. They need fertile soil and sunlight and are pink and mauve which becomes dark purple in colorful blooms. You can propagate them by dividing the roots into many smaller clumps. It should be done gently. Another plant that is simple to grow and has colorful foliage is Coleus. It should not be exposed to strong sunlight.

If you happen to stay in a flat that doesn't have a verandah, you should take a new look at your terrace. It could easily be converted into a pleasant garden to be enjoyed on warm summer evenings and during house parties.

Before you actually begin, it would be wise to consult a professional builder for advice regarding the structure's capacity to bear extra weight of the soil, water, containers and people who will be there. For permanent beds you may have raised beds built with bricks as permanent features, but it would be more advisable to use plastic containers or growing bags. Light packing cases can form a terrace with built-up beds at various levels in which different flowers can be planted.

A space of 8 feet into 10 feet can be transformed into a luxuriant display with all varieties of flowers, creepers and shrubs. You should have a bamboo trellis as a wind breaker secured tightly to the wall as there is likely to be a lot of wind. As the temperature will be higher and plants have to weather the elements they will need sufficient watering except during the monsoon.

A decorative Bottle Brush tree will grow fast and its leaves are ornamental with red plumes of delicate flowers. The Christmas Star plant or Euphorbia pulcherrima is ideal for this tropical weather. The red and white star shaped flowers will create a good climate when used as border plants as they thrive in the winter.

It is really luxurious to have a lawn on the roof top but its surface has to be protected by a waterproof covering like a plastic sheet. About 18 inches of well nourished soil can be spread on which you can put the lawn that is ready grown or it can be cultivated with lawn grass that requires little upkeep.

The terrace can be beautified through short growing plants, creepers and plants that hug the ground. Petunia, geranium nasturtiums, carnation, hibiscus, cornflowers, fuchsia and short stemmed lilies carefully chosen will form a riot of color in the place. The wind breaker can be adorned with trailing sweet peas, jasmine and ivy.

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