Large areas are not needed to develop a garden. Biju Govind says you can have a green patch tailored to the space available.

More and more people are joining the league of home gardeners. Not just retired employees and homemakers are choosing this leisure pursuit these days. In fact, the green movement has spawned a new generation of gardening enthusiasts.

A green patch surrounding a house is a healthy sign for the body and soul. Gardening can be a favourite pastime if space allows. One can choose outdoor and indoor plants depending on where you live.

Those living in flats may find it difficult to cultivate outdoor plants, but they can grow plants in pots in balconies or even develop a space of their own on the rooftop. Families can form small groups to set up a garden.

Much envied are those living in houses and villas. Gardening is an easy option for them, as they can utilise their own land within the compound.

Novices to gardening should know the nuances of the plant kingdom before starting their own garden. One should know what type of plants could be planted, the life spans of various varieties and so on. One must choose what is essentially best for the space around the house.

Seek help from a professional gardener. Nurseries that sell seeds and seedlings can give an idea what to cultivate.

However, a gardener can provide with a good layout for your garden.

You do not have to be a botanist to be an excellent gardener. It is wise not to plant trees that grow big in a simple garden space. However, many small hybrid varieties of mango trees and coconut palms are available in the market. These look good in the courtyard. Bring them up if you have enough space. And that too without annoying your neighbours.

Shrubs are favourites with gardeners. Hibiscus and rose are ideal shrubs to grow in gardens. Shrubs have a long life and are easy to maintain. Most gardens are filled with many species of hibiscus. They are showy and good for landscaping.

Lantana, euphorbia, ixora, balsam, shankupushpam (conch flower), jasmine, orchids, bignonia, chrysanthemum, Kanakambaram (firecracker flower) and anthurium are other garden varieties.

Kitchen gardens, lawns and hedges

Those interested in kitchen gardening can go for cultivating seasonal plants. Some of these grow in hot season and others in winter. Choose appropriate plants suitable for your own garden. Peas, okra, bitter gourd, snake gourd, yam, drumstick and chillies are good varieties.

Creepers are another selection for kitchen garden. Some cultivate melons. Fruit plants can be grown in the garden. Some of these are guava, papaya, mango, sapota and cherry. Architectural plants and low-maintenance evergreen plants can be considered for the garden. Cultivate them to suit your style and taste.

A lush green lawn in front of the house can be considered if you have ample space in your compound. Lawn materials can be purchased from the nursery. Some varieties grow deep bluish, others grow as turf and the Indian varieties grow hard. Professional help is initially required to set up a good lawn. Their assistance is needed for demarcating the area for the lawn, preparing the soil and planting the grass. Experts say that some grasses require frequent mowing. Weeding has to done on a regular basis. Mowing should be done with a hand scythe for the first two months. Later, switch over to the lawn mower.

Having thick and dense hedges are the favourites of some.

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Mottai maadi, mottai maadiNovember 4, 2009