Navneeth Raghavan lists the essential tools for a do-it-yourself garden
From the feedback we have received on this column, it seems clear that most Chennai-vasis enjoy having plants and greenery in and around their living space. In the past few weeks, we've looked at what you need to start your garden, in terms of water, manure, sunlight and so on. This time, I want to focus on the toolkit you need to really get your hands dirty, and look after your garden in the long term.
For watering - A proper watering can with a sturdy handle and spout is an important ally in the battle to keep your plants fresh even in this raging heat. With this, it is easy to control the flow of water (some cans even allow you to spray rather than pour water). It’s a healthy way to water a plant, whether it is potted or in the soil. Watering cans are easily available in most hardware stores or garden stores. A hosepipe will be helpful if you have a larger garden.
Pruning and cutting - Simple tools available in most hardware stores will help you you’re your garden in shape. These include rakes, garden scissors, small shovels, and a good shearing knife for pruning. If you have a large lawn, a lawn mower is a good investment.
Garden bins – Garden waste bins, to collect the green waste are particularly important however small or big your garden. Throwing your green waste is like throwing fresh food away, and we have all grown up with stories of how wasting food is a sin!
The Daily Dump kambha is a product I've been enthusiastic about since I first started using it years ago. This set of terracotta pots is designed to convert natural waste to manure in a few weeks. It's an aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective and environment-friendly way to clean up and add colour to your garden. Alternatively, if you have the man power and space to build your own compost pit, this could be an idea to explore too.
The stores – There are several garden shops in Chennai now, which is heartening to say the least. There are nurseries in almost every locality and specialised garden stores too.
Several stores have come up in Royapettah and Anna Nagar. Manjari in Kotturpuram is a good option for tools as well being as a nursery. The Garden Store on Bazulla Road, T. Nagar is also a good place for plants, planters and other garden needs.
In Besant Nagar, Good Governance has an outlet where you can buy soil mix, vegetable seeds, hanging pots, and garden tools. The government nursery opposite Poonga Park has interesting plants, soil mix bags, seeds and some garden tools. Cibi Enterprises have made a name for themselves in garden equipment and lawn mowers.
The best place for larger requirements, though, is Broadway near Parry’s Corner, where several streets of shops are dedicated to garden tools and equipment.
The most important tool (at the risk of sounding corny) is the love you have for your plants. Tending to your garden is like looking after a baby – which can be fun or a pain depending on how you approach it. The famous saying "Sing to your plants and see the way they bloom" is true. So go for it and enjoy your garden, your green space and beat the Chennai heat.