: A few pots and a little care is all you need for a tiny but green garden even in a high-rise

Living in an apartment and dreaming about having your daily cuppa in the garden could be just a dream for most people, but creating a small space with some greenery even in a high-rise can bring joy and colour to your home. This is even simpler these days, with ‘readymade’ gardens available for you to bring home. When I say this I really mean it.

Just go to a nearby nursery and buy some ornamental plants, re-pot them if required, and place them in ornamental planters around your balcony — and there you have your garden ready. Well, it’s almost as easy as this. But before buying your plants, you need to know some basic facts.

First, you need to know how much space you have in your balcony and, more importantly, how much sunshine you get during the day. As a thumb rule, the area in which you are thinking of placing your plants should get at least three to four hours of good sunshine.  First-time garden enthusiasts also need to find out what will grow well in your city and climate. Some sure-shot successes are bougainvillea, in all colours, which are hardy and bloom well in the tropics. You could also consider crotons, with their coloured leaves that are as good as flowers, but keep in mind that strong, direct sunlight is the secret for a vibrant croton garden. A couple of potted palms, sturdy and easy, add glamour to your collection.

Lastly (a favourite of mine) add a few terracotta or ceramic artifacts to liven up the show and add a little character. There you have it, your mini garden. Time to grab that cup of tea!Now that the cup of tea has been enjoyed, it’s time to think about the basic upkeep rules of our little garden. Like all living things, plants too need food and nutrients to sustain and enrich their growth. So get set to water your plants every day. It is always better to water the plants early in the mornings, giving them plenty of time to absorb it and grow. If you miss this, you can water them in the late evenings but never when it is too hot. Night-time watering is also bad because it encourages the growth of mould and fungus. No matter what kind of pot you use, ensure it has holes in the bottom without which the plants will rot.

For retaining moisture in the pots for a longer time, you can use a mix of coco peat (made from coconut husk, which acts as a good ‘health supplement’ as well) with the soil or cover your flower beds with withered leaves to create mulch cover. Remove extra growth, dead leaves and weeds from the pots at least once a week. This will immediately make your plants look well-kept and tidy. Gardening, however small or big the space, is a great way to relax and enjoy creating something beautiful. So get those green thumbs out!

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