Living in a flat or an independent house without any space around to take up gardening? Go for a rooftop garden. You can plant hundreds of plants on a small terrace!

Take a look at Dr. Y. Uma Rani’s garden on the fifth floor of Sree Uma Nursing Home near Rama Talkies. Around 30 varieties of chrysanthemums and coleus saplings with leaves in different shapes and myriad hues, begonia petunias, bonsai plants, cactus plants, creepers, marigold and bougainvillea with flowers in different colours have given the terrace the look of a ‘multi-coloured’ carpet.

“I started rooftop gardening in 1996. I was inspired by my friend Gyana Prasuna’s garden, which she grew around her house at HPCL Quarters. They had a lot of space around the house, which facilitated her to grow a number of plants and trees. I was inspired by her and took up rooftop gardening as there was no space around our nursing home cum residence,” says Dr. Uma Rani.

“Once you start gardening, you cannot leave it as you develop an attachment with the flowers and saplings,” she says. That explains why she doesn’t get tired of tending to the plants despite her busy schedule as a doctor. “My nursing home is just below and whenever I find time, I go up and tend to the plants,” she says.

“Tending to the plants is simple and doesn’t require any specialised skills. Watering the plants can be done on alternate days in winter. Even during summer watering once a day is enough. However, the biggest problem is changing the soil. I am doing it once a year but it is better to change the soil in the pots once in every six months,” says Dr. Uma Rani.

The plants have to be pruned and vermi-compost and cow dung can be used as manure for healthy growth.

While the terrace has a roof garden, the cellar is being used to run ‘Sisu Vikas’, an evening school to provide free basic education to underprivileged children of the nearby slum.

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