Three years ago, when Jamila Mohamed Ahmed took the first step to plant a sapling in a pot on her terrace, she would have never thought, she would have a terrace garden. Today, she feels proud of her garden.

“I started it as a hobby. I first kept a few plants on the balcony. I then raised a garden on my terrace. Everyday I devote an hour to work on the garden. On Sundays, I spend about five to six hours,” says Jamila, who has a terrace garden at her residence on St. Mary's Road.

She grows vegetables and fruits such as carrot, cabbage, radish, chillies, cucumber, capsicum, bananas and guavas.

“I collect the skins of fruits and vegetables, leftovers of non-vegetarian food, mix it with curd and keep it in a bio-compost pit, covered with manure, sand and rotten leaves, converted into organic manure. I source the saplings and seeds from Turkey, Malaysia, The United States of America, The United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Coimbatore and Kerala. The island country is famous for plants and vegetables seeds. In the backyard of my home, I grow lemon grass, lime, ginger, a mango tree and orchids,” she says.

“If you have interest and passion, you can turn your terrace into a full-fledged garden comprising vegetable plants, fruit-yielding trees/plants, flowering plants, and decorative plants. There should be a proper planning in placing the pots. Pots have to be placed in rows in east-west direction so that plants get adequate sunlight. I spray listerine mouth wash for neem, use egg shells and expired vitamins tablets, for calcium, for the plants ,” she added.

Terrace garden is a nice, cool, and a green place to relax. Most people use the terrace only to dry clothes. Many think that having a terrace garden is a complex affair, but is not so, according to Jamila Ahmed, who is an expert in terrace garden.

With the right choice of plants and proper care, it could be the best part of your home. It should be swept clean every day, she pointed out.

‘For plant lovers constrained by space, terrace gardens add to the aesthetic value and help bring down temperatures. It depends on the availability of space, and how it is utilised for the terrace garden. The terrace has to accommodate a clothesline too. Though it is expensive, it is a satisfying experience. Steps can be constructed in a terrace, laid with granite slabs, and hanging pots can be used to grow household plants.'

Jamila grows variety of fruits and flowers in her garden including including grapes, Chettinad apple, rose apple, grape vine, kabuli anar, litchi fruit tree, lemon tree, mango tree, rastali, banana, ginger tree, pineapple, cucumber, white roses, and panneer grapes.

She wants people to raise organic garden in the terrace to tackle the effects of climate change, which is the need of the hour.

“The garden you maintain reflects your persona, an extension of your feeling. If you consider your home a realisation of your ultimate dream, then your garden is an expression of your imagination. It is only as happy as its owner. So happy gardening on top,”she says.

Jamila Mohamed Ahmed resides at 163, St. Mary’s Road, Alwarpet, and can be contacted at 9884144933.

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