This is Garden Month and as good a time as any to welcome the new kid on the block — the balcony garden!
According to Sriram Aravamudan, co founder, MySunnyBalcony, “With urbanisation eating up all the available space for greenery, the balcony garden is becoming the only sustainable means of bringing greenery into living spaces. Unlike terraces or community gardens, owners can use their balconies to experiment.”
Tanya Brar, owner of Chulbuli Balcony says: “Some summer balcony garden trends include colourful metal railing planters. They are convenient and self mounting and can hold single or two pots. Mural gardens are also lovely. One can use walls as plant holders by installing wrought iron and then put patterned pots into them. Space optimization is important while planning a balcony garden.”
DIY is the way ahead and Sriram suggests: “Create self-watering pots using discarded mineral water bottles to keep your plant hydrated for weeks together. Use discarded containers, bathtubs, buckets and brass vessels to create your own quirky balcony garden accessories. Set up your own composting unit to generate rich feeds for your plants, using organic waste generated in your kitchen.”
The prerequisites are to set up a garden of this kind, Sriram says, “Make sure the plants you select are appropriate for the light in your balcony. Think through how you’re going to handle water draining from your pots. If you’re going to load up your balcony with pots, make sure the balcony can withstand their weight. If you’re not sure about the waterproofing, make sure water does not stagnate anywhere on the balcony.”
There are a number of ways to add that whimsical element Tanya says, “Use your old tea pots or big, fancy tea cups and saucers as planters. Use empty liquor or soda bottles to grow money plants.”
“Hang little cups of water and food for birds. Put out window boxes with seasonal flowering plants. A gurgling water feature using a small urn and a re-circulating motor will cool the space down instantly,” says Sriram.
Tips and tricks to make your garden look nice go a long way but knowing what to grow is just as important. Sriram suggests: “Flowering plants such as geranium, pentas, button rose, ixora, bougainvillea, jasmine, chrysanthemum, foliage plants such as ferns, philodendron, rhapis palm, parlour palm, dieffenbachia, shade foliage plants like syngonium, zebrina, zamia, shade flowering plants such as orchids, anthurium, spathiphylum, greens, herbs, tomato, cucumber and pumpkin are plants one can grow.”