What is a home garden?
Before we answer this question, let us have a quick look at the history of gardening in India and how it is being practiced today.
History of gardening in India:
The origin of the garden is rooted in the human desire to be around plants. the first few gardens recorded were in ancient cultures of Eygpt and China. It was in these cultures that two opposing traditions in gardens originated, namely formalism and naturalism.
Formalism: Designing and pruning plants in such a way as to suit the design, plants were seen as a mere architecture material.
Naturalism as a concept in the garden can be interpreted as an attempt to live with nature rather than dominate it.
The fusions of eastern naturalism and western formalism took place in 18th century England.
Gardening in the Mughal era:
Among the Mughal emperors, Babar had a high aesthetic sense and was fond of gardens and he made gardens at Panipat and Agra. Aram Bagh at Agra is still being well maintained by the Archeological Department. Mughal gardens are synonymous with the formal style of gardening. The square or rectangular flower beds are special features of Mughal gardens. Another important contribution was the introduction of exotic plants like cypress, rose, carnation, narcissus, daffodils, lilies, tulips, etc.,
Some of the famous gardens established by the Mughal rulers are listed below.
Gardening in British Era:
During the British Era, there was a lot of activity in gardening done by Britishers and Indian Kings. The making of herbaceous borders and lawns gained momentum during the British era. Concentrated efforts were initiated to improve gardening in three ways, namely:
Introduction of exotic plants from England and other countries
Establishment of Royal Agri-Horticulture societies and botanical gardens
Compilation of local flora of different regions
Flowering annuals such as phlox, verbena, larkspur, dahlia, pansy, aster, antirrhinum, etc., were introduced. A number of botanical gardens were established in different parts of the country. The important ones are: Royal Agri-Horticulture Society Garden, Calcutta Royal Botanical Garden, Darjeeling National Botanical Gardens, Lucknow Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore Government Botanical Garden, Ooty Bryant’s Park, Kodaikanal
Gardening Post Independence:
There have been significant changes in the field of ornamental gardening during the post-independence era. Achievements have been made in all the important fronts viz. conscious planning for improving the total environment, commercial floriculture and teaching and research of ornamental horticulture.
Several gardens in different cities have been laid out to provide active and passive recreational facilities and to improve the environment. Important gardens are Budha Jayanti Park (New Delhi), Rosegarden (Chandigarh and Ludhiana).
These gardens deviate from the traditional Mughal gardens in their layout. As a general rule, landscaping of public and private buildings has become an integral part of planning. State departments pertaining to urban, archeological, and tourism development are actively involved in improving the total environment by conscious planning and planting.
What is a home garden today?
The home garden is traditionally a very important piece of land for rural households of Southeast Asia. The home garden can be defined as a farming system that combines different physical, social, and economic functions on the area of land around the family home. Within the typical home garden are social areas for meetings, children's play and gardens for display; economic areas for growing food, medicinal plants, and trees and for raising animals and fish; physical areas for storage, living, washing, and waste disposal. It is a place for people to live in but it also produces a variety of foods and other things for both home use.
Benefits of a home garden
- The most direct way of providing nutritious food. - A means to produce non-food items such as medicinal herbs, spices.
- A great hobby to get close to nature
- An activity to improve mindfulness in one's life
How can I set up a home garden?
Based on the space available at your home you can choose from the following below;
1. Terrace garden:
A terrace garden is simply a garden on the roof/ terrace of a building. It is the most successful garden of all in urban landscapes, it provides the garden with plenty of sunlight. It has lots of space so more plants can be grown. The terrace is open to the environment it also supports local small animals, bees, butterflies, etc. It is usually practiced in independent houses.
2. Balcony garden:
Balconies are plenty in urban landscapes. If you are one of the lucky few whose balcony receives more than 7 hours of direct sunlight you are blessed. This amount of direct sunlight is required for growing vegetables and seasonal flowers. Balconies with lesser than 7 hours of direct sunlight can grow leafy greens and herbs, and ornamental plants. Balconies with indirect sunlight can boast a beautiful ornamental garden, which can just be the perfect place for your evening cup of tea.
3. Indoor garden:
Few houses in urban landscapes have small balconies and no access to terraces. In this case, houses can choose to grow plants under artificial lighting. A few vegetables like leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers can be grown indoors under artificial lights. Indoor gardens are mainly used to grow edible plants and flowers. It is much like a fridge that can grow anywhere between 30 - 90 plants. These plants are grown hydroponically.
4. House plants: House plants thrive well in houses that get indirect or direct sunlight through windows. They add a calming vibe to the whole house and are easy to maintain.
Based on the type of plants you can divide your garden into;
1. Vegetable garden:
This includes vegetable plants, fruit trees, kitchen herbs & garnishing, medicinal plants. Based on the amount of sunlight your area receives. You need to select the plants for your garden. Vegetable plants and fruit trees require at least 6 hrs of direct morning sunlight without which they will not grow. Certain kitchen herbs will do well even with indirect sunlight and few need direct sunlight. A vegetable garden can be grown in containers or on land. the potting mix for containers will be different from what we use on land. Vegetable gardens require lots of care throughout growth. The plants are very delicate to weather, susceptible to various diseases and pests. The nutrition and freshness of freshly harvested are unbeatable. Research shows that nutrient levels are higher in vegetables that are freshly harvested as compared to vegetables that are 5-7 days old. The joy that is derived from eating from your garden is unique, it is a thoroughly mindful and spiritual experience.
2. Flower garden:
Flowers include seasonal, perennial. Few flowers will do well in the shade, and few flowers require direct sunlight to grow. Watch out for flowers with pollen, certain family members may be allergic to flower pollen. Seasonal flowers also require at least 4 hrs of direct sunlight without which the flowers will always be small and limp. Flower gardens need to be planned and neatly arranged. A well-thought arrangement can go a long way. Flowers also require a decent amount of maintenance, regular nutrition will ensure frequent and big blooms.
3. Ornamental garden:
Includes plants that require low maintenance, can grow in low light, and do not require frequent care. These plants can be kept indoors, in balconies that receive low light. They also do well in direct sunlight but will require regular watering. Ornamental garden or landscaping is the arrangement of plants in such a way as to give a pleasing effect.
What is the budget for a home garden?
The budget of a home garden will vary from1,000rs to more than a lakh rupees based on the plants, planters you use. Always remember to invest in durable material planters, good quality potting mix, this is the foundation of your garden. If invested well, you will see your garden thrive for years to come, maintenance will be easy and your plants will love it! Along with a one-time setup cost of a garden comes the regular maintenance cost.
How to maintain my home garden?
All plants require some sort of regular maintenance. The frequency of care varies from plant to plant. Ornamental plants like money plants, peace lily, etc require maintenance in less frequency. Whereas vegetable plants are maintenance heavy and require daily care. You can choose to do it yourself, it is a great hobby and very easy to fall in love with. But it does require a great deal of time and effort. If you simply cannot spare the time or effort you can always hire a local gardener to maintain it for you. A visit from the gardener once in 10 days should be just fine, provided you also take care of the garden for a little in between.
What are the materials required for a home garden?
Nutrients to add regularly
Pesticide to keep away pests that might damage plants
Garden tools (spade, shovel, spray bottle, watering can, etc)
The quantity and size of the materials will vary according to the size of the garden and the plants you choose.