Gardening is a mindful activity. Having my ginger tea in the morning on this bench over the weekends is soothing and sets the tone for the day. This piece of green was what appealed to both of us about this house. A garden can also be high maintenance if not tended to every morning. I spend about 20-30 minutes on an average each morning after son goes to school to deweed and water the plants in the terrace and lawn. Every Sunday morning, I add manure. So except trimming the grass once a month, there is nothing much for a…

The pleasant aroma of basil wafts through the living room as I pick a handful of fresh leaves from the garden and put it in a jug of water; it’s intoxicating in a nice way. Visitors to the house are often greeted with a glass of fragrant basil water that lifts the mood instantly; kind of a sudden jerk to the senses. I brought home five saplings of basil in April that have grown into a mini jungle now. The basil you see in the picture above is after heavy pruning over the past week. Herbs are easy to grow.…

Gardening is like therapy to me. Tending to the grass, weeding, pruning plants and checking on the health of vegetable saplings on the terrace is akin to meditation. But, one that is interrupted by the unsightly white insects aka aphids or mealybugs on the back of the leaves. Here are three tried and tested natural ways to get rid of aphids.  Of late, with the onset of monsoon, pests and aphids infestation is what I’m grappling with most of the time. Aphids and mealy bugs first appear on hibiscus and soon spread to the other plants. But, what I discovered…

Today’s Friday shopping picks are a bit different than usual. These are stuff I have purchased and have been using so can vouch for it. If you have a garden to tend to, then these may interest you. 1. Pruning scissors for Rs.165 from Amazon. 2. Falcon Hedge Shears 999 – 10″ for Rs. 528 from Ugaoo. Got a 20% discount on signing up. I realise these are too big and heavy for me. My hands ached the whole evening :( But, it did a great job. I guess even the Falcon Hedge Shear 666 or 888 should suffice. I…

Searching for seeds that have a good germination rate? Wondering where you can get that magic potion  known as panchagavya for your plants? How about soil, vermiculite, coco peat blocks, compost? Ever crossed your mind where you can find pomelo, strafruit seeds? And if someone can deliver all these home, you as a gardener would be on cloud nine.

I’m always on a quest to consolidate all the information I can when it comes to seeds and gardening materials. My little balcony garden has been pretty much dormant for the last four years for we get not even an hour of sunlight, thanks to tall Eucalyptus trees in the neighboring plot. First, I suspected the soil, then lack of nutrients, then the seeds. But, time and again, the tall, lanky seedlings assure me it’s the sunlight they are craving for. So, I just harvest them as micro greens.

Have you noticed there is a trigger factor for every post that comes up on this blog, of late? In the image below, the coconut husk planters filled with coconut chips and charcoal, are secured in place with a coir rope and tied around the bark of a sapota tree. If this isn’t brilliance exemplified, then I don’t know what it is. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to Sanjana on seeing this picture. Shall we meet the person – Sanjana Govindan Jayadev – who understands the power of keeping it simple?

coconut husk

About Sanjana:

Sanjana, the country head of AIFO, India, works for people affected by leprosy and disability across really rural and remote parts of the country.  In her words, “I love my work because everyday i am forced to challenge my assumptions and fix broken systems”. Read more about her work on Huff Post. She was  among 50 people invited to attend the Annual World Economic Forum , in Davos in Jan this year.  Sanjana is also the founder of the water bowl project:

healthy plants

Here are some  excerpts from a free-wheeling conversation with Sanjana. The text is interspersed with images of her lush green, healthy, and well taken care of garden in Bangalore.

One Saturday morning, not so long ago, I attended the square foot gardening workshop at Daily Dump in Indira Nagar, Bangalore.  With just one objective: to unlearn whatever little I knew of gardening and growing vegetables/flowering plants in my humble balcony garden. 16 of us got together to begin the day with some yummy cookies. For the rest of the day, we were known not by our names, instead our identity was the vegetable/fruit of our choice. Over the past year, I parted away with most of my pots – some that had been with me for years; a few…

There are two things that make me immensely happy in the home : colorful and healthy plants, and of course, a loving family. I’m happy today on seeing some lovely pictures and it’s only fair that you be a part of this too :) Is there any such thing as too many plants or too much color!

I guess not, that’s what Madhu believes in. Madhu is a landscape designer and takes up projects for terrace gardening, houses, hotels, resorts, corporate offices etc.

Let’s go on a tour of her terrace and balcony garden:

Colorful balcony garden idea

Colorful balcony garden idea

I love winter in Bangalore. From October through April, my south facing balcony gets a good amount of sunlight that does a world of good for my plants. Flowering plants like petunia, glaxonia do well this time of the year. Bougainvilleas of all colors have been blooming in my apartment garden. We had a sprawling passion flower creeper at the entrance and every morning when I dropped by son to school, we would stop by for a few minutes to smell and admire the blooms. Most would be in the bud stage but by afternoon, they would all be in…

This is a virtual tour of Vriksha Nursery in Mumbai.

Every store owner I’ve spoken to has exhibited that one quality that sets them apart and keeps them going day after day: passion. But, at Vriksha, it was a tad different. The e-mail exchange was full of life, energy to go on, and enthusiasm to do more – it felt as if I were there in Mumbai amidst the greens. I felt happy knowing Vriksha. Yes, happy, was the word I was looking for to describe my virtual experience of Vriksha.

I wrote to Shaan Lalwani, horticulturist and nurturer of Vriksha nursery. His parents created this green heaven in Mumbai 34 years ago. Yes. 34 years. Gardening is close to my heart and I know for many of you too.  There’s tons of priceless information, here, in this post from Shaan, that comes with experience. So soak it all up and let’s put it to good use in our gardens.

Snippets of my conversation with Shaan:

A little background about Vriksha in Shaan’s words:  “Vriksha has 100 different herbs fruits and vegetables (local and exotic) all for sale at the nursery. The idea here is to make gardening interactive:  carnivorous plants, insect repelant plants, edibles, aroma plants etc. I’m 26 years old and thankfully have a team of 45 people willing to try (sometimes fail) new things.

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Mom is into the 6th year and next year she heads to japan to give her teacher level exam under the grandmaster in japan. She arranges flowers in offices, hotels, events in mumbai and thankfully she still after 25 years in the line still wants to do something diffrent…

1.  What would be the ideal potting mix – soil and cocopeat and in what proportions for a balcony? 

Every nursery has their own little concoction when it comes to garden soil ….some say 50-50 some say 70-30…our soils at the nursery are a family recipe 30-mud-30-cocopeat-30-coal-10 sand(leached). Reason we do that is it keeps the soil light and airy…also I’ve been playin with the idea of wood chips in india  for a while results are awaited …