What do you need to make a spectacular garden? A large plot? Ask this question to Preetha, a native of Kollam. In her opinion, there is only one essential requirement: fall in love with flowers and flowering plants. She said this in the light of her own experience. She has created an alluring flower garden in a space as limited as three quarters of a cent!
Preetha’s has her house built on plot of four and a half cents in Ashraamam, Kollam. In the surplus area after building the house, she created this enticing flower garden.
The Terracotta triumph
Sunlight falls directly only on the area between the house and the compound wall. Therefore, only those plants that need more sunlight are placed here, while other leafy plants are arrayed in the garden. Plants that require to be kept under the shade are placed on the walls of the car porch and the window shades. Hanging plants are placed on the walls using hangers. Flower plants are planted in attractive terracotta flower pots. There are a wide range of handpicked terracotta pots in a variety of stunning designs. Every plant in this garden is aesthetically arranged along with terracotta sculptures and pebbles. “Whenever I come across a terracotta sculpture, I would buy it at any cost” said Preetha.
The plants require a lot of attention and care. Water and manure are not the only things that they required. You need to remove the fallen leaves and flowers, every day. Each plant requires personal attention. Overgrown branches have to be pruned. You also need to gently loosen the mud in the pot time to time. The flower pots are handpicked according to the shape and features of each plant. Pebbles are strewn over the soil to add beauty to the flower pot.
Only organic fertilizers are used here. As packaged cow dung is available nowadays, there is no need for one to opt for other manures. The flower pots also need your attention and care, just like the flowers. Regularly remove the mildew and fungi from the flower pots and wash them well. Apply terracotta paint on the pots once a year.
Each plant is special
This garden mostly comprises of indigenous plants, as they do not require elaborate care like the exotic plants. Some plants are relocated according to the climatic changes. Earlier there were many ‘pathumani pookal’ here. But, during the monsoon, they were replaced with leafy plants. During the blooming season, a major portion of the garden is occupied by the flowering plants.
Since Preetha is working as a professor in a college, it is not easy for her to dedicate a lot of times towards maintaining her garden. That is the reason why she has not planted those varieties of plants that demand more care. Neither does she have a craze for collecting new plants. Sometime ago, she had indulged in collecting a variety of orchid. But, as she could not nurse them properly, all of them withered away. Preetha's husband Sugathan and daughter Lakshmi also help her to take care of her plants
A shoot of rose plant or a sapling gifted by some neighbor can magically transform into a mesmerizing garden if you are ready to nurture them with a tinge of love. Preetha’s garden stands as a living testimony to this magic!