Hansi Mehrotra, 40, is an entrepreneur who loves plants, but does not have a green thumb. While searching for a gardener to maintain the greens at her Bandra home, Mehrotra chanced upon Dirt, a recycling and gardening centre that offers low-maintenance plants that can be installed with an automatic watering system.
Now, Mehrotra’s home holds fresh basil and lemongrass plants, growing out of a funky PVC pipe that hangs from a grille in her balcony. The pipe is connected to a water outlet. “I can go to work without worrying about the plants,” she says. “I also now have fragrant plumeria flowers potted in old trunks.”
With city homes getting smaller, indoor vertical gardens, or plants that attach to walls or ceilings, are gaining ground.
“Not only do they occupy less space, such gardens are unusual and can be designed in interesting patterns,” says Ambarish Raj, founder of Kyaaree, which sells planters, gardening tools and vertical garden arrangements. “A 2 ft x 2 ft vertical garden can accommodate about 20 plants.”
Choose a space creatively. “I got a vertical garden to cover my ugly air-conditioner grill,” says Rahat N, a 40-year-old construction entrepreneur from Malad.“It’s eco-friendly, using recycled PET bottles as planters, which do not let water log and prevent mosquitoes.”
To get his balcony garden growing, chartered accountant Unni Krishnan Anchery, 58, sought the help of Let’s Hug The Nature, an eight-monthold garden makeover company that offers ‘designer balconies’, which range between Rs 2,000 and Rs 20,000, depending on the area and customer preferences.
“We can decorate your home with growing bougainvillea, verbena or other flowering plants that add aesthetic value, and also reduce the heat,” says Krishna Kumar, 25, founder, Let’s Hug The Nature.
Natasha D’Costa, founder of Dirt, adds that large paint buckets with plants growing from slots in them can be used as coffee tables. “There is a reservoir at the base to ensure sufficient water. Plants that are low-maintenance can be planted in these buckets and covered with a sturdy top, to be used as a table or a seat,” she says. “Periwinkle attracts butterflies, and the basil plan repels mosquito. They can be easily placed in home gardens or on balconies, and we can colour the buckets and give them interesting textures.”
You can also make an edible wall in your home — a vertical garden of spinach, amaranth and coriander leaves, for instance, all of which have shallow roots. “They give a fresh feel to the house, and can be plucked off to use in cooking,” says Kirtane.
Plants you can wear
Carry your love for plants around, with rings and pendants that have real, miniature plants that you can wear as jewellery.
AVAILABLE AT: www.etsy.com, at prices that start from Rs 500
Find ornamental garden lamps, coral shells, hanging planters and clay figures of yoga-doing frogs at The Green Window
For customised terrariums, planters and designer balconies from Let’s Hug the Nature --> VISIT: www.facebook.com/celebrateletshugthenature
Buy DIY kitchen gardening kits to grow your own basil, oregano, thyme or rosemary. You can even get a spring garden salad kit with lettuce, arugula, celery and cilantro plants.
COST: Rs 330 to Rs 500