Love thy garden | india | Hindustan Times
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Love thy garden

For avid gardeners, indoor plants take a backseat in winter. For the next few months, right up to March, Lutyens’s lawns and suburban balconies will be bordered with the likes of Dahlias, Marigold Incas, Calendulas, Pansies, Petunias, Phlox, Asters, and Cinerarias, writes Nivriti Butalia.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2009 23:52 IST
Nivriti Butalia

For avid gardeners, indoor plants take a backseat in winter. For the next few months, right up to March, Lutyens’s lawns and suburban balconies will be bordered with the likes of Dahlias, Marigold Incas, Calendulas, Pansies, Petunias, Phlox, Asters, and Cinerarias.

But Dahlias, apparently, should not be planted all at once. A.M. Khan, the passionate gardener and owner of Rajdhani Nursery in Jor Bagh, recommends ek hatfe ka gap dena chahiye (plant the Dahlias over a week). If you sow the bulbs in installments of two and three the flowers will bloom, not all together, but over a few weeks. And your garden will last right till March.

At 66, Khan, who did the landscaping for the Radisson Hotel on NH8, knows his Sakata Pansy (a Japanese variety) from his Marigold Inca (huge blooms of genda phool).

He’s also a troubleshooter of sorts and will suggest just the right plant if you’re looking for a gift — Adeniums, that mostly look like Bonsais and are low on maintenance, cost Rs 300. If you want a pot of that reddish looking reminder-of-Christmas flower, Masjid Nursery on Pandara Road has some gorgeous Poinsettias for Rs 300 a plant, all potted and ready to gift.

While giving you a tour of the nursery, Khan points out the flowers in season, saplings available, and their prices. A single rooted cutting of Carnation (the same flower for which you will pay upto Rs 50 a stem on Valentine’s Day if roses run out) is for Rs 20. A potted Verbena is for Rs 40 and a Pink Pixie Plumeria is for anything between

Rs 100 and Rs 1,000, depending on the age — the younger, the cheaper. But Delhiites don’t seem to hesitate to whip out their wallets.

Money in your palms

The real money though comes from palms — apart from bonsais and exotic flowers. Think of them as an investment. Dev Gujral of the Landscape Development Nursery on Sohna Road says, “Sicus palms are common. Any body who knows about gardening knows at least this one name.” But there are 100 varieties of palms, and at least 70 of them are in and around Delhi.

The road to the international airport is a good place to look out for Phoenix Palms — a full-grown version of which is for about Rs 40,000. The Delhi Metro office buildings, too, seem to have taken to it. The names are interesting. Have you, for instance, heard of the Champagne palm that looks like a bottle of bubbly and costs Rs 25,000?

Do people buy? Yes. Not so much for their homes as for commercial properties. While people who garden as a hobby buy saplings and derive pleasure from watching them grow, owners of resorts want adult palms, impressive for their size and are willing to pay what it costs. Gujral says there are plenty of takers for the newer varieties. A type of Washingtonia palm, in demand, for example, has silver-coloured leaves.

The species and the circumference of the base determine the price of palms. There is a 20-year-old palm called the Bow Bow Adansonia that costs Rs 15,000. The beauty lies in its stump.

It seems there are different plants for different folks. And Delhi doesn’t lack in varieties of either.