At home, many of us have a small patch or some barren land that was supposed to be a luscious green garden but it has somehow ended up being an empty space ruining the overall the aesthetic of your space. However, if done right, that very space can become one of the most beautiful areas in your house. You might not know where and how to start and gardening can be pretty time consuming too. But with a little patience and a few hours during the weekends, you can get your garden looking beautiful in no time. Here, Kalpana Gautam, who has been running Gautam Nursery in Kaushaltar, Bhaktapur for nearly a decade now, answers the questions that most of us have when it comes to making the most of our garden space.
What is the one thing you should look into before setting up a garden?
The first thing to do is check your soil. Does it have a lot of sand? Does it have enough moisture? If not, you might have to get new soil. The best soil is loam soil. A loam soil contains a nice balance of silt, sand, and clay along with humus. It has a good a neutral pH level, is perfect for most plants, holds moisture well as well as easily mixes with compost. It also has high calcium level which helps plants grow. Similarly, as it is a mixture of silt, sand, and clay, it has a gritty texture that grips the plants well. The soil texture also retains water and plant nutrients. This benefits the plants and they are better able to survive and flourish. Also, since the soil is crumbly, air flows easily all the way to the roots. It’s only after making sure that the soil is good that you should proceed with adding life to your garden.
How do we choose what plants we want to put in our garden?
It all depends on the season. If you want your garden to be bright and full of flowers, it’s good to go to a nursery and buy those flowers that are in season. A good garden is a mixture of greens and colorful flowers. Greens like cycas and date palms tend to last for a long time, so it’s a good idea to have them in your garden. Another thing to be careful about is the size of your garden. If you have a small space, it’s best to choose plants with smaller, softer roots as big plants with thick roots might weaken the walls and the base of your home. Similarly, having a luscious, green spread of bermudagrass always gives a cleaner as well as a more sophisticated feel to your garden.
Could you run us through the basics of gardening?
Whenever you get a plant for the first time, it’s important to get a few things right. The first thing is the young plant must be nurtured in a coco peat that is an alternative to potting soil. It has high water retention, suitable aeration, and antifungal benefits. Basically, it’s a more nutritious soil for your young plant before it is introduced to a little tougher soil. The second thing to take care of is how to introduce the plant to the soil. Usually, the plants you buy are potted plants and so it is up to you how you plant them in your garden. While digging a hole, it should be deep and wide enough for the plant to settle comfortably. Don’t forget to regularly add compost into and around the soil of the plants. Take care that they receive good sunlight and water your plants regularly.
What are some factors we should consider when maintaining a garden?
The main thing is that you have to give time to your garden. The main three things a garden needs to flourish are water, sunlight and nourishment. Many people come and ask me why their garden doesn’t seem to flourish or why their plants die so quickly and, most of the time, it is always because they didn’t water their plants enough. Water is extremely important for plants. It’s how they get minerals and nourishment from the soil into their system. Similarly, whenever you get a plant from a nursery, always ask the person there how to take care of it, what kind of compost makes it flourish the most, how much sunlight and water it needs etc. Also don’t forget to regularly trim the dry leaves and branches of the pants and weed out the space in regular intervals.
Which plants are easy to take care of and you recommend we plant?
In this season, flowers like Pansy, Petunia, Geraniums, Dahlia tend to bloom really well. They will add color to your garden patch and are easy to maintain. Just don’t forget to water them. As for the coming season, Marigold, Hibbertia, Camellia, Dahlia flowers are the best options. As for adding greenery to your garden, you can add ferns like Bird’s nest, Japanese painted fern, Cinnamon fern, Asparagus fern, to name a few. Also, trust yourself when it comes to maintaining your garden. If you really like a certain plant but you hear it’s difficult to maintain, go ahead and plant it. It will be a challenge but it will definitely be worth it.