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Top 5 garden trends for 2016

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Gardens in India tend to be rather eclectic. In urban and rural areas many gardens are a mix of ornamental and vegetable gardening. Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra both encourage gardening and the Vastu-oriented gardens grow plants such as basil, money tree (pachira aquatica) and the propitious bamboo plants.

In some cities such as Bangalore, Pune and to some extent Hyderabad we get to see flowers both in gardens and on the roadside trees. People especially those living in big cities are showing a greater interest in growing plants and vegetables either in their patios, balconies or on the terraces. Corporates too are looking at living walls and other indoor gardens.

Some of the trends which might be here long term are growing veggies, container gardens, drought resistant and air purifying plants and indigenous plants. The need to plant and nurture native varieties of plants and trees is important. Nizhal, a Chennai-based trust which has created a lot of awareness about trees in this southern metro also propagates the need to plant indigenous varieties vis-a-vis exotic trees.

Theme gardens and designer plant containers are also part of the trends in gardening. S.M.Krishnappa, the owner of Garden Pallets, Bangalore and a part of Krishnendra Nursery believes that green is the color which is going to rule the minds of the home owners in the coming decade.

One gardening trend in Europe, predicted for this year, is vivid colours: vibrant gerbera and dianthus, an old favourite with wonderfully fragrant flowers planted in drifts rather than dotted around the beds. Black houses and fences painted in dark solid colours is a trend in Europe while in the US people paint their houses in deep blue or navy blue colours to contrast and complement their gardens.

A quick, easy and cost-effective way to make an enormous difference to the look of a garden, and to keep it trendy is the use of bedding plants. Bedding, in horticulture, refers to the temporary planting of fast-growing plants into flower beds to create colourful, temporary, seasonal displays, during spring, summer or winter. Generally annuals are used for bedding.

The following are the trends emerging this year:

1. Rain water harvesting: In many parts of India, water is a scarce commodity, so watering your lawn or garden is frowned upon. Rain water harvesting is the way out. The rain water pond or tank should be incorporated into your garden design. This pond could be designed using water plants, round stones and even fish (to keep the mosquitoes at bay).

2. Growing veggies organically: Edible garden is a phrase which you will hear more of this year. More and more people are planting tomatoes, chilies, okra, brinjals and greens in containers and pots. Many terraces have been completely given for organic vegetable gardens. You will even find gourds and squashes growing in people’s terrace gardens.

3. Indoor gardens: A lot of people who live in high rise buildings feel that there should be some greenery in their lives. Plants help to unwind and de-stress. Today there is large variety of options for those who don’t have a green thumb. You could invest in an exotic terrarium or a lowly rubber plant in a pot and feel quite happy about it. Many offices are adding a living wall as part of the office décor. A new trend which is emerging is to grow herbs and other greens in pots and make them look decorative too.

4. Using natives: Growing drought resistant and native varieties is important. These plants need very little maintenance and they grow well as this is their natural habitat. You must remember that many of the flowering trees and plants in our cities and towns are exotic varieties, such as jacaranda and bougainvillea.
Some of these imports such as chilies, onions, potatoes and tomatoes, to name a few, have been beneficial and integrated well with our soil and culinary culture. However, some others such as parthenium, lantana and aquatic weeds were a misadventure. While the parthenium or congress grass is supposed to have come in with wheat imports, the other two were introduced into botanical gardens.

5. Easy maintenance: Since gardeners and other domestic help are not easy to get, gardens, especially the outdoor ones, have to be easy to manage. The key to this is getting the right kind of plants; plants that don’t need too much of maintenance or daily watering. Lawns are quite difficult to maintain unless you can do the mowing yourself. If help is hard to find, plants that you select must be perennial and multi-seasonal.

Nina Varghese for IndiaProperty.com

Image: By Dennis Brown – Self., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24878377

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