My Balcony Garden #1
What is the one thing that adds the shine to my day? What is it that makes me awestruck every single day? It is the flowers and plants in my balcony garden. Every morning, the first thing I do on waking up is to go and say hello to all my plants, and to check out if they are all doing well. A new bloom, a new shoot, fresh new leaves, there is always something new that greets you.
I started my balcony garden as a flower garden.Hibiscus, jasmine, impatiens, begonia, chrysanthemums, marigolds, petunia, periwinkle, bougainvillea, water lilies all helped to brighten the space. I just wanted a lot of colour all year round. I was not too particular about having some rare exotic plant.
I must, however, confess my partiality towards the water lily. There is a freshness and a charm about the water lily, unmatched by any other flower, at least in my eyes. But it was a challenge to grow them on the balcony. I had seen in my earlier houses that these plants do well with a lot of sun. And my present balcony facing south, had the full sun only during winter months. But I have persisted, and I have 3 tubs with lilies growing in them. I learnt that the easiest to grow is the Dauben, which flowers throughout the year, continually and consistently. You were always assured of one flower at least on any day. That was good enough for me. I put in some guppies in the water to take care of mosquito larvae. These fishes did not need any special feed, they multiplied on their own, giving birth to baby fishes. And so my lily ponds have been thriving, that is, after covering the balcony with a bird net. In the beginning pigeons found the water tub just the right place for a bird bath. But as they had their fun and frolic, they destroyed the plants, leaving poor me upset and fuming, and having to also clean up the balcony.
But the last few months have made me realise the usefulness of growing some edible items, especially quick growing greens and herbs that are perennial. Because of the limited space I have had to make choices, and turn my balcony into an edible garden. I now therefore grow tulsi, lemon grass, tomatoes, mint, celery, basil, rosemary, asian chives, spring onions, sweet potatoes, colocasia, bitter gourd, malabar spinach, passion fruit, aloe vera, methi, oregano, curry leaves, pea shoots, turmeric, ginger etc. I am now able to harvest a few edible leaves daily for use in a green smoothie or chutney or roti or in an omelette. My morning tea is flavoured with lemon grass growing abundantly in my garden.
I find gardening to be very relaxing. Being with nature calms the nerves. It is exciting to see the first shoots and leaves come up. It also pays dividends by providing you with some clean nutritious food although not fully sufficient for your needs. If you have not started a garden yet, it is the right time to start one. Even if you don't have the space and soil, you can grow microgreens on your kitchen counter. So, I suggest you get going. I can assure you that it is very rewarding to nurture a plant, which in turn nurtures you.
Note: There will be some more posts relating to balcony gardening, useful for beginners. Watch this space. The link is https://www.onebighappyfamily.in