Gardening, one of the simplest hobbies, serves multiple benefits: it's one of the best ways to commune with nature, it's good for the environment, and it also has cognitive health benefits for you. No wonder so many of Bollywood's celebrities have taken to gardening. While Anushka Sharma admits to enjoy setting up home gardens with her dad in her free time, Deepika Padukone is happy watering her new rose plant. Twinkle Khanna, on the other hand, has a full-fledged garden that she tends to and constantly posts pictures from.
With summer upon us, the time is ripe to try setting up home gardens, to ensure a stress-free zone where you can simply take time out to be with your plants. In order to help you set up your own home garden, ELLE got Karan Singh Parmar, founder of Twelve Tomatoes (a business that specialises in floristry and terrace gardening) to give us some tips for beginners.
1. Take out time every day
"What tyros don't realise is that it takes time and patience to maintain a garden. I suggest taking out an hour every day and spending time with your plants. Since it's summer, the best time to do this is either in the morning or in the evening," says Karan, who adds that he often loses track of time when he's gardening, especially since he tends to over 600 plants at his home.
2. Start with the sturdiest and the cheapest plants
"To start a garden, get the strongest plants (like a money plant) that don't require much maintenance. If you don't have space at home, you can experiment with DIY vertical gardens made of shoe racks or upcycled plastic bottles. Alternatively, you can also start with flower saplings or seasonal saplings that you can take care of, and once they wither away, you can get new ones. The best, colourful flowers for summer that will radiate happiness are: ixora, champa, canna and zinnia."
3. If not plants or flowers, go for vegetables
"If you want to try growing your own food, I would suggest starting off with cucumber, bitter gourd, corn or tomatoes. You can also try growing your own herbs like coriander or mint."
4. Don't have space? Opt for indoor gardening
"Those who don't have a terrace can choose plants like terrariums and ferns that are low maintenance and need water once in ten days. Then there are oxygen bomb plants like the spider plant and mother-in-law's tongue that double up as air-purifiers because they increase the oxygen level and absorbs harmful gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. You can keep these plants anywhere — from your bathroom to your bedroom."
5. Pick your plants wisely
"When at a nursery, pay close attention to whether the plants are kept under shade or under direct sunlight. If they're the former, then they are indoor plants that require shade, and if they're the latter, then they're outdoor plants that will die if they don't get adequate sunlight."
6. Do it with joy
"Gardening, for me, is therapeutic. Nothing will give you more joy than to see your seed germinate and then slowly blossom into a flower. It's perfect for those leading stressful lives and those suffering from anxiety," recommends Karan.