By Fareeha Qayoom
Have shelved the idea of ‘green’ roof and terraces at home indefinitely after lots and lots of research. Again, you have to prepare your roof and terraces, making them water proof, root proof and ensuring they can bear the weight of vegetation, plants and soils – minimum 150 KGs per square inch. Yes, all that wasted space that could have been better utilized by creating additional green spaces but at this point, it will take too many resources…if I ever build a house from scratch, I will ensure the roofs and terraces are secured for ‘green’ or live gardens.
Instead I started a potted indoor garden at work – around my work area. I started with 6 plants initially back in February. Five of them are dead now – apparently, I was had. Not all of them were evergreen or appropriate for indoors. Only one survived.
I added three species of ferns as well in the mix– initially, they thrived at room temperatures but when the air conditioning came on, their growth slowed down plus they didn’t require as much watering because of cooler room temperatures. Unfortunately, over one weekend, they dried up and shriveled since they like moist soils and tropical temperatures to thrive. April was hot, air-conditioning doesn’t work on the weekends and they don’t get watered on Saturdays and Sundays. Two of the species revived but one died in spite of my best efforts. I am still watering them living in hope. (By the way, over-watering can kill the plants as well. Too little or too much is my everyday nightmare now…! :D)
I also brought a few ferns for home. They are thriving, sitting pretty in the porch. They are also in pots. However, it could be that I am not prime care giver– (our gardener takes care of the front and back yards) – plus the fact that they get lots of natural light and air. My eldest sister also bought a few plants for the back yard and the front porch. They are doing well too.
I still have to work out what to get for my indoor garden at home. I guess not all rooms will be appropriate for indoor plants. I have to select rooms that get lots of natural light and air…other alternative is to rotate them, one week in, one week out.
I am still researching this project. Not sure what to get. You can grow useful plants like fruits and vegetables in the pots as well. Also, have to collect a few interesting planters for indoors as well. Apparently, the planters and pots are sometimes more expensive than the plants!
My sourcing also needs work – I am still looking for a (plant) nursery that charges reasonable amounts for plants so I can develop an on-going relationship with them…there are nurseries and there are nurseries. Not all of them stock a good variety of evergreen indoor plants, vegetable and fruit seeds and plants and trees…or know the names of the plants they sell, stock fertilizer, tell you about their care, or give after sales service.
However in spite of all these frustrations, I am hooked. Gardening is a very rewarding hobby. You can literally see the fruits of your labor right in front of your eyes! ;D