Greenspiration

My day started with reading this incredible article about a man who took a patch of land outside his home and converted it into the stuff of my dreams.

And then, just as I stepped out for work, the Bangalore landscape just seemed like an extension of the green thoughts from the morning. ย There areย beautiful blooms in a variety of pastels all over the city: lavender, baby pink, egg shell, light rose, pink, violet, golden yellow, and what not. It’s just stunning. I took this pic when I went for chai in the office campus. And my pc doesn’t do even one percent justice to the actual colors.

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So, I was suddenly bitten by the gardening bug about two months ago. On a whim, I went to a nursery and got three plants with varying shades of green. All I wanted at that point was to have some soothing greens in my balcony. I was, and still am so clueless about gardening, that I started off pretty scared. I knew I was green-thumb challenged when I had almost killed the one plant I had. And it was aloe vera, which is supposed to be one of those hardy plants that just grow, irrespective of your complete lack of gardening skills. But then, I casually watered my aloe vera along with the new plants, and in just two days it started looking mighty replenished. I also realized that it wasn’t dead after all. So, apparently you are not supposed to water the plant too frequently anyway. It’s a desert plant and can contain itself without water for weeks. In any case, I saw little pups in the aloe vera pot and replanted these in smaller pots.

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I then started reading about gardening and the plants that are very forgiving and would grow even if you were a terrible gardener. I have been taken by the idea of having a lovely herb garden since as far back as I can remember. I then started reading up about growing herbs. But then the question was, whether to grow them from seeds or cuttings. I decided to experiment with a bit of both. The second question was if I was using cuttings, would I keep them in a glass of water till they sprouted roots, or would I plant thicker twigs in a sapling tray directly. I again decided to try a bit of both.

I got some coco-peat, one bag of potting mix, a couple of medium sized pots and a tiny water spray. I then took a few cuttings of mint and planted them in the tray. Unfortunately, by the next day, most of the leaves had wilted. That’s when I realized that I had sed the thinnest part of the twigs which simply weren’t sturdy enough. So I went to the store and bough another bunch of mint and this time stuck the slightly thicker stems in the sapling tray covered with peat. I then covered it with a plastic and kept watering.

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A lot of these wilted away, but some stayed. After 2 weeks, I transplanted them into bigger paper cups to give them more room for growing. And then another 2-3 weeks later, I stuck in 2-3 twigs with the white roots in one small pot. They are growing slowly but steadily.

I also put a few twigs in a glass of water. In just two days these sprouted (much before I could spot any growth in the sapling tray). So I just took the thick rooted twig and stuck it in a pot. This is how it looks now. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Around the same time I got the mint, I also got some basil and put thicker cuttings in a glass of water. One of them grew fairly strong , thick, white roots. This is how the little stem with one leaf looks now.

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Around the same time, I had also sowed some basil seeds in a sapling tray. Just when I was beggining to lose hope after about 20 days, the little green miniature leaves started peeping out of the soil. There were about 35. Some off them just died, some wilted off, some rotted. It’s been about two months now, and about 15 seedlings that stayed on have only just begun to sprout the second set of real leaves. I intend to transplant all of these in one big rectangular pot.

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In this same period, I tried to work with rosemary. But it didn’t catch on, neither in water, nor in peat. I am wont to believe that Bangalore weather is simply not suitable for rosemary, or that this just isn’t the right way. I also stuck a few thyme prigs in soil a couple of weeks back, but no luck there either.

I am a big fan of lemongrass and had watched several videos about how it’s one of the easiest and hardiest herbs to grow. Around the same time I started with mint, I got a few lemongrass stalks and stuck them in a glass of water and kept it in my balcony. After 8 days the glass went missing. I found out that it had fallen off the balcony, and I never found out what happened to the stalks. I did the same again, and this time all the three stalks started growing roots almost immediately. In fact the leaves had also started coming out while they were still in water. After about 3 weeks, this is what I have.

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While I was dumping my frustration onto my mother, she suggested growing methi (fenugreek) since it grows very easily. I tried for the first time, and it sprouted almost immediately. It however collapsed after it reached about 4 inches high. I harvested it anyway, but didn’t use it. The second time was better, but it still stayed short. I harvested, and used it this time. It was quite delicious.

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I have planted it again for the third time, but don’t expect much else. ย am beginning to wonder if the seeds I am using just don’t grow bigger. This is what I have after a week.

I have also randomly thrown in some organic seeds from chili I used n the kitchen last week. I saw little sprouts peeking out only today. Fingers crossed!

I sowed some alyssium seeds 3 weeks back, but none of them sprouted. I then tried daisy, they sprouted almost immediately, but also wilted and died off right after. Geomphrena seeds have just started sending out dark purple little leaves. Hoping for a miracle here.

All said and done, in just two months, my morning routine has changed. I go to the balcony as soon as I am out of the bed, even before brushing. And then I visit my babies right after I return home from work. It has been a slow process, but I feel so much at peace with myself even when I am in my tiniest garden of barely 12 little pots. ๐Ÿ™‚

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20 comments

  1. Those pink blossoms are just ah-ma-zing. I love them. I encounter two of them everyday and it is like a patch of fairy land around those trees.

    I really envy your little garden. I have been procrastinating on doing this since ages. It was supposed to be part of my Bangalore dream and I even got pots from my home in Pune while moving here.But, I haven’t even removed the bubble wrap from them now ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I also religiously follow all posts on the Organic Terrace Gardening Group on Facebook, but what is the point of only reading as though I am serious about wanting a kitchen garden and doing nothing about it. Maybe I will get around to this next weekend. I am most inspired after your post.

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    1. I know! I just get mesmerized by those lovely colors. And such variety of colors. Makes you forget you’re stuck in traffic jam. There one tree on Jeevan Bhima nagar road. It just makes me cry thinking about how somehting can be so beautiful.

      Omg! I follow OTG on FB too. Man…some of the people are just beyond incredible. Once you unwrap those pots, it’ll just come to you. Until 5-6 months back, I didn’t even care that much about plants. I am from Sangli, and my mother has such a lovely garden around our house. I haven’t even bothered to take a good look at what all she has there. I regret that.

      Oh do start with your kitchen garden!!!! May be we can swap seeds then. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have good sunlight in your balcony, it should be fine. I do think that plants grow a bit slower in balconies than may be in terraces or directly on the ground. But it could also be my inexperience that’s may be hampering the growth. But my mom said that this isn’t the best time for sowing. She said that anything sowed in monsoon just blossoms.

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      1. We are seeing the same tree! I was thinking of the JB nagar one when I wrote this. The other one I pass is on 80 feet road of the party going neighborhood where I live. I will definitely get down to unpacking my pots now. I don’t have a terrace, but get plenty of sunlight. I can certainly use starter seeds for sure ๐Ÿ™‚ And do post pictures of your Sangli garden when you get a chance to.

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      2. No kidding! We live really close by. I haven’t seen the 80ft road tree. I take a different route while returning, so never go there. I might just walk around there today though. Is it close to Spencer’s?

        I don’t have a terrace either. I wish I did. Would have been able to experiment more.

        Oh yes! I’ll ask mum to send me some pics. She has got so much aloevera. It’s like a jungle. And lovely lovely flowers

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      3. Ah okay. We go for a walk around that area some nights. And then drool while looking at the beautiful and “not affordable in this lifetime” bungalows. In those lanes perpendicular to 80 ft road. I’ll be a lookout for that tree the next time I go.

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      4. Woooooowwwww. Thank you! I have been thinking about how we Indians are so dependent on others even when we need to like may be fit a small plank of wood somewhere. I missed it though. I just saw your comment. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        I am definitely RSVPing for the next one. Thank you soooo much for letting me know. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      5. It was only theory, but quite informative. And Hamsa who conducts this agrees with you. He pointed out that very soon we will have to begin doing all of this ourselves because carpenters are dwindling. This is conducted on the last Sunday of every month in case you want to keep an eye out for it.

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      6. Yes, I do. I am travelling next month end, but definitely after that.May end, I am there. Will each workshop be a progression though? Coz then, in May you guys would have gone way ahead.

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      7. It is a one time workshop so don’t worry on that count. He does not do practicals because his lawyer has advised him against that – risk of injury and all that. Another person I met at the event told me Bosch conducts hands on carpentry courses for a fee at Adugodi. Will check that out. She even hosted her son’s birthday party there. Found it really cool, but at a very steep price of course.

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      8. Oh okay. Makes sense. In any case, theory is fine too. Need to start from there. I don’t even know the exact difference between wood, and plywood.

        Yeah, price is going to be an issue. These kind of classes have become quite glamorous these days.

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  2. Your garden looks so green and healthy. I love the basil picture. What big beautiful leaves! Reading your conversation in the comment section with another blogger was quite interesting too. The woodwork workshop, that is so amazing. I often tell my husband that one thing that I will definitely like to have is a workshop at home where I can build stuff from wood. I don’t know when will that happen. Not any time soon, since that would be a lot of investment, money wise, but I am not dying without having build enough pieces and having used them and gifted some to near and dear ones!
    You are so lucky, living in Bangalore. (Dehradun, please don’t feel bitter, I do love you! Really!) There are better plant nursery, there are better organic shops and stuff, better pet shops, better healthcare for pets, especially cats, and now this woodwork and carpentry workshop! And most of all, there are so many bloggers, writing about gardening, food, and what not. There is so much to share.

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    1. Oh yes! Husband and I talk about having at least some life skills. We Indians hardly manage anything. My landlady in UK was so awesome. Every time we called her because of some problem in the house, she’d be there with her tools and fix it herself. I found it so inspiring. I would love to be able to be that self-sufficient.

      Just this morning, i was day-dreaming about making a tiny chest of drawers and gifting it. Right after GM told me about the workshop. But it’s not somehting you can manage in a small flat you know. You need a garage. I can’t wait to settle down in a smaller town.

      Grass is greener on the other side ๐Ÿ˜‰ I always feel how lucky you are to be staying in Dehradun, so close to all the beautiful, natural places. In fact, in smaller towns you don’t need to worry about organic at all. Back home, in Sangli, almost everything is near about natural, if not organic. It’s all sourced locally, and you actually even meet the farmers. Everything is so disconnected here. And it’s all about labels. Trust me, Bangalore has so much traffic, so much pollution. There is so much negativity on the streets, that keeping your calm becomes a tough task everyday.

      But yes, there are a lot of cultural activities happening all the time. And yes, more options for pet care like you said. All the same, everything is so far off, and you get stuck in the traffic for ever. Just yesterday, we went to this area that has a lot of nurseries. It was all of 15 kms away. We left at 11, and returned only at 4:45. Apart from the 1 hour we spent at lunch, and 30 mins in the nursery, rest was pretty much amid the negative, apathetic, chaotic traffic. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      1. I am so sorry! I was not intending to remind you of the negative things around you. I agree. Living in small town one doesn’t need to really worry about ‘organic’. I agree!! For example, I am glad the milk that I have everyday comes from a cow which lives amongst a few, just a few, other cows at a dairy nearby… I meant the activities and the facilities. But yes, with internet at one’s disposal, living in a small city is not such a raw deal.
        Any how, the primary thing is that your little garden looks very beautiful! I can relate to the first thing in the morning and first thing back home part. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      2. I know you didn’t. Sorry for the rant. I didn’t mean to imply that you reminded me of it. That’s something I crib about constantly. The husband and I are the kind of people better suited to life in smaller towns. We are so lazy, that we hardly ever make use of the cultural opportunities that a big city life presents.

        Thanks for the compliments. I hope I stick to gardening though. I am extremely fickle, and have a new fad every few months. I would hate to let this one go.

        How’s your gardening going? The last time you posted pics on FB, your plants were quite big and so sturdy.

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    1. Thankieee. I am goi g to check…and before the flowers all fall off. Did you notice that all these flowers have a very small life? There was a beautiful tree with shiny yellow flowers on 14th Main road, just opp. New Horizon school. After 3-4 days, it’s all bare.

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      1. Yes, unfair that they last for such a short period. I like the yellows and purples too, but the pinks are the favorite. Which is funny cos yellow is usually my color.

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