Selecting plants for indoors
INDOOR GREENERY: Man's demand for living plants in his surroundings
increases as our society becomes more and more urban. Interior use of
plants brings us closer to nature and satisfies that innate desire most
of us have to live in an environment filled with living green plants.
Foliage plants are excellent for indoor culture since they are able
to survive environmental conditions unfavourable to many other plants.
Almost any plant grown primarily for its leaf characteristics rather
than flowers and utilised for interior decoration or landscape purposes
is called a foliage plant.
Many of the more popular foliage plants originated in the tropics and
were gathered by plant collectors travelling in these areas. Foliage
plants were originally maintained in collections and botanical gardens.
Everyone can grow foliage plants indoors with little effort if the
right plant is used in the right location.
The use of live foliage plants brings individuals closer to an
outdoor type of environment, and the large variety of plants gives us
the opportunity to select species that will serve as attractive
additions to interior decor.
Large-leaved species such as rubber plants, monstera, dumb-cane and
philodendrons are especially suited to commercial building interiors.
They provide the size required to make them focal points in interior
landscaping. Smaller specimens can serve a similar purpose in the home
or apartment. Even smaller plants like peperomia, prayer plant, pothos
and others are well suited as accessory decorations such as dish
Light is probably the most important factor to consider when
selecting a plant for interior use. Without ample light, plants
deteriorate quickly and must be replaced. Many foliage plants require
moderately high intensity but those native to tropical rain forests are
injured when placed in full sun.
Dozens of foliage plants grow well in medium light areas four to
eight feet from windows. Included here are ferns, dracaenas, nephthytis,
philodendrons, begonias, peperomias, pothos, wax plant and many others.
Proper selection of foliage plants for different areas of the home
will reward you with colourful and functional additions to your interior
Flower of the week: Time-honoured way to say "I love you": Red Roses
As one of the most enduring symbols for love and appreciation, it's
no surprise that roses are among the most admired and evocative of
Red roses, as we think of them today, are the traditional symbol for
love and romance.
The modern red rose we are now familiar with was introduced to Europe
from China in the 1800s. However, the meanings associated with them can
be traced back many centuries, even to some of the earliest societies.
The colour red itself evolved from an early primal symbol for life
into a metaphor for deep emotion.
In Greek and Roman mythology the red rose was closely tied to the
goddess of love. Many early cultures used red roses to decorate marriage
ceremonies and they were often a part of traditional wedding attire.
Through this practice, the red rose became known as a symbol for love
and fidelity. As the tradition of exchanging roses and other flowers as
gifts of affection came into prevalence, the red rose naturally became
the flower of choice for sending the strongest message of love.
This is a tradition that has endured to the present day. The red rose
has long symbolized beauty and perfection.
A bouquet of red roses is the perfect way to express your deep
feelings for someone special on Valentine's Day.
Garden Guide: Making a simple garden pond
If you would like to have a pond in your garden, but cannot spend a
small fortune constructing it and have no intention of bequeathing it to
your progeny, there is a simple way to realizing your wishes.
All you will need is some thick (500+ gauge or microns) polythene and
of course, a hole in the ground. Follow the diagrams below and create a
pond of your own fancy.
Before you start, give sufficient thought to two important issues -
safety and public health. If you have little kids around, do not make
the pond any deeper than 20-25 cm, to minimize the risk of accidental
drowning. Infants can drown in even a few centimeters of water.
Kids have a magnetic attraction to water and a strong fascination
with fish and pond creatures. Deeper ponds can become difficult to keep
clean and may require equipment for aeration if you plan to have large
Next, in these times when the mosquito is a strong contender for
'Public Enemy No. 1' status and viruses in the guise of dengue and
chikungunya are rampant, you do not want another breeding ground for
Therefore, first make up your mind that you actually want a pond and
then make a strong commitment that you will maintain it, by having
larvae-eating fish like guppies or Siamese fighters and will regularly
inspect the pond for any mosquito larvae.
Under proposed new legislation, you can be fined Rs 25,000 if your
pond is neglected and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes!
A polythene-lined pond is not a new idea and many a landscaping
exhibit at a garden show or exhibition is made using this concept.
It has been promoted as a reservoir for storing water in farms, for
both irrigation and livestock, for collection and storage of rainwater
and also for commercial fishponds.
The chief attractions of a polythene-lined pond are its low cost,
flexibility in terms of its use (it can be moved around a farm or
estate) and the do-it-yourself ease of construction. The chief drawback
is the size of the polythene sheet or sleeve.
The maximum available size may be 2 m in width (by opening up a 1 m
sleeve), which means your pond will have to be small, generally 1-1.5 m
in width and 20-30 cm deep. You can however make it as long as possible.
Dedicated pond liners are available from a few suppliers and have the
advantage that sheets can be heat-sealed to get whatever size you
The location of the pond is a matter of choice and must fit into the
overall landscape of the garden. It can be in the shade of a tree, in
which case, be prepared to remove fallen leaves etc regularly. If it is
in full sunlight, you may need to top up the water frequently because
evaporative losses will be higher.
On the other hand, flowering water plants like Nil Manel will prefer
the light. The other consideration is the slope of the garden as you
would not want rain water runoff to flow into your pond and flood it.
High ground is advisable.
If your garden is on a slope or you have different levels, be
ambitious and consider a multi-level pond system with two or more ponds
at different levels.
If you have a garden pump, you can arrange it such that water flows
from the upper pond to the lower one, with the pump re-circulating the
water to the upper pond.
First spread the polythene sheet on the ground and get an idea of the
boundaries of the pond. Leave about 20 cm for the overlap and 20-30 cm
for the depth on each side - the rest is the width/diameter of the pond.
Mark the boundaries on the ground, by sprinkling some sand or
powdered brick. An irregular shape, with coves and protrusions adds to
the aesthetic appeal.
Then remove the soil from the intended pond area to the required
depth. Ensure that all sharp objects that are likely to damage the
polythene are removed, from both bottom and sides.
If you have an old piece of rexine or vinyl sheet, place it at the
bottom, to give further protection to the polythene liner. A layer of
clay or fine sand can also be used for the bottom.
Then lay the liner according to the outlines of the pond, with the
overlap on the sides. Don't try to spread it too tightly - instead, fill
with water and allow the water to push the polythene to the edges of the
Carefully remove any creases in the polythene, but do not worry if
you cannot, as with time, the creases get covered by algae and water
plants and are then hardly noticeable. Place heavy stones/cabbook along
the outline of the pond over the polythene overlaps to keep it from
The next activity is to add the plants, both around and inside the
pond and enhance the immediate landscape. We will examine this subject
in some detail next week, such as addition of logs, garden ornaments,
lanterns etc to give your pond that extra bit of appeal.