Maintaining your home garden | Daily News

Maintaining your home garden

The elaborate and beautiful The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is perhaps one of the original models of edible landscaping. It is said to have been a creation of stupendous beauty with a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. According to some sources the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 and 562 BC, built the Hanging Gardens, so we can place its existence in that time period. Though some cast doubt about its actual existence, it is a perfect example of man’s desire for beautiful gardens.

People realized that in addition to growing crops that provided a nutritious, healthy and balanced diet they could also beautify their gardens by growing crops that provided this diet as well as make the garden attractive. However beautiful gardens continue to exist and are not confined to ancient times. From the 10 of the most beautiful from across the globe, Kenrokuen, Kanazawa, Japan is rated as one of the most beautiful and one of the finest examples of Japanese gardens. It was built over the course of 200 years. This shows how much precision and love has gone into designing this beautiful garden. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is known for its 200 cherry trees. The cherry fruit is packed with full of health-benefiting nutrients and unique antioxidants. ‘Green Thumbs’ speaks to Deputy Provincial Director of Agriculture Office Ratmalana, District Agriculture Instructor K. N. K. Jayathilake on edible landscaping and its benefits. There are obviously mental and emotional benefits in maintaining a beautiful home garden similar to mental and emotional benefits that you get from listening to music. “There is immense satisfaction in maintaining a beautiful home garden that provides all of your needs. Of course there needs to be a certain plan when maintaining a home garden that provides nutrition and one that is pleasant to look at. There are so many features to a Home Garden – such as flower beds, pathways in the garden, ponds with or without fish and arches,” said Jayathilake. Ornamental plants are known for their attractive leaves more than the flowers. The shape and colour of the leaves is very pleasing. So the idea here is dual purpose. “Rambutang, Pineapple and Mango are three of the most popular fruits in Sri Lanka. In addition to being very nutritious the colours of red, yellow and green can really enhance the beauty of the home garden. Of course these fruit trees need plenty of sunlight and in addition to providing nutrition and beauty they provide shade which can be very soothing,” explained Jayathilake. Bushes are another beautiful feature of the home garden. Bushes with all kinds of bright flowers can drive away any feeling of melancholy. However if we can grow Oranges, Lemon, Carambola (star fruit) and Pomegranate, we can have a garden that is a splash of beautiful colours. These bushes must also be grown in places with adequate sunlight. “Aroma is also another factor we must consider. The sense of smell can instantly titillate the taste buds. Smelling fresh vegetables and fruits coupled with knowledge that it is home grown is very gratifying,” added Jayathilake In small spaces it is a very good idea to grow creepers since they are vertical. Hanging creepers with flowers is also one way of making your home garden more interesting. Here you can grow Spinach and Wing bean creepers which is practical and healthy. “Erosion can also be a problem in your home garden. You need to control the erosion. This can be controlled by cultivating cover crops. For this you can use leafy vegetables – Gotukola, Mukunuwenna and Aloe Vera. Sweet Potatoes are a beautiful shade of yellow and are nutritious,” pointed out Jayathilake. Another way you can beautify your garden is through creating borders. For this you can use water ponds. Water is one of the most beautiful creations of nature. It is soothing and refreshing. Around pond borders you can grow Kan-Kung. “If you are creating pathways in the garden you can grow on the borders - Cabbage, Radish, Chinese Cabbage, Dubai Rose and Mukunuwenna. It is a good idea to mix these plants with each other. Borders for the plant beds can consist of lettuce, leaf vegetables and radish,” said Jayathilake.

In your home garden you need plenty of compost. If you want to have a healthy home garden you need plenty of rich compost. Crops grown with organic fertilizer are much tastier and healthier than crops grown with chemical fertilizer. The crops need necessary nutrition for growth and a quality harvest

“It is also important to have a surplus. If you do not have a surplus when the stock of plants is over you will be left with a barren land. Always have a surplus of fruits and vegetables so when the present batch has been used up there will always be an extra crop. In addition to all of this there needs to be proper irrigation in the home garden. The plants need to be pruned so the garden will not look uncared for and wild. It has to be harvested at the proper time,” said Jayathilake.


10 of the Most Beautiful Gardens around the World

Kenrokuen, Kanazawa, Japan

Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Pattaya, Thailand

Gardens of Versailles, Versailles, France

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, New York, New York

Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech, Morocco

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Italy

Summer Palace, Beijing, China



Compost is a natural fertilizer made from decomposed leaves and animal remains. Since urban home gardens are not located in a village setting, cow dung and waste from other farm animals like chickens will not be readily available. This is why we can use kitchen waste that will be composed of discarded vegetables. In an urban home gardens the material used is available in the home itself. Trees and bushes can be pruned and added to the barrel method or the live compost cone method. All this will cost you very little.



What is the point of having an inanimate, dull and lifeless home garden? It is boring! What is the point of a silent and desolate home garden? You need to interact with your home garden! It needs to interact with you! There needs to be the sound of birds and bees! It has to be full of life! Animals (with the exception of pests) breathe life into the beauty! The butterflies, chirping of birds in the sunlight and shade, and the wind moving through the leaves, the natural coolness that the garden brings all bring value to the home garden and the movement of squirrels. 


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