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Sunday
, September 22, 2002
Garden Life

Trees are the backbone of a lawn
Satish Narula

The moulsari tree has dense foliage
The moulsari tree has dense foliage

A tree is the backbone of any garden. All other features in a garden are more or less temporary but a tree often occupies a permanent place.

The trees in a garden are selected on the basis of purpose, for example for shade, fragrance or flowers, or to line a driveway or avenue. In the home garden, however, the tendency is to accommodate as many fruit trees as possible. Sometimes, out of overenthusiasm, more than the desired number of tree saplings is planted, with the result that when it is time to bear fruit their limbs are strangulated by adjoining trees, causing peripheral barrenness. We will take this up some other time, this week letís focus on some of the non-fruit bearing trees.

In the category of shade-giving trees, a favourite is the moulsari. This ancient evergreen tree with dense foliage is grown for its disciplined canopy. It forms a true umbrella shape. It is, therefore, a natural choice for places where big garden parties are held. It is also an excellent specimen tree. This tree is also most suitable for lining an avenue. Those who have a park in front of their houses can grow it outside too as it is shady and clean, ideal for parking a vehicle under it. The tree bears fragrant white flowers in clusters. Even the berries are yellowish orange and attractive.

EARLIER COLUMNS

A shrub can be the hub of your green patch
September 8, 2002

They have lovely flowers & foliage
August 25, 2002
Make hay even if the sun doesnít shine
August 11, 2002
Plant that has travelled from jungles into homes
July 28, 2002
Orchid cultivation gains momentum in region
July 14, 2002
Ornamental grass adds a touch of class
June 30, 2002
Water features lend a cool touch
June 16, 2002
Plant the canna just before the rains
June 2, 2002
Menace of mango mealy bugs
May 19, 2002


At times I wonder why Sita Ashok, a tree with Indian origin, has escaped the attention of horticulturists. Even in Chandigarh, you can count them on the tips of your finger. No doubt, the tree needs protection from hot winds but then it can be grown in a protected environment. It is an evergreen erect tree with spreading branches that form a good crown. The tree is also valued for its shiny foliage. The leaves are almost a foot or so long with a few pairs of leaflets. The tree is full of colour when young growth emerges. It is coppery red. The tree is valued for its good-sized clusters of orange red flowers that appear in February-March. The tree has religious significance too.

I do not, however, wish to dwell on the medicinal value of the trees as in my opinion it is a disservice to horticulture. If you want to make a species extinct, proclaim its medicinal value and the masses will make a beeline for it. Take the examples of the majestic Arjuna or the delicious and densely leaved jamun tree. The indiscriminate removal of bark is causing the slow and sure death of trees. There are examples galore of leaf and limb removal from trees.

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