The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 14, 2000
Garden Life

Go green with a difference

When one sees see the same plants growing at specific locations, one loses interest in them. When a striking feature of the same plant is carved out or enhanced, it evokes a second look, says Satish Narula

YOU can do wonders with plants, the same plant — when allowed to grow wild — may completely kill the landscape features. Most of the plants are associated with one or the other feature e.g. a clerodendron is associated with hedge-making while durantas are for ground cover and climbers are to be taken up along the wall before being allowed to fall. Changing the role or giving an unusual shape makes all the difference.

A welcome archIt is routine to see the same plants growing at specific locations and one loses interest in them. When a striking feature of the same plant is carved out or enhanced, it evokes a second look. The accompanying picture has clerodendron, a common hedge. In this case it has been trained into an arch, usually a climber for instance bougainvillea is used for arches. One does need a high stool or a ladder to stand on and clip it to keep it in shape. Such aids can also be used to spray trees that grow too high. The junipers that you see in the background in the picture have attained this shape on their own.

Golden duranta is generally used as a ground cover or as an edge. It has become so popular in the last few years that almost every second house has it. But have you ever thought of making a high hedge with it? In case of high hedges you will have to give repeated cuttings in the initial stage so that the lower parts do not end up with sparse foliage.

  Sky-high beautyAnother way of giving a different treatment to the plants is to allow climbers to climb up some wild tree and so that the flowering branches "peep" through the tree canopy.

I have seen that people often let Kali tori or other cucurbit vines climb up a mango or litchi tree and completely cover the tree canopy. Their subsequent complaints that the tree is not bearing fruit properly is not justified.

You may have seen that climbers are used to provide a screen or give a cover to

garden umbrellas or swings but in the picture you will see that golden shower has been made to climb up the drain pipe pillar.

It makes a striking spectacle especially from January to March, when it flowers.

This feature was published on May 7, 2000