I firmly believe that your garden is a reflection of your personality. Today I present my very dear childhood friend Fatima and her husband Akbar’s balcony garden in Pune, India. An aesthetically appealing haven true to the personality of the couple. Akbar is an engineer with a keen interest in gardening and Fatima a brilliant interior designer with solid experience in designing beautiful homes. Yes, you are right-that’s a match made in heaven. They have set up a beautiful garden in a high-rise apartment with limited space. As we go along you will see how their balcony garden resonates with their personality. It was a pleasure to interview them to understand what it took them to design this space in the first place.
The first consideration for them was the limited space they had. I’d say a 120 sq. ft. balcony in an urban space is a luxury and I’m so thrilled that my friends are blessed with it. The top priority was to accommodate plants in such a way that the balcony looked organized and not like a cluttered place. They planned the look and feel of the balcony in a methodical way with a lot of research on design principles and container gardening. The one thing they were careful about was to have lots of low maintenance plants. Therefore, you see crotons and pothos in their balcony.
They wake up to this beautiful and serene view where they sip their morning tea and plan the rest of their day. Their two adorable sons love to hang out in the balcony too. Children who watch their parents garden and tend to their plants; model the same behavior and grow up to be compassionate adults. I learnt that there is a bird’s nest tucked in one of the plants. That the boys tip toe to catch a glimpse of what’s happening in there is the sweetest thing ever.
I was curious to know how they kept their plants so healthy and pat came the answer; they use a watering can where they carefully water each plant depending on how thirsty it is. Individual attention always pays 😊
Fatima loves indoor plants as well. The apartment is beautifully designed with a soothing display of outdoor and indoor plants. I love the combination of plants they use both inside the apartment and outside in the balcony. They have a heady mix of exotic plants and some very local plants. The range is stunning; from Chinese ixora, Cryptanthus, Crotons, Ficus tree, Oleander shrub, Dieffenbachia, Pothos, Ornamental grass, Spider plant, Zamia, kalanchoes, Geraniums to Bougainvillea Glabra. Amazing, isn’t it? To be able to have a small tree in a pot and a beautiful year-round flowering shrub with lots of perennials and annuals all in a cozy balcony with a perfect coffee table setting. Paradise to my mind! Who says you need acres of land to have a garden? If you have a heart for all things green and a desire to have an ecological footprint; you only need imagination and a little effort to have your own green space; a place of peace and quiet. Your thinking and breathing space!
So, here are the secrets to a healthy balcony garden:
- Design it well; imagination is everything
- No space is too big or too small to garden; you just need to start planting
- Study your environment; choose plants wisely
- Let your garden be a reflection of you; almost like a mirror
I thank Fatima and Akbar for allowing me to share their gorgeous garden with the world. I wish their family good health, abundance and green fingers. 😊