Dish Garden: Beautiful Gardening in Limited Space

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Hyderabad-based Meera tells us about dish gardens. An expert, Rekha Bayanker, gave invaluable tips at a local club. Here’s a report, exclusively in .

In big cities where are living in apartments and the privilege of a garden seem impossible; dish garden could be the answer to many enthusiasts who would like to give their homes a touch of green. The colour green is associated with healing and, therefore, it is definitely an excellent idea to display one or two dish gardens.

Looking at the illustration of a dish garden one would presume that it’s an easy task but sure enough, it is more than that. A plant surviving out in the garden with can’t survive indoors as well as it does outside. There is a procedure one has to follow in order to ensure the dish garden survives indoors.

During a monthly meeting at Wednesday Ladies Club, No.10 Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana, an event was organised to learn the skill of creating a dish garden from an expert, Rekha Bayanker. It takes a lot of effort to learn this skill but the way Bayankar demonstrated the process, the members were in awe of her talent. She has been in this line for over 20 years and has displayed her talent at various exhibitions and gatherings. She not only excels at creating dish garden but also has an absolute of bonsai and Ikebana. She is also a member of Ikebana International Hyderabad chapter 250 where she was the founder corresponding secretary and is a life member of Ohara School of Ikebana.

The first and foremost step is to choose the right dish, asserted Bayanker. These containers are specially made for the purpose of draining facility. Earlier, the suppliers would come once in a while and meet the needs of dish garden enthusiasts but now most nurseries are stocking up these containers making it available all year round.

To prepare the dish by filling it with required soil is an essential task, she affirms. If the layers of soil and other necessary ingredients are placed in order, 75% of the task is done.  The rest 25% depends on planting the plants of your choice and creating the dish keeping the theme in mind. Given below are seven steps to get the dish ready for planting as per Bayanker:

1.       Place a layer of broken clay pots (this could be old broken clay pots or even the old clay lamps which are used during Diwali).

2.      The second layer is of gravel.

3.      The third is sand.

4.      Crushed charcoal of wood.

5.      Coco peat.

6.      Compost made at home or bought from the nursery.

7.      Potting soil.

Once this is done, she says, you can choose plants of your choice except for Cacti and plant them in this soil. It can be either planted keeping some distance from one another or can also be clustered giving it a forest look. To enhance it further, porcelain animals can be placed according to the theme. If there is a bush, a bird or an owl can be perched on it. A blue stone or small dish can be placed in one corner to give the effect of and a duck in the dish will add credence to the theme.

In case of Cacti, the dish can be prepared similarly except the coco peat as coco peat will retain moisture which Cacti do not require. After the plants have been potted, the soil may be covered with small pebbles. This will avoid the soil from spilling out of the dish while watering. Once the dish garden is ready, now it’s the maintenance that is required. The dish garden maintenance is very minimal. Watering should be done twice a week with a spray can or bottle.

So, now you know how to create a garden in your living room. Go ahead and try it out! This dish garden can also adorn the table at your workplace. A small dish garden on a table in your office will give you a feeling of freshness each time you set your eyes on it. Although flowers are the best option in an office, we all know that it withers in no time and hence the only alternative is the dish garden, which will last you for a long time or unless and until you wish to change it.

©Mira Pawar

Photos by the author

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Mira Pawar

Mira Pawar

Mira is is an avid traveler and loves writing travelogues.
Mira Pawar