A green thumb but no garden space? Go vertical

Hard-pressed for space to accommodate a sprawling expanse of blooms and greens? Try vertical gardening. The 25th edition of the three-day Garden Festival, which was launched at the Garden of Five Senses near Saket on Friday, will help tide over the problem of space.

This time, the theme of the festival is 'Beauty and Nutrition'. "We want to create awareness on medicinal plants, besides herbs that are good for health and help beautify the city," said Manish Chatrath, chairman of the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation.

The concept of vertical gardening was introduced in the festival by a Mumbai firm. "Vertical gardening is the way forward for Delhiites because it takes very little space. It is like planting crops in the shelves of a cupboard, one above the other, with enough access to sunlight," said Ajay Kaushik, horticulture in-charge of the garden.

According to Satish Mathur, a former horticulture director at Rashtrapati Bhawan who currently works as a horticulture landscape consultant, people should be made aware about the importance of drip irrigation. "The traditional way of watering plants results in the loss of 33 per cent water. As there is a global shortage, drip irrigation must be applied in gardening. A water pipe is laid in fields, near the plants, and a switch is used to turn on the water providing water drop by drop. This reduces water loss and retains moisture in the soil for a longer period," Mathur said.

Tara Rangan, a specialist in aromatic medicinal plants, has been a regular at the festival for the last 10 years the first seven years as a participant and the next three as a judge of the plant competition. "People need to be aware of the types of plants as well as advanced methods of gardening," she said. "Plants have therapeutic value too. In this busy life, gardens and flowers provide you with freshness and beauty. There are plants that can even de-stress you with just their aroma."

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