Floral ambience is God’s greatest gift to mankind. Since times immemorial, man has endeavoured to relish the beauty and serenity of flora bestowed upon him by the Almighty. Modernization and mechanization may have curtailed the size of the home garden and put man in the time race but not curbed his zest to be around natural surroundings. To enjoy the gifts of nature in their natural setting and to make up for this void man tries to create around himself a microcosm of the earth’s floral legacy popularly known as ‘The Garden’. A garden presents a combination of trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials and annual flowers, which are arranged according to their size, area under foliage, colour, soil texture, drainage and sunlight requirements. The scope and form of a garden may vary tremendously according to land size, differences in taste and budget.
Plants lend serenity to the surroundings and make the environment clean and peaceful. A garden is designed not only for beauty but also for utility. In ancient times in India a garden was an enclosed place, walled or fenced in the vicinity of a temple. Apart from having ornamental plantation it had an earmarked location for orchard and a place for planting herbs used for medicinal purposes. Hymns in the Vedas and the poetry of Kalidas mention the components and essence of `vatika’ of Indian culture.
A garden of today is quite different in comparison to the one in ancient days. Today, while planning a home garden one has to strike a fine balance between beauty and utility. The beauty pertains to outlook, attraction and pleasantness and forms the formal area, while utility is in terms of productivity which is catered in an informal area. Formal area is the area along the front wall, entrance, drive-in area, and front lawn while informal area refers to the kitchen-garden, orchard yard, waste disposal area and playing area. The informal area can be screened from the formal area using hedges, shrubs and climbers. The garden may be informal or formal; the unity or balance is achieved by asymmetrical planning. The feature may not be architectural and the curves may not be used to simulate naturalness or informality. The formal types of gardens with straight lines define the boundaries and are easy to plan.
Knowledge of plant material is not enough to design a garden. The sense of interpreting the design is equally important. The priority of one person may not be the area of concern for the other. Different likings, needs and requirements of people at home should not be ignored while planning the garden. However, thorough planning also may not attain the desired shape and size due to a lot of factors. Therefore, the setting can be changed in coming years by replacing the plants that have not grown to give the desired effect. This change should be done in a phased manner so that the garden does not wear a shabby look. Also, try new plants as and when deemed fit. Never think that you have achieved perfection as there is always scope for improvement with the passage of time. A garden cannot be made perfect in one day but it can be enriched day by day, year by year.