In the biggest hill city of the world, lie the Angelic Gardens on the mitigated lawns of a heritage lodge in Shimla. Thickly wooded surroundings blend a feel of jungles in to the backdrop of tall elevations of the partitioned buildings to merge out a picturesque view.
Fences along the driveway lend a perception of a vast landscape ahead till a horizontal line of the gated entrance, besides curves of layered potted plantations bordered by spider grass on the left; indicative of informal garden beds.
- Live hedges of the dwarf plants in tiny pots, catch the eye at first sight. The perennials need no pruning, look as if embroidered in to the tiled flooring; dividing tiered potted beds from the paths and the walks.
- Tall walls lend height and define boundaries with edges. The curves and cuts of the whole structure delineate portions of the gardens along the contours with walls against the mini hedges.
- Wood of the door, in its natural grain and texture, shows an artful contrast against distempered brick and stone wall. The swinging furniture in the porch promises a feeling of smug comforts in the offing.
- Beyond the entrance, the vertical lines lead the eyes up and out of the gardens in to the dark and deep woods.
- Clusters of tall trees with clinging creepers, hanging climbers; and the abundance of bloom are fascinating. In effect, a hazy line is created where the lawns end and the forest covers take over.
- Around is a mix of straight line plantings and those staggered in to layers; that makes sense of a visual balance, though with informal symmetry.
- On the left, the protruding steps, in masonry, offer benches for the display of the creative art. The murals, an artful conglomeration of the wholesome miniature boulders; stand a contrast against artifacts of ornamental brassware. The dancing dolls*, in their red petticoats,swing to the whiffs of fresh air from the horizon.
- Orange with a greenish tinge and a dash of lemon, the lamp shade, on the drift wood pedestal resting on a tree stub, is the fulcrum. Skillfully crafted, multicoloured foliage, pierced in to the flower pots, leveled up with tiny pebbles gives it a decorative pop. A collection of adornments makes it more enjoyable. The textures of various plants and artifacts are relative to one another; and reflect the seasons.
- The simplicity gives a sense of completeness to the hardscaping. Various elements of form, colour and texture are merged together to a moderate contrast.
At a step out of the porch is the ‘Angel of Gardens’, dazed, on a lazy rise ;with the lower back yet to come out of the greens. Ever on the guard as it is, well turned out, bare footed; as if to maintain the grand design of the garden, ensuring that no one alters it unnaturally.
‘Angels’ are actually allusions; & in art are shaped like humans of extraordinary beauty. The statue is a unique specimen of sculptured art.
- The midway walk over the red stone patches on the greens is a sought after exercise, come true.
- There is a mix of growing flowers – begonias, petunias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, marigold .lo! the lonely roses stand out distinct and scanty .Sun flowers show up majestically while geraniums sit quite.
- Young bushy mini ornamental trees from the family of araucarias adore the lawns. Beautiful leafy plants add to the décor and Foliage.
- Different shapes and designs as also the custom flower beds bring a creative edge to the garden. The real fun comes in by combining colors. Some colors compete for attention; others harmonize. Patches of Shrubs and Shrubbery add to the get up.
To provide continual refreshments to the gardens is a green house built on the terrace below. It is a refuge to the shade loving and moisture loving plants and seasonal containers. As different plants come into bloom and then recede, to be replaced by others, there will still be a satisfying sense of visual rhythm. The process of gardening, growing and maintaining plants thus goes on and on.
To erase the monotony and to enhance the beauty, there are distinct components. A dash of hardscaping dubbed over the landscape gives the garden a chubby fluff. Someone says-it is ‘The Retreat’. I say it is ‘haven with a green aesthetic appeal’. I wish a Sun House, yet in the making, could see the light of the day, early.