Creating green magic

According to Jacob Varghese, an ardent gardener, available space, layout of the land and its location should be considered when setting up a garden

Published: 14th June 2018 03:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th June 2018 03:10 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

According to Jacob Varghese, an ardent gardener, available space, layout of the land and its location should be considered when setting up a garden. Based on the style and plants used, 17 types of gardens are in vogue today

KOCHI: Many poems wax eloquent about the beauty of gardens, that come in different styles, shapes, sizes and colour combinations. They never stop to mesmerise people, be it the young, adolescent or the elderly. They are a balm to the eyes made sore by the cement and stone monoliths that have pushed nature to the fringes. Gardening has come a long way. If gardens in the past were traditional and didn’t adhere to a specific plan, today a lot of thought and effort is applied while setting up one.

According to Jacob Varghese, an ardent gardener and a botany professor, various factors are considered while setting up a garden. “The available space, the layout of the land and where it is located are some of the factors that are to be taken into consideration when setting up a garden,” he said. The professor, who brought out a book about various types of gardens, said, “Gardens can be classified into two styles - informal and formal.”

An informal garden doesn’t adhere to any symmetry. “All traditional gardens belong to this style. These gardens are the product of the gardener’s imagination. However, in the case of formal gardens, a great thought is given to symmetry,” he said. Based on the style and plants used, today 17 types of gardens are in vogue. The garden that is viable for a city setting is the one which can be set up in a small space. “Balcony and vertical gardens are the best situated for those living in apartments. However, it is important to select appropriate plants,” he said.

He said balcony garden should be set up in the West. “The increased availability of sunlight and besides various other factors favours the direction,” he said. In the case of the vertical garden, that has become very popular today, selection of plants play an important role. “The manner in which vertical gardens are being set up is wrong. When setting up a vertical garden, which actually is based on the green wall concept, it should be made sure that the pots are not visible. The plants must cover the pots,” he said.

Butterfly garden
According to Jacob, this garden is set up to attract butterflies. “It is wonderful to behold multi-coloured butterflies flitting around among flowers. And this is prompting many to set up butterfly gardens in their homes. All you have to do is use flowering plants. Also, plants that are food for the caterpillars need to be planted,” he said. These plants can be added to the existing garden. Even a balcony can be converted into a butterfly garden! “Around ten plants are needed to invite four or five types of butterflies to your home,” he said.

Dry garden
This type of garden is suitable for those who don’t have time to water and prune the plants. A perfect garden for a city dweller. “There are two types - hard and soft scaping. The things that make up a dry garden are mostly rocks and pebbles. Plants are used sparingly,” he said. A lot of symmetry goes into play in case of this type of garden.

Recycle garden
Don’t know what to do with broken mixie jars, bottles, wash basins and other metal, porcelain or plastic items? Well...You can convert them into trendy flower pots and set up a beautiful garden. “A person with an aesthetic sense can easily come up with a setting that will utilise each and every recycled material into an eye-catching garden,” said the professor.

Another trendy garden is the one that combines an aquarium and live plants. It is just the opposite of terrariums.“Many people who find it difficult to frequently clean the aquarium can do aquascaping. You must have noted that when you buy an aquarium, the plants provided are plastic. All you have to do is replace them with live plants. Arrange the interior of the aquarium to represent an aquatic ecosystem with rocks and plants that survive in water,” he said. The plants keep the tank clean by using the fish waste and releasing oxygen.Those interested in setting up gardens can reach out to Jacob at

Moon garden
Moon garden is made up of night-flowering plants. “Usually these gardens are set up near the bedrooms. The fragrance of the blooms makes the bedroom a comfortable and sweet-smelling place,” he said. The most common plants that are used to create a Moon garden are jasmine, frangipani and magnolia.

The other types of garden that are in trend are patio garden, indoor water garden,  tabletop garden, terrarium, paludarium, Japanese string garden, healing garden, inner courtyard garden and utility garden.

The cost
According to Jacob Varghese, the cost of setting up a garden depends upon the style, the materials used and the plants. “Informal and dry gardens are the costliest. In the case of dry gardens, the pebbles are very costly. A kilo of pebble, depending upon the size and variant, comes to be around Rs 250. The amount of pebbles required per square feet is six, so you can do the math...,” he said. In the case of terrariums, the cost depends upon the vessel and the number of plants used. “A basic model can be set up for around Rs 2,000,” he said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kochi news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp