Horticulture and Garden Maintenance

Kothai Pandiaraj

Gardening is the most aesthetic job of the House Keeping Department. Cultivating and maintaining a garden is an art. A garden is not only pleasing to the eye, but plays an important role in providing a clean and fresh environment. With the rising pollution and the hustle and bustle of life today, a garden is a necessity. The trees and plants help in maintaining a purer and cleaner atmosphere, and spending time in gardening relieves stress. In order to maintain a fertile and beautiful garden is hard work, and needs care and attention.

Cultivating a garden:


A garden is a place where there are flowers, trees, plants, creepers and grass. There are two types of gardens - a flower garden that lends beauty and a kitchen garden where vegetables are grown. A hospital can have both the gardens one in the front to add beauty and the second to supply the necessary vegetables to the kitchen. The plan and layout of the garden should be considered before the building is constructed..

Selection of trees, plants and creepers:
Selection of plants needs to be given a lot of thought. The type of trees, plants and creepers should be appropriate and should suit the surroundings. It is practical to select trees and plants that are easy to care for and do not require constant attention.

Trees: Trees that will provide more shade and trees that bear flowers throughout the year should be planted outside the hospital, near the compound wall.

Plants: Plants can be reared in two ways - in the soil, and in pots. Crotons and flowering plants can be planted on both sides of the pathway leading into the hospital, either in the ground or in flower pots.

Creepers: Creepers should be selected and planted near the compound wall to give them the required support. Flower bearing creepers will add colour and beauty to the surroundings.The newly planted creepers need to have their tender stems supported by a stilt so that they grow vertically. This is required until they get firmly fixed in the soil, after which they can be supported by the wall.

Lawn: A beautiful green lawn can be planted at the entrance or on both sides of the pathway. The garden will be more captivating and attractive if colourful flowers are planted along the edges or in the centre of the lawn.

Maintenance of a garden:

Fertility of the soil:
After selecting the trees, plants, and creepers, for the garden, check if the soil is fertile. Spread the soil evenly. When doing so, remove any hard rock or plastic bags that may be embedded in the soil. If the soil is not fertile, replace it with a mixture of red soil and sand.

Method of rooting plants:
Dig a pit one foot deep and one foot wide, and let it dry for a day. On the next day put a layer of sand at the bottom of the pit. Now mix red soil, sand and natural manure in the ratio 1:2:2 and put this mixture into the pit that has been dug. Plant the saplings firmly into it and pour some water. Do not pour excess water. After 40 days the sand at the bottom of the pit should be turned properly. Do not use manure for 2 months. After the plant has taken root, and started to grow, manure mixed with water should be poured once a month. Care should be taken not to pour manure on the roots. If the pant has to grow well, the weeds around the plant should be pulled out. Cow dung is not good manure. Worms grow out of it, and destroy the plant. Goat dung is good manure. Natural manure can be prepared.

Watering the garden:
During the summer, plants need to be watered twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. When watering the plants, care should be taken not to pour water on the roots. Dig a shallow canal around the plant, a little distance away, and pour water into this canal. Care should be taken not to pour excess water. Do not forget to sprinkle water on the leaves. The leaves need to be regularly cleaned, as dust blocks the pores.

During winter, plants need far less water. Care should be taken to see that water does not stagnate near the plant. This will cause the stem and the roots to rot and the plant will wilt and die.

For potted plants, a hole needs to be made at the bottom of the pot to allow the excess water to drain out.

Adding manure:
While adding manure, the liquid manure should not come in direct contact with the stem and the root. It can be sprinkled or poured at a distance of one foot. Natural manure is preferred to chemical manure.

Preparing natural manure:
Dig a small pit. Put the dry leaves and stems which are swept from the garden into this pit and leave them there for a few days. This will form into natural manure.

Weeds are the parasite plants that grow on and around the plants. If they are not removed immediately, the manure and water meant for the plant is used by the weeds, and the plant gradually grows weak and dies

Pruning and shaping the trees, plants and creepers:
When the trees plants and creepers have grown, they need to be pruned and shaped to look neat. When pruning, the plants can be shaped to resemble peacocks, elephants, deer, or birds. This adds to the beauty of the garden

Cleaning a garden:
The garden should be kept neat and clean, if the garden is to look beautiful, and remain healthy. The dried leaves and fallen twigs should be swept and put in an appropriate place to form natural manure which can be used later.

Expanding the garden:
New plants and creepers can be grown to expand the garden by means of seeding, grafting and cutting.

The seed bearing plants should be nurtured carefully and seeds should be collected. These can be sown to bring up new plants.

The mature stem of a rose, or jasmine plant should be bent and diverted towards another pot or a polythene bag filled with fertile soil. It should be inserted and covered with soil so that it is not seen. After some days the new plant will take root. When this happens, the stem should be cut off from the mother plant without disturbing the new plant.

A matured stem of a plant can be cut and planted in another pot or another place in the soil to give rise a new plant of its type.

Plants in interior decoration:
Pot plants and creepers play an important role in interior decoration. Plants lend beauty and a natural atmosphere to a room. It requires skill and effort to maintain these plants and keep them looking fresh.

Method to maintain indoor plants:

  • Place a square stone or a plate under each flower pot. This will prevent stains on the floor caused by excess water flowing out.
  • The plants should be kept in moderate sunlight at least once a week.
  • Remove the dry leaves that fall into the pot
  • Sprinkle water on the leaves regularly to remove the dust collected there.
  • The plants should be provided with the required manure from time to time.
  • To keep the pots looking clean and new, paint them from time to time.