Spring in my steps

My favourite season in the whole year is finally here- Spring! I think it’s the best weather in the year- I hate when it’s too hot or too cold or too mucky, and even though pre-winter i.e autumn has similar weather, there is just something super optimistic about Spring. It could be that you finally see bare trees coming back to life or the chirping of birds, everything about Spring wants to make me sing and dance. Also I think spring indicates going away of the old and beginning of new, ‘a fresh new start’. So here I gathered ways for you to bring Spring indoors, right up to your living room.

Flower arrangementFlora and Fauna– Nothing spells freshness like flowers, so bring them home and lots of them. The best thing about spring there is no shortage of options; bring in big bunches of flowers like Daisies and roses and display them in vintage bottles, or fill up urns with water and float Gerbera’s and Marigolds. Potted plants are also a great way to bring in the outdoors. If you don’t have a garden or balcony, you can bring in small potted plants on your window sills and can even grow your own fresh herbs like coriander, mustard, fennel and even onions. Fresh fruits also add the feeling of natural energy, display them in rustic baskets for the feeling of a country cottage.
DIY– Add aroma oils like lavender and lemon in small drops on towels and pillow cases.

Let there be light– Yes, I am referring to natural light, nothing adds warmth and room to a space more than light. You can get rid of all the heavy and dark upholstery for lighter options i.e Cotton and sheers in place of silk and velvet. I am referring not only to windows but general upholstery like cushions and bed covers all need a make over.
DIY– if you don’t have sufficient windows, add art work that show cases out-door scenes.

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Table setting
http://www.citrusandorange.blogspot.in/

Touch of nature– Natural fibers and materials like Rattan, wicker and jute are all great ways to create a sense of outdoors in your home. Used innovatively they help create a relaxing environment. For flooring go in for natural options like wood, cork and bamboo in rugs go in for Jute, coir and sisal. One of my favorite options is getting in grass walls. Real grass walls if grown need to be taken off in a month unless you bring in the whole irrigation system, else you always have the option of going in for a faux grass wall.
DIY– make napkin ties with flowers and leaves a perfect way to add nature to your dinner party.

Less is more– Here I am referring to furniture and accessories. The heavy, ornate pieces which are anyway a rare find in apartments now days and are better suited to a bungalow or house, definitely don’t find any place in spring decor. For those who like me have a soft-spot for these, go for the unpolished look or get them painted in white or other bright colours. Instead of changing your sofa, slip-covers in natural material and colours are a great option with lots of bright cushions. Mirrors as I mentioned before if placed well can make a space look roomy and are perfect accessories, along with Parisian screens.
DIY– Chains, beads and even broken bangles make great room dividers.

Style At Home Magazine, Samantha Pynn House, March 12, 2008
Style At Home Magazine, Samantha Pynn House, March 12, 2008

Colours me softly– The fact that soft shades like lavender, peach, mellow yellow, mint green and pastel pink are spring shades is a no-brainer, but add to that the right prints and you have the perfect spring room. Though florals are always in vogue during spring, I feel birds are going to be huge this Spring, not just in print but also in texture, with feathers on accessories.
DIY– Spray paint old accessories in bright colours for a new look.

Cshellsoastal tide– Nothing makes me happier than spending time on a beach. And with spring, that is something I feel closer to achieving. So bring home the beach with shells and river rocks. Fill in large glass jars with different river rocks, arrange baskets and shelves with Sea-shells. Place potted fishtail palms in your house.
DIY-create memory jars by filling glass jars with sand,shells and photos of your vacations.

Green Thumb

Thank you for you amazing feed back on last weeks Green Thumb column. It definitely shows people still love the idea of greenery in their homes and do go that extra mile to achieve the results. So keeping that in mind I am going to make this column a regular feature, so like last time I got in touch with Veena Nanda of Sunshine Gardens boutique to answer a few of my queries. Sunshine’s Garden Boutique is not just a retail set up for all your gardening needs but also assists you in designing and landscaping your gardens. They offer awesome garden accessories from around the world, giving you the ability to conceptualize a picture perfect garden full of artefacts and accessories. They also conduct Bonsai workshops for those interested. So here are a few questions they answered for us. Do send me more queries and we can request Veena to answer those as well.

Q 1. I have recently moved to Mumbai and have a small balcony where I want to plant potted plants and creepers. Can you suggest which plants I should go in for?
You should be able to grow some hardy variety as it’s a coastal region. Try Roses, Hibiscus, Aglaenema , Marigold (seasonal) , Bougainvillea , Dieffenbachia , Ferns, Ficus, Schefflera and if it’s not too sunny you can try Orchids too. In creepers Alamanda should do well.

Q 2. My partner and I have bought a small farmhouse in Gurgaon, and I am very keen to grow my own vegetables, can you suggest how I can go about it?
It’s nice to grow only those vegetables you enjoy eating. Give priority to those prized for incredible flavor when eaten fresh from the garden: sweet corn, beans and peas, tomatoes and young spinach, among others. First prepare a plot of flat ground that gets full sun nearly all day. Break up and turn the soil and add compost or other organic material. A full day of blazing sunshine is especially important if you Figure out how much growing space you have and plant accordingly. Lettuce, for example, can be grown in a solid mat, but tomatoes need to be spaced about 2 feet (60 cm) apart. Give pumpkins at least 4 feet (120 cm) of growing room. Growing requirements are provided on seed packets, in catalogs, and on nursery tags, go by that. Choose crops that require less room if you have a small vegetable garden or grow vegetables in a container. Lettuce is a great pot plant, and ‘Patio’ or ‘Tumbler’ tomatoes will grow well in a hanging basket. Plants that climb and vine, such as cucumbers and pole beans, can be trained up a trellis to take up less room horizontally. Tuck herbs and parsley into flower beds. Schedule plantings around the two main growing seasons which vary by region: cool (spring and fall) and warm (summer). Common cool-season vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm-season crops include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. Sow some seeds directly in the ground as they grow best that way: beans, beets, carrots, chard, corn, lettuce, melons, peas, pumpkins, squash and turnips. Start with nursery seedlings of certain other crops unless you are an experienced vegetable grower. These plants tend to do better when set out in the garden as seedlings: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Buy seeds at nurseries, look for seed packets marked as having been packed for the current year. If you plan to shop for seedlings, do it when your soil is prepared and you are ready to plant. Keep them moist and don’t let them sit around for more than three days. Buy healthy and vigorous seedlings. They should stand up straight and be stocky, not lanky, with no yellow leaves or bug holes.