Hobbies & interests
By Mohan Babu
People living closer to the equatorial plane below the mid-northern latitudes experience very severe hot weather during summer. Air conditioning would bring the temperature down inside the house but it consumes a lot of energy. There are ways to cool the home naturally and with little energy consumption. If we have a large enough garden area to accommodate ten trees or more, then the green cover would provide the much needed relief from the immense heat. We could achieve upto five degree centigrade reduction in temperature (around nine degree fahrenheit). This would considerably reduce the load on air conditioners bringing the overall power consumption down.
Gardening is fun. So one must keep trying new stuff. One need not do too much of research in finding out which tree works for their garden. Try many things and certainly a few would work better than the others.
One needs to be clear about the objective. We might prefer good shade, ornamental value, fruits, vegetables or herbal plants. Our garden planning has to be based on what we seek. I assume most of us living in tropical regions would prefer shade. What else we would prefer could be a matter of personal choice. We can also have a bamboo tree and a bougainvillea purely for ornamental purposes.
One can consider trees like Coconut trees, guava, lemon and pomegranate that are meant to be sources of food. They also provide exceptional shade besides bearing fruits and nuts. We may also like to have flower bearing trees in our garden. So we can have trees like Plumaria and Hong Kong Orchid tree. Plumaria is a small tree and so would not offer much shade on its own. Hong Kong Orchid could easily reach about ten metres in height and could offer very good shade.
Since the home garden is primarily for our own use, we must try to trim the lower hanging branches. There should be good access to all the regions and we should allow the extension of branches above the height of a normal human being.
Having a garden full of large trees would mean a fully shaded region. This is good news for the inhabitants living there but not so much of good news for the small plants that needs a bit of sunlight. We can still have some small plants in such gardens but we need to figure out the ones that can do well in shade. The ones that do well in indoor are likely to survive in the shade outside.
Dieffenbachia is considered an indoor plant but I have successfully grown in the shade in my garden. Regalia plant is a flowering one that would do well in shaded areas. Lawn is a bit tough to maintain where there is no sunlight. But I am told that there is a specific type of lawn that is apt for shaded areas.