Friday, June 24, 2011

Story of my Baby Plant

Hi guys, hope you all are leading a green life at your best. While doing the same, we had one incidence at home related to my baby plant. I have a tiny curry leaves plant. It's fresh green baby plant. I love smell of curry leaves & once in a while I use it's leaves in my cooking.

As our apartment is facing north, we don't get direct sunlight entering in our house through windows. This orientation is very useful for saving electricity for air-conditioning, but our plants don't get direct sunlight at all.

One Saturday when I was working & my husband was incidentally at home, I told him to keep our baby plant in the garden downstairs for a while, so that it will get direct sunlight hoping it will help the plant grow better. From my experience it is always better to show sunlight to outdoor plant specially early in morning when the sun is not harsh. However my husband, being short on time that day, did not want to wait with plant in garden. Instead he did the biggest mistake. He kept the baby plant in our locked car during afternoon time. After few hours when he remembered about the plant, he found a burnt curry leaves plant in car.

Because of lack of ventilation in car & in closed system like car temperature always increases beyond ambient, the plant was suffocated & burnt. Feeling guilty he brought the baby plant to home & watered it. I was quite sad after loosing my baby plant especially because of a un-thought of action. Later on we kept watering plant without any result.

Just as a last resort, I tried a trick, which I learnt in geography textbook in my school. I threw some sprout beans in that plant pot. I remembered learning about sprout beans; in India farmers, specially those who grow main corps like wheat, rice; once in two years grow sprout beans in the land, to refresh the land & add some nutrients in their farm land. The sprouts leave nitrogen in land adding fertility to it.

Miraculously my baby plant got some more stems with fresh green leaves within 5-6 days. Though the upper part of plant is still in burnt condition & may not get back to life. But these leaves at bottom stem prove the sprouts benefit of adding nutrients.

I felt this experience is worth sharing with you all, where we learnt few things 1st never use your car to store living things not just pets but not even plants, specially during summer afternoons. 2nd whenever you have to add nutrients to your plants (or give them new life) grow sprout beans in same pot. And 3rd never throw any damaged (or burnt) plant, you can revitalize it.

This was definitely our successful attempt of restoring habitat in window garden!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fully bloomed New Ecosystem- The Gardens in Dubai

UAE residents know it well, what the new ecosystem means! In all parts of UAE, where ever there are Green belts, parks, lush green golf courses & beautifully landscaped communities almost all are manmade! These year-round green ecosystems in the dessert of Arabia are definitely one of the man-made wonder! Of course the issue of water consumption to sustain these ecosystems is there, but the use gray water is evident!

In winter, we all go out to parks, which is home to migratory birds in the season. But recently I started going out of my home for a walk in Nakheel's Gardens community & I realized how this ecosystem is bloomed as if it belongs to this sand!
The landscape there is quiet natural, mix of different species, different trees & dense! The sound of birds, nest of birds, smell of fresh flowers & lush green natural looking lawns, it's unbelievable! This all stands on dry dessert sand! You could see the food chain of biodiversity unleash in front of your eyes. This is home to many birds. You can see these birds eating berries on trees or gathering thin stems of leaves to build their nests. You get to see many bird species here common myna, common hoopoe, parrot, red vented Bulbul, pigeon etc. The biggest attarction in the woods of Nakheel Gardens is finding of Sandgrouse. One afternoon when we were walking through the dense landscape, we found a big sandgrouse, a mother probably along with tiny 3-4 sandgroves. Not sure but it could be rarely seen Lichtenstein's Sandgrouses. The mother was very potective about the kids, possibly these birds don't fly. They just vanished in shrubs on ground. In next few visits we found same birds in same area, hopefully they have their nest in that area.

There are pedestrian path created which goes through the middle of community. Along these paths the swimming pools, grounds & tennis/ basket ball courts are located.

When on Friday afternoon you walk along this path you could see people, especially children playing in pools or play grounds. This definitely doesn't seem like these people are staying in dessert region. All of the street & pedestrian walk ways in Nakheel Garden are now shaded with fully grown trees. The buildings are small & their outer surfaces are shaded & covered by these fully grown trees. Obviously the heat gain is less, which in turn adds less pressure on air conditioning units in this area. So electricity is saved. Not only this but because of these trees weather feels little less extreme. People staying in Garden will agree with me, when I say temperature here is always 1 or 2 degree less than other nearby area in Jabel ali. Humidity also is lesser & m0st importantly there is fresh air & more oxygen. This adds health benefits of people staying in Gardens. The lush green surroundings & shaded pathways also motivate people to go outdoors & increase the activity level of residents.

The best part of Gardens is that, it is landscaped in such a way, when you are there you don't feel that it is man-made. They avoided to do systematic landscape & using of same plants & repeating them in some order. There are different species of plants & planted randomly, which give feel of natural jungle. You can find trees like Neem, Gulmohor (peacock flower/delonix regia), bamboo, Palm in these landscapes. Some flowering plants like plumeria (chafa), oleander (kanher), Bougainvillea, cana, jatropha integerrima are also abunduntly used in gardens, they flower year-round. People staying here are definitely staying like as if they are back home. You can see bird feeders, water bowls for birds everywhere. And most of the balconies have their own small garden. The seating areas created in balconies shaded by trees can easily envy the rest of UAE residents.

The sustainability awareness is also seen. The bins for recycling materials are kept outside almost each building. The 4 separate bins are seen for glass, paper, plastic & general waste. Other than these bins, no bins are kept, which insist people to segregate their waste & recycle it. Of course the collection of waste & recycling is done on regular basis by Nakheel. The community is very clean & looked after very well.

This is the best example of landscaped community & new ecosystem of UAE. At same time from the example of Nakheel garden, some points are also educating for future development of such communities. first is high maintenance; swimming pools, play grounds etc are to be maintained regularly. Secondly high usage of water for watering such a huge amount of landscaping & for swimming pools. Though the gray water/recycled water is used for irrigation, the high evaporation rate in summers impacts badly on water consumption. But personally I think electricity is taken care nicely, less heat gain, promoted daylights in houses because of tree shades all over & district cooling plant this all decreases electricity consumption. Also Human health is taken care extremely well by fresh air because of trees & less pollution. Vicinity of Clinics, Ibn battuta mall, services inside mall, petrol pump & shops/ restaurants in Discovery garden promotes walking, reducing need of transport for basic facilities & make living in this community now very much convenient.

All in all I will say this is definitely a tempting place to stay, the long waiting list for rental for Nakheel Garden is obvious. If you are lucky enough to have friends staying in Nakheel Gardens, then from my personal experinece I will recommend you stay at their place in summer & have feel or experience of staying at a resort somewhere far away from the heat of dessert.