Having your own garden at home can be soothing and a nice break for your eyes after a long day at work.
Some say that building a garden around the compound of your house can be costly. However, it is not necessarily the case if you have creative ideas to make your dream garden at home, regardless of the space you have, according to husband and wife Haji Marzuki bin Haji Mahmud and Hajah Siti Salmah binti Haji Halim.
Having heard about their passion in beautifying their home, I visited their house at the Kampong Lugu National Housing Scheme.
Hajah Siti Salmah, fondly addressed as Kak Sal, said they started gardening as a hobby.
When they first moved to their corner terrace house, they did gardening to fill their leisure time, especially when Haji Marzuki returned home from work. Gradually, it became their passion.
While Haji Marzuki loves to plant fruit trees and spices, Kak Sal loves flower gardens and initially grew roses and orchids.
However, her roses were destroyed by snails and all her flower trees withered, making her give up the hobby.
With their mutual interest and love for gardening, and seeing their compound empty and dull, they created their own mini garden to enliven the area.
Their interest grew stronger when the Ministry of Health issued an advisory to stay home to contain the COVID-19 spread.
They work on their mini garden to pass the time.
The couple initially began by researching for home garden ideas on the Internet.
Kak Sal named their mini garden Kebun Pak Zuki dan Mak Salmah.
“We started by buying green leaf trees and sowing them ourselves to cut costs.”
Kak Sal, who also loves to cook, began growing her own cooking ingredients including lemon grass, calamansi, kaffir lime, pandan leaves, galangal, torch ginger flower and coriander.
She said planting helped cut costs and was convenient as cooking ingredients can be plucked fresh from the garden.
Kak Sal also uses old items or junk from her neighbours to add to their garden.
She and her husband said they mostly use recycled items, such as the garden bench – made from their old house’s door – and a set of repainted old chairs to go along with the garden bench.
The couple built a mini pool in the centre of the garden to breed fish. Kak Sal came up with an idea from YouTube to use leftover bricks arranged in a round pool-shape without plastering, and a UV canvas placed inside. The couple then filled it with water and placed some water plants and flowers.
They bought Koi and several other species of fish to make the pool more lively.
Kak Sal also spray painted her son’s old bicycles and used them to decorate the garden. “My expenses were mostly from buying soil and flowers. A few friends also gave us flower samplings as gifts,” she said.
“To own a garden does not necessarily mean you need to fork out so much, as long as you have great ideas and creativity, which you can get from the Internet and the right items in your house.”