Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 7, Issue 25, Tuesday, June 19, 2012




By Laila Karim

Dear Ma'am,
My experience with horticulture is next to zero and I am determined to change all that. I live in an apartment which, needless to say, is devoid of greenery. It would be very kind of you to write elaborate pieces on how we can add greenery to our asphalt living, on a room to room basis.

There is a long corridor beside the elevator extending to our doorstep. It receives little direct sunlight and I was thinking of growing roses on pots here. I have heard this can be done. Can you please be very specific as to what I should do? If the idea sounds absurd, kindly let me know what I can try instead.

There is a small veranda next to my study. It receives a fair amount of light. I was thinking of growing creepers here along with some orchids.

And lastly, what sorts of plants are suitable for the damp environment of the bathroom?


Dear Shubhro,
Thank you for the mail. I am delighted to learn of your interest and determination and I am sure soon you will acquire the required knowledge and skills for gardening.

General rule
My first suggestion to you is to make time to visit some good nurseries. This will widen ideas and equip you with all the practical aspects -- type, nature and varieties of plants. Make a shortlist of some of your choices and try to match with your space, size, look and importantly chance of survivability -- ask nursery people and take their advice.

For your long corridor beside the elevator with little direct sunlight
This is a public place and no flowering or fancy plant is suitable here. Please also note that rose or any flowering plant with colours needs lots of natural air, rain and sunshine and regular care. Among the flowers, the rose is very delicate. So, instead of the rose, you may try palm-type or there are some sturdy types of in-house plants available at all good nurseries. You may visit BRAC's Kanon at Mohakhali. They have a good range of in-house plants. You can buy soil, fertilisers, pesticides, pots and books -- all from Kanon or from other good nurseries,

For the small veranda next to your study with a fair amount of light
Roses will be okay. Buy two (according to the size of veranda) healthy rose saplings, fix those in medium-sized pots (preferably with cow-dung mixed soil). Ask the nursery person to do the job. Buy the plates together with the pots to protect your floor from leakage of water and dirt. Place the pots in a manner in your veranda so that the plants have maximum access to sunlight and rain. Make sure to spray small amounts of water daily for first few days -- but don't overdo it. Once in a week make the soil fluffy with a fork -- this is needed for proper ventilation. In the hot summer days, small amounts of daily watering is required, but be careful not to dampen the soil -- just pour the needed amount. The right amount of watering will make the soil nice, soft and moisturised, but not wet. After two weeks, apply a tablespoon of TSP or Guti shaar (tiny balls type) available in the nursery. Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) is useful for healthy growth of plants and flowers -- an important ingredient for flowering or fruit-bearing plants. After a few weeks, you will see the small buds. During this period you will also notice one or two healthy branches are appearing from the bottom of your rose plant and you need to know which one is not useful, i.e. will not produce any flower. The nursery people will show you which branches need to be removed/cut at the very start to allow other to grow and produce flower. You will learn this gradually.

What sort of plants are suitable for the damp environment of the bathroom?
Use small mugs or nice earthen containers (small) available in many sizes and shapes in the pottery shops and put one or two branches of money plant or small-sized plants of similar type in water. For the cleanliness of the bathroom -- no plant with soil is good. You can put one or two on the shelves or at the top of the basin cabinet or where ever you feel appropriate. Again visit the nursery to see the range. You may use transparent glass containers (smaller size) available at the aquarium shops. Or collect from other sources. You can put the container on a plate or so to give a nice look. Make the colour combination and in a synchronised manner.

Stopping invasion of red ants in your roof garden
Dear Ma'am,
I have noticed recently that the plants I have on my rooftop have been attacked by an army of red ants. Can this be a major concern for the healthy growth of my plants? I have been told that the management against ants varies from species to species. Can you kindly shed some light on what should be done to curb this attack?
-- Maimuna

Dear Maimuna,
Thanks for sharing your problem. I hope the following options will help you keep the ants away.

Some common solutions
Red ants are not usually a common enemy of plants, but in the rainy season when shelter and the availability of food is a problem for them, they temporarily take shelter in garden pots. During this season , they build a home and collect food from the sweet parts of plants which ultimately leads to the plants' demise.

One of the best solutions is putting "naphthalene" where the ants have built their homes; this will force them to leave. Put 2-3 pieces of naphthalene outside and inside the hole or pot.

Sometimes we also use kerosene in the usual route of the ant regiment, but never pour or spray it over the leaf or inside the pot, the plant will die.

Boric powder, which is usually used in playing carom in our country, also works very well as an insecticide. Sprinkle some boric powder around some sugar syrup near their habitat, it will lure them to eat and soon they will be gone as the powder is poisonous.

Another method is to pour water continuously in their colonies. They will be gone soon, but after a while may return!

Solving the problem using chemicals like insecticide is suggested only in very severe cases. The effect of some items found in the market like "Finis", "Dark Done" is devastating to the ants but also to the plants and is usually not healthy for human beings, and must be kept away from children.

We prefer mild solutions for rooftop gardens. These items may be available in BADC stores or in the nurseries. Check with the seller before you buy.


Sale at Nikhut Bangladesh

Throughout the month of June, customers can avail 10-30 per cent discounts on a range of products at Nikhut Bangladesh. They have brilliantly designed shalwar kameez suits, fatuas, skirts and children's wear. Available at Nikhut Bangladesh stores at Twin Tower, Shantinagar; Karnafuli Garden City, Kakrail and South Banasree.

Nitya Upohar joins hands with Uniqlo

From June 20, 2012 shelves of popular brand Nitya Upohar will showcase products from Grameen-Uniqlo Limited.

Ranging from T-shirts, to shirts, pants and other men's wear, the products have been made using the latest technologies. Proceeds from the sale will be used for charity through Grameen Healthcare Trust.


Tupperware is one of world's leading direct-selling companies, marketing premium food storage, preparation and serving items. Tupperware started its operations in 1946 and is a household name today. This success can be attributed to the high-quality products with lifetime warranties and the rewarding business opportunities provided by the company.

For over 60 years Tupperware Brands have made a difference to the lives of women around the world by offering an independent business opportunity. The company aims to empower the women of Bangladesh by providing them this world class opportunity of having a career along with balancing their home lives.

The company has empowered 26 lakh women in almost 100 countries and calls this philosophy the “Chain of Confidence” where women are “Enlightened, Educated and Empowered”.

This has been the foundation of Tupperware's success across the world. Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, Chairman of Adcomm, said, “I am excited about Tupperware being in Bangladesh because they will help empower our women by making them financially independent along with balancing their home and career.”

The uniqueness of Tupperware also lies in its selling method. The company adopts a “Tupperware Party” method of selling which involves the Tupperware sales force getting a group of women together in homes and setting up a 'fun' oriented product demonstration. This method effectively brings out the features and benefits of the products and thus convinces prospective customers to buy its products.

A member of Tupperware's all-women sales force in Bangladesh commented, “In spite of being a high achiever in colleges and in the office, I had to give in to the family pressure and had to quit my job to look after my kids. Now they are grown ups and I wasn't finding a proper scope of work for myself.

“Tupperware has not only given me an income opportunity, it has also given me back my dignity. And I strongly believe Tupperware's training helped to strengthen the platform where I stand today,” wherein another Tupperware consultant comments, “I felt overwhelmed when I bought a birthday cake, something bought with my own income, for my daughter. As a housewife, it seemed no doors were open for us. But I am grateful to Tupperware that their door has given us a new hope of life.”

With an aim of becoming the dominant player in the storage and kitchenware products market in the country, Tupperware has commenced operations from Dhaka and plans to gradually expand across the country by setting up offices at Chittagong, Sylhet and Khulna.

More information on Tupperware is available at tupperwarebrands.com


A healthier option

The beauty of food is that it goes with all occasions. You have a menu for every event and time. And of course there is no exception when it comes to watching a game.

Unfortunately, the menu most of us have while watching the game is not a healthy one, especially during summer. Plus, these are a great way to gain some unwanted calories.

That's why, instead of going for options such as chanachur, look for healthier alternatives. And the timing couldn't be better. Open your fridge and take out some seasonal fruits, for example. While watching the game, munch away on mango or "jaam vorta".


Star Lifestyle has recently expanded to 20 pages. In keeping with our motto of continually reinventing ourselves and keeping things fresh, there will be some changes made to the format and content of the publication. And this time, we are hoping that our dearest readers will not only be part of the change, but lead us in new directions by expressing themselves and letting their views and preferences be known. Lifestyle readers can send story ideas, suggestions, articles and letters at lifestyleds@yahoo.com and raffat@thedailystar.net Selected input from you will be published. Here's looking forward to hearing from you and continuing to bring you the best in lifestyle journalism.

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