Care and Growing tips for ever-blooming beauty : Bougainvillea

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all– Mulan”, I can say this sentence is perfect for  Bougainvillea, which is always blooming and bursting with color around the year.

The inconspicuous flowers are surrounded by brightly colored papery bracts, which are purple or magenta to lighter tints in certain varieties. Bougainvillea is native to Brazil and is also known as a ‘Paper flower’.

  

Bougainvillea are tropical thorny rapid growing ornamental vines and prolific bloomers. Bougainvillea prefers a warm climate, full sun and good drainage.

Depending on the variety, bougainvillea can be grown on a trellis or over an arbor, against a building or fence, in containers, as a hedge, in tree form and as a bonsai.

Bougainvillea can grow anywhere from 1′ to 8′ to 30′, depending on the species or variety. There are actually quite a few dwarf bougainvilleas species also. Some varieties are thorn-less also and some are with variegated foliage and with bi-color flowers.

Caring for a Bougainvillea:

Common Name: Bougainvillea, Paper flower, Kagaz ke phool.

Botanical name: Bougainvillea glabra.

Planting ideas: Bougainvillea can climb up walls and trellises, can be potted in big garden pots and you can hang rows of wire or string against the surface that you want covered.

Category: Shrubs, Tropicals and Tender Perennials, Vines and Climbers.

Water Requirements: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not over water.

Spacing: 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Precaution: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color: Magenta (Pink-Purple), Red, Scarlet (Dark Red),White, Orange

Bloom Time: Bloom around the year but profuse blooming during the summer.

Foliage: Evergreen, Smooth-Textured, Variegated.

Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic soil)

Propagation Methods: From herbaceous stem cuttings, From woody stem cuttings, From softwood cuttings, From semi-hardwood cuttings.

Seed collecting: Plants does not set seed, flowers are sterile or plants will not come true from seed.

Special precaution: Bougainvillea plants are prolific growers and need good pruning to force blooming and retain a pretty shape. Wear gloves when pruning bougainvillea. Some people can get a skin rash from pruning bougainvillea, similar to that from poison ivy. Keep a close eye on growth and adjust when necessary until the bougainvillea starts covering the wall or other surface.

Go ahead, plant and enjoy one of the hardiest, low maintenance and ever blooming plant that is the Bougainvillea!

Share any additional/ tips about the Bougainvillea in the comments below.We would love to know more about these beautiful flowers!

 

Happy-gardening

All That You Want To Know About Pomegranate

The pomegranate is a naturally dense, deciduous, bushy, multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows to heights of 10 to 12 feet and bears highly coloured fruit with many juicy seeds inside.

Pomegranate

HEALTH BENEFITS OF POMEGRANATE

  1. Pomegranates have been found to cut the risk of prostate cancer.
  2. Eating pomegranate seeds can help fight inflammation and the related inflammatory disorders.
  3. Pomegranates work wonderfully well in strengthening the gums and fastening loose teeth.
  4. Pomegranate Seeds Boost Digestive Health

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF POMEGRANATE

Common name: Pomegranate, Granate Apple

Botanical name : Punica granatum

Category: Edible Fruits and Nuts, Trees

Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Height: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

Bloom Colour: Red-Orange

Bloom Time: Mid Summer

Foliage: Evergreen, Deciduous, Good Fall Colour

Propagation Methods: From herbaceous stem cuttings, from hardwood cuttings, from seed;

direct sow after last frost, By simple layering.

Seed Collecting: Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing, Seed does not store well;

sow as soon as possible.

Word Of Caution: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

USES OF POMEGRANATE

Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, meal garnishes, juice blends, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine.

Pomegranate can be used to give a glistening effect on the skin. It can fight against nasty pigmentations, dark spots and ageing effects that imparts dullness to your skin.

Here are 5 types of quick masks that you can make at home to invigorate your skin.

 

With this, we have come to the end of our blog on pomegranate. We hope you had a good read.

Happy-gardening

Green Building

Green is everywhere. It’s the most common colour in the natural world, It’s the colour we associate with the environment, balance, nature, spring, and rebirth. It’s the symbol of prosperity freshness and progress.

green building

Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

reen building

Green buildings are an attempt to facilitate a transformation into a more sustainable future. HERE is a list of top 10 green buildings in India.

Let us shed light on why it is important to have green buildings in our ecosystem.

Energy saving: energy saving can be enhanced by the use of energy efficiency technologies and products, thus achieving sustainability.

Use of natural ventilation and lighting can reduce energy consumption for air-conditioning, ventilation and lighting in buildings. Many of the renewable energy sources are free and inexhaustible, offering greener resources and economically viable options.

Waste reduction: Installing waste separation facilities such as bins or racks in buildings together with publicity and promotional activities directed to the occupants of the building can help to recover more materials for recycling and reduce waste requiring disposal.

Saving water: this can be done by installation of flow restrictors at water taps, and optimized timing self-closing taps or sensor taps in public lavatories and washing rooms. Reduction of water pressure of the plumbing systems to the lowest practical level, installation of dual flush cisterns (a choice between “full flush” and “half flush”), provision of reclaimed water systems for toilet flushing, cleaning and irrigation.

From an economic and social point of view.

Economic benefits: It reduces operating costs and improves the productivity of the occupants. Through adaptation of such buildings, the market for green product and services also rises.

Quality of life: It improves general lifestyle and health of the inhabitants

Future Goals

When we consider the steps of action, we need to think deeper than just greenifying the environment. Our goal should be to strike a balance by establishing a sustainable environment by not disturbing the elements of nature. Our efforts will not just cater to a better living place for us, but to the plants and wildlife around us as well.

If this sounds too philosophical and too big to start with, we need to take baby steps before attaining our bigger goal.

We can start small,  and we can do that by making small changes within our home. A few green changes here and there in our abode can create ripples of difference and make us beam with pride.

We hope that we were somewhere able to convince you on having a positive approach towards green buildings. If you believe in the concept, then we are sure that you will do those little things(green) that matter and also create awareness about the same 🙂

 

 

 

 

When life gives you lemons – make lemonade!

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavours and furniture polish is made from real lemons. Lemons are a favourite all over the world and an essential food in kitchens everywhere.  In this blog, we will talk about the benefits of lemon, its characteristics and some home made remedies that you would surely love.

lemon

BENEFITS OF LEMON

  • Lemon is a good source of vitamin C.
  • The juices in lemon greatly improve your skin tone and quality.
  • For all the fitness lovers, lemon is the “it”thing.
  • It aids digestion and makes your tummy feel wonderful
  • It freshens breath and can make you feel rejuvinated the entire day
  • This also helps prevent kidney stones.

 

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF LEMON

Common name: lemon

Botanical name: Citrus limon

 

Varieties: Bonnie, Eureka, Femminello, Meyer, Ponderosa

Design ideas: Can be grown outdoors and indoors.

Height: 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

Spacing: 6-8 ft.

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Colour: Pale Pink, White/Near White

Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage: Evergreen

Other details: Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic),6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Propagation Methods: From seed; winter sow in vented containers, cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Seed Collecting: Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seed, Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible.

 

HOW TO PICK A GOOD LEMON

Picking Lemons

 

  • Heavier lemons will have the most mineral content and sugar, thus thick-skinned lemons will be lighter than thin-skinned lemons and will have less sweetness and fewer minerals.
  • The ones with the most juice will have finely-grained texture peels.
  • Lemons should be fully yellow; the ones with green tinges have not fully ripened and will be very acidic.
  • Over-ripe lemons will have a wrinkling look, soft or hard patches and will not be a vibrant yellow.
  • Lemons stay fresh kept at room temperature (not in sunlight) for about seven to 10 days; or store them in the refrigerator crisper for about four to five weeks.

HOW TO USE LEMONS?

Lemon Juice

  • “When life gives you a lemon… squeeze it, mix it with six ounces of water and drink twice daily.
  • A bowl of fresh lemons will add fragrance and colour to a room for days.
  • To reducing sodium intake, squeeze fresh lemon on salads, steamed vegetables, soups and stews.
  • Roll a lemon on the counter a few times before squeezing to maximize the amount of juice.
  • Lemon juice can be stored for later use by putting freshly squeezed lemon juice in ice cube trays until frozen, then store them in containers in the freezer.
  • Dried lemon zest should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight glass container.
  • The zest of fresh lemon is a wonderful addition to cakes, cookies and in vegetables.
  • Finally…try a Lemon Facial Cleanser

Lemon has dual benefits. Not only does its juice have so many benefits, its peel also can be beneficial in many different ways. Watch the video below to know!

 

So, with this we have come to the end of our blog about lemons! We hope that you had a good read 🙂 Keep consuming lemon and stay spirited forever!

Happy-gardening

 

 

 

 

All About Curry Leaves

Curry leaves are the shiny, dark green, aromatic leaves of a tree from the citrus fruit family that release a deliciously nutty aroma when fried in hot oil.  Curry leaves are often seen decorating the plates of South Indian households. Here is an interesting and quick recipe that your hands would love to try.

curry leaves

Apart from lending its aroma to a variety of recipes, it also has medicinal values to impart.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CURRY LEAVES

1. Curry leaves possess mild laxative properties and hence have been shown to cure many gastrointestinal issues i

2. These distinctly aromatic leaves also have antioxidant properties.

3. Curry leaves also have the capacity to fight cancer.

4. It can also of use to diabetic patients as it is effective in controlling blood glucose level

You can also juice curry leaves and consume it to have better hair and vision!

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF CURRY LEAVES

Common Name: Curry Tree, Curry Leaf Tree, Sweet Nim

Botanical name: Murraya koenigii

Category: Trees

 GROWING DETAILS OF CURRY LEAVES

Water Requirements: Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between watering

Height: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

Bloom Colour: White/Near White

Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer, Mid Summer

Foliage: Grown for foliage, Evergreen, Aromatic

Seed Collecting: Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; a clean and dry seed, seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible.

You should be careful around seeds though, they can be poisonous if ingested.

Propagation: Seeds must be ripe and fresh to plant; dried or shrivelled fruits are not viable. One can plant the whole fruit, but it is best to remove the pulp before planting in a potting mix that is kept moist but not wet. Stem cuttings can be also used for propagation.

Other Uses

Curry leaves’ aromatic characteristic properties find use and application in soap making ingredient, body lotions, diffusers, potpourri, scent, air fresheners, body fragrance, perfume, bath and massage oils, aromatherapy, towel scenting, spa’s and health clinics, incense, facial steams, hair treatments etc.

Here is a quick video on homemade curry leaves oil, that can make your hair lustrous and thick. With this remedy, you won’t have to rely on the expensive shampoos and fancy hair oils that brands and big salons sell to buy your trust. You can be your own hair stylist!

Top 5 Plants To Make Your Workspace Alive

Adding a touch of green to your work space carries proven wellness benefits, apart from boosting productivity and purifying the air. But windowless cubicles and wacky watering schedules can bring most plant varieties to an early demise. Avoid getting stuck with a sad plant cemetery on your desk by choosing one of these air-purifying, mood-boosting varieties that are also nearly impossible to kill.  We will talk about top 5 plants for your office that can give it a makeover!

Peace Lilies

Peace-Lillies

This elegant lily is a common sight on office desks. Its popularity stems from the plant’s easygoing nature. It bears a tolerant nature and is well suited for typical office conditions such as low humidity, air conditioning, and fluorescent lights. They only need to be watered once or twice a week and can be left up to two weeks without water. They produce beautiful white spathes and flowers in bright light and look like traditional foliage plant in case of dimmer light conditions.

 

Cacti

Contrary to common belief, cacti do not need full sunlight to thrive – they are perfectly content with fluorescent office lighting. They have a very shallow root system, so can be kept in a small pot and won’t take up much space. Ideally, you should make it a point to water them once in a week, however, due to their biological structure they can actually survive up to a month in your office space without watering.

African Violets

African Violet Plant

These East African beauties come in a variety of colors. They are compact and neat, making them ideal for a small, crowded desk. African Violets do well under fluorescent light, but aren’t suitable for offices that don’t switch the lights off overnight – they need at least eight hours of darkness a night to produce flowers. Watering needs to be done from the bottom till the top. This can be done by keeping the pot in a water-filled bowl or a tray.

They symbolize loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness. Also, Violets are one of the February Birth Flowers, so a potted African violet can make a bright gift for a February birthday.

Devil’s Ivy

Contrary to its name the plant has nothing evil about it. It only does good deeds. It oxygenates your surroundings and removes the harmful substances in the air through the stoma in its leaves.

It is heart-shaped and has satiny leaves that are marked by a silver, pale green, yellow or white spots or a flame pattern. The leaves are on long tendrils which can either climb or hang so that you have plenty of options.

The best part is that it can tolerate low light and dry air, and only needs to be watered twice a week. Its trailing vines with marbled leaves makes it a perfect adornment for a cabinet or bookshelf.

Bromeliads

Bromeliads

Add some color to the dullness of your work-station with these vibrant South American jungle plants. Not only do they come in a variety of colors, but they also have innumerable textures to showcase.Bromeliads grow on rainforest tree branches, so they prefer fluorescent office lights over natural direct sunlight. This plant needs a little more care than others on this list – it prefers frequent watering.

But this plant that provides an exotic touch to your office deserves a tad bit more care. Doesn’t it?

Whether your concern is air quality or simply a bit of visual appeal, there are a variety of choices for office plants. We hope the list above starts you thinking about transforming your office environment.

How to plan an organic kitchen garden?

Elevate your life and transform your world with an organic kitchen garden. Having an organic kitchen garden means you can grow your own fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Organic Kitchen Garden

 

You can have your organic kitchen in your kitchen and also where ever there is little space available, that is nearby and accessible. You can start your organic kitchen garden with very basic tools. However, there are a few things that need to be considered before planning your organic kitchen garden; let’s consider them one by one.

Choosing the right place

Organic Kitchen Garden

Starting your organic vegetable garden in the right place makes a huge difference.  You should search for a spot where your plants will get direct sunlight for at least 6 hours. If you cannot have a place that provides the desired exposure to sun, then don’t let out a sigh of despair. There are vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, etc that can grow without such requirements.

Access to water, tools, compost

Try to have your organic kitchen garden in a place where tools, water, compost and other requirements are easily accessible. You shouldn’t be dragging tools from the other end of your yard and drudging with a heavy watering can. You should grow your plants with ease and convenience without any pressure that droop your shoulders.

Soil quality

Soil

It is very important to access the quality of the soil for growing organic vegetables. Do a Quick D.I.Y. Soil Test: By doing a few simple tests yourself, you can learn a lot about your soil. Learn about what type of soil you have, how healthy it is, how well it drains.

Plants and Seeds

Organic Store

You would require organically grown plants and seeds. And for that, there are several good companies that provide organic vegetable garden seeds. Many nurseries, garden centres, and online stores are also starting to sell a selection of organic seeds. These are usually very clearly labelled as “organic.” Organically-produced seeds are harvested from organically-grown plants, that are never treated with chemical pesticides or fungicides, and are never genetically modified.

Plant, Grow, and Harvest! Now that you’ve got your garden installed and the soil amended, the organic plants and seeds bought — now it’s time to plant and tend your garden. Pay close attention to your garden, so pests and diseases stay away from them.

The simple pleasure of biting into a tomato still warm from the sun picked and eaten on the spot, is almost unbeatable. You can grow just about any vegetable in a container and you can also save serious bucks by growing your own veggies.

 

Top 5 plants for a miniature garden

“Best things come in small packages.” This statement is nothing but true, especially when it comes to miniature gardening. It’s just like life-sized gardening – but shrunken down.
You can be very creative while you pick plants for such a small-scale garden. It is just so similar to painting a picture on the canvas.
In this blog, we will help you find out about the best plant choices for adorning your miniature garden

1. Ajuga reptans ‘Dixie Chip’/ bugleweed

Ajuga Reptans
So the first in the list is Ajuga or Dixie Chip. This is a dwarf variety and is well suited for small spaces, beds, border fronts, foundations and containers, rock gardens and path edgings. This can be well accommodated with other plant varieties and serves as a fabulous addition to shade gardens.

2.Variegated Boxleaf Euonymus/ Euonymus japonicus ‘Microphyllus Variegatus’

Varigated-Boxleaf-Euonymus
Apart from standing out on the green lawn and providing a great contrast to dark green shrubs, it also acts as a barrier to heat and can even sustain in bad soil.
These plants can be used as edgings, hedges or small topiary forms. It can also be used as shrubs or perennial borders to create neutral fields of color that accentuate other foliage and flowers.

3.Miniature Ivy

The name says it all. Its tiny plant body is embellished with a bronze texture, oak-like leaves, and elongated wiry stems. Their growth is flexible, and hence they can be grown on a trellis as well. When it’s grown in the soil as a groundcover, its stems appear to touch the ground. It should be kept evenly moist while it is kept in terrariums.

4.Lemon Cypress

This is a soft little tree/shrub for miniature gardens and landscapes. It has got an evergreen foliage which is marked by a bright lime green color which upon meeting the sunlight turns to yellow.
It provides the required height and structure necessary for realistic miniature garden scenes. It can be trimmed easily with scissors to give a “Christmas Tree” shape. Trimming also releases an aroma of fresh lemon which is a delight to one’s senses.
This is easily manageable and can grow under the sun, indoors, in containers or planted in the ground. It is the perfect choice for miniature gardens, fairy gardens, little landscapes and railroad gardens.

5.Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping)

This is a small bushy plant with a very fine foliage. The stems are wiry and are coated with rounded leaves that are about half the size of a regular Wire Vine.

These the perfect sized plants for miniature gardens and fairy gardens and is easy to grow in sun, shade and indoors that have good lighting.
They also make great little plants for wild gardens, woodland scenes. This pretty looking plant is also a personal favorite for many.

 

We hope you liked reading about these plant varieties. We also hope that very soon you would be adding one of these to make a beautiful miniature garden for yourself!