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All about Water Garden

What is it?

Water gardening is a very beautiful form of gardening that has been present and followed for ages. The Mughal gardens, in particular, have water features in their garden. Water adds life to all the gardens irrespective of its size. The simulation of a natural landscape with a water body by proper planning with the use of the different plants and other features is called water gardening. It helps in breaking the monotony of a large scape of land. These forms of gardens have become popular in the contemporary style of gardening. The water gardens have an endless variety, designs and planting options that make them unique and personalized in their style. Apart from the Mughal style of gardens, the Japanese style of the garden also uses the water component as a very essential part of their gardens along with the koi fishes in it.

 

Where can we design?

The water garden can be designed in either a naturally available water body or in an artificially created body of water. The water garden created becomes complete when it is visible even from our living space and provides pleasure to us. The site should have bright sunlight for at least six hours. It will help in the growth of the plants that have been planted in it. A shady place or a place under a tree should be avoided as it will be a hindrance to the growth of the plants and there are also chances of getting dirty very often. Also, a very high sunny location will  lead to the growth of algae. So, the location is very critical for a water garden to enjoy and maintain it. Access for electricity is also important for providing lights and other features to the water garden.

How to add plants in there?

The plants in a water garden are easy to plant. The plants in a water garden are either completely rooted in the ground or they float in the surface of the water or can even be submerged. The rooted plants can be planted directly in the soil or it can be planted in small pots and kept on the ground surface. The creation of shelf like structures during the construction of a water garden is essential for those plants that are to be placed in the pots. The floating plants have no issues and can be made to float in the surface of the water. The deeper the water garden, the greater are the options for plants and the various features being incorporated in the water garden.

Before planting the rooted plants, soil to a height of about 1 feet is added and manures like compost or cow dung is added for the good growth of the plants. The plants that are rooted are planted and water is being filled till the crown region. Once as the plant starts to grow, the water level can be increased.

  • Rooted plants – Lotus, Water Lily
  • Floating plants – Eichhornia species
  • Submerged plants – Valesneria, Hydrilla

 

  • Water Lily

What are the components of it? 

  1. Pond liners – These help in the construction of an artificial water garden. The liners are available in various materials like rubber, fiberglass, plastic, and concrete. The fixing if the liners will create the basic structure for the water garden. It is available in different sizes and shapes.
  2. Pumps – It helps in the movement of water from one place to another in a water garden or to a fountain or waterfalls in the garden. It also helps in maintaining the water quality by filtering.
  3. Filters – Used for the sole purpose of cleaning water in the water garden. The filters can be either mechanical or biological. The water basically flows through the filter in the water garden and gets filtered in this process. It makes the water safe for fishes and plants. Skimmers are a sort of mechanical filter that cleans the bigger sized debris in the water.
  4. Fountains – They make a very beautiful component in the water garden. They break the monotony of the water garden. The different forms of the fountain and the various lighting adds beauty to the entire garden
  5. Waterfall – The waterfalls create a calm and serene atmosphere to the water garden and it is also pleasing to the eye. The mild sound of the waterfall gives a relaxing effect to the people there.
  6. Lightings – It is used to enhance the beauty of the various features added to the water garden.

      7. Fishes – Fishes create a mobility to the garden. They bring more life to the overall garden and also help in cleaning the algae in the water surface.

Steps to construct the pond

  • Select a suitable site.
  • Dig out the land for the water body.
  • Plan for the electrical and plumbing lines and for the various fixtures to be installed.
  • Place the liner and fasten it strongly.
  • Add the soil and plants.
  • Add the rocks or gravels for beautification.
  • Fill in with the water and fishes.
  • Plan the surrounding landscape to compliment the water garden.

Water garden is one of the most rewarding features you can add to your garden. Whether you choose a small or a full-scale pond, soothing sights and sounds of running water, the colorful and often fragrant water plants, beautiful koi fish and the wild creatures they attract, will bring peace and serenity to your landscape.

 

Happy gardening

 

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How to grow Cosmos flowers?

If you are looking out for a flower that will stay in bloom for many months and can be simply grown by scattering seeds, then the cosmos are a perfect choice. Cosmos flower is in vibrant colors red, yellow, orange, white and pink. These plants have a height of about 6 feet and they have ferny foliage of  very delicate texture. These flowers are ideal as decorations, used as cut flowers in arrangements and perfect for attracting the butterfly, hummingbirds and enticing beneficial insects in the garden. Cosmos is native to Mexico.

 

Common name: Garden Cosmos, Garden cosmos

Botanical nameCosmos bipinnatus.

Varieties:

  • Bright Lights: Orange, gold, and yellow mix with some semi-double flowers.
  • Chocolate: Rich maroon color; available as plant starts only as seeds don’t come true to parent plant.
  • Daydream: Pale blush with a crimson eye.
  • Double Click: The fluffiest of the doubles, available in white, pink, and cherry shades.
  • Seashells: Fluted petals make it an unusual addition to the vase.
  • Sonata: Early to bloom and heavy flowering in pink, white, or scarlet.

Use in Landscape:

  • Cosmos are an ideal addition to flower beds, borders, and containers.
  • Shorter varieties of cosmos are perfect  to make the edging.
  • Cosmos flower attracts many butterflies including monarch, painted ladies add these beauties to the butterfly garden.
  • Use cosmos plants as backdrops in mixed flower borders.

Flowering season: They bloom starting from early summer until frost.

Growing Tips for Cosmos

Soil: Soil pH 6.0 to 6.8. is the best for these plants. However, owing to their ability to  sustain in adverse conditions as well, they can grow easily in poor soil too. Adding some organic matter to the soil will help them get the well-draining soil that they prefer.

Sunlight: For the best flowering, plant Cosmos in full sun. In very hot locations, consider planting Cosmos in areas where they receive some afternoon shade.

Water: Regularly, whenever topsoil turns dry. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. To avoid rot and fungal diseases due to over-watering.

Sowing season: Spring.

Sowing methods: You can sow them outdoors, however, in colder climates it’s best that they grow indoors. Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 2.5 cm and so at a depth of around 0.64 cm. Soil temperature should be kept higher than 20oC to ensure good germination.

Harvest:

  • Harvest flowers at any time after the plant’s bloom, but when it should be fully bloomed flowers.
  • Put cut flowers in deep water immediately to prevent wilting.

Care:

  • When  Cosmos finishes flowering, deadhead the plants by cutting off all of the dead flower blossoms. Deadheading will encourage the plant to produce more flowers and help the plant to fill out properly.
  • Pinch off any extra stems or shoots growing up from the base of plants. This will also encourage stronger more vigorous growth
  • Cosmos plants may require staking especially in exposed locations to keep them from falling over. Staking Cosmos provides some protection from strong winds.
  • Water these regularly, but make sure you don’t over-water the plants. Over-watering and over-fertilization can lead to plants with fewer flowers. Cosmos beds may become weedy due to the fact that they self-seed, so remember to check them.

Pests and Disease:

  • Two of the most common fungal diseases of plants, Fusarium wilt and powdery mildew, can also plague cosmos plants.
    Fusarium wilt not only causes the plant to wilt but discolors the stems and foliage. The whole plant, unfortunately, is going to die and should be destroyed to avoid spreading the fungus.
  • Powdery mildew spores float on the breeze and will attach to any host plant in shade. The fungus forms a powdery white coating over leaves, which will eventually cause foliage to yellow and drop off if left untreated. Plants with good ventilation, in bright light and that are watered in the day so foliage can dry are not as susceptible to fungal diseases of cosmos Aphids, including aster root aphids, spirea aphids and melon aphids, thrips and plant bugs are some common pests may infest cosmos plants. Aphids can spread fungi and viruses, thrips can scar leaves and flowers, and plant bugs suck juices from leaves, leaving them with a stippled appearance. Beneficial insects and other predators that are attracted to cosmos may be sufficient to control insect pests. Otherwise, use neem oil, insecticidal soap or petroleum-based insecticides to control these pests.

 Planting Cosmos flowers in the garden will add bright colorful and tall flowering background material in the annual border, they attract birds, bee, butterflies and beneficial insects to garden with low to no maintenance.

This makes Cosmos a colorful winner in any garden.

Happy gardening

 

 

 

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Colorful annuals that you can grow in winter season!

Winter season is always the best time to grow beautiful flowers in your garden. If you are planning to grow some beautiful blooms in your garden then the right time to sow seeds in October- November. Some seeds grow in colder times that is in December and January.

In India,  you will find different seasons and diversity. Winter season make our surrounding colorful and this is all because of the beautiful flowers. These blooms always spread happiness around us. For healthy growth and  flowering, proper amount of sunlight, water and care are very important. 

Site, Soil and watering :

Selects the site according to your landscape which receives a good amount of sunlight for colorful annuals. Watering needs to be done carefully. Smaller plants are more susceptible to over or under-watering. Use good soil which contains a good amount of organic compost like vermicompost which is rich in nutrients.

Winter flowering annuals :

Petunia, cockscomb, zinnia, calendula, chrysanthemum, cineraria, and marigold are some best colorful annuals  that we can grow in the Indian climate during the winter season. Flower plants need soil up to 5 inches deep. So, dig a hole in the soil and bury the seed about 2 inches deep. After 6 weeks, you will see the seeds sprout into saplings. 

Tips for growing winter annuals:

  1. Plants annuals in a sunny area and close to each other.
  2. Don’t overwater and keep the soil moist.
  3. This bright colorful annuals suitable to make ornamental edging, container gardening and for hanging baskets
  4. Use these colorful flowering pots for instant display.
  5. This bright color annual helps to attract butterflies, honey bees in your landscape.

Petunia

One of the most popular annual flowering plants, they are quick-growing and known for their beautiful blooms pink, purple, violet, red, white. Winter is the perfect season to grow petunias in the garden. Petunia seeds can be sown when the temperature is cool. Petunias are perfect for hanging basket and container gardening. The seeds are very small, so one needs to take extra care while sowing. Sprinkle seeds on well-drained soil and gently push them down. Light sandy soil is ideal. Do not cover them with soil, as they need light to germinate. 

Petunia

Cockscomb or celosia

Cockscomb known for its unique flowers, it produces feathery flower spikes in a pyramidal fashion resembling ostrich-plums in various colors, deep rust red is the most common color, although purple, yellow and pink varieties have gained popularity in recent years. It is best to grow cockscomb plants in large groups. Germination time is five days to two weeks. Celosia prefers full sunlight and can tolerate little shade. Maintain  moist soil with regular watering.          

Celosia

Cineraria

The Cineraria plant, the term cineraria means “ash gray,” so it’s not surprising to be called the ashplant. These plants are not suited for growing in hot, dry climates. Cineraria should be grown in partial to full shade and planted in slightly acidic, rich, well-drained soil with high compost content. Water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

Cineraria

 

Zinnia

Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow, as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnia flowers can create a massive burst of color in the garden. Grow zinnias in a spot with full sun for most prolific blooms. Zinnias are very drought tolerant and don’t usually need any supplemental watering. If your soil is poor, you can add some compost to give the plants a boost, but they will grow in even bad soil. Zinnia is one of the first flowers to bloom in the space. 

Zinnia

 

Marigold

No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than the marigold. Marigolds are a very versatile flower. They enjoy full sun and hot days and grows well in dry or moist soil. This hardiness is one of the reasons that they are often used as bedding plants and container plants. Plant the marigolds in a prepared garden site that has been tilled to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches and amended with a layer of compost or other organic matter. Space the plants about 8 to 10 inches apart. Increase the spacing by 2 inches if you grow a large variety.

 

Marigold

Dianthus

Dianthus flowers (Dianthus spp.) are also called “pinks.” Plants are small and usually between 6 and 18 inches tall. Dianthus flowers are most often in pink, salmon, red and white hues. The foliage is slender and sparsely spread on thick stems. Dianthus plants grow easily from seeds sown indoors in trays or sown directly outdoors. For dianthus plants choose a location in full sun with loose, well-drained soil. The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure)  encourages plant growth and blooms. Water them only at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent mildew spotting.

 

Dianthus

Grow these colorful annuals to your garden, which adds color contrast wherever you need them!  

Which winter annual will you choose? We love to hear from our garden lovers. Do tell us in the comment section below.

 Happy gardening

 

How to grow Phlox?

Phlox is a plant that produces delicate star-shaped masses of white, pink, red, purple or blue flowers. A blooming ornamental beloved by birds and butterflies, it’s a beautiful addition to any garden. Phlox is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants in the family Polemoniaceae. They bloom all season long and do well in the winter sun.

Choosing Your Phlox

If you’re going to use phlox plants in your garden, choose the color and height that fits best with your landscaping plan. Some low-growing varieties make a lovely ground cover, while taller plants can be used as a backdrop for shorter ones. If you’re buying phlox from a home and garden store, it’s best to pick a plant that has more buds than blooms.

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How to care for Plumeria during winter season

Plumeria spp. is a medium, flowering ornamental tree native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America to Brazil.  It is a member of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) and is known by its common name plumeria or frangipani. It is also known as the Hawaiian lei flower for its use in creating leis and Haku lei (crowns). It is easy to grow in hot and dry areas. It has widespread use in tropical landscapes around the world and is frequently associated with  temples and graveyards. 

Plumeria obtusa

  • Common name: Frangipani, Pagoda tree
  • Botanical name: Plumeria spp. L.
  • Height: 10-15 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
  • Spacing: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade.
  • Water requirement: Moderate, don’t over water.
  • Bloom Color: White, Yellow, Pink and Red
  • Bloom Time: Year-round flowering, Flowers in flushes throughout the year
  • Foliage: Green Shiny, Leathery textured.
  • Propagation Methods: From woody stem cuttings, by grafting or by air layering.
  • Uses in landscape: Accent tree, suitable for road median planting, suitable for avenue planting, look good near water bodies.

    General information about growing plumeria

Plumerias can be grown in the ground or containers as indoors or on a balcony. During the months of active growth, ample sun, food, and water are essential. Healthy plumeria will grow vigorously and bloom regularly and profusely when they receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day and an ample amount of the proper fertilisers. Plumeria love lots of water, but can’t tolerate wet feet, so they must be planted in well drained soil.

How to care in the winter season for Plumeria?

In winter season Plumeria foliage starts turning yellow and even starting to defoliate. Fortunately, this is a natural response to the local climate turning cool to cold. It is very common for Plumerias at this time of the year.

Depending on the variety and flower color, some plants will either start partially or completely defoliate around November. Don’t worry. It’s beneficial for plants to go dormant. They store their energy until the weather warms up, then pushes new foliage and flowers.

Caring for your Plumeria in the winter is simple. Do not water too much and if your plants have no leaves, better to not water them at all until they start to push new foliage in the spring. It is not necessary to add fertilizers at this time.

I hope this information will help you to take care of this wonderful tropical plant in winter season!

Once you know the tricks for plumeria plant care, you’ll be rewarded with fragrant flowers all year long!

Happy gardening

 

Colorful Geraniums – Growing and Care

Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are an all-time favorite of gardeners. They are beautiful, colorful, and some species emit a lovely scent. Growing geranium plants are easy as long as you can give them what they need. Here’s how to grow geraniums in your home and garden!

What are Geraniums Exactly?

Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial and perennial. Geraniums are commonly known as cranesbills. They are found throughout temperate regions of the world and in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. The name ‘cranesbill’ is derived from their appearance of the fruit capsule of some species, which is shaped like a long unsprung column and like the bill of a crane.

Not all geraniums are in fact geraniums. Some are pelargoniums. “True Geraniums”, which are hardy, native and wild plants that make excellent ground cover and space filler in your garden and landscape.

A pelargonium is a hybrid species of the geranium plant. The difference between geranium and pelargonium is in how they flower. The noticeable differences are that geranium has a flat-like saucer shape while a pelargonium has a trumpet-like shape of flower that faces upward from the stem, rather than a flat five-petal flower head.

Pelargonium flower

Geranium flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Botanical Name: Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum)
  • Varieties: Meadow Cranesbill, Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill, Clark’s geranium
  • Design Ideas: It is suitable to be grown as a flower bed, hanging baskets or containers on patios or balconies.

    Plant Features:

  • Life-Cycle: Annual, biennial and perennial.
  • Height: 6 inches to 3 feet
  • Width/Spread: Up to 2 feet
  • Flowering season: Year-around flowering, Flowers in flushes throughout the year.
  • Flower: The flowers have five petals and are colored white, pink, purple or blue, with distinctive veining.
  • Uses in landscape: Geraniums play plenty of garden roles beyond being accents in the perennial border, where they provide soft color for many weeks. Some geraniums can be used as ground covers. Geraniums are an excellent choice for containers, hanging baskets  and in rock-garden.
    Planting/Growing Details :
  • Sunlight: Locate your geraniums in an area with at least six to eight hours of sunlight.Potted geraniums are excellent indoor plants and can be grown under bright light for growth and flowers.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry to some extent between watering, then water thoroughly. During the winter, water much less, but do not let the roots dry out entirely. Geraniums do best when given a period of dormancy through the winter months, during which they use less water and do not grow much.
  • To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers.
  • To promote bushy growth and avoid legginess, pinch the stems.
  •  Propagation:
  •  By seeds: They are easily grown from seed and can help acquire a collection of different varieties.
  • By cuttings: Geraniums are easily cloned by taking rooting cuttings and stuck into coarse, sandy medium in small pots. The spot should be kept warm in indirect light and watered well. After roots are formed in 2-3 weeks, move the new plants into full sun and water.

 Pest and Disease – Common problems can be low light or too much or too little water. The leaves will turn yellow as an indication you are watering too little or too much. In this case, try to even the watering out and move the geraniums to a brighter place.

Follow these tips presented here to make your geranium flourish and as you learn to grow them successfully, you’ll want to have more and more colorful geranium in your garden.

Happy gardening

Best Low Maintenance Flowering Ground Covers

Having just a plain green patch of land in your garden is a little too bland sometimes. Here’s where ground covers can help! What ground covers do is that they produce beautiful blooms and enhance the look of the otherwise bare patches of land. Ground covers also help us bind the soil and protect the land from weeds. They can also fill a lot of empty space in the garden within a short span of time.

Ground covers are the “carpets” of the Garden, adding color and texture to the landscape. Ground cover plants are extremely useful and form an integral part of landscaping.

Ground Cover Uses:

Ground covers can serve many purposes. We use ground cover to add a splash of color to the landscape. It can be used to effectively retain moisture and keep weeds smothered out acting as a living mulch. Sometimes ground cover is just used to fill a problem area in the garden where nothing else will grow.

Before planting ground cover plants, it’s very important to remove weeds thoroughly by hand-weeding. Please avoid harmful weed killers – they are not only harmful for the soil but are also harmful for humans and pets. Step 2 is to improve the soil quality by adding manure or compost to the soil.

In this article, I will be sharing details about different options for beautiful flowering ground covers.

SCARLET SAGE

  • Botanical name: Salvia splendens
  • Common names: Red salvia
  • Sunlight requirement: Full sun to partial afternoon shade.
  • Soil requirements: Grows in well drained and loamy soil.
  • Height: 90 cm tall
  • Flower colors: Red, white, pink and purple.
  • Salvia are most commonly used as bedding plants in most of the countries. The pretty scarlet hue of the blooms makes the ground look more appealing and fresh.
scarlet sage1

Scarlet Sage

IMPATIENS

  • Botanical name: Impatiens walleriana
  • Other names: Busy Lizzie, Balsam
  • Sun requirements: Full to bright filtered light.
  • Height: Grows up to 15-60 cm long.
  • Flower colors: White, pink, red, orange and purple.
  • It is a stem-less herb and perennial in nature.
  • Impatiens is one of the most popular annual flowers, due to their brightly color blooms and their ability to grow in shady areas. The most commonly grown cultivars are short plants, attaining a height of not more than 1 foot.

Impatiens

CUPHEA

  • Botanical name: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • Common names: Mexican Heather, Elfin herb
  • Sun & Soil requirements: Should be planted in full or partial sunlight and in well-drained soil.
  • Height: Maximum height 24 inches.
  • Flowers: White, pink and deep rose varieties.
  • Grown for their long tubular flowers which have a long flowering season. It can be used as ground covers, borders and hedges.
cuphea

Cuphea

DIANTHUS

  • Botanical name: Dianthus caryophyllus
  • Other names: Carnation, Sweet William.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Requires full sun. Most species prefer neutral to alkaline soil while some can also be grown in acidic soil.
  • Height: Grows up to 10 cm (4 inches)
  • Flowers: Pink colored, sweetly fragrant and disc-like blossoms.
  • Commonly used for borders and bedding purposes. Many of their species have grass like foliage which gives them an edge over other ground covers

    Dianthus

    PEACE LILY

  • Botanical name: Spathiphyllum wallisii
  • Common names: Cobra plant, Peace lily.
  • Sun and soil requirement: Bright to medium light and well drained soil with rich organic matter. Keep the soil moist, but do not over water it.
  • Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm)
  • Flowering season: Blooms repeatedly all-year long, profusely in summer.
  • Peace lilies like shady spots and propagate efficiently in warmer locations. Peace lily are fast growing plant which makes it a perfect fit for ground covers.

Peace lilly

PORTULACA

  • Botanical name: Portulaca grandiflora
  • Other names: Purslane, Moss Rose
  • Soil and sun requirement: Moss rose is very tolerant of poor conditions and dry soil. Moss rose can be grown in any well lit area. Cold climate as well as warm climate is suitable for its growth.
  • Height: Reach up to 40 cm.
  • Flowers: White, yellow, pink and red. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into mid fall.
  • This pretty little plant with needle-like foliage and tiny colorful flowers looks absolutely stunning. It is an annual or perennial (*in warm tropical and subtropical climates) ground cover that spreads densely.
portulaca

Portulaca

GERANIUM

  • Botanical name: Geranium dissectum
  • Other names: Crane’s bill, Cut leaf Geranium.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Rich organic well drained soil and bright to medium sunlight.
  • Height: Grows up to 12 inches tall
  • Flower colors: pink, blue, orange, white, red.
  • This old fashioned tough and aggressive perennial ground cover is a good choice for gardeners who want to grow low maintenance plants. Blooms appear when the weather warms up.

Geranium

 

MARIGOLD

  • Botanical name: Calendula officinalis
  • Other names: Common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Likes rich, well-drained soil but are often tolerant to poor soils and about sun requirement full sun to partial shade would be good enough.
  • Height: Usually up to 6-8 inches barring African marigold, which grows to a probable height of 2-3 feet
  • Flowers: Found in numerous colors, varying from pale yellow to orange-red.
  •  An easy to grow annual plant provide natural pest control and radiant sprays of multi-colored flowers. With proper sunlight and water, these colorful flowers will fill out any garden and add beauty to any yard.
marigold

Marigold

VINCA ROSEA

  • Botanical name: Catharanthus roseus
  • Other names: Madagascar periwinkle, Rose periwinkle, Sadabahar(Hindi), Nayantara (Bengali).
  • Care: Grows in well-drained soil of moderate fertility in full sun or partial shade. Should be sparingly watered in winters. Propagates best in the temperature range of 55-64 degrees F.
  • Height: Grows up to 1 m tall
  • Flowers: Available in various colours, from white to red, the most abundantly seen being pink.
  • The Madagascar periwinkle is a pretty blooming hardy plant.This perennial flower can be found all over India in any climate zone all-round the year.
vinca rosea

Vinca rosea

PETUNIA

  • Botanical name: Petunia
  • Other names: Petunia
  • Soil and sun requirements: Soil with well decomposed organic matter works best. Do well in sunlight to promote multiple blooms.
  • Height: Usually up to 1′ to 2′.
  • Flowers: Found in numerous colors, varying from pink, purple, white and bi color.
  • Petunias known for gorgeous bright colorful flowers and decorative lawn borders, lush with varied flower heads that last all summer long.

Petunia.

These flowering ground covers will help you to add an extra charm to your garden. So folks! add these ground covers to your garden to create a feast for your eyes with rich and varied carpets of colors.

Which flowering ground cover will you choose? We love to hear from our garden lovers. Do tell us in the comment section below.

Happy gardening!

Happy Gardening

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Grow Your Own Pumpkins !

A mix of vibrant pumpkin varieties is a valuable staple in your kitchen garden!

Pumpkin is one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow. If you have space in your garden for them, they are a relatively maintenance free. Pumpkin vines grow best in a location with lots of sunlight and good air circulation.

Did you know Pumpkins are also famous during Halloween? 

Modern Halloween comes from the Irish festival Samhain. Tradition dictated huge bonfires built in fields, and it was believed that fairy spirits lurked in the shadows. To distract these spirits from settling into houses and farms, people would carve rudimentary faces into large turnips, and set candles inside. 

As pumpkin carving grew into a multi-million dollar industry, American farmers began to examine the specific types of pumpkins they grew, and breed new lines of squash specifically for carving. Massachusetts farmer John Howden developed the Howden pumpkin in the 1960s, and it is still the most popular carving pumpkin in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Pumpkin? 

In Hindi Pumpkin is called as Kadoo. Pumpkins come in unique shapes, sizes and hues and have diverse flavors. They are a rich source of Vitamin A, potassium and fibre. 

Where to grow Pumpkins?

Ideally grown on the edge of a garden bed where it receives adequate sunlight. As with most plants, they thrive in loose, well-drained soil and under direct sunlight which allows the fruit to ripen evenly. 

Add neem cake or neem solution to the soil a week before planting. Mix organic matter, wood ash and well-rotted manure into the soil.

The mound should be about 8-12 inches high and around 2 feet circumference at the base. This can also be done on a long raised ridge with the same proportions. Though they are considered monsoon crops, pumpkins can be grown throughout the year — successive planting will provide a steady supply of fruits.

How to sow Pumpkin seeds?

Soak the seeds in warm water for a day to promote germination. The seeds can be started in a nursery and shifted later, but for best results sow directly in prepared beds. If they are to be planted on flat ground, keep a distance of atleast 3 feet for the vines to spread out. For raised soil, flatten the top of the heap and press the seeds an inch deep — 3 seeds per mound or 3 feet apart if it is on a ridge. For terrace gardens, use large deep troughs with at least 1.5 feet depth and sow 2 seeds in each.

How to care for Pumpkins?

Once the seeds have sprouted, restrict weed growth around the seedlings with an organic mulch of leaves or grass cuttings. Remove weak seedlings at this stage. As the long vines supply nutrition to the plants, they should be well-maintained by trimming dead leaves and weak side vines. 

Watering is best done early morning or in the evening, preferably by drip tubes which supply water directly to the roots; excess water on the leaves can cause powdery mildew. 

Protect against aphids, ants and other pests by spraying with a neem solution; peppermint solution is another insect repellent which can be sprayed once a week. Look for squash bugs under the leaves and remove them by hand. 

Once the flowers appear, sprinkle wood ash around the plant on alternate weeks to supply potash. Pumpkins produce male and female flowers on the same plant and are naturally pollinated by insects. To ensure this, pollination can be done manually.

Identify the flowers — the female flower has a small fruit at the base and the male is distinguishable by its absence. Rub the male flower over the female flower to transfer pollen. This will increase chances of healthy well-proportioned vegetables.

Female flower

How to harvest Pumpkin?

Most pumpkin varieties can be harvested after three months, when the fruit has ripened on the vine. Pumpkins are ready to harvest when the stem has started to dry and the skin of the pumpkin begins to harden. Remove from the vine leaving about an inch stem.If the stem breaks, the pumpkin won’t cure or store well.

That’s all you need to know about growing pumpkins in your kitchen garden. Pumpkin has so many uses in the kitchen so learning how to grow pumpkins successfully will be truly rewarding experience.

Happy Halloween!

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How To Care For A Rubber Plant

If you are looking for an indoor plant that makes a bold statement, then look no further than a Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica). Besides being an attractive low maintenance plant, it also purifies the indoor air. 

  • Common names           Rubber fig, Rubber plant.
  • Indian names:               Rubber plant ( Hindi and Kannada)
  • Botanical Name:          Ficus elastica 
  • Family :                             Moracae

      

Plant Features:

  • Plant type :                   Tree, Indoor plant.
  • Foliage type :               Evergreen, shiny oval leaves.
  • Life-Cycle:                    Perennial
  • Height :                          Up to 50 feet, Up to 3 m indoor variety.
  • Width/Spread:           25 feet / 6 feet trunk diameter
  • Flowering season:    All season
  • Flower:                         Yellowish green
  • Toxic:                             Rubber plant sap is toxic and causes mild irritation burning sensation in eyes if it comes in contact.
  • Propagation:              Rubber tree is commonly propagated from cuttings or air layering.

Popular varieties 

  • Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’– With variegated green and white leaves having overtones of burgundy and red veins.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Doescheri’– Also called as “Indian Rubber tree”. It has dark green foliage with patches. Plants of this variety needs more natural light than most of the other variety.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Back prince’- This variety has thick dark green leathery foliage with bronze undertones and large rounded leaves.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Decora’- This variety has thick dark green leaves.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’-This variety produces larger green leaves that grow around 18 inches long.
  • Ficus elastica ‘tricolor’ – This variety has green leaves with patches of pink and cream. 

          

Rubber plant is an evergreen tropical plant that can grow up to 50 feet. It can be grown indoors (up to 3 m) as an ornamental plant. Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is grown for for the production of commercial rubber.

Rubber plant care and  growing requirements :

Sunlight : Place the plant on a bright and well-lit spot that receives indirect or morning sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon sun. Otherwise, the leaves will eventually fall off.

Soil : Use well-drained quality potting mix and a container with proper drainage.

Water : Apply moderately, whenever the top one-inch of soil feels dry. Provide sufficient drainage to plant and avoid excess watering as it may cause root rot.

Humidity : Rubber plant prefers moderately cool, moist and humid air. For humidity, you can use a humidifier or set it on a tray with pebbles and water.

Pests : The rubber plant is resistant to pests and diseases. However, if grown in poor conditions and low light,  pests like spider mites and mealybugs cause a problem.

To treat the pest problems, as soon as you notice the insects on your Rubber Plant, spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap or Neem oil, making sure to get both sides of the leaves. 

Care

  • Wipe and clean the leaves with a damp sponge once in a week.
  • Avoid over-watering or misting of leaves with very cold water as rubber plant loses its leaves due to over watering or when sprayed with cold water. 

This is it, all about Rubber plant,  Easy to take care of and makes your home feel special!

“The large, dark, vibrant foliage of rubber plant looks really beautiful and the plant with minimal care does a brilliant job of  freshening-up indoor air! That’s all you need to know about the Rubber plant to get started! Plant one at your home and take care of this delightful plant”

 

” I hope this article inspires you to add a rubber plant to your home. If you have any other tips for growing a rubber plant, please do share. We would love to know how you keep your plant healthy!”

Happy-gardening

 

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!

 

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