Beneficial Garden Insects

Do you face a pest problem in your garden? Let nature give you a hand by combating the pests with beneficial insects. Not all insects are bad pests. There are some insect species referred to as beneficial insects that may provide a long-term sustainable pest control solution by preying on the bugs that do a great deal of damage to your garden plants.

Encouraging beneficial garden insects for participation in your garden may be one of the best methods to be ever used in eliminating the detrimental effects of pests. Providing protection for these insects and planting nectar and pollen plants are basic requirements of organic gardening and is also a great initiative towards expanding an ecological diversity in your garden. Read more

Different types of Garden Sheds

Hey, my ‘green thumb’ people! How have you been doing? Where do you keep  your garden tools after you are done using them in the garden? Are they kept in your garage? Why deny them the comfort of luxury just because they are utilitarian tools? Have you thought of constructing a garden shed to store the garden tools? If not, here is all the information you need to know, to embark upon building a garden shed.

 

 

WHAT IS A GARDEN SHED?

A shed can be described as a single-storey structure, positioned in the back of a garden, which serves the purpose of storage and workshops. It can either be placed on the patio or adjacent to the house. There are various kinds of garden sheds ranging from corrugated metal tin-roofed garden sheds, lavish and classy wooden framed garden sheds to low-maintenance plastic garden sheds. The kind of material that you want to employ for the garden shed should be governed by the time and energy you can invest in their maintenance.

TYPE A: METAL GARDEN SHED

Metal Garden Shed

A metal garden shed made from a thin sheet of metal offers protection from fire and termite attacks. It is ideal for long-term investment owing to its strength and durability. However, the metal garden shed is vulnerable to rust if it is constructed of steel which is not galvanized. A thin metal sheet is prone to denting especially in an area with high-traffic.

TYPE B: PLASTIC GARDEN SHED

Plastic Garden Shed

Plastic garden sheds made from PUV and polyethylene, bask in the glory of its multiple facilities ranging from least-expenditure, UV ray protection, durability, stability, and resistance. Certain plastic sheds are modular which allows for flexible extensions, peg-boards, shelving, attic-storage, windows, skylights, and other accessories to be added later.

TYPE C: WOODEN FRAMED GARDEN SHED

Wooden framed garden sheds add a vintage flavor to the garden apart from syncing with a picture perfect lush green carpet, which is your garden, sprinkled with flower blooms. A wooden garden shed needs to be pampered with proper maintenance to prevent splitting, rotting or warping. The walls adjacent to the wooden garden shed need to be cleared of shrubs and plants that exhibit the tendency to pile up. To make the wooden garden shed weather-resistant, apply stains and preservatives. In addition, these preservatives will also offer protection against fungal attack.

You can either go for a small garden shed or a large garden shed depending upon the space of the garden and the utility of the garden shed. The aim of the garden shed is to become an abode for garden tools like square shovel, rake, garden shears, hand pruner, pitchfork, hoe, trowel, and wheelbarrow. It is wise to arrange the tools on a table inside or a cupboard (if the space permits) so that you can easily access them without wasting much time. Sometimes a garden shed is used as a garage too. In that case, the garden shed needs to be large to accommodate without fuss.

GO FOR A GARDEN SHED!

Garden sheds can be flamboyant and be the ‘it’ corner of your garden with a little effort. Make sure that the carpenter constructs the garden shed on a level ground. The garden shed can be a page from the books of Enid Blyton, with its warm green hue and the porch decorated with freshly-plucked white flowers situated on the wheel-barrow. With its doors and windows, it can offer you refuge from a dull day, as you read your favourite novel amidst the sedative vibe of the garden. Or, have you imagined about a garden shed with pagoda? If the garden shed is situated on a podium don’t leave it naked, rather dress it up with cacti, planters, ceramic pots and garden urns. What about adding a signboard or placing the barbecue counter right beside it?

It might give you a tough time explaining it to the carpenter, but once it is done, you can’t help but be spellbound by its sleek futuristic sophistication. It can also be smudged with rainbow colours to make it appealing to the kids or can be designed like a log-cabin with pebbled prints to take you back to the land of fantasy.

Whatever type of shed you decide, do keep in mind the budget and space.

Happy garden shed designing!

Happy gardening

tejas.rane7@gmail.com'

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

 

tejas.rane7@gmail.com'

What exactly is a Rock Garden?

Rock gardens are a great way to display rocks and sunny, alpine plants together. Rock garden should look natural and not superimposed. It can be made in open sunshine or partial shade.

What exactly is a Rock garden?

Garden planned around natural rock formations or rocks artificially arranged to replicate natural (often mountainous) conditions. The concept of rock gardens is believed to have been introduced from China and Japan into the Western world in the 17th cent. They have since gained wide popularity as an ideal method for the cultivation of mountain flora and for beautifying hilly, stony or other awkward terrain. 

Rock plants usually have long roots that enable them to obtain moisture even when the surface is hot and dry. Low plants requiring well-drained conditions are suited to rock gardens: besides alpine plants, these include stonecrops and species of phlox, bluebell, and succulents.

A rock garden can provide several different habitats even in quite a small area. A rock, for example, can be placed so that sun-loving plants make the most of its sunny face whereas shade-tolerant plants can nestle in its north-facing shadow. A large garden is not essential as it is possible to incorporate a rock garden into all sizes of the plot.

Choosing the right site:

  • Aim to use the most open position, away from overhanging trees or tree roots, where plants will receive sun for the greater part of the day.
  • It is better to have fewer hours of sun per day than the whole day in light shade
  • Choose a position where the drainage is perfect unless you are prepared to build raised beds or enhance drainage in other ways.

Choosing the best Rocks for garden:

      Rock gardens are quite an investment in hard materials such as rock, stone, gravel or slate.Choose local stone if possible.

  • Sandstone is an example of a suitable rock, widely available, that is not too alkaline (limestone) or hard and dense (granite).
  • Limestone from natural ‘limestone pavements’ was widely used.  These pavements are a scarce and finite resource with a unique flora.  
  • Choose stone in a range of to construct a natural-looking outcrop.

Placing the stone:

To create as natural a rock garden as possible select large stones to act as ‘keystones’. Position the larger of these first and place the remaining ones so that the layer look natural. Use a spade to dig out hollows to set the stone into. A crowbar will help move the stones into their permanent positions. Support them with smaller stones or bricks underneath. Aim for a naturalistic look when setting the rock in place. The rocks should tilt backward, with the strata running the same way. Use weed-free topsoil for the top layer of the rock garden, working it underneath and between the stones to set them firmly in place.  Bury the stones up to a third of their depth, firming them in place. Leave the areas between the stones uniform and add the specially made compost over the area to create planting pockets.


Planting the rock garden: 

Remove the plant from the pot, make sure the plants are planted firmly in the compost mix and are top-dressed with gravel or soil. Set a few plants first, then add rocks around them. Try to cover as much of the surface as possible with rocks and plants.

Plants for rock garden:

A wide range of plants called’ Alpines’ can be grown successfully, like achillea, alyssum, azalea, begonia semperflorens, dianthus, gazania, linum, primula. Perennials like – phlox, saxifrage, verbena can be grown too. Besides, one can grow cacti, succulents, euphorbia milli, sedum, miniature roses, lantana, and ferns.

There are many ways you can design your rock garden. Select the perfect site that is suitable to your landscape conditions to achieve a better effect and if you choose plants wisely, no matter what kind of design you have chosen, you will have a beautiful, thriving rock garden to be proud of !

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

 

World Famous Greenhouses

  1. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Situated in the grounds of the Royal Castle of Laeken in Brussels, this enormous complex of greenhouses covers 270,000 square feet. Commissioned by King Leopold II of Belgium, it was built between 1874 and 1895 and includes the Iron Church, a domed greenhouse which served as the Royal Chapel. A whopping 800,000 litres of heating oil are required annually to keep the greenhouse heated. The public are allowed entry once a year, in the spring, for nearly three weeks when the flowers are in bloom.

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