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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gardening Lessons for Life and Tips for Amateur Gardeners

Sunrise with New Hope
People often buy a few plants and keep the pots in their window sill and entrance of main door. Here these plants are watered and after few months or even less as they may not flower again, neglect and then there are dried plants... I see many windows having pots with dried plants, people do not even care to clean the pots neither do they remove the empty pots nor do they plant new plants in it.  If you do not succeed at first try again and if you do not wish to continue do clean your windows and doors, clutter in any form is not good for your house.
Plants are considered very good in feng shui as they bring positive energy in your environment. Not only will plants enliven your house and environment they also promote good luck and prosperity into your home.
You learn commitment, persistence, perseverance and lots of patience through gardening. With this coming new year I hope we see many new and amateur gardeners coming up and joining our race to heal the earth.
As our body needs food so does our soul need food and gardening is food for our soul. There is a saying that if you have two rupees buy a bread with one and buy a flower with other, this is the importance of gardening. As your hands touch the soil and you plant new saplings or seeds, there is so much hope and anticipation, when the plants grow you again have hopes to see them flower and if you have fruit trees the wait is worth it! Many people follow organic gardening and plant vegetables and fruits with which they not only get for themselves they can also share these with their neighbors. So gardening will also heal relationships and teach you the art of sharing and believe me you will get lot of satisfaction by tasting the fruit grown by you.
You learn to have loads of patience and waiting and still keep your spirits high. This I have learnt when I planted seeds, believe me this is the most toughest of gardening experiences. You wait for the new plants to come out, and are so very happy to see the new growth but as this grows big you find this is just wild grass! I was lucky with the zinnias which came out in two weeks time and also flowered very soon as also the gladiolus plants that gave me good blooms but the amyrallis did take five years to bloom and also the fruit trees grown in containers are giving me a hard time. Hope this year I get a good bounty.
For the amateur gardeners there are a few tips noted and I hope you get a good start.
Decide to become good and dedicated gardener and then begin your journey. This will be small way of you connecting to the whole universe and the universal power. You can be a part of healing this earth in your small special way by planting a plant. Just as a small baby begins with little steps buy cheap and simple easily growing plants. Do not go over board and buy expensive varieties of plants in the beginning as failure in the first start will make you repel from further gardening.
Learn about few gardening tips and maintenance from books and gardening websites online.
When you plant seeds have patience, lesson number one and hundred and thousand, patience and waiting which I have learned the hard way, you do have to wait for flowers and fruits for many years, in rare varieties of plants so select simple and all seasons plants that will show flowers all year round without much care. This will be motivation enough to continue.
Buy good quality soil and fertilizer along with the pots that are cheap but sturdy. Now you can visit your local nursery and buy few plants, nowadays you get ready potted plants which are a good option if you do not wish to risk the repotting and losing of a new plant (again my experience, not all plants bought will root in a new pot).
Buy few plants, only that much which you can take care of without giving much time in the beginning, Remember you already have your time commitments and as you begin this new hobby of gardening you cannot just leave your previous commitments and take up gardening as a whole time activity. Later as you make up your time schedule you can increase the number of plants.
Something I have learned about organic gardening and composting from waste is that it is not always possible for everyone. Many new gardeners try to add fruit peels and vegetable cuttings, leftover food and other waste directly to the pot and with time the plants attract insects and ants especially red ants which will eat up the roots and make your plant weak and you may not only lose your plant but the ants will be all over your house! For the beginners you can buy ready compost which is processed and will act as fertilizer for your flowering plants.
Buy plants with similar needs, that is water, sunlight and food. This will make it easy for you to care for them without much tax on your time and effort. You can keep a window dedicated for gardening where you can keep these plants arranged in a pattern. And do learn to handle mosquitoes as you will be having new plants and avoid stagnating water around.
If you have small children better select simple and safe plants without thorns or spikes. Pets also have the habit of nibbling on new attractive things and small children also cannot control their curiosity of trying to pluck a new flower or leaf and of course, taste it!

New Year Wishes
Make gardening simple and enjoyable which is only possible when you do not spend a fortune for it and you buy easy growing plants which show miraculous results.
Wishing Everyone All the Best and Have a Happy New Year Ahead!

Monday, December 26, 2011

How to protect your plants from environment dust and grime

Having and open garden is an enriching experience. It feels as if you are under the open sky and you can feel being the part of this whole universe. But having the open garden means dust and grime. Not only does your garden produce waste in form of dead plants, leaves and dead flowers and fruits but the environment also is not static. Especially nowadays with lots of construction work going on everywhere there is lots of dust accumulation on all the plants. Special care is needed to maintain your plants and flowers as this layer of dust, cement and other chemicals can cause harm to your precious garden plants.
Adenium Good Luck Flowering Plant
Tips for maintaining plants and care from dust- Daily care is required especially during winters. As the climate has less humidity and everything is going dry your plants need special care to maintain their moisture levels. One of the secrets why my garden looks green- I take special care of keeping the leaves clean and free from dust and grime. Otherwise however beautiful your plants are and your garden is the first look of dust accumulation will give an impression of an unkempt and dirty garden.
Plants make food through their leaves and hence it is important to keep the leaves clean. How do you keep the leaves clean, not possible by hand as this will become tedious to keep cleaning every leaf single handedly. I use a small sprinkler which is used in the 'evenings or early mornings only' I repeat only as this time the sun is at lowest heat temperature and there will be minimum disturbance to your plant. If you clean your leaves when the sun has come up or during afternoon your leaves will burn and you will immediately have burnt and dried brown leves on most of your plants. Even during watering of your garden plants do take care to avoid watering them during afternoon and early evenings. The best time is when the temperature is not very hot and also never water during nights when the plants rest.
If your plant is delicate you will have to clean each leaf with soft muslin cloth to remove the grime and dust coating the leaf. This is quiet tedious and I use the sprinkler and you can also use your finger to control the flow of water and sprinkle very lightly to avoid damage to your plant. Remember that if you spray water with force on a delicate plant the whole plant may uproot and also you may even end up killing your plant.
In case of indoor plants the same care is required to keep them looking fresh and green. If there is slime or chemical coating on your plants then rub them with soft cloth and then use water sprinkler. Sometimes people also use mild coating of oil over few leaves to protect the damage and then wipe off the excess to give he plant an instant healthy and glossy look, especially for plants like rubber,  but I do not know how this will work as you may get instant shine over your leaves but this will again attract more grime.
Using a mild detergent in very less quantities may also give an instant shine to your plants but try to select an eco friendly liquid cleaner which is not harsh on the plants. This will keep your plants clean and also maintain their healthy fresh look. There are also some liquids available that will not allow dust to accumulate on your house and garden plants. This will not only give instant shine to your leaves, they will also protect form excess dust accumulation and also act as insect repellent.
Personally I feel daily care is required to maintain plants and keep them clean from dust and grime from the environment. Coating of dust and harmful chemicals may give you weak plants with stunted growth and may also lead to leaf drop as there is not enough moisture to maintain the health of the leaves.
Just like we need a bath so do our garden plants! As you water them daily and you feed them regularly , do give them regular baths also!

Fast Growing White Flowering Bush

White Flowering Bush
 Keeping aside fragrant flowers we also have some flowering bushes that require very less care and grow into full blooms. The white flowering bush has flowers all year round but the fragrance is bitter.
White Flowers Parijat
This plant which has white coloured flowers which look almost similar to chameli and mogra fragrant flowers is in fact a similar version without the fragrance. This plant can be grown as a full fledged flowering tree or also trimmed and grown as borders to your garden. In any landscape where you need flowers all year round and can do away without the fragrance you can  grow this plant. The fragrance though similar to the periwinkle or vinca rose flower is also beneficial to health. It is also believed to ward of evil by planting bitter smelling plants in vastu and feng shui. This is a fast growing flowering bush and can grow within few months in a full bush.
The leaves of this plant are of grey green colour and look like painted leaves instead of real leaves. The plant on first glance looks like an artificial plant having tough leaves that are of dull sap green and grey colour. Growing this plant in a pot will require same amount of fertilizer as any flowering plant but if you grow in soil the plant can show excellent beauty and fuller growth as garden border and garden fence. Very good to use as dividers in garden and also for privacy as this plant grows in a much fuller and bushier growth when trimmed with care. You can also design this plant according to the space available in your garden and you can have a flowering bush in any shape of your choice.
Care of the white flowering bush- As the water requirements are just like any other flowering plant care has to be taken to protect this plant from white aphids and ants. Ant’s especially red ones do come and accumulate during summers and can destroy the whole plant. I have tried putting ant powder in the soil as covering and this has worked in the early attacking stage. When the ants go out of control the whole soil will become porous and the plant will suffer from less water and dehydration as the water will drain away very quickly from the soil without nourishing the plant.

Different Birds and Terrace Garden Care

Visitors from Heaven

 Having a garden full of plants is really enchanting and captivating but bringing energy through birds is also an very important aspect for any garden. We all know that every gardener does encourage birds to come and be regular visitors in the garden. Any garden would look silent and dull without the energy of birds in it. Birds are not only necessary to bring life to your garden but they also play an very important role in transferring seeds everywhere. This is very essential and important especially for fruit trees where they need to be pollinated by other plant.
Pigeons Have a Drink
Our Pet Alexandrine Parakeet

 The bird bath is a favorite place for pigeons, mynas, sparrows and crows. Sometimes rare birds are also seen near our garden like the king fisher, eagle, falcon, hawk, black sparrow and of course the lovely group of parrots and parakeets that love to fly above the garden.
Enjoying the Dip
 Welcoming birds and enjoying them having dip in the cool mornings is soothing and brings joy to anyone but maintaining your garden plants is another task which needs to be taken care of. I have lost many plants due to plucking and biting and sometimes have also got very angry with the birds. But nothing can be done. I have started to plant new saplings very carefully as the pigeons in winter are at their nesting phase and they try to get hand at any and every loose stem or leaf and any new plant that is planted is either plucked and thrown out or disappears from the pot! Having too much of anything is harmful and this is also with having too many birds over your garden fence and you need to have the balance regarding this.
The Crow on His Favorite Spot
Care of Garden Plants from Birds- First and foremost one must try to keep the bird bath and water feature or water fountain away from delicate plants. Try to keep it in a corner of your garden so that the whole garden is not disturbed with the birds. You can have the feeding tray also with water bath and pond on a side where tough plants are grown. Also do not keep very small pots as the birds may get hurt while flying over them. We also had roses and bougainvilleas which have been removed from the area around the bird bath as the birds may get hurt with the thorns of the plants.
If you have flowering plants like the Chinese rose which is very attractive to the pigeons for plucking and colourful petunias, you can cover them with metal covers used for covering cooked food. Mosquito nets can also be tied over the fruiting and flowering plants for protection against birds.
Another aspect which comes up with birds in your garden as frequent visitors is about hygiene and cleanliness. You must keep your garden clean and tidy as bird feaces and feathers along with bird dropping accumulating in your garden will not only be harmful to us but also to the other birds. I have lost many plants due to birds fingering and believe me once they decide about a plant they are so focused that the poor plant has no chance of living after the frequent plucking and pulling! Especially beautiful petunias have been plucked time and again and lost the race. This year I have not planted any petunias till now, trying to avoid this nesting phase of birds.
It is also very important to keep the water feature and bird bath clean to give fresh drinking water to birds. With time the bird bath becomes slimy and there is also green growth of algae and fungus. Small fishes and worms are good for your birds as they will get nutrition from them but not good for your health, so keep the bath away from your seating area in your garden.
It is considered very auspicious in feng shui to feed the birds and provide drinking water to them. In this manner you invite heaven luck which helps you in your life to get prosperity and success. To clear the past karma and improve present and future karma birds are an easy way to invite grace and good luck. In feng shui we place importance on the water element as water is considered money or wealth. Place water feature in the north or north west or west in your garden for best feng shui.

Favourite Place
I have often been labelled as having more bird friends than humans! just can’t help I am as I am!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wild Plant with Liliac Blue Flowers

Purple Flowers in the Wild

Liliac Flowers on Wild Plant
This plant has been growing in the pot on its own and even on removing it and placing it on the ground it has immediately taken root. The plant looks very beautiful with thick leaves and liliac purple blue flowers on it.
This is a wild plant that had taken root and since the flowers looked attractive it was with us for some time.
I think this is a poisonous plant and as this looks different with grey green leaves and thick veins can be seen on close observation of the leaf. Though it may have some medicinal use planting this in the garden was not with my choice.
The plant as we see requires very little care and can grow by itself. The stem is of grey colour or a pale green and the leaves are oval in shape. The flowers are light purple and almost blue purple in buds. The plant grows as tall stem and leaves come in alternate growth.  The stem has juices that are sticky and when you cut a stem of pluck a leaf or flower you can see the fluid oozing out of the plant. Avoid direct handling of this plant. If you have this plant growing in your garden do find out about the elements of this plant and its qualities. Kindly avoid any such poisonous plants in your garden if you have pets and small children around.

The Banana Fruit Plant

Banana Fruit Plant
Banana fruit plants can be seen at many places but trying to grow in container was  a bit challenging.  This picture here show a banana fruit plant growing in soil and this grows best in the ground, if you need to have good fruits.
The banana leaf has been used traditionally in many religious purposes and rituals. In the south of India it is still used for serving meals and eating religious food. With ritual of using this banana leaf  for flowers in the temple this plant has been grown mainly for this purposes. You will find many homes and gardens full of these banana plants when you travel south of India as the requirements of banana leaves are very high and consumption is also very high.
The banana flowers are very attractive and large in size. usually pink in colour they look almost like a huge pod of magenta colour. The banana fruit is very sweet and tasty and also nutritious. Growing a banana plant is all worth while as you use the fruits and also the leaves do not go waste. This plant does not require much water and can bear any type of soil. In fact most houses use their home leftovers to act as compost for the plant. It thrives with neglect.
The fruits come after many years and when you plant a young banana fruit plant you need patience to wait for the fruit. The trunk of the banana plant is very thick and tough as this has to bear the weight of the large leaves and heavy bunch of fruits. When grown in soil each plant may come up with the heavy fruit laden stem. The fruits grow in bunches attached on the single central stem pod. So when you get the fruits they are plenty and enough for even the neighbors!
The green banana fruit bunch has to be removed from the plant and taken care of for evenly ripening to avoid spoiling of the fruits. Banana fruits can also be used in raw form for many dishes. So the banana fruit plant is an example of a plant where nothing goes waste. The banana leaves are also used in marriage decorations and temple decorations.

Ornamental Plant with Pointed Leaves

plant with pointed leaves
I do not know the name of this ornamental plant but it looks very attractive as a centre piece in any garden. The pointed leaves of this plant need to be taken care of as this has to be planted away from eye and body level. Sharp leaves may not be considered good in feng shui as this is considered as poison arrows but this plant looks very tall and attractive. In feng shui such plants with spikes, thorns and pointed leaves are not allowed in the house but can be grown in the garden and outside the house for protection form negative energies and evil eye.This plant can be grown in big gardens and corners as in centre pieces where there is less traffic and activity from public.
Pointed sharp leaves grow on the main stem and surround the plant in circular pattern. This ornamental plant does not require much care and can do away with few waterings. You can also grow this plant as a centre for any rock garden as this plant can grow in hard soil and also does not require much sunlight for full day.
The plant can be grown from small new shoots that come from the side of the mother plant. Care has to be taken while handling this plant as the leaves are quiet sharp and tough cutters are required to trim the plant. And always use tough gloves while planting and handling these plants.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Facts of Nature- Dried Pipal Tree

Dried Tree

In Its Own Beauty

This tree has been dried since many years but still it stands tall with its own beauty. It seems that during construction phase this tree was faced with very harsh conditions and even cement and sand gravel attack and due to this the healthy tree has become barren but now there is small hope of life seen. This tree is of Pipal and since this tree has borne so many years the roots are now coming to life. I used to pray that it comes back as it looks so aloof with all the greenery and landscaping around it.
With small leaves coming out from the trunk there is hope of the tree coming to life and also a way of nature to show that come what may whatever has to come to life will come and this is a lesson for me to stop struggling to make plants grow, if they are destined they do grow without much care and if they are not however much I try they pass away. This is Life!

The Date Palm- Sweet Date Fruit Tree

Date Palm Tree
There are many varieties in palm and with the most common one seen everywhere as an indoor palm we cannot avoid the mention of the most beautiful and sweat fruiting date palm. This date palm can be grown in containers but the fruiting will require extra care and nutrition, just like any other plant grown in containers. And for fruiting it has to pass at least five years. We have these wonderful plants in our society and I was lucky enough to see the sweet fruits of this date palm.
The date palm is the easiest growing plant and can grow as a full fledged tree when planted in ground. We can grow the plant with seeds from date and this can be grown in a container. As the plant grows big it is better to shift it in the ground to enjoy the good and healthy fruits.
The date palm tree requires less water and grows best in partial sunlight or having sunlight for few hours of the day. Once it is planted it will take care of itself and keep growing. Each layer of leaves come out and as the plant grows the leaves are shed and another layer comes up. This way the growth of this date palm increases and goes in upward direction. This is a very sturdy plant and its leaves cannot be cut without sharp garden cutters.
The leaves of this plant have sharp edges and it is best to keep it away from body level and especially eyes. If you have pets and children then take care to avoid contact with this plant because it has very sharp pointed leaves which can cause accidents. This plant looks majestic when grown in a full tree and our date palms have been homes to many sparrows that chatter as the sun is about to go down. This is a home to many birds and a nest to make way for new life.
Date Palm Plant

The small date palm plant can be grown in any container and with the growth phases the plant will shed its leaves and keep growing taller. We were lucky enough to witness the fruiting of this date palm tree. The fruits come in bunches and look like small oval balls clubbed together on the central stock. The fruits are first raw and for them to ripen they need time and warmth. As the fruits ripen on the tree birds get the upper hand on the feasting. Still there is plenty for everyone as the fruits grown are in bunches and lots. With so many fruits fallen on the ground and if we wish to preserve the fruits I think it is better to cut of the fruit bunch and allow for ripening at home. Even the new fruits are tasty though not so sweet but the ripened fruits are very sweet and full of nutrition and eating even few fruits will keep you feeling full for a long time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Plant Designing and Designer Patterns in Plants

Plant Design
Planting new plants and maintaining them is just one field of gardening. Trimming and clipping and cutting plants according to designer patterns is one of the latest and upcoming fields in gardening. When we see a plant that is growing naturally and wild it does not look so attractive as when it is trimmed in an attractive and appealing shape. We often see hardens having cut designs of animals, birds and huge dinosaurs and this not only looks attractive but also gives a new dimension to the same plant.
Designing plants is one of the important parts of garden landscape designing. In garden designing we plant a group of similar size or coloured plants for an impression. In plant designing we trim and clip plants according to out theme of the garden and here we have  a themed garden with the same plants, jut the look is different.
Plants like different ferns, garden grass used as dividers, cypress plants, and also many large trees can be clipped and given a direction according to the desired shape. This field has been going on for many years and the only setback of this designer plants is that they require regular care and trimmings. As the plants grow they may lose their shape and for this you require to trim them regularly to maintain their desired shape.
Deciding upon plant designs is totally up to you and your garden theme. If you wish to have a children’s garden you can select wild animals, birds and fairy tale characters to trim your border plants and make this a fantasy island garden. If your theme is of ancient heritage you can have antique lamps and heritage objects and have the plants trimmed in shapes of swings lamps posts, water fountains  and so on.  Incorporating real objects with your designer cut plants will make your garden design complete and remember your theme of the garden must match with your plant designs and they must not look out of the place otherwise all your effort will go waste and these cut plants will look like a sore thumb in your beautiful garden.
If you are confused in the beginning go in for simple shapes like squares and round balls as these will be easy for regular maintenance and then as you master the skill you can go in for complicated shapes with small corners and shaper designs. Think simple shapes with less corners as a start and then proceed with fairies, angels and other fancy shapes things as birds and dinosaurs will require fine skills especially to get the face, mouth and eyes right!

Cheap Garden Tools Home Gardening Tools

Gardening tools are very important to keep your garden in place.  While working in the garden for so many years I have come to understand that tools are an very important part of your terrace gardening or in fact in any filed a tool is most important. Just like a surgeon would need efficient and sharp tools for success in surgery so also an gardener can swear upon his working tools.
Garden tools do come expensive and since I was not so a serious gardener earlier I have modifications of these tools according to my tastes and budget. To name a few important tools I would not do without are screw driver and paper knife, cloth cutting knife, nails, metal hangers and the list is endless. I do love my screw driver which is very big and tall in size. What does a screw driver do here, in the garden? well most of my digging of soil in large pots is done with this metal equipment. Many people try to purchase heavy and expensive garden equipments and tools but then I have seen these tools lying and rusting in one corner. Think before purchasing expensive garden tools about the regular use you may need for them. Whether you have  large ground garden here you may require professional garden tools and lawn movers. But fir a small terrace garden and garden with pots such huge equipment and tools will be out of place.
Metal hangers and hooks can be used to hang your garden pots without spending a fortune in grills and metal fences. Try to minimise expenses as much as possible in the beginning of your gardening adventure otherwise you may wear out your funds and then we will lose a new gardener. Old plastic containers are very useful to plant small and new plants till they grow big and then can be transplanted into bigger pots.
My scissors are also an important part of my garden clipping and cleaning procedures and people do like the neat and trimmed and always evergreen garden. Large clippers may be needed for professional gardeners but if you have a small garden with plants in pots and containers then this container garden can do away with medium sized scissors , but do take care to avoid using this for other purposes as they will become blunt and need regular sharpening. I also have an knife, which is an old kitchen knife used to cut strong branches as we do not have axe and it would also not be possible for me to pick up an axe, it would be very heavy. Since we have the Gulmohar tree planted in a large container and the bougainvilleas that had grown off hand and needed large clippings and trimmings this knife did come handy.
Always remember sharp and good garden tools are very important to maintain the look of your garden otherwise plants may grow in wild manner and all your garden design would become mess. Do try to find out your personal garden tools and you can also buy cheap tools from road side vendors according to your requirements and use.

Terrace Garden Planning

Terrace Garden Planning
Since the past many years I have been planting so many different types of plants. Any plant that I have liked since childhood has taken place in my terrace garden. The only problem coming up is that many did not survive with our direct sunlight whereas some have taken over the garden so much that I have begun to wonder why in first place I selected these!
The main problem that I have faced over the years is that we have a small terrace garden and it is well understood that not all of nature can be accommodated here. As the positive fact remains that we do have a place under the sun and sky is visible this space has to utilised judiciously for maximum appeal and beauty.
We have thought very carefully about the garden design and it has taken years and step by step planning for the end result that is a very attractive, flowering, fragrant feng shui garden. Being an healing and feng shui artist it was sure that I would like to implement all the basic principles of feng shui in our terrace garden.
Yes there are loads of garden planning books and websites that will give you the information on garden planning and efficient use of your garden space.
The most important deciding factor while making a garden is your space available and the climatic conditions that is the total amount of hours your terrace receives sunlight. Then go about the purchasing and selecting of the plants you wish to plant and finally start the journey of care and pampering to get beautiful blooms!
Just like we have a dream and goal so also our garden must be carefully planned and designed. Planning of your terrace garden is also very important when you have a small garden space available and you wish to utilise it for best possible garden design. It would be advisable to plan your garden and have some options available and then select your garden design. Having garden plans on paper will help you to save lots of precious time, energy and of course precious money that you would waste in selecting wrong plants!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Peach Coloured Canna Flower

Peach Coloured Canna Flower
One of the most beautiful and large flowers come on the canna plant. This plant being grown from tubers grows fast and blooms from each single stem. Each plant produces large dark green leaves which are elongated and grow from a single stem in spiral form.
This canna plants are availble in many colours and the flowers do give a good show when in full bloom. This plant can be grown as borders or in single pots. Usually societies also grow this plant as a major highlight and focus point in the garden design. The flowers look very attractive and open one by one from the stem and because of this the flowers go on for a long time till all the flower buds on the stem have opened and bloomed. each flower dries after opening and then the other flower opens or sometimes they may open in bunches and since the flowers are large in size it makes a good colour statement in your garden.
The plant grows best in small pots as other wise the leaves and foliage keep growing thick which is not good for the flowering of the plant as it loses all energy in maintaining the growth of the plant.
Some fertiliser is good for producing good flowers on this plant. This grows best in indirect sunlight or few hours of morning or evening sunlight. The canna plant is avilable in many coloured flowers with the most common and beautiful colors being red, yellow, orange, peach, white and of course the many shaded varieties that have been produced by hybrid of the original plants.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Thorns on the Aloe Vera Plant and Aloe Vera for Weight Loss

The aloe vera plant is one of the most useful and low maintenance plants. With thorns on the plant it looks just like any other wild plant growing in the wild dessert. Since this is a cactus covered with thorns the leaves are elongated and grow in bunches. The plant has a fleshy stem which is a modified leaf in from of thorns.
Thorns on the Aloe Vera Plant

 Aloe vera has many medicinal and herbal properties and is being used in many health care products. Be it face beauty products or herbal supplements for weight loss aloe vera is being grown and used extensively for its medicinal purposes.
It can be used as  home remedy for application on burns and scars. It is proved that aloe vera gel can remove and reduce facial and other body scars. Many skin lightening products have a base and important ingredient in aloe vera and there are many herbal companies that grow aloe vera in special farms for mass production.   

Close up of Thorns on the Aloe Vera Plant
I have been having this aloe vera plant since many years handed over by my mother. It had some years back grown profusely which made me repel towards growing any of this more, and I had literally thrown away much of this profusely growing cactus, except for a small bunch grown in a small pot.
The aloe vera plant is also I hear being used in lots of weight loss supplements and health supplements. The outside of the plant looks very unattractive but from the centre it looks like a flower growing from central direction, but just that this flower has thorns!
The inside of the aloe vera stem is fleshy and sticky gel oozes out when the stem is cut open. This gel can be applied on the skin and used as skin lightening agent for fairness of the skin. Even scars of past on the skin can be erased or lightened by regular use of the aloe vera gel. The aloe vera can also be used as a herbal supplement and their are many products for weight loss and herbal supplements that have aloe vera as their main ingredient.
In olden times our grand mothers used to advice eating aloe vera chunks for excessive body heat and boils and pimples erupting on skin and hence it was used regularly by our elders as skin lightening agents and for removal of excessive body heat. The raw aloe vera chunks can be eaten by adding turmeric and salt for taste though now there are ready chunks o0f aloe vera available that taste just like any sweet jelly toffee.
This aloe vera plant has faced lots of criticism and many people are removing it from their homes and gardens. In feng shui any plant that has thorns emits negative energy and is a no no for any place. One must avoid placing this plant in the home especially in the north or south direction as this plant has thorns which act as negative arrows towards you.
The removal of this aloe vera plant has made it nearly extinct and it will be soon that this plant will not be seen in common house plants. This hype may also be created by the manufacturers of herbal supplements as they wish to make this plant extinct so that they can charge premium for aloe vera products.
With less water requirements the aloe vera plant can tolerate drought conditions and indirect sunlight is best for growth of this plant.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Champa Flower Plant in Container/ Frangipani Flower Plant

Champa Flower Plant
I have added two new members to our family and here they have been planted in big containers for them to bloom and grow happily. The red champa and the yellow - white shaded champa are two new additions. Since I already have the yellow champa plant growing in a big bucket these two plants were also among the wish list for their showy and fragrant flowers.
My childhood memories go long back and I remember the fragrance of the yellow-white champa flower. We had this big champa tree in our compound which would be laden with flowers. Each single flower was a beauty in itself. With its fragrance famous world wide this frangipani plant was sure to find a place in my terrace garden.

The red champa flowering plant has also been planted and at present I do not know how many years will go by before I see the blooms, or how the plant will progress, anyway I do wish I get to see the flowers soon.
The champa plant has big leaves and its stem is quiet fleshy and thick. This plant stores water in its stem and on cutting the stem or plucking the flower you can see a white liquid ozze out of the plant.
I feel this plant can do away with few waterings as the stem is very thick and has stored water. Each leaf comes from the sides of the stem along with the new tip emerging with fresh lime green leaves. The leaves of the champa plant are dark green and new ones are lighter in colour.
Regular feeding will be required since this champa plant is growing in container. But I have not added anything since planting this new plant as I always avoid feeding the new plants with any fertiliser in the beginning till the new plant gets adjusted to our new container and climate of the surroundings.
The flowers of the champa plant are very fragrant and we can see them in different colours. The most famous flowers come in white with tiny shading of yellow in the center of the flower. There are the red flowers and the pink ones along with orange coloured champa flowers. Hybrid flowers also come in various shades of these basic colours. We have the red, yellow and the white champa flowering plants and as soon as I get any blooms you sure will see!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Understanding the Feng Shui Garden

Feng shui is an art and science of selection of good and proper plants to bring harmony in your garden. In simple terms feng shui means wind and water and if these principles of feng shui are considered before making a terrace garden then it will give you a satisfying and good result. The feeling of being relaxed and refreshed is what you will get from your feng shui garden.
Tips for a feng shui garden begin from first considering the map of ba gua and the  five elements and directions. Just like you would feng shui your house so also consider the same principles for your terrace garden. Remember your house is yin and garden is yang so choose your plants carefully and selectively.
1- select red and purple coloured tall plants for south. blue and light greens for the north and yellow and pinks for the south west region of your garden. Darker plants for north and lighter , brighter for south.
2. If there is a drain try to minimise the negative energy here and encourage positive chi in this feng shui garden. As in feng shui any drain will affect your finances negatively try to keep the drain concealed with few plants. In my garden we have a big drain hole in the south and we have planted a huge tree in a big container to block the negative energy of this area. Simultaneously if your drain is in the north area or any other area that corresponds to your finances and career or family health and relationships consider planting some heavy plant to pull the energy upwards instead of downwards. Avoid low falling creepers and climbers are good here.
3. Try to incorporate stone, soil, plants and metal into your feng shui garden. In this way you will bring all the five elements, water, wind, wood, metal and fire into your garden. Having a small fireplace or open grill for outdoor cooking can be a good enhancer for your feng shui terrace garden and also give you a reason to party. If not possible select red coloured plants for south and blue flowers or purple plants for north.
4.Since it is very auspicious in feng shui to have a water feature and encourage birds to feed and bathe here it may not always be possible to install a water fountain or waterfall  here due to electricity and wiring problems. If it is not possible to have water element in your feng shui garden then make do with small bird bath or small container with water. Also you can put up a picture of water flowing or water fall in your garden to improve energy of your career and helpful friends area. In fact any area of your garden where you need an extra push in energy can have a water feature except for the south as we all know that south area corresponds to your fame and recognition area and the element here is fire and water is not good for fire and this will extinguish your desire for any progress and work.
If your garden comes in the north area of your house, then it may not be possible for you to have many plants here and you can have a rock garden here having rocks, tough plants and dry areas especially make a rock garden for the north east as this is the area for self realisation and getting the true path of your life.
Understanding the feng shui garden by the principles of feng shui will give you a better guidance for selection of plants and care of your feng shui garden. Another thing which I have personally learned through experience is that try to use less water, as in feng shui water is considered money and the more water you waste in your feng shui garden the more it will affect in your rise in finances expenditures.

Silver Jade Plant

Green Jade Plant- Money Plant in Feng Shui
If you want to improve your finances and wealth through feng shuing your garden select plants with rounded corners and round shaped pots as in feng shui round resembles money.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rare Flowers on Cactus Plant

The rose flowers have competition. With winters becoming chilly and the morning breeze flowing the cactus is a great break from the other dry and dull plants. At its maximum beauty the cactus plant has bloomed quite well. It is an attractive break from the greens as this colour flowers look very good. 

 The plant though has thorns, and really big ones, which are concealed behind the green foliage of bright green leaves looks at first glance like any other plant. The flowers are peach coloured and new flowers start with tiny buds of yellow colour. Later the flowers develop into peach coloured and mature flowers are bigger in size. Flowers on this flowering cactus grow in bunches and never alone.
With no special care this cactus plant is a welcome addition to any garden. Do take care to avoid close contact with the plant as they have thorns which at first glance are not visible. The thick foliage of green leaves cover the stem and this is nature’s way to protect the plant from pests and animals. Care is required only to protect this cactus from butterflies as this is their favorite to lay eggs and the larvae feast upon the leaves and sometimes excessive larvae may even kill the plant. I had almost lost mine last year but prompt care saved this plant.
Also remember to avoid placing this plant on the floor as anyone may be caught unawares by the thorns which are not visible from outside. Avoid placing this plant indoor if you have small children and pets in your home. A window box would be good idea for planting this cactus as you can enjoy the blooms without going too close. I have placed my plant in between the thick foliage of tall palm plants and as the breeze flows this looks very attractive as if a bird with peach flowers is dancing.
Just like any other cactus plants this plant also requires less water and we have to take care of this plant in the rains. Except that if the soil is well draining and the pot porous then there is no problem even in the rains as the extra water will flow.
This cactus is worth for its blooms. Enjoy the winter show!

Photographs Pictures of Beautiful Sky View the Sky

Great sky pictures snapped using mobile camera. So easy and quick unlike earlier days when we needed photo reels and cameras for capturing the right moments, now we have mobile cameras which are so handy and I still need to learn to capture the right moment , but still good pictures for an amateur photographer!
Evenings on the Terrace Garden

Inviting Evening Sky

Enchanting Night Sky

Full Moon in Sky
Full Moon Night

Moon after Sunrise

Moon in Day







Beautiful Sky from Terrace Garden

View of Sky

Sparkling Sky

Moon in Day
The Sky  with its Moon a beautiful capture



Setting Sun Sky
Every photographer will swear that sky is an challenging and quite favourite topic for photographs, and as nature has immense challenging potential the sky is never left by photographers a swell as artists who love to paint sky paintings at different times of the day and night. I love the watch the still night clear sky under a blanket of stars glowing at late nights , the serenity is irreplaceable!
Pleasant Evening Sky


Sunrise
  Warm Sun rising in East
 Sky in Afternoon

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I don't Need the Lawn Mover and Tips for Growing Green Grass on Lawns

I do not specifically like lawns and though we have a green grass lawn in our society garden it does look fresh and green form a distance. Green lawns look very attractive in any form and are an important part of any landscape design of a garden. With being able to sit and relax on the fresh grass there is no other form of happiness for a child when they touch feet on the freshly watered grass. With many therapeutic uses of walking on fresh grass along with health benefits grass lawns have come to be well known and an important part of any landscape. People grow grass in any form either as a ground cover or as a corner base for other plants and also on side walks to make an attractive green cover for flowering plants.
I have specifically avoided adding a lawn to our terrace garden as I have learnt that in long term the base will get corroded due to continuous daily watering of the lawn and thus will lead to leakages in the flat below. Anyway lawns look good when they cover a larger area.
Lawns can have grass grown by seeds that are planted just before the rainy season and when the grass plants come out they will get the required quantity of water for flourishing and growing tall. When the first green grass grows it will be growing in an unkempt and hap hazard manner. You will see the grass growing like wild and the picture will not be that attractive. After the first growth immediately a lawn mover will be needed to trim the grass and maintain its uniform texture and this will give you an beautiful and attractive green lawn.
The lawn mover will be required every few months according to the growth rate of your lawn grass and if you use less fertilizer for your soil then the cuttings will be delayed and if you have been fertilizing your garden plants regularly than your lawn grass will also get the extra nutrients and grow like wild which will need regular and frequent trimmings to maintain the even texture of your lawn.
Problems faced with lawns and effective tips to maintain green grass on lawns- Lawns are a cover of grass and tiny plants which need care and maintenance to keep its beauty. Regular trimming using the lawn mover will keep the plants growth in check. There is also another problem faced by many gardeners having lawns is that of red ants during summer seasons. This will erode all your tiny grass plants and also make the soil very loose and after watering the grass will not be able to grow back as earlier as the roots may become weak due to ant attack. Treating the lawn grass with required antidote for red ants would save your grass.
Also if your lawn gets direct sunlight for many hours or the main after noon sunlight than your green grass may begin to turn yellow and burn as the tips of grass plants are very delicate and tiny. So you end up with yellow patches and dry patches on your green lawn.
Very important tip is how to water your lawn. Never use big hose pipes with pressure for watering on your lawns. The grass plants are tiny and you must use small nozzles and allow water to flow in the lawn slowly and evenly or use a small sprinkler to distribute water evenly on the whole lawn.
After few years your lawn may need refurbishing that is new soil added and fresh seeds also planted for getting fresh and healthy blooming green grass. This can be done by digging the old soil and removing all the grass and adding fresh soil along with new seeds and then watching the show! The first green grass looks very attractive and the leaves are of fresh lime green colour with delicate tips which on maturing develop a colour that is darker green and there is nothing like sitting on the fresh clean lawn and enjoying your garden.

Custard Apple Tree in Container

Custard Apple Tree in Container
My experience and knack to grow different plants led me to try different fruit plants in containers. The custard apple fruit being a favorite I had learned that it is also easy growing fruit plant that gives fruits sooner as compared to other fruit plants.
After buying a custard apple plant the main problem I have had was about sunlight requirements and feedings for the plant which is growing in a container in my terrace garden. The plant has progressed quiet well over the past month after planting it in a huge container. There have at present been no specific feedings except for the daily watering.
I think the plant will give fruits like any other plant after at least five years after planting or if I am lucky it may also flower and fruit earlier. The leaves of the custard apple plant are wide and have dark ridges. The tree in the container looks like a small plant in the beginning but the size of the leaves is okay like a big tree of custard apple.
The fruit custard apple can be used in many dishes and also eaten by itself and it sure is a treat if you get sweet custard apples on your own tree. Two months and the plant has been growing well and new leaves seem to be appearing and growing on the custard apple plant. As I get any new progress will keep posted.
The fruits will appear as tiny small fruits on the plant stems and will grow in size gradually as the fruits mature on the plant itself. I have observed closely this progress on many custard apple plants and thus went ahead with this decision of planting a custard apple plant in a container. The fruits first will appear as tiny green fruits with small nodules on the surface and these fruits will increase in size and as time will go the fruits will turn darker and ripe waiting to be plucked.
Challenges for growing a custard apple plant in container will be the same as I am being faced with the cherry plant in the container on my terrace garden. I do not know whether even these fruits will fall in the beginning or need extra strength since the soil will have limited nutrients in the container, so I have to be prepared with extra care and nutrients and am sure I will be gifted with many tasty custard apple fruits soon!

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