Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Flowering of Gulmohar/ Flame of Forest

The Close up of Gulmohar Flower
The Gulmohar Tree better known by many as the flame of the forest. Its origin is from foreign country though this tree has adapted itself well to the Indian climatic conditions. Many gulmohar trees can be seen on roads and come summer the trees are laden with red flowers. The view is very beautiful especially if you can see it from above or far off. The red flowers look like a sheet of red covered over the green leaves of the tree.
Having a dream of planting Gulmohar hardly did I know that it grows into a beautiful huge tree. My success in growing a gulmohar in a container was all well worth when the plant bloomed and gave red flowers, The green tall tree branch transformed  into beautiful red bursts of colour this May.

Buds at Night on Gulmohar Tree

The Opening of First Bud on Gulmohar Tree

Close Up of Gulmohar Flower
 The flower is very beautiful with a red and orange coloured single petal. and red petals. There are five petals and each flower is a master piece created by God. You wonder how the detailed colouring is done and how minute the leaf seems. Many artists are inspired by the gulmohar flower and paint using this as a reference for floral paintings.
Beautiful Gulmohar Flowers
Very famously known as 'the Red Flame of the Forest' this is a very strong, tough tree.
The plant flowering had become a rarity. Planting this for many years I had lost hope to see any blooms on it. Finally My Husband and I had decided to let go of this Gulmohar plant if this does not bloom this year, and what a wonderful sight it was to see the small buds erupt from nowhere!
Vigorous searching on the internet and googling did not show any tips for flowering of the gulmohar. Guess it is natural process and one never thinks twice to observe the trees and they bloom naturally on their own. After five years this plant has bloomed. The maturity period of any gulmohar tree would be five years and then it will flower. In this period the plant has shed its leaves many times. The whole tree would go barren and only the stem would remain. Again the tiny leaves would emerge. I had trimmed the tall branches to keep the plant in reasonable size as I have heard that Gulmohar grows into huge trees.
Tips for Growing in Container: Keep trimming the tall part to encourage growth sideways. My gulmohar plant has two big stems and small branches. Watering requirements are like any other flowering plant and they can tolerate direct sunlight. If you want to see the flowers and enjoy the beauty of red and orange colour flowers wait for five years!
Close Up of Gulmohar Flower

Gulmohar in the Sun

New Buds of Gulmohar

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Beautiful Rose Garden in Ooty

Making a rose garden is in one of my list to do.As a gardener over many years I have learnt that roses are the king of flowers and they are fragrant and available in many colours and shades. I have a beautiful pink and white shading rose flower plant. There are at least a dozen of rose plants in my garden but they all require special care for blooming. A visist to the garden in ooty has given the idea that roses can be grown in huge sizes, the size of six to seven inches, and what a beautiful view! they sure do get your attention, and definately the rose flower commands attention and respect, no doubt it is the king of flowers.
Rose Garden
Ooty is a very beautiful hill station  in India. A heaven on earth and valley of flowers, one can see colourful flowers every where. A welcome guest is the myna bird which are found in many numbers on this hill station. There are also many exotic and rare species of birds found in this valley of flowers.

Friendly bird Myna

Rose Garden Ooty
The very famous rose garden in ootacamund has many varieties of roses. It is a treat to the eyes and a dream come true for any gardener. There are many colourful roses grown in the government botanical garden. Display is very attractive and one can see roses in every size. Very big blooms of red roses, the size of 6 to 7 inches!Yellow roses, pink roses, white roses and orange roses, you name it they have it.

Colouful Roses in Garden


Big Pink Rose Flower

Roses in Garden

The Rose Climber on Trellis
 Rose climbers can be directed over trellises to get a great view of entrance or dividers in the graden. Sections can be made by these roses or even walls garden can be done by directing the rose climber over the metal trellis. What a view it gives when the shade over your head is covered by roses! (be careful of the creatures that come along !).
Beautiful Roses in Ooty

Attractive Rose Flowers

White Rose Bush
Rememebring my white rose bush, it gives more flowers than it has leaves. Even I have to get a trellis for this to give it direction and support for good growth. Making a rose garden will give a great view and also a fragrant one!
Tip for Rose Garden: Keep feeding regularly to encourage blooms otherwise they look very unattractive with their thorns. Take care while planting, your hands, eyes, face etc as they have sharp thorns and a prick can sometimes be very harmful. Wear thick gloves.
Most important keep the rose bushes below eye level and near so that you can enjoy the fragrance, and also not in direct sunlight as the flowers fade away quickly and also the fragrance is lost in the direct heat of the sun.

Crossandra Flower/Aboli Flowers

The aboli flower is a very famous flower of the south in India. Though this is available everywhere the growing procedure may not be so simple. Different colours of flowers are seen. Yellow, blue, orange and peach. I have the peach coloured flowers on my plant. This plant grows from seeds that come after
each bloom. At the end of the flowering bunch when the flowers have dried one can see dried tiny seeds . The plant can be grown with these seeds. Bangalore and Mysore you wills ee many ladies wearing these flowers in hair. Aboli flowers look very beautiful and bright fresh orange and peach coloured flowers.They are available very cheap and can be purchased from any flower seller. These flowers grow in bunches and hence each stem will give a good produce of aboli flowers. This is basically a bush.
Aboli Flower/Crossandra
Care is requried for this plant as they are prone to attack by pests. White fungus,, ants, and other pests can totally destroy the plant. Water it sparingly and with care as over watering leads to death of plant. These Aboli flowers can be used for decorations and during festivals and are very famous especially in the south. Ladies wear them as hair decorations and garlands and also decoarte their homes with these aboli flowers.
I have learnt that putting them in transparent glass plate or any metal plate with water gives an attractive display and this flower arrangement can be a welcoming note on any occassion.

Beautiful Aboli and Jhendu Flowers for sale in Bangalore.
 For a good bloom plants that do not get full day light is best. Leaves may burn in direct sunlight so also the fowers.
keep it under a bigger plant to enjoy the aboli flowers at its best!
Tips: Grow in bushes and groups for better blooms and riot of colours in the garden. Tall palm trees or another bigger tree can give it protection from direct sunlight and rain. During rainy season try to save it from direct heavy down pours.

Rare Orchid Flower

The orchid flower is a very rare and exotic flower. Every gardener dreams of owning an orchid plant and to watch it flower is another beautiful experience. There are many varieties of orchids available in the flower market and all give different flowers. Rare plants are available in rain forests and jungles. Some orchids attach themselves to bigger trees and grow by getting nutrition from that plant. They also grow arieal roots as they have to hang to cling to the host trees. They therefore need well aerated soil where the roots can breathe.
I have been fascinated by this orchid flower as the shape of this flower is very different than other flowers. Owning one is a dream come true, as we all know orchid plants are very costly and rare. Home grown plants are easy to care. The rare species are available in wild settings and one has to go deep into the forests to observe them in their natural habitat. They can be seen clinging to big trees and one hardly notices them, except when they flower, as the blooms are very attractive and colourful. I have also read that the orchid flowers look similar to the female organs and are especially made to attract bees and other insects for pollination and new growths, as they grow in deep forests and transferring of pollens is difficult. Its tendency and growing sprit encourages flowers to be attractive and colourful. Some flowers also have an attractive fragrance, which may be for attracting insects to help in pollination. 
My orchid  plant has shown very good progress and has flowered quite soon, even though it did suffer at my hands and was limp for many days. My researching on the internet did not give any appropriate results and I was feeling very sad, lest this plant would die. It had gone limp after just picking up growth and the reason was over watering and soggy soil. Here I learned that orchids need water but not too much. A well draining soil is must and some amount of indirect sunlight is also requried for flowering.  
Many florists grow these plants in special damp conditions and well aerated soil. Orchids are usually grown in coconut husk and outer shells of coconut. Coal and stones also help in keeping the soil aerated. Some amount of soil and manure will also help to grow a healthy orchid plant. They are happy in hanging baskets.
Orchid Flower

Liliac Orchid Flowers
 Place the orchid plant near the window or where ever it can get some sunlight. When the plant is looking firm and well rooted then only will it flower. The beginning of this was in form of a lump. I thought it is the new leaf growth, but this went on extending like a wine. Small buds which were pink in colour appeared. As each bud opened it was a beautiful sight to see the fresh pink, liliac coloured orchid flowers. Though this orchid plant is very small and I will have to try growing this orchid in a bigger pot, maybe to get bigger blooms.
Close up of Orchid Flower
Tip for growing Orchid Plants: I know it has been advised that they need to be grown in husk and coal and more of stones but remember this is a plant and it needs soil. Using very less soil will give a weak orchid plant which will require continuous care. Think before watering, see the individual requriements of your orchid plant and do not follow advice blindly. Too much water will make it limp, and too little will give brown leaves. Very less soil will not allow proper rooting of the plant and orchid plant will show poor blooms. Direct sunlight for long periods is harmful and very less sunlight will not encourage flowering.
Care, care, care in the beginning, understand your orchid plant and then this is the best, as it will grow without any special care after settling down in your pot!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Selecting the Right Container

Selecting the right conatiner for planting is the most important part of success in growing a healthy plant. There are many containers available in the market and one can choose according to sapce available and size of the plant and its variety. Too big a container will over shadow the plant and too small one will not allow healthy growth of the plant. How to choose the right container?
If you have a big garden and have ornamental trees and fruit trees than big drums of palstic or metal would be ideal. As they are tough and will also bear the weight of the plant and sunlight.I have a beautiful cherry tree growing in a container. Orange plant or tree also gives good fruits and can be grown in a big container. Other plants that are flowering or easy growing can eb potted in any container made of mud or ceramic. Remember the size of the plant will indicate the right container for the plant. Vegetables can be grown in tubs and mud or cement containers. Cement ones are the most hardiest and strongest containers and can also be made at home by mixing cement in any mould.
Climbers and creepers require special care for growing as they requrie support in from of trellis or wires for growing. As these plants grow longer they also require bigger pots, if your purpose is to cover a fence or a window.  Window  boxes are also available in various fancy shapes, colours and sizes. Even broken mugs, soup bowls or even frying pans can be used for gardening to grow plants.
If your plant requries more water it is better  to select a ceramic pot that can retain water for longer time. Plants requiring well draining soil are best planted in mud containers. Plastic containers can be used for any plant, with only care taken to keep the soil well draining to allow excess water to drain off.Some information regarding the growth pattern of the plant will also help in selecting the right container. If the plant likes to be root bound for flowering then small pots will be best fro this type of plant. Example a Brahma Kamal plant requires smaller pot and thought the plant grows in any direction a smalle rpot will encourage more blooms. A fern can be grown in a hanging basket so also other ornamental plants which have smaller roots. The hibiscuis and rose plant require a standard sized pot. The plant size you wish to achieve will be the indicator   for your selection of the pot. Water plants like lotus and water cabbage require mud as base and a larger cement container with a wider mouth . The base of any container  must be flat to keep the pots in proper place otherwisse there is risk of toppling.While purchasing a container one must check the base of the pot. It has to be well flat and balanced. The size must be appropriate to the selection of your plant. Look for flawas and abnormalities as many potters sell faulty pieces by just colouring mud water on them.  Search for  original mud pots that are baked as these will last longer.
Finally bargain as in all aspects of buying , so also do bargain during the process of buying pots as the sellers  have a tendency of over quoting high prices at the first and then coming down. Remember selecting the right container is the first step toward success in gardening and make this step right. Choose the right conatiner and enjoy happy blooms!

Importance of Gardening and Gardening Advice for Beginners

Gardening is becoming more and more of a necessity now adays than just a hobby. Due to climatic changes and ecological imbalance created due to high rise buildings it is all the more necessary to plant trees and shrubs to maintain the balance in the environment. How can we do our part?
By making a small window garden or window box and planting simple and easy growing plants, will help you to improve your environment, as well as give the psychological satisfaction of doing your part for the environment. Now you will wonder how will this make a difference? Well one individual five plants so imagine our population and multiply it to this figure. I am very sure that each one planting few plants will help us to reduce the ecological imbalance that is being created due to construction of high rise towers. Also a green window gives a break from the solid, hard and cold look of the concrete jungle.
The first thought that comes in anyones mind is that they do not have place? there is hardly enough space for humans, where is the space for plants? this is just an excuse.  A best example I can quote is when we were travelling I saw the thick slums where we all know people live in crammed houses, nearly ten or more people in a small  8x10 room, here I saw a beautiful view...above the roof top that was made of sheets of aluminium and slabs of concrete was a group of beautiful flowering plants. The colours were fresh and attractive and though the place was very small this showed how the gardener had taken pains to bring the flowers to bloom, and here we search for the right containers, and the right fertilizers!
A Garden will also improve your mental status. Just try it, plant some colour ful flowering plants in small containers, and just see the result. The morning you get up will be the same, the sun will rise as usual, but just a glance at a beautiful plant and its blooms will make your day!
Where there is a will there is a way. Gardening can be done with any home food containers and left over oil cans. Even broken crockery, tin cans or paint containers can be used for growing plants. This also gives your home a personalised touch. Your selection of plants, containers and your place of display will show your plant loving nature, and believe me space crunch is the last in effective gardening!
Sunlight is necessary for healthy growth of flowering plants and an amateur gardener is better off trying to plant simple and easy growing plants. Indoor plants can also be grown which require very little care and water. The best example is the money plant. I do not know about the money luck factor (as goes the tradition) but this a definately an easy growing plant which can be grown on a window sill in water. Other examples are ribbon grass, peace lily, snake plant, jade plant, the lucky bamboo plant and many ornamental grasses which require less sunlight. More information on plant varieties and their care can be learnt on my blog. If you cannot place plants on the floor it is better to place them on the window sill. As this will also give them some sunlight for making food, and also your floor space will be clear. Remember for healthy growth all plants require some light hence place them in east facing window or any place which gets sunlight for some time. Water requirements of indoor plants will be less and one has to learn watering from trial and error method as to how much water is requried by your plant and, after how many days.
It would be better to start with little investment as plants though seem easy to grow are not as simple, and the new gardener on spending a lot on exclusive plants, in case of slow success will shy away from the thought of gardening. Orchids and gladiolus and other exclusive flowering plants have special requriements for growth. A beginner must first try planting simple plants that are available at low price. Also it would be advisable to begin in a home can or container. Though the best container for any plant is that made of mud. This is porous and allows better draining of the soil. Plastic conatiners crack after some time if faced with direct sunlight for long and they also retain water for a long time leading sometimes to root rot and the death of the plant. Ceramic containers are also good as they retain water for long time and thus plants requrie less care and watering. And these ceramic containers are also very attractive and colourful, and available in different sizes and shapes.
Fertilizers of different flowering plants are available in the market. As we need vitamins and nourishment, so also do our plants. Usually people do not know about this aspect. On planting a flowering plant they wait and wait and wait, the time seems endless for a bloom. This is a fact that most flowering plants require some fertilizer for bringing a bloom. Since we are planting it in a small container its food requirements will vary. This plant food or fertilizer can be got from any nursery or road side plant seller.
It would be advisable to start simple and as we get experience with various plants move on to growing more exclusive plants. And also remember death is a part of our lives, so also for plants, so do not get demotivated and leave away this hobby on the first step. In the beginning there may be some casualties due to poor sunlight, over or under watering and excessive pampering, yes believe me many a plants have died not due to neglect but due to over care!
Move ahead and try to get some information from the internet regarding plants, their names, their requirements and care and then see how your home garden blooms and becomes a centre of attention. happy Gardening!

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