Archive for June, 2009

19
Jun
09

June blooms

The flowers in my garden in June this year have blown me away – so much so that I decided to devote a special post to them! Undoubtedly, the lily takes the prize with its mesmerizing beauty, subtle fragrance, and splendid colors.

Lily - click to enlarge

Lily

Last year, I planted five of these plants after root division and three of them are bearing flowers, while two are yet small. Each time I go into my garden, the lilies beckon! Definitely the flower of the month.

A close second comes the Rose of Sharon. Last year, my friend Utiyama-san presented me with a small potted plant. The same plant has grown to about a meter in height in the planter and has given me the first beautiful Rose of Sharon.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

This is one of my favorite flowers – like the cherry blossom, I love the delicate pink in white. I have another variety of the Rose of Sharon with dark red at the center. The first flower is yet small and others are in the bud stage.

Next on my list of favorites is the peanut blossom – quite different from the rest of the crowd, like a butterfly in flight. Judge for yourself.

Peanut blossom

 Peanut blossom

I found a small begonia in a planter along with other flowers and had carefully taken it out, planted it in its own planter and forgot about it. Suddenly, the flowers have bloomed and the plant has caught my attention.

Begonia - click to enlarge

Begonia

The beauty of the Okra blossom never ceases to astound me! Here is a one that has appeared in all its glory to give way to a delicious Okra within a few days.

Okra blossom - click to enlarge

Okra blossom

My perennial favorite, the Hydrangea also has a place in this special edition of June blooms. I’m wondering whether I should change the acidity of the soil around this plant and observe whether the color changes!

Hydrangea - click to enlarge

Hydrangea

Is this for real? Did somebody make an origami out of shiny paper? There’s beauty even in an eggplant blossom (and yes, that’s the roof of my house in the background, so you can predict which direction the flower faces) .

Eggplant blossom

Eggplant blossom 

 

I bought seeds of the Balsam in India and planted these in spring. The first flowers are up. The peculiarity of this plant is that the flowers seem to be blooming from the bottom first, so they tend to get covered up by the leaves. The shape is of this flower is rather extraordinary – some of the plants give pink and some red flowers.

Balsam - click to enlarge

Balsam

 

I also retrieved a small begonia uncared for in a Yesterday, today, and tomorrow planter and transplanted it into its own pot. This one has yielded a beautiful pink begonia, as if to thank me for giving it a new home.

Another begonia - click to enlarge

Pink begonia

Lastly, here are blooms of the Soapwort in my herb garden. Pink seems to be the catchword this June for my garden. Lush leaves of the Yarrow are in the background.

Soapwort - click to enlarge

Soapwort

Until the next post (which is not far away), happy gardening to all my viewers!

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10
Jun
09

Corn, peanuts and yam

After returning from a four-day family trip to Malaysia, I found rapid growth in most of the vegetables and flowers. I harvested potatoes, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum) and broccoli and promptly replaced these with yam, corn, green pepper and peanuts (yes, Chiba Prefecture, where I stay grows lots of peanuts so why not try them in my little garden, I thought). Today, here’s what my main vegetable patch looks like (click to enlarge).

Main veggie patch

Main veggie patch

Before I left for Malaysia, I made sure that the white butterfly didn’t make a mess of my cabbages by leaving eggs all over the leaves and turn them into minefields. I covered them with a net and firmly tucked the insides so no caterpillars could get in. I also placed all my planters on the walkway and requested a kind neighbor to water the plants while we were away. Here’s how the patch looked like.

CIMG0272

Main veggie patch before the trip to Malaysia

I was delighted with the potatoes – a first for me! The smaller ones were utterly delicious. Unfortunately, I won’t be growing them next year, in the same patch because I read that you need to grow them once in three years.

Happy with the beans too because I harvest about 8 to 10 one day, just enough for breakfast and the next 8 to 10 are ready the next day. Radish, beans, shungiku (edible crysanthemum) and lettuce will be standard veggies in my patch every year. My neighbors and friends were happy too with the shungiku I presented them this year. You cut off the tops and after a few days, these plants grow back to the same size. Remarkable! This is the first time I saw a shungiku blossom (see photo at bottom right below).

Fresh potatoes Beans and mini tomatoes
Shungiku (edible crysanthemum) Shungiku blossom

Clockwise from top left: Potatoes, beans and mini-tomatoes, shungiku, blossom

Isn’t spring wonderful? Anything and everything seems to grow well in my garden this year. Here are some new arrivals:

Strawberry Blueberry
Grape Tomato

Clockwise from top left: Strawberry, blueberry, grape, tomato

The grape plant is in a large planter that I keep on the balcony ledge. I planted strawberry, grape, and fig, and peach last autumn; all except the last in planters.

Here are some flowers in bloom:

Hydrangea  

My favorite flower – Hydrangea

Plumbago

Plumbago in bloom

I also started off on a lasagnia-type bed. Set up a stone border, laid wet newspapers on the ground, built up a layer of dried leaves, weeds, crushed egg shells, coffee ground, a layer of used soil, and so on. And I put in another one of my favorites – coriander in my small herb garden.

Newspaper layer Brown layer (leaves, twigs)
Black layer (used soil, coffee ground) Herb garden

Clockwise from top left: Newspaper layer, brown layer, black layer (soil) and herb garden with coriander

I’m pretty sure my garden is going to look neater henceforth, since I have a place to dump all the weeds!

Finally, I leave you with a photo of my favorite flower bed with lilies just about to burst into bloom!

CIMG0300-a

Happy gardening!

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