Archive for July, 2009


Melon, morning glory and mosquitoes

The water melon we had yesterday at home was delicious – I just collected the little black seeds, threw them into a vinyl pot and pulled some dirt over them. In about two days, what a pleasant surprise!

Water melon seedlings

Water melon seedlings – see the black seed cover still sticking to the leaf!

These seedlings will probably not give me water melons similar to the ones that I ate, but I’m surely going to plant them in the lasagnia bed that I made and see what transpires!

In the meanwhile, here are some veggies that I harvested the last few days.



Eggplant                                                                              Cucumber

Some flowers in bloom in my little garden today are:

Morning glory

Morning glory (called ‘Asagao’ in Japanese)

I grew these from seeds that I picked up from the kerb during a walk. The seeds had fallen across the railing of a car repair shop near my house.

Rose of Sharon  The majestic Rose of Sharon

I do love this flower. I have seen other varieties too in my neighborhood. Some are pure white, some are delicate pink and some tinged with purple. Here’s another variety blooming in my garden.


Another variety of Rose of Sharon

I never get tired of looking at this flower and admiring its beauty. Crape myrtle in the background.




I love the various shades of orange and red in the Lantana. Naturally, I have taken some cuttings and planted them.

Here’s a fragrant flower that I am growing indoors in a planter. I picked up this plant at the local nursery. The flowers bloom at night and emit a pleasant smell – jasminum nitidum.


Angelwing jasmine

Some days ago, we had delicious avocado dip with corn chips, and I specifically gave instructions to save the seed. Here’s what I did with the seed, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Avocado seed

Avocado seed

The perfectly circular shape of the abutilon never ceases to amaze me!



Here’s another variety of abutilon that I’m growing in a planter, and a photo of corn plants that are growing  quite well.

Abutilon Corn

 Another variety of abutilon                                        Corn (okura and green peppers beyond)

Two other pleasant visitors this summer are:

CIMG0027 CIMG0031

 Marigold                                                                        Petunia

I believe that Petunia can be propagated through cuttings – so that’s next on my list.

This summer, the mosquitoes in my garden have been a menace. I found it unbelievable that a few of the blighters pushed their proboscis through the minute holes of my cotton socks too! Every evening as I tend to my garden, my neighbors kids are treated to a frenzied clapping performance by me. Last week I took full measures. I got myself a pair of those Wellington boots – that we used to call gum boots in India. Yesterday I watched with a smile as no fewer than three of the mosquitoes perched on my boots. Sure, go ahead now. Shoot your darned proboscis into my boots.

I fervently hoped that at least one of them had forcefully inserted its proboscis (or whatever it uses to suck up my blood) into my  boots and that it had  permanently turned up by ninety degrees upward. This thought cheered me up considerably. The next time it wants to have lemonade on a hot day, it will have to fly upside down to insert its proboscis into the glass of lemonade!

Have a nice day!


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cuttings galore!

I believe I have caught Cuttingitis, a disease that afflicts many avid gardeners. I must have been bitten by the bug around March or so this year, when winter slowly gives way to spring. The symptoms of this disease are:

  • You break into a cold sweat imagining the kids’ basketball landing on your freshly planted rose cuttings
  • You plan to go for long walks with pruning shears and a plastic bag in your pocket
  • You make plans to be specially friendly to a neighbor who has bought and planted a delightful pink variety of scented geranium
  • You peer into neighbors’ gardens to identify which of their plants you don’t have
  • You start scowling at young cuttings that show no sign of growth for over a week
  • Your usual argument on the illegality of propagation by cuttings is “well, God, who made the originals, didn’t patent them.”
  • You accost total strangers and request them to allow you to take rose cuttings from their garden (this is called “rose rustling” according to a blogger friend)

Don’t know if there’s any cure for it, but I’m not too worried.

Just-planted cuttings

Just -planted Coleus, Hydrangea, Plumbago, and Abutilon cuttings 

I have given away quite a few lovely flowers including geraniums and hostas that I propagated from cuttings to some of my friends at the swimming pool. Some of them did appreciate it, and have begun to take an active interest in gardening, while I see signs of panic in the eyes of some others when they see me approach with eyes glittering!  My Japanese friends are very polite, you see, and if I did present them with some full-grown plants, they don’t feel happy unless they submit a full-blown report every year with accompanying photos on how well the plants have grown!

Here are some plants that I successfully propagated and presented to friends.

Red geranium and hosta White geranium
Red and white geraniums Hosta

 Clockwise from top left, red geranium and hosta, white geranium, red and

white geraniums, and hosta

Although propagating by cuttings is probably easy, it can be rather frustrating at times. You get the right potting mix for the cuttings that include the correct proportion of sand, vermiculite, and so on. You pick the correct length of the cutting; you cut the stem diagonally so as to give adequate area at the base; you soak it in water for about an hour to facilitate the cutting to draw up water after planting it; you place it carefully after making a hole in the mix with a chopstick; you cover it carefully with a plastic bag to retain moisture; you store the pot in a bright place not in direct contact with sunlight; you lovingly spray the cuttings with a fine mist so that moisture is retained. After several days, you find that only one out of three cuttings show some sign of growth. So you have done all the things right, yet they don’t root. I’m pretty sure that some of these cuttings don’t like the environment or they don’t like my face. I can visualize this conversation among three scented geranium cuttings on any given day:

Winnie: I think he’s OK. He’s regularly spraying us with that heavenly mist. I’m going to sprout roots for him.

Minnie: I don’t like his face. He’s too glum. I’m going back to sleep.

Ginny: I agree. He’s not my type.



I had great hopes for curry leaf cuttings that I had brought over from India. I carefully planted them in about 12 different pots and placed them at different locations in the house, spraying them with a fine mist of water everyday. I did this assiduously from February to July! The curry leaf cuttings probably did not like the environment – they were probably used to different aromas wafting in the air, lots of noise and sounds of laughter, chirps and tweets of hundreds of different birds and insects, and the sounds of various languages! All these are absent in Japan – it is quiet, no noise, no tooting of horns or chirping of birds here in Kisarazu, Japan.  So of the 12 or so cuttings, I found just today that only one had acclimatized to the Japanese environment, had liked my face and had rooted!

Curry leaf cutting

 One curry leaf cutting that rooted

All the others have gone to sleep! I have a good mind to spray the 11 other little blighters with spicy rasam – that would surely wake them up!

But for the curry leaf cuttings, I have generally had a reasonable level of success with other cuttings.


Christmas cactus behind our cat

Christmas cactus rooted cuttings                           Christmas cactus in full bloom

I’m very happy with the Christmas cactus cuttings. They make great gifts – especially when the flowers bloom.

Lantana Lantana in bloom

 Lantana rooted cuttings                                                     Lantana in bloom

All five of the Lantan cuttings rooted !!!

Scented geranium Reeves Spiraea

Scented geranium  rooted cutting                    Reeves Spiraea rooted cutting

I could manage only one of the above cuttings to root. Well, there’s always next year!

Rose Roses

Rooted rose cuttings (+Rose of Sharon)                         From these roses!

I am also happy to have propagated some rose cuttings. I have no idea what colors the roses will turn out to be.

Gardenia Daphne Odora

Rooted gardenia cuttings                                      Rooted Daphne Odora cuttings

I am especially looking forward to the Daphne Odora flowers with their sweet fragrance blooming around March every year.

I have already posted about my success with Hydrangea and Japanese Photinia cuttings.

Finally, here are some blooms in my garden.


Hosta in bloom

Another variety of hosta in bloom

Another variety of hosta in bloom

And finally, a view of the Balsam (seed bought in India)


Until the next post, happy gardening!


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