Archive for August, 2009

20
Aug
09

Preparations before leaving on a trip

I am off to India for at least a month, and have started my preparations to make it easier for my wife and daughter to care for my garden while I am away.

Firstly, I handed over all my cuttings (lantana, fig, hydrangea, gardenia, coleus, yesterday, today and tomorrow and many others) to my friend Utiyama, who has promised to look after them.

Secondly I moved all plants in planters to the balcony so that they can be watered at one shot from within the house.

balcony-01

balcony-02

View of plants moved to my balcony

 Next, I prepared a visual guide with names of plants and instructions in Japanese on how to care for and harvest vegetables. Here are some photos taken today:

Upper half veggie garden

Veggie garden upper half

Veggie garden – lower half

Veggie garden – lower half (peamon = green pepper)

The instructions also included what spaces to water, remove weeds, add fertilizer and cut off dried flowers or leaves. I’m hoping at least 50% of the instructions will be properly implemented 🙂

Here are some flowers in bloom:

Morning Glory -1

Morning glory –1

Morning glory-2

Morning glory-2

Balsam

Balsam with a couple of visitors

Aster

Aster with unwelcome visitor!

Bonsai Morning Glory along fence

Bonsai update and morning glories along fence

One-day harvest

One-day harvest

Time to pack up! Until the next post, happy gardening!

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07
Aug
09

Fragrance and Bonsai

A garden with fragrance is what I am aiming for. Next year, I hope to have next-door neighbors coming out of their houses to smell the sweet fragrance of flowers in my garden. Incidentally, I planted some sweet alyssum seeds sent by my niece in the US a couple of months ago and here are the plants:

alyssum

Sweet alyssum

They have grown to about a foot in height yet I don’t see any sign of fragrance. Somebody please tell me – are these really fragrant flowers or am I missing something?

I hope to have at least 3 to 4 rose plants in bloom next year. The cuttings that I planted have been successful this year.

rosecuttings

Rose plants from cuttings – fragrance next year

Incidentally, I suggest you take a look at the delightful roses in Steve’s blog too.  I’m hoping my roses next year will at least measure up to them.

Of the five different varieties of hostas I’m growing in my garden, I found one to have a sweet fragrance.

fragranthosta

Fragrant white hosta

When the flowering season is over, I’ll propagate some of these by root division and plant some at other locations in my garden.

I bought two plumeria plants last week – visited a plumeria grower in my city and had an informative discussion on growing plumerias in this environment. I grew up in India with several of these trees with fragrant flowers (in Mumbai) and am trying to recreate those memories! Of course, I need to bring these inside the house in winter – I hear that the plumerias go dormant, but start sprouting leaves again in spring.

plumerias  Plumerias – left: possibly pink or dark color; right: white with gold at center

The slightly rounded leaves of the Plumeria, it seems, indicate white flowers with gold or yellow at the center.

To add to fragrance next year, I have planted some ginger plants too, thanks to my friend, Utiyama-san, who offered me four of these plants after root division from his garden.

ginger

Ginger

Plants propagated from cuttings of Gardenia and Daphne odora will add to the fragrance.

gardenia

Gardenia

 

I started off with my first Bonsai creation this week. I think I did everything right according to the book; but when it came to selecting the plant, I experimented. I used a Myrtle plant that I had propagated from a cutting. Here it is:

Bonsai-1

Bonsai – the plant I used was a myrtle

I used a 2:1 fine grade akadama: kanumatsuchi soil mix, and inserted two small masses of slow acting fertilizer (oil cake or abura kasu), tamped down the soil and then laid moss, and hooked the plant firmly to the base using two wires of 1.5 mm diameter. I hope to see the flowers soon and taller growth so that I can shape the branches to my liking.

 

Now here are some veggies I harvested recently:

veggies-1 veggies-2
Basil mulukhiya

Clockwise from top – typical day’s harvest; add carrots and basil to typical day’s harvest; basil (great for spaghetti), and mulukhiya (wonderful for soup) Note that the dates are way off – I need to change the camera settings!

The first of my Japanese anemones has bloomed rather earlier than usual:

Anemone

Here are some other flowers in bloom in my little garden:

 

petunias abutilon

 

Until the next post, here’s wishing readers Happy Gardening!

 

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