Aug 28, 2008

An annex to Plantville

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written my blog, the reason being my Plantville’s got an annex Block! Yipeee! Time for celebration! C’mon everybody, Cheers! :D

I know, I know, I’m a bit overexcited. Well, I should be! Last time I said that I had to go shopping and I did! It was definitely fun, but the reason for shopping was not to pot the sunflowers [sniff, sniff]. They are bid goodbye to me. Looking at those smiling healthy seedlings, would you have thought they’d all not survive (I just don’t wanna use that negative word)? At least one could’ve stayed with me, but no sir, they all decided to call it quits. The reason for the five potted ones to leave could’ve been because of transplanting? ‘Cause I heard that sunflowers are best grown in situ, well I didn’t give a damn to that statement and I got paid for what I did. About the seedlings in the box, I guess they were too crowded and started falling back to the ground due to lack of space? Nutrients? And the lone survivor couldn’t fight anymore too. He left me [sniff] too.

[SIGH] Enough of sad stuff, let’s get cheery, for it’s celebration time. I (rather we – my mom and I) went for shopping to EC Road (a long stretch of highway that’s spotted with many nurseries) and came back with bags of saplings. I wanted to go out to many other nurseries, but my Scooty couldn’t hold even those few saplings that we bought, so I had to return back. Damn! Now that I think about it, I wish I could’ve taken my DigiCam. Stupid me. I wanted to buy one of everything there, as almost all saplings were smiling at me with their blooms – Varieties of Hibiscus-es, Lilies, Honeysuckles, Allamandas, False Eranthemums, Portulacas, Ixoras, Oleanders, Pomegranates, and many others – some of whose names neither I nor the nursery owner knew exactly.
It took another four days to pot them all – I know it shouldn’t have taken so long, as I could’ve done it all in a day, but what with my night shifts, non-availability of sand, soil, et cetera. By the time I potted them all few started wilting, like the poor False Eranthemum and Rose Allamanda (that’s what I think it is, :P), but stood healthily the next day with the full sun energizing them.

Problems follow anywhere you go right? Yes, and it did my plants too to the terrace in the form of naughty squirrels. They seem to especially like my Ruellia blooms and tear them away the moment the bloom and the most saddening thing is that they all the Hibiscus buds! I came up with a garlic, chilli mix which seemed to drive them away, but I forgot that we had slight rains after I sprayed it, but the mix did keep them away for almost a week and I was happy to enjoy my ever-blooming Ruellias, but this morning again when I went to check on them, two naughty rascals scurried out of sight. I’m off now, as it’s time for the mix again (while you enjoy... I hope my plants' beauty)...

Hippeastrum hybrid (Amaryllis Lily) - This one gave out 2 beautiful flowers, but bad me, I didn't capture its beauty
Tecomaria capensis (Cape Honeysuckle)
Plumbago auriculata (Plumbago) - Nîla Chitraka Pereskia bleo (Rose Cactus)
Hibiscus rosa-sinesis (Yellow Hibiscus)(Red Hibiscus) - Japâ-pushpaIxora Coccinea (Yellow Ixora)
(Orange Ixora)(Dwarf Ixora)Punica granatum (Pomegranate) - Dâdima (Allamanda couldn't wait for her chance)
Cryptostegia grandiflora (Rubber Vine)Ruellia Brittoniana (Desert Petunia)Pseuderamthemum reticulatum (False Eranthemum)
Adenium obesum (Desert Rose)
Zephyranthes candida & Zephyranthes rosea (Rain White & Rose)
Zephyranthes citrina (Rain Lily Yellow)
...Oh, I almost forgot. Before I let you go, I'm gonna bore you with my lil' poem (well, if you can call it that), which is a prayer to the Goddess of fertility for my plants.

O' Kardama! Come to my garden, where lovely women are waiting for you.
And Ciklîta, you too follow your dear brother, as Nîla Citraka's waiting for you,
Now Karîshinî, how can you stay without your dear sons?
Come stay in my garden and keep your sons and daughter-in-laws happy.

Note: Kardama and Ciklîta are of Goddess Lakshmî (also called Karîshinî - abounding in dung)

Aug 8, 2008

Transplanting – A gardener’s dread! Every gardener no matter a pro or an amateur dread transplanting and I, being the latter, was petrified. Yes, I have transplanted Bittergourds and Jequirity, but with them I didn’t have to separate seedlings, but with my Balsam, I had to. I did a big mistake by sowing Balsam in pot and placing it in a place where it doesn’t get lot of light.

After lots of googling and advices from experts at forums, I finally did transplant four of them into a small pot. I watered them not profusely, but just a bit to keep the soil moist (or so I thought), as it was raining the whole day. I placed it on the wall that receives most sunlight and I was cursed with a scorching sun the next day. I didn’t notice that as I was sleeping till afternoon (as I work in night shifts). After lunch I went out to see that one of the seedlings had fallen dead, two had flopped over and the fourth was partly wilted. I thought they were all going to say goodbye to me, but I watered them nonetheless – as a kind of send off treatment. Well, three of them left me and today when I peeked at the pot, the lone, victorious warrior seemed healthy bringing a smile to my lips. Will he live? Guess time will tell.
A beginner gardener never learns in his initial stages I guess! Well, I didn’t. I was so excited when I got sunflower seeds weeks ago and emptied half of its contents into a cardboard shoebox and within a week they were all healthy and non-lanky. I thought I did everything right and jumped gleefully, but Mother Nature smiled pitifully at me by raining down two days leaving them all tall and lanky. First of all, I should have read twice at the back of the packet about sowing the seeds directly where I want to grow them, but as I said an amateur never learns in initial stages. Today I dreaded transplanting them and after lots of googling again, I dared to do them a bit more carefully (as Balsam seedling taught me a few things about separating seedlings) and transplanted five in a pot. I know, I know! You’d all say I’m doing a mistake (may be, I AM!), but my guess is that two of them (I seriously wish they don’t), but… but… do I have to say it? Err…

What the heck! Let me face it… I guess two of them might again goodbye to me forever. Now what about the 40+ seedling beautifully smiling at me? I gotta find pots for them all! I’m already planning to give a few of them out to my neighbors and friends, but even them I’ll have more than a handful… Guess I gotta do some shopping…

Aug 3, 2008

Babies and toddlers!

The slowly expanding Plantville (that’s what I named my Greenies’ world – I know that sounds dull, but anyways I couldn’t come up with a better name) is filled with many make-shift tents for the guests, some permanent homes and few mobile homes. Today I coaxed the Jequirity triplets to move in as a permanent resident of Plantville into a home similar to the Bittergourd couples, who by the ways are happy and comfortable now.


As I mentioned before many invited guests were given make-shift tents (cardboard boxes) until they grow as naughty little kids. Most of them are babies now – the Sunflower, Gaillardia, Pansies, Cornflowers, some are toddlers like the Impatiens (Impatiens Balsamina), Hollyhocks, and Petunias, and some are in the wombs – Strawflower, Larkspur, Wallflower, Zinnia, Dahlia, Amaranthus, Pot Marigold, Aster, Calliopsis, Forget Me Not, and Sweet Pea. Sadly, my Calendula and Wallflower toddlers couldn’t bear the Sun’s heat during the recent eclipse (August 1st 2008) and left their guest house back to the ground. Some seem to be holding on but I’m not very optimistic about them though.
Hollyhocks and Petunias
Cornflowers and Gaillardias

Though it’s disoriented, it cute to see the babies and toddlers with their cute faces. Now, a bit about the Jequirity which is otherwise famously called the Rosary Pea as it was used for the purpose. It’s a beautiful creeper native to India and the only species of its kind – Abrus precatorius, called Gunja in Sanskrit. I’ve seen its attractive seeds right from my childhood during the Vinâyaka Caturthi (the birthday of Lord Ganaesha or Vinâyaka). These seeds are used for the eyes of lord Vinâyaka’s clay moulds in Southern parts of India. Only recently I realized that it the seed of that plant! I was excited and went to a seeds shop to get some and guess what? The shopkeeper gave it for free – he wouldn’t get money for that.

The Jequirity seeds are highly toxic when ingested and are as toxic as Ricin – a notorious toxin, so never allow kids near it, as their seeds are very attractive. But the creeper’s flowers are so beautiful that you’d be tempted to have it in your garden despite the seeds’ toxicity. So, about planting:

Soak the seeds for 24 hours before sowing in warm water and select the seeds that have bloated (enlarged ones) and sow them a quarter inch below a normal potting mix and they should grow within a week. I sowed 5 seeds – all soaked in water, but only one came out after 3 days and the other two took more than a week. I remember that the one that came out was the largest one after soaking and others – some enlarged a bit and some didn’t. And yes, they require lots of sun – at least after they germinate so place them somewhere they get direct sun. They even endured the really hot sun on the day of eclipse whereas most of my other seedlings seemed wilted under that heat and recovered only after few hours.

Hope the triplets grow into adults, flower and beget offspring. Fingers crossed!