Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pigeon's eye view of the Yarden, etc.

 I had gone upstairs to take this shot stretching my hand through the window bars for a Pigeon's eye view of the garden area which was decided after considering many aspects. Roughly the area is about 25x8 ft.  The papaya plant gave some good fruits.  It was a volunteer near the kitchen waste pit there. I had left it to grow and it saw two sheds and the new house come around it.  I had moved the Thunbergia erecta already.  I brought in Allspice close to it, when the new house came up. The area otherwise was used as a storage site for various materials used for construction.  I made this ready as the materials were slowly used or organized and the sheds on either side came up. Picture taken in September 2012. 

The following picture was taken on the morning of 30th July 2013, also from the window upstairs. A good portion of the bay balcony also got into the frame.  It had to come as there was no choice.  Had my arm been a foot longer, I could have got the full garden bed that the parapet obscured!  :)  The Papaya tree which had grown tall was chopped off as it had got some infestation in the summer and also I was waiting to remove it to make the area ready before May for the new gardening season from June, when the rains were expected. 

I have labeled the plants in the bed.  One bed is not labeled on the left. Temporarily it is having fenugreek. I will decide which one will come there, once the seedlings grow a bit.  May be a few Nicotiana mutabilis will be suitable there.  See the labels Antigonon and Jaquemontia. The former is recovering from shock next to the stone bench. I have transplanted the roots from another spot where it was neglected. Not too sure if it recovers. If it does, it will grow up the wall and catch the wire fence on it.  The Jaquemontia is there next to the other stone bench. It will do the same on this side.  I expect the pink of Antigonon and the blue of Jaqs to flank the Purple coloured Thunbergia erecta. I have allowed the Holmskioldia shrub to grow from outside the scooter shed on the right to the wall. So it will have some reddish flowers - the sunbirds and tailorbirds love them. 

I showed the Morning Glory in my last post.  It is growing vigorously, so much that I had to erect a support at 7 feet high and it is still growing!  It appears to be like the Granpa Otts.

Two flowers of Cosmos Mixed Picotee have come up. 

I cleared the stones near the pond bench and made way for something else.  I plan to grow the Jaquemontia on the arch. 

With almost all dams in our state full before July, we expect a comfortable time w.r.t. water availability till next summer.  See photo. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Busy final weekend of July

As it was a Sunday, there was some more work.  It has not been raining but for a 'spray-bottle drizzle' for a minute that does not even wet the ground.  It may not rain for a few more days.  The Yarden is presently weed-free.  I dare not say that!  At least for a few days.  This week I discovered another new word - "Weedling".  I was removing hundreds of tiny weeds from pathways and beds when it just flashed "why not I call them weedlings?".  

With all the beds full, I now begin to wonder where I should plant these seedlings when they are big enough?  Except a few, most of the seeds sent by Dee from Arrayo Grande, California, USA.  She is in Zone 9a and I'm in 10a. So the seeds and plants are expected to do well as there is not much difference in the growing zones.  Cooler areas are having less number and warmer areas higher, classified esp. according to temperature variation. 

All the seeds growing here are new to me.  I have the Gladiolus but had not grown from seed. They were ready corms. 

It is only hoped they grow and bloom and demands plenty of patience.  The fortnight lily in the left bottom picture took 5 weeks to show up! 
Cosmos picotee opened yesterday and what a shade it is! 

I see ants on this plant - have to check and observe why they loiter on this.

Pictured left is the first flower, first day.  

Bed with Primrose seedlings and broken pots used for seed germination - I have Tithonia in them. Next to cosmos I have planted the Zinnia seeds directly. 

I also repotted the Viola odorata seen with the shallow pot.  I added compost to see the result.
I exchanged places of the tyre planters on the edge of the pond.   The other planter with Aechmea gamosepala near the football lily leaves was dragged from another spot near the shed where I planted Podranea.  The Aechmea plants were re-planted, after removing some weeds. 

Observe the cement bag on the bottom. Tabernaemontana plant has been put there from a small cover.

I had to paint guidelines for the car park position as there is a slight angle from the gate.  The skew in the plot creates a strange illusion.  The plants seen on the left are hibiscus, under which grows one Marigold plant and two Balsam plants at their feet. Betel leaves and Basil also grow there, but just out of frame.
From the shed roof, rain water is diverted into the small barrels you see there. Also visible is our main rain water filter system near the window. 
 I deliberately leave a puddle in the driveway.  The dent in the stone slab makes water stagnate and the Mynas and Spotted dove like to drink from there! Even in dry weather, I add some water at that place. Sometimes these birds also use the birdbath. Picture of the Myna  taken yesterday when there was a slight drizzle and some rain water had stayed on.

I have found some more space for the Jaquemontia vine, by moving some rocks to another place. That will be in the next post.

Friday, July 26, 2013

More changes, new plants!

It is just six days since the last post and quite a few things happened.  Pink Star Morning Glory is growing wild.  It happens so when the first time the seeds from the US friends germinate.  When it reseeds here and that is sown the next time, it does show a slightly less vigour.  Have to wait and see what happens to this one.  My assumption is from a few past experiences.  Some varieties do not go to seed as well, but the MG does. 

The old Gerbera bed today found new plants.  The Evening Primrose I had planted in the other bed came here.  I thought this was the right place now because it is near the entry point and that this Primrose in my expectation would grow only to a short height. It should have pink flowers [Pink Ladies, is the variety]. Why did I move them?  It was because I suddenly went to a nursery yesterday.  And I found my favourite Jaquemontia vine in one nursery.  Also there, I bought two packets of rain lily with striking pink flowers.  The one I have already is the different variety. 

I had taken the bag if I found something.  It was useful!

Jaquemontia on the left, four of them and the pink lilies.  I also bought a hand tool, two flower packets and two bulb packets. Flower seeds are of Zinnia and Tithonia, the former is a butterfly 'attractor' and the latter has a beautiful red flower. Zinnia is where I sowed today after moving the Evening Primrose to another bed. Two of the four plants of Jaquemontias were planted where I had already planned - I had been looking for it since 2-3 years but never did the nurserymen got them.  They are loved by the bees. 

Sowed the tithonia seeds in broken shallow pots for replanting later. All beds are full now!  So I have to think of more pots! :(   The bulbs were of Amaryllis and Tuber Rose [Sugandharaja].  Put the 3 bulbs of Amaryllis in a big pot as it grows large bulbs and wants space.  Tuber rose went in to the Gladioli bed where 3 bulbs had not sprouted.  When I dug, the bulbs had only rooted but no leaves.  I moved them to the foot of Pink Star MG, next to one plant of Texas Star Hibiscus I removed from the cover.  

The Pink Rain Lilies were housed in two pots.  They should remain there for at least two years and multiply nicely. 

The new hand tool has already become my favourite and it is a great find that I made for Eighty rupees at 'Lal Bagh Nursery' where the seed and bulb packets were bought. 

I still have to find places for Nicotiana mutabilis and Asclepias tuberosa which are showing signs of good growth.  

Yesterday evening I decided to visit the Pinjrapole Society here at the foot of Chamundi Hill.  They sell Vermicompost.  I bought 50 kgs for Rs.250/-. The Society is taking care of stray cattle, some hundreds! So they also earn some revenue with this compost using earthwoms and dung.  There is no dearth for dung there!  See a mountain of it here:

A section of cattle.

See where the wooden poles are a the bottom.  Those are the vermicompost pits/bins.

The compost is stored in an old room. They are filling two sacs for me.  Just some measures from that yellow thing.  It should weigh around 50 kgs! 

I'm already seeing the results of using compost in just 4-5 weeks.  Tomatoes and beans and even Coriander have been doing very well.  We had a good June-rain too. And it continued that way.  
The KRS dam got full yesterday and I must make a mention of it because water is all important.

The next project would be a proper trellis/cage for tomatoes. Now I know how they really grow!

Second harvest in one week. Bed is just 4x2ft. I ate most of them raw in 2-3 installments! 

This is the colourful moth that is just 1cm.  A good rainy season means proliferation of the hairy caterpillars which have turned into these creatures. Important to nature, but a pest in old houses especially tiled ones like ours.  They were in very small numbers because of scanty rains last year.

Another pest is the mosquito.  See larvae here in water I emptied from one of the 4 rain barrels.  I empty them once every 4-5 days to prevent mosquito multiplication.   

Leucas aspera attracts a lot of bees and the other one here attracts my feet!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good beginning to the New Season

Plenty of things happened in the last four weeks since I 'flagged off' the new season in June which I had scheduled beforehand.  And the rains, fortunately good so far till July, alleviated the water scarcity in the city that was looming large. Many seeds I sowed last month are coming up.  Rains helped weeds to grow fast and I spent two days to keep them in check, by removing the lush growth.  Today it looks like it had just had a 'hair cut'!  :)   Cleaned the rain barrels too as it is a must, lest the mosquitoes proliferated. Most of the water was diverted to the sump. A good monsoon so far and is expected to be that way for 2013.  So, 2014 summer should sail smooth. 

Today, 20th July, first blooms of Morning Glory "Pink Star" opened. Seeds came from half way round the earth with the kindness of Dee, from Dave's Garden. 

Last week, I shifted the Gerbera plants to another spot and made this bed ready like all the others. So with this, all the beds are in good shape.  Cosmos flowers sent by Dee is about to bloom too. It will be shown in the coming post. 

The kitchen garden beds are also providing some produce!   Today some beans were harvested. I ate some fresh raw ones.  It was really 'beany'!   Coriander is aplenty now proving how just a small bed would provide.  I cannot see them getting over-mature without being used in the kitchen.  

You see some tomato plants on the top right corner among the coriander.  I had sown seeds of Cherry Tomato my friend Ramaswamy gave 2-3 months ago.  But they had not grown. Now after I made this new sowing and turned the soil I see these!  They were carefully replanted with enough spacing.  The one tomato you see there is the ordinary tomato. It was a volunteer, mostly coming with the composted material from the kitchen-waste pit.  

Tomatoes.  I've planted 5 plants close together against the gate-trellis. 

Ten seconds are enough to run and stand there as if seriously admiring something!  That was the Morning Glory you saw there, but now folded up. The vine has reached 7 feet and touching the pipe above. See Cosmos grown tall. 

I rescued these volunteer cosmos plants from the workplace campus, to add some colour in my yarden. They were growing near a hedge. 

I thought this had gone, the Cardinal plant with white flowers.  These seem to be not as prolific in seed production as the red variety.  But I was so happy when this came up below the almond tree near a small sand pile.  Planted it at the base of the arch. The seeds of this was a trade from a DG friend some years ago.

I also planted the Evening Primrose sent by Dee in the bed. I have to look for a place for the Asclepias tuberosa [butterfly weed] which have sprouted very well.  Also Nicotiana plants. Space has run out already and I have to choose what 'annual' I have to put in the place where I moved Gerbera from. Gerbera went to the foot of Thunbergia erecta, behind the tomato trellis.  See picture below.

So much for now.