Last week was an eventful one. What with the nine-day Goddess worshipping festival of Navratri (meaning Nine Nights) and then Dusshehra (The day Lord Ram vanquished the demon Ravana, and also the day the Mother Goddess destroyed the half human-half buffalo demon Mahishasura, earning the epithet of Mahishahuramardini, meaning the one who killed Mahishasura); the days and nights were all too busy and full of hustle-bustle. My parents were here, and that obviously meant some garden time with them.
This post will discuss the events of the last week related to my garden, and the “yaayy 😀 ” and “urrghhh ” moments these events led to in the subsequent days 🙂
Dad was anxious and enthusiastic to see my garden, since I attribute all my knowledge or success (or lack thereof 😛 ) to him. He has almost given up gardening due to lack of time and space, and so he was itching to get his hands dirty, literally. We went through my collection and he pointed out tips to repair the ailing ones, better alignment of pots to utilise the sun and shade effectively etc etc. We repotted many plants which I, due to my recent outstation trips and the post-vacation lethargy that comes with them, had been delaying for weeks. I was very anxious for him to see the nursery from where I source my supplies and off we went. Now, a trip to the nursery can’t be complete without bringing home plants, can it? True to the expectation, we brought home 6 plants, some pots and some good quality cow dung manure with us.
At home began the potting and repotting of new and old plants and the sowing of the flower seeds that I had bought months back from some e-commerce sites. The way every member of the household (dad, mum, husband and self) got down to their knees to lend a hand left me speechless and very very pleased. Within an hour we were done and dusted and the pots were given new spots to occupy on the balcony. Parents left the next morning, and then, began the real struggle.
As all of you regulars on The Vibgyor Chronicles (Should we call it TVC for ease?) know, I have had my fair share of struggle with patience. Mother Nature has tried to teach me multiple times – sometimes by stubbornly refusing to comply when I’m being impatient and sometimes by rewarding me for taking care of my plants without any expectations. Being a devotee of Krishna, I call it the Bhagwadgita lesson. “Karmanyevaadikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachana” which means “Your influence is only on the Karma or on completing the job satisfactorily; the result is not in your hands, so do not stress about it.” It should be the Mantra to live by if you want to have a stress free time gardening; but it is easier said than done. I’ve had a hard time following these words of God myself but I’m steadily moving on. I was (and still am) extra anxious about the seed pots because of my first encounter with trying to grow plants out of seeds, which was a disaster. This post will give you the details if you can’t remember what I’m talking about.
Nevertheless, waiting is what I had to do not just for the seeds but also for the new plants that we bought to take root and begin to flower. While there were happy moments, the nuggets of disappointment were not far behind. Let me take you through all of that through pictures. By the way, dad gifted me a new camera, so now I have not only my iPad but also a proper camera to click pictures of my garden. I was so stoked that I spent 3 hours yesterday, just clicking pictures and exploring all kinds of modes of the new camera. So let’s get down to it, shall we?
I had ordered seed packets of 7 or 8 flowers and we sowed them all. And within three days, two of them germinated!
Cheat tip: If you’re sowing more than one kind of seeds at a time, use the upper half of the packet as name tags for your pots as I did.
Also, do not exhaust your entire quota of seeds at a time. Save some for a rainy day that you can use if your first batch is lost due to some reason. This is the mistake I made the first time I tried sowing seeds.
When sowing seeds, ensure that they are in shade before they germinate but get full sun once germination starts. Day 2 of germination and look at what sun has done to my seedlings.
The rest are still sleeping but I’m confident they’ll soon oblige. The seeds aren’t the only ones behind my satisfaction with the performance of the garden. Check out the other plants below:
An insect had attacked the Tulsi plant and the leaves were turning yellow and brown and falling off. I pruned off all the leaves and after two weeks little leaves started peeping out. Another week and it’s almost a green plant again 🙂
Remember the Hibiscus plant that didn’t live through my trip to Bangalore? I had mentioned it in this post. I pruned away all leaves but kept the woody part upon my mom’s advice, kept watering it regularly with other plants. She reckoned there might be life left in the plant, and look at new green leaves gracing it 🙂
My Dracena plant (also known as Cordyline in some parts of the world) is getting new growth at its feet. They’re still small, but I’ll transplant them to new pots a little later.
My Nolina Plam has new shoots coming too, you can see the new lush green growth against the backdrop of the dark green older leaves.
The Silver Dust had contracted a fungus and hence I had to shear off all its leaves. All the nodes that were left are now sprouting beautiful little tufts of leaves in florets. The leaves are so soft and velvety to touch, I could keep fondling them all day 🙂
You might remember my yellow Rain Lilies from this post. The plant was in a tiny terracotta pot because well, it was tiny when I got it from my sister-in-law. However, that was months ago and it needed repotting to a larger pot. But before I could make up my mind to get down to it, I kicked it accidentally and the pot broke 😛 I shifted it into temporary accommodation with my Asparagus, which occupies the massive porcelain pot and is also lonely since its buddy Spider plant died. Now they’re happy roommates together 🙂
The Coleus is also finally happy after battling a fungus.
I also got new plants and while some of them are hale and hearty and happy in their new homes, some are on their deathbeds. It makes me very sad, seeing a plant die and not being able to help it.
In this trip to the nursery, we bought two new varieties of Dracena, A blue Plumbago, a miniature Hibiscus, a dwarf crepe jasmine (a small variety of a flower known as Chandni in Hindi) and a Song of India (not making up the name, I promise) They are all healthy and have adjusted very well to the new surroundings.
I am so stoked with these miniatures, they’re just so cute!
Plumbago grows like a shrub. It can be trained to be a very good privacy fence. When we saw this plant at the nursery, even though it was expensive we just fell in love with the flowers. Blue flowers aren’t very common and blue being my favourite colour, well you do the math 😀
Plumbago is a low maintenance plant and needs full sun. It flowers profusely once it takes root. Water it once daily and keep throwing tea leaves or coffee grounds occassionally and let it please your eyes 🙂
Not everything is hunky dory, though. We (dad and I) also bought three Marigold plants in three colours (those are all the colours there are) – Lemon, Red and the quintessential Orange, from a street hawker. They were laden with blooms and we were so happy but it seems they didn’t take root.
I’m still hoping (against hope, I may add) that some miracle will turn them around but day by day my hope of having a fiery marigold laden garden is moving towards its doom. One of my succulents died too, and I threw it away.
A garden is not always green, and Mother Nature is called mother because she does not bend to anyone’s will. If something is going to die, it will. I’m learning to take it all in my stride because frankly, I don’t see an alternative.
Important tip: 1. When you buy a plant from a nursery, try to take one with as few blooms as possible. I learnt this the hard way with the Marigolds. If you need blooms to identify what colour it is, try to choose a plant with only one or two. A new plant needs energy to establish itself in its new home and if it’s laden with blooms, all its energy goes in maintaining them and it perishes; not having energy left to sustain its vital systems.
2. Do not disturb the root ball when transplanting. Whether potting a new plant you got from the nursery or repotting an old plant into a larger pot, try to leave the root ball intact. Plants cannot handle shock to their root systems.They are like small children going to a hostel for the first time, and if you remove their familiar soil and plonk them in new environment, they will most probably wilt. I learnt this the hard way too.
3. Even if a plant needs full sun, do not put it in full sun immediately after transplanting. Give it a day or two to adjust to its new home while in partial shade. Too many variables with harsh sunshine are surely going to kill your plant.
Hits and misses are a part of life, in any sphere. Just as the best batsman in the world, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, too has gotten dismissed for ducks at times; you will also make blunders. Plants are living things and all living things die one day. Do not let that dishearten you. I write about all mistakes I make so that you don’t repeat them and you don’t have to learn the hard way 🙂
P.S. Look who was found hiding behind a plant pot.
What the hell is a Pigeon baby called anyway? Can anyone help? This one seems to have flown down from his parents’ 8 foot high nest in a fit of enthusiasm, but since his wings aren’t fully developed yet, he’s now stranded. He’s still fairly young and small and makes deafening cooing noises all day. I can’t wait for him to learn to fly and go, since he has filled my balcony with bird poop
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Until we meet again, keep reading and keep digging!