Saturday, October 28, 2017

Orchids Flower Show 2017 - The Orchid Society of Karnataka - Lalbagh, Bangalore

We had visited the Orchid show during 2012, and we went today as well. The entry tickets to the show were Rs. 50 per head. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Orchid Society, you can ask the members at the ticket counter. The members’ orchid collections were excellent!

We were overwhelmed at the number of sale/nursery stalls that were present today. Also check out the book by Naresh Swami and calendar available, and snacks (not made from orchids!) available at the food stall.

Please don't buy orchid plants before familiarising yourself with the types, growing details, and so on. With knowledge comes power to better nurture these special plants. You can also ask for guidance when you buy.

Here are a couple of photos of unique orchids that we thought were awesome. Enjoy!

Floral arrangement in the form of a photo frame!
Floral towers and displays
Exotic orchids
More exotic ones
Guess these!

Regards,
Asha 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Black Eyed Beans

I am growing Black Eyed Beans/Alasande Kalu in growing-bags, third time around, from seeds saved, at the garden. Had 100% germination of seeds saved; seedlings/plants are healthy. Three plants are flaunting beans; others plants are flaunting flowers. 


Growing these plants in growing-bags of size is 6"×6", and with regular potting mix. The bags are placed west-facing, receives direct sunlight till dusk. The plants/creepers are free to climb the tiled space. Have used threads made from coconut fibre to guide these creepers. Frequently spray organic pest repellent to these plants because they can be attracted to a variety of pests.

Black eyed beans
Regards,
Asha


Sunflowers - Dwarf Variety

I have been saving seeds of all kinds. These Sunflowers are grown from seeds saved during previous seasons. This is the dwarf variety; tiny seeds, and lot of flowers. It's a delight to see them. 

In 8" pots, we have two dwarf plants each. May seem crowded but no; their stems are thin and tall, and leaves are small, and therefore, two plants grow well. We ensure that one plant is manure, the other one is seedling. This way, when the manure plant stops flowering, the seedling would have grown manure enough to flower. 


The potting mix is red mud, cocopeat, and manure; well-drain soil. During flowering season, I add a handful of manure/vermi-compost to the top soil, and mix well. Yes, these plants love direct sunlight. Needs water almost everyday, depending on the temperature. Search the plants for caterpillars, and if found, remove them. 

After the flower dries, cut them, and save them for the next season. Here sunflowers grow throughout the year, and that's a beautiful gift. :-)

Happy gardening! 
Dwarf sunflowers
Regards,
Asha 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Free Gardening Books

We have a list of brilliant Gardening books that are free to access/download, and we share the list with you!
Please do read them.

Regards,
Asha

Herbal Teas - Blue tea

We brewed this Blue tea with Bluepea/Shankapushpi flowers that we organically grow at our garden. We pick the flowers in the morning, dry them in shade, and brew tea. Boil one cup of water, add the flowers, and allow them to steep; can also squeeze the color from the flowers.

Word of caution: Please check with your doctor, before consuming herbal teas. 

For benefits/uses, please see:www.ayurvedicindia.info/12-benefits-of-shankhapushpi-uses/

#rakeandspade_bluetea


Regards,
Asha

Herbal Teas - Pink tea

It's been raining here. Morning was damp and cold. We brewed some Pink tea to keep us warm. The Pink color came from infusing organically grown hibiscus flowers from our garden; we discarded the flowers' Stigma. This hot tea was served with a little lemon juice and organic honey.

Word of caution: Please check with your doctor, before consuming herbal teas.

For details about health benefits, see: homeofayurveda.org/hibiscus-ayurvedas-beautiful-remedy/




Regards,
Asha

Herbal Teas - Fennel Flowers

Today's herbal/floral tea brewed from Fennel flowers growing (organically) at our terrace garden smells great. The brew is simple; a cup of water boiled and poured over the flowers, and allowed to steep. Served hot.

Word of caution: Please check with your doctor, before consuming herbal teas.



Regards,
Asha

Herbal Teas - Hibiscus flowers and Sweet Basil seeds

This is 2-ingredient brew/infusion/tea - Hibiscus flowers and Sweet Basil seeds (sabja seeds). 

We grow the plants organically. Flowers washed, and Stigma removed from flowers before brewing; basil seeds cleaned as well. Soak the seeds in water a few hours prior. For tea, boil water, add petals, and allow to steep; remove the petals. Add soaked seeds (optional: along with the water in which it soaked). Can serve the tea hot or cold.

Can drink this brew lukewarm, with a bit of lemon juice. It's a refreshing drink.

A standard caution: Please ensure that you aren't allergic to any of these ingredients, before consuming the tea.

Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds:http://m.food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/7-surprising-health-benefits-of-sabja-seeds-1437915

Health Benefits of Hibiscus flower tea:
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/hibiscus-tea.html

#rakeandspade




Regards,
Asha

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More oranges at our terrace garden



We love oranges, and have enjoyed growing them at our terrace garden, and making marmalade from them. Those were the sour oranges. Check out Growing dwarf oranges in containers.
We are also growing these two mini/dwarf orange plants, which are flaunting tiny fruits, at our terrace garden. The peels (of unripe fruits) are absolutely fragrant! 
These are hybrid plants; we also have non-hybrid ones grown from seed, which will take longer time to grow/bear fruits. 
Happy Deepavali!

Regards,
Asha

Walker's owl moth

Erebus macrops/owlet moth/Walker's owl moth had been hovering over our porch and terrace garden for a few days now. We had a similar moth visit us a few years ago. We were able to click a photo, this evening, after a bit of circus. It's the second time that this variety of moth is visiting us. Wingspan is about 6-7 inches!

More about the moth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erebus_macrops

A nice article about importance of moths: http://www.mothscount.org/text/16/importance_of_moths.html

An article about how to encourage moths at garden: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=499



Regards,
Asha

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oct 10, 2017 Waterlily Blooms

These waterlilies bloomed today. I have these plants from 6-7 years now. Can't get enough of them! :)


Regards,
Asha
Waterlily plantlets floating freely in a container that has mixed waterlily plants. Fascinating to observe the growth, and what a journey from this phase to flower-blooming phase! Will write more about the plantlets, on a later day.

The plantlets are formed on the manure leaves or flowers of waterlilies, and the technique is called viviparity; seen on viviparous waterlilies. This is a method of propagation. My waterlily plant showed plantlets on the leaves. I plant these plantlets in soil, and wait for them to grow, and then move them to different containers with water.

For more information, read Viviparity in the Hardy Waterlily.


Regards,
Asha

Water lettuce or water cabbage

I place the Water lettuce/cabbage (Pistia) plants in my waterlily containers. Both plant varieties - waterlily and lettuce - grow beautifully. Well, yes, the water lettuce is a greedy feeder; feeds on most of the nutrients given to the waterlily plants, and also removes algae from the water. I separated the Water lettuce plants from the waterlily containers. Look how the Pistias are!

Growing Water lettuce is relatively easy. Take a deep container of your choice - plastic to terracotta - fill with water, and place the lettuce in it. For 2-3 days, when planted new, keep in indirect sunlight, and then move it to a place that gets good amount of sunlight. Add nutrients directly to the water, or make a compost tea and add the tea. 

The mother plants flaunt daughter plants at the sides of the rosette. Separate the daughter plants, and place in newer containers. It's that easy to propagate these plants. I haven't seen any pest attacks on these plants, and therefore, no tips on the subject. 


Regards,
Asha


Surinam cherry flowers

I grew Surinam cherry plants from seeds, saved from the fruits we had consumed. Didn't let the plant have fruits during the previous year because it was young. Removed the flowers. This year the plant is healthier and has flowers. Let the flowers bloom, and Nature take it's course, and hopefully, the rain doesn't affect the flowers and that they turn into fruits. :-)

A cement container hosts this plant. Potting mixture is red mud and vermi-compost in the ratio 6:4; can add cocopeat or a bit of sand as well. Watering schedule is everyday, in summer, and whenever the soil feels dry, during other seasons. Providing nutrients is usually once in a month; mainly, vermi-compost. Placement of the container is in a sunny area on our terrace. Haven't seen any pest attacks; however, I spray an organic repellent to this plant also, when I spray on other plants.

Here's a photo of the cherry flowers. Will post a photo of the fruits, when they ripen.


Regards,
Asha

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Anthurium collection

We love Anthuriums! We grow a few of them in containers - earthen and plastic. The growing mix contains coconut husks/fibre, coco chips, and manure/compost. Watering schedule is once a week. Nutrient spray is once a month or so, and also pest repellent.

Anthuriums

Anthuriums
We also created Ikebana arrangement from our home-grown Anthuriums and other materials!


Thanks and regards,
Asha

Gomphrena globosa

Gomphrena globosa flowers, grown from seeds saved during previous season, at our terrace garden. There are a few more seedlings that are growing well; will take 1-2 weeks to show buds. 

We offer these flowers to deity, and save the flowers to grow plants or to brew tea. Yes, the flowers have medicinal properties; said to control diabetics and cough, and cool the body. Please consult a doctor before consuming the tea or any parts of the plants.

After the flowers dry, split the flowers, crush with hands to separate the seeds, and sow them in a good quality soil mix. We have had a few flowers fall into the neighbouring container, and seedlings pop up after a few days. It's that easy to grow these flowers.

They love the Sun, and dislike excess watering. Feed the plants during initial growing stage and during flowering stage. After the flowers are plucked, prune a bit; newer leaves and flowers can emerge.


Gomphrena


Thanks and regards,
Asha

French beans

We are currently growing beans at our terrace garden. These are two types - round and long, flat and short - beans. Soak the seeds in water overnight, and the sow in the potting mix. Helps soften the bean and sprout it.

Growing bags are 6"x6" in size. Potting soil is a mix of red mud, cocopeat, and vermi-compost, usually in the ratio 2:1:1; works well for the weather conditions here. Watering schedule is once in two days or when the soil feels dry. Feeding schedule happens to be once in 15 days; vermi-compost put on top layer, and then mixed gently with the soil in the growing bags. Organic pest repellent sprayed once in a month; if pest attack is high, once a fortnight and repeat.

Two types of french beans

Beans from two plants

Thanks and regards,
Asha

Garden updates from Feb - Sep, 2017

Hello there!

We have been active on our Facebook page, but lazy to update our blog site! Therefore, this post is going to a long one, with a lot of photos.

Flowers that grow at our ground and terrace gardens!

Hoya, Azalea, Sunflower, Ixora, Anthurium

Jasmine, Arrowhead flowers, Mums, Flamingo flower

A variety of flowers for worshipping the deity 

Button rose, Mums, and Gladiolous

Mums, Rain lily, Firecracker flower, Button roses, Geranium, Sunflower

Marigold, Jasmine, and Mums

Sunflower (that bloomed nonstop), Day jasmine, Ginger flower, and Gomphrena

Thanks and regards,
Asha

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