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Sunday, 24 June 2012


Today's post is about the famous Adenium, (A. obesum Family Apocynaceae) commonly called desert rose. This succulent is a natural bonsai, very famous for its pink showy flowers. Of late I have seen many more varieties with double colors with pink as the basic color.

This plant has been with me for almost ten years, and I have never had any problems with it, except for a few aphids which are easily removed by neem oil application. I have not repotted it nor have I fertilized regularly. In fact some years I have been very negligent about the care it should receive during the monsoons- the caudex ie the swollen base of the stem is liable to rot if it gets too much water.

The plant requires a sunny location and very little water. I generally don't fertilize
But still it never fails to please- A few pictures will speak for themselves

At the peak of its blooming phase

The flower up close
Bees are very much attracted to this
Note the prominent nectar guides

Sometimes a fruit pod develops...

  and the seeds scatter in the wind.....
I have never tried to grow the plant from seed, though I have read that it is regularly done.
The seeds may not rise to genetically identical plants, but advantage is that the caudex in seedlings is formed earlier than in plants from cuttings.

Promises for another experiment :)

 Happy gardening..


Sunday, 17 June 2012


This is what my terrace garden is sporting these days...

my very first guava flower


this flowered in May, of course there were many buds which all flowered but only a couple went on to become like this ...

baby corn ear finally flowered when the plant was 5 feet tall
Waiting to see the next developments in the coming week

These are the male flowers or the tassel are they are called, they emerged first and then the female flower or the ear made its appearance

previous mint tub was completely broken, hence started a new batch in a basket. This is the initial growth...

colocasia leaves also called arvi in India grown for making vadi (alu vadi in marathi)
This variety is not supposed to make very good curry; the leaves for the curry type are more rounded and less green.

some color to perk up the spirit
bush rose

the sole watermelon
this year it is much smaller and doesn't seem to be growing bigger, seems like we will have to be content with this size

waiting for the sunset bells and other monsoon flowers to start now...
Happy Gardening and welcome to the rains..

garden update- fire ball lily

It poured for two days and then stopped. Hot sunny weather, did nothing at all for man except make him look up for rain whenver it became a little cloudy. :)
But the garden fared much better, butterflies, birds were at their best. Flowers thanked the heavens for the sun they know will disappear soon for 2-3 months.

And best of all my garden was on fire again- the Fire Ball  bloomed. Also called Powder puff, blood lily, and football lily (Botanical name Scadoxus (Haemanthus) multiflorus Family Amaryllidaceae) this is a truly unique flower. Each head is a spherical umbel which can be made up of upto 100 flowers (I never tried to count!). Fire ball lily was a lovely sight. This year my 4 year old son was interested to touch it to feel the delicate blooms of the ball.

the hint of the 'fire' within

the fully bloomed lily

The weight of the bloom is sometimes too much for the stalk to bear, I have to stake it sometimes..

 This year, I am making a promise to myself, I will not be lazy and allow the bulbs to languish in the soil after they are done with the show. I plan to split and store the bulbs out of the ground for the next year.
Culivation of fire ball lily is done by their bulbs. After the show is over which typically takes a week, the leafy growth starts. The plant grows almost two feet in height and then dries off. The leaves have done their job ie prepare enough food which is sent back and stored in the bulbs for the next year's performance.
And so on...

Will I lose my fire ball lily? This fear is behind my laziness each year. I don't wish to rock a steady boat, but after more than five years of only one bloom per year I expect that there should be more bulbs for me to experiment with.
The ground holds its secrets- time will tell, are there more bulbs down there or not?
I will certainly update about this one after it is safe ;)) 

Friday, 8 June 2012

first rains throw up a good surprise

Well, it rained last evening. After the downpour was through, I went up to the terrace to assess the damage and in general to check for things I should take care of before the monsoons start.

And the Thai basil? was covered with gelatinous blobs!
That's when everything fell into place- the plant is of sabja, the seeds are used in Ayurvedic medicine and it is used in faloodas for a cooling effect.
I had used some seeds during the last summer and had chucked the leftover seeds along with the kitchen waste into the vermicompost pot. One of the seeds saw light and wanted to ask me- why throw me away?
I am happy to have identified my plant and got a whole lot of sabja seeds in the bargain. It is Thai basil- botanical name Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora ( family Lamiaceae ie mint family) leaves are used in cooking for flavor and seeds are sabja. Plus the added benefit that the plant looks beautiful with or without the flowers. Brush against the plant and you get a nice aroma.

Next problem is how to save these seeds for consumption. Wash them- they will swell and unwashed?- no no, too much dust around. Maybe I will wash them just prior to use :).

This plant certainly gets thumbs up in my garden.
Happy Gardening!