Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pruning Idea needed

Hello all,
My hibiscus (the queen) is outgrowing my balcony(Actually it is not but it is getting too tall).. I has almost reached 6 ft and I need to keep it short. I see it being less productive also now as you can see from the picture. Can I get suggestions for pruning from my blogger friends? Other ideas are also welcome.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


What I would ideally like to do is to catalog all the Gulmohur trees in Indiranagar. There are so many of them. Each one looking so different and so beautiful. So next week I will try to capture as many pictures of the Gulmohurs as possible and post them on the blog. If I remember the location( I do not have those snazzy phones that can track location) and post it and you can find it if you are in Bangalore. Hopefully I am able to capture their magic in digital form. Meanwhile here are some pictures to enjoy. If you can tell me the names of some of these trees that would be wonderful. And I am definitely expecting replies from the tree expert @ Trees, Plants and More

 And btw, the pigeon, before it took flight

The beautiful Rain Tree... A sight to see especially from a higher point say a few floors high. The spread of green and beautiful shade of red/pink on the flowers is just amazing. The tree spreads itself over a large diameter and has such beautiful branching.
All pictures are of Rain Trees from 100ft Road Indiranagar, Bangalore

The flowers of the Rain Tree

Rain tree flanked by a flowerless gulmohur in front.

 Trying to capture the beauty of the colors.

 And finally the brances and its majestic cover.

Are these Cherry Blossom?
Found close to the 12th Main/100ft Rd Junction @ Indiranagar while moving towards 100ft road from 80 ft road.

 And what are these?
These were from the tree on a cross road on 12th Main

Common Tree but what is it called?

Hopefully I get some pictures of Gulmohur for my next post before they lose their flowers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Back after a while

Summer heat is picking up in Bangalore and flowers are going crazy on the trees by the roadside. I have not been writing for a while. My trip to Austin was successful and once I got back the first week the was fully jet lagged. Could not get out of bed at all. Then a period of unbelievable laziness followed. No muscle was moved without there being an absolute requirement :). Some important decisions to be made and life moves on.
The gulmohurs have started blooming in Bangalore (I noticed this a couple of weeks back). One pigeon baby had gone missing right after I left for the US and the other one has now flown away. Will update pictures soon. Plants are doing well and my Neem Bonsai has completely revamped itself. All old branches have fallen and replaced by new ones. And I am getting back on my toes and started giving attention to plants and hence the blog. Got some interesting feedback on the rose pruning from Rough.Rosa whose blog on roses is so good.
This is a no picture post and will be uploading once the muscles move to transfer them from the camera to the  computer.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Pigeon Chronicles

This happened on Thursday. My son was the first to notice and got pretty excited about it.

And this today.
After the first one I was trying to see any signs of hatching in the second one regularly. But looks like the pigeon decided to come out very early in the morning.

I am leaving for the US in a couple of hours time. I thought I would miss these guys but looks like they came out right on time.
Will post from Texas next, an update on the pruned rose plant.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pruning Roses

The cold season is over in Bangalore. My roses slowed down their blooming sometime in December except for the yellow master performer. It had a strong basal cane and was producing flowers pretty well. But aphids attacked it and its vigor went down.  A strong spray of water helped in getting rid of the aphids but the plant was looking like a mess. All my other roses were also collecting pests. Here is one of the rose plants covered by a web made by who know what. So I decided to start pruning them all. I noticed that some of the other plants that I pruned recently had started showing buds(Jasmine, Bougainvillea etc) and that made me more confident about pruning the rose plants. Most of them are reduced to a couple of small branches now.
In this post I am going to focus on the pruning and after effects on the yellow rose which is the best and my favorite rose plant in the balcony.

I cut of most of the basal cane and left a basal stem that was about ¾ ft long, and I pruned several other branches. Last year I did the same thing to this plant though there were no basal canes at that time. It seemed to take it pretty well and also grew well in 2010. Here is a snapshot of how the plant looks after pruning. This was around the first week of February. 

Within a couple of days I saw new branches sprouting out and vigorous growth in the plant. In about 10 days, this was how the rose plant looked.

About 3 weeks from pruning the plant looks like this.

Now that there is sufficient foliage, I added  a good dose of compost(handful) and commercially available organic rose mix(a few spoonfuls). In a week I am going to apply some banana peel shake(ues you read it right) to see if that is going to help the flowering. I had written about Pachagavya earlier and how it was helping the roses. I have not used it for more than a quarter and can see significant difference in the growth and vigor of the plants. The panchagavya was definitely helping. Right now I have no stock so I am living with what I have.
This is probably the best time to prune the roses in Bangalore/Chennai as the weather is not too hot to dry or damage the young leaves. Infact I should have pruned them in the middle of January. Anyway these are roses and they will definitely grow back. I also kept an eye on any suckers that arise during the growth process as they will “suck out” the energy of the productive part of the plant. They typically look like this(Rose experts, correct me if I am wrong).
This was one of the few rose plants from the garden that was not grafted when we got it from the nursery. I think it was rooted from a cutting(if that works well for roses) or propagated by some other means but definitely not grafting. The basal cane comes right from the bottom of the plant(almost under the soil) and that is why I am assuming that it was not grafted.  Also as a sapling it did not have any signs of tape on it.
The remaining rose plants which are grafted are also doing well after pruning but this guy just races ahead like a rocket in comparison. Don’t know if that determines anything about the way the roses perform.
Hopefully I start seeing flowers in a couple of weeks time. I will keep updating 
I will update pictures of flowers which I hope should show up in the next week or so.
Roses are definitely not EMG in comparison to the other plants I have written about. Coming to the topic of EMG, now that we have about 6 posts on that topic it is time for those of you who are still looking at building your garden to put a plan together and create your own space. Next post will start working on that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

EMG: Geraniums

P.S. I was looking up the Wikipedia article on Geraniums and there seems to be some confusion. These are generally called Geraniums here but in the US these plants are called Pelargoniums. If you go to a nursery here and ask for Pelargoniums they will not send you back empty handed. But asking for Geraniums will get you these plants.  You can read the corresponding Wikipedia articles here and here

Geraniums are an amazing plants for a home with atleast a couple of hours of sunlight. These plants do very well in containers and come in various colors. They can be overwatered or even ignored for a couple of days and still do pretty well. They grow very well in containers and do not invade your garden space by spreading out horizontally or vertically. No pruning, no bugs and not much care. What else can we ask for in a EMG plant.

The entire blooming process itself is very beautiful. The stem grows out longer and pearl like structures show up. They bloom one by one and last for a few days. Geraniums also make great border plants. They can be fed a handful of compost once a month and like moist soil. These can also be used as border plants in large spaces by planting the various colored varieties in sequence.

Some pictures of the ones at home.

A close up of the flowers

The hanging variety of the Geranium.

The pearl like structures from which the flowers bloom

Opening ceremony

All bloomed

And a picture of my Geranium collection. The pink and white ones are a few months old in the garden, the red one in the foreground is more than a year old and is still only about a foot high. Blooms throughout the year. The hanging pot is not in the pic. In the left background you can see the heavily pruned Jasmine plant.

Geraniums as border plants.

Scented geraniums are also available but I do not have them at home nor have I found them at local nurseries. Need to check if Lalbagh has any

Geraniums Summary

Light: Sunlight definitely required for atleast a couple of hours a day.
Watering: Very tolerant for overwatering. Either water lightly on a daily basis or thoroughly every couple of days. In summer you may have to water it more than once depending on how much sun it is getting.
Plant does not need any kind of pruning at all. It maintains a certain size and does not grow more than a foot tall in your pot. Larger the pot, larger the plant.
Add a handful of compost to the soil every month to improve the texture of the soil and also help the plant.

This should do well in any sunny area and should be possible to grow all around India. Its non-invasive growth makes it a wonderful plant to have in the balcony.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Pigeon Chronicles - II

So last week I was observing Mr & Mrs Pigeon and the egg. Mr. Pigeon is usually not around. To my surprise the egg had become the eggs. So here is the updated nest.

I read on the internet that it takes around 18 days for the eggs to hatch. That should happen sometime between Mar 01-10th. I will be traveling for a week during that time and may not be around to enjoy the new chicks. But my wife will definitely capture the pics and I will post them once I am back.