Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lilies

The first time I saw these flowers I had no idea what these were. So dumb. I mean the simplest of flowers. My office building had about 200sqft of landscaping just filled with these wonderful flowers.  When you look at them from above or from the sides, they just grab your attention.








So I got my long time friend come down from office all the way from office and tell me what it was. He is an engineer but a biology major in his XIIth grade.Well, "Dude, these are lilies man. You dont know this".
Me was blank. Anyway I went out and tried to look for lilies on the internet but only got images of the exotic ones that they give out in florists. Surprisingly, during my visit to the nursery the next weekend I found these beautiful flowers just ready for me to buy. So got myself a bulb and drove back home happily. Bangalore weather has been extremely friendly to these flowers with the rains visiting almost everyday. These are extremely easy to maintain . Just add water everyday and hope caterpillars dont attack these plants. Also give them some sunlight and these guys will just bloom like crazy. I noticed that some blooms close in the night and open back up in the morning. 




Initially it had about 2-3 blooms at any point in time.
Once the rains came, these guys got really wild. Minimum of three blooms a day to a maximum of 10 at a time. They make the balcony look beautiful. I placed these close to the white pentas and that corner of the balcony turned into the peace region. I noticed the trend. It was raining and these lilies were blooming so the engineer in me made me do the obvious. Google. Rain + lilies and voila I get beautiful images of the exact kind of flowers I have. So these area rain lilies or "Crocus". I was so glad to have found the information. Once you get to know the actual names of the flowers you have it feels so good.











And finally the pink flowers from Lalbagh.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hibiscus bloom

An extremely amateurish attempt to catch the hibiscus bloom.
I should use a tripod stand to position my camera the next time. I dont think it is possible to do time lapse photography with a basic digital camera. Will try to capture it better next time.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hibiscus Experience - Part 2


And now to introduce the queen of the balcony & the envy of my neighbours.
  Oh that was just a preview.

A little more. I guess you can create the picture in your mind.

She blooms once in three weeks or about once a month. It is a long wait, but when she does, you should see it to believe it. Well then see it.


 
The beauty is just captivating. I always spend a long time staring at this plant to cherish the structure of this flower. Her yellow petals with the color changing slow to white, pink and then red towards the center just makes me drool over this flower. The stamen is no less beautiful. It is so long and colorful and complements the rest of the flower so well.

 I wish I could find a way to make this plant bloom more often.
This is a hybrid variety of the hibiscus. These do not bloom as quickly as the regular once that I mentioned in my earlier post Hibiscus Experience - Part I. The flowers have thicker petals and they are larger in size. The structure of the leaves also vary from one hybrid variety to another. Next time, I will make a measurement of the flower diameter before I post a picture.










The best thing happened in the middle of Febrauary. I got two flowers at the same time. That was like hitting a jackpot. I would have gotten more but the pigeons got to the buds before they could bloom.



















Well I also managed to capture this one at various stages. I wish I could have done more, especially during the bloom, but had to leave for work. By the time I was back home in the evening, the flower had reached full bloom and had started shrivelling back.







Am expecting the next bloom within the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Roses in Ooty

I visited Ooty recently. The place is just a heaven for the plants. They flourish there without much help. A lot of plants that we grow with effort here grows there on the roadside or in hotels. I visited the rose garden there and was completely wowed by the variety of roses. One thing that surprised me was the size of these flowers. Most flowers were almost 10-12 cms across. That is HUGE compared to the size of roses that I have seen here in Bangalore. Here are some pictures from the Rose Garden,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hibiscus Experience - Part 1



Hibiscus is a red 5 petaled flower. This was my opinion till I was about 15 years old when I started seeing the other varieties of hibiscus. The reason behind the assumption was the nature of the flower that grew in my grandparents house in Chennai. Plucking those flowers and arranging it for the pooja along with cousins was a whole lot of fun. You would find a hibiscus tree in almost every garden in Chennai(mostly red ones). You see that trend in Bangalore too, but what amazes me is the variety of colors that I see here. Pink, red, yellow, multicolored, double hibiscus the variety is just mind boggling. Unfortunately due to the increase in the number of apartments in the city the number of hibiscus possessing houses are reducing. What some people dont realize(I too was in this category) is that this plant can be grown at home in your balcony in a pot. It does require attention but the rewards are very pleasing.
It is just so relaxing to see these plants in full bloom. The flowers do not last more than half a day. But once you get a reasonable sized plant you are definitely get many flowers in a week.
My love for Hibiscus was rekindled thanks to my wife. We got two plants way back in 2007. But our knowledge of plant maintenance was low and unfortunately we lost both of them. However, after lot of reading I realized that the plant requires lots of care and protection and started working on getting new plants and maintaining them. You can pick up a healthy one at a local nursery. I stay in Marathahalli and around the area there are many nurseries that house Hibiscus. Another place where I have found good hibiscus plants are at the Nursery maintained by the Association for people with disabilities in Jeevan Bhima Nagar. Obviously Lalbagh is the other choice provided you are willing to go through the traffic. Remember, you do not have to buy a plant that is in full bloom at the nursery to get the best of the lot. Make sure it looks healthy, i.e. leaves are in one piece, you dont see any webs spun on the plant, nor should you see to many ants moving around on it. Buy a small plant so that you can have the fun of seeing it grow.

Some tips on maintaining the hibiscus:
They need to be watered and fertilized regularly.
Two spoonfuls of organic fertilizer and bone meal every fortnight has worked well for me on these plants.
Apart from this, I apply a spoonful of this substance called Suppola which I picked up from the JeevanBhimaNagar nursery. This is supposed to help the plants flower better( I am still not sure if this is organic and how much impact it is having on my plant flowering. Will find out more and update). Even a rose mix would be sufficient. I did see a solution that was specialized for the growth of hibiscus plants, but did not know the chemical content. So still not tried it yet.
Water daily(if required twice) with good drainage in the pots. These plants like their soil to be moist. Dry soil kills the hibiscus plants slowly. So ensure that the soil is moist. Also do not allow the soil to harden. Try to loosen it up every week with a garden tool or a screwdriver. Do not over water too. Signs of overwatering are your leaves turning yellow.
Hibiscus are prone to insects. Spidermites, Ants, and Mealy Bugs can kill this plant in a few days. I lost my first few hibiscus to Spidermites and ants. You will need to make sure that these insects are away from the plant. Once they start spreading it is almost impossible to stop them. Some ways of keeping the bugs away are by using Neem oil mix, mild soap solution and regular vigourous spraying of these plants with water.
I am still experimenting on trimming these plants and would not give much advice about it. Do let me know if you have some experience on this. I like to keep my plants short to make it feasible to maintain in a balcony. So I trim according to my needs and have so far been lucky to have not lost a plant.
That's a big post for the first day of hibiscus experience. I will hopefully say more soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ya Right!

Ya Right!!

I was thinking about the name of this blog(which I never gave a thought to while creating it).
Am I really doing something to reduce my carbon footprint? or is it just that I am also part of the hype.
I drive a 4 wheeler to work. (Personal reasons require me to drive it, but I do carpool with my wife on my way back home) - Need to change this
I use minimum amount of water while bathing and avoid wasting water during brushing, washing etc.
I still use plastic bags if I have nothing when I go to the store. However I carry a cloth/paper bag with me almost 90% of the time. Unfortunately some stores do not allow you to carry your bags inside.
Most of the items we buy are still wrapped in plastic. That is something which I am trying to get control over by getting it from stores which sell stuff in loose.
I have lots and lots of plants in the house. So that is increasing the greenery. Thunbs up.
I mostly try to use water from the Kitchen which is left over after washing the vegetables etc for watering the plants. Thumbs up
I always use only lights I need and switch off as soon as I leave a room.
There are so many other areas where I can try to improve and am looking for opportunities/avenues for changing and reducing the CO2 footprint.

By the way, tomorrow is World Environment Day. To me that is just a hoax. Maybe it increases the awareness but at what cost. Flyers which are made from high quality paper and laminated used for creating the awareness. Badges, and other marketing gadgets from companies.
Seriously how are we helping reduce the carbon footprint by doing all this.

Tomorrow is World Environment Day. Great we are creating more awareness about the environment. Wonderful. I am really happy for that.