Time to enjoy blooms
in your garden
THE time has come for the gardener to enjoy his garden assets as almost all the winter annuals are in flowering and at their best. Even the perennials like roses are putting forth the final flush of blooms. Carnations that are a little shy and late to bloom have also responded to the natures conducive signals to show up.
This is also the time for flower shows. Make it a point to at least visit these competitions-cum-exhibitions, if not to participate in them. Compare flowers of your garden with those kept there and then try to find out the reasons for differences which could be due to minor but significant causes.
Location where a particular flower was grown is one of the biggest reasons for difference in quality. Almost all the winter annuals are sun-loving. Due to shorter sun duration, many times plants do not get sufficient light. Obstructions caused by trees, adjoining buildings, walls, hedges etc. contribute further to curtail the sun. The quality of the bloom deteriorates. Talk to the prize winners. They will let you know the requirements of particular plant species.
The species that grow
well in the shade are Salvia, Cineraria, Nasturtium and on Rock
Gardens (in sun) Mesembryanthemum (burf), Nasturtium, Verbena, Phlox
Soil also plays major role in the quality of the blooms. In case you have heavy soil that retains plenty of moisture, do not grow burf, nasturtium, petunia, antirrhinum, sweet pea etc. But you will get will be a lot of foliage and scant or no flowering at all. The soil condition could be improved by adding plenty of manure and sand. Sandy loam soil is best for floriculture as it allows excellent drainage.
Quality of blooms and supporting
foliage is what judges see for prize. Some times in case of specialised
displays that need high technical standards, one has to be very
particular in selecting and displaying exhibits. For example, in case of
carnation the bloom may look good but it is ruptured at the neck
(calyx). When it comes to comparison the one with enraptured ‘cup’
of calyx scores better. Do not be too heavy a feeder for such plants.