Sunday, December 6, 1998
Statice and helichrysum are the flowers that are going to stay with you, without fading, for years. You can grow statice either in pots or in the ground. The flowers are available in yellow and pink, writes Satish Narula
WINTER is the time garden lovers look forward to. There are more than 150 types of flowers to choose from and grow. In the summer months the choice is limited and the flowers available are nothing to talk about.
The list of cut flowers available in winter is exhaustive dahlias, roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, anthuriums librum and tulips.
The life span of most of these cut flowers varies from a few days to a few weeks and even to a month and-a-half or so. By following certain methods of preservation the vase life could still be extended by a few days. Can we preserve at least some cuttings from this season? One can try statice and helichrysum. A few tips on various winter annuals can be helpful for the readers.
One can expect the best effect from the seasonal annuals only when these marvels of nature are given the kind of treatment they desire and deserve. You must have earmarked different beds for different flowers depending upon the size, colour and height. The nature of the plant is also important. One has to see if the plant requires sun shade or semi-shade.
There are a few other things to observe: when you go in for alyssum always grow them for mass planting and effect. You could broadcast seed in the bed and to thinning afterwards while keeping plants 15 cm apart. It is desirable to keep clipping the plant repeatedly so as to give a good ground spread and cover. Antirrhinum could be used in the flower bed, pot or as a border plant. Keep a hold on manuring and watering. Over-manuring and overwatering will lead to overgrowth and rotting. Tops should be pinched back to stimulate side growth. Again repeat this process after a few days. You will get bushy growth and hence more spikes. Mimulus, on the other hand, needs plenty of water during its growth period.
Brachycome, that bears pretty star-like blue or white or rose daisy like flowers does not take kindly to transplanting. It is better to sow it directly where you want it to be and this out later. The same procedure should be followed with gypsophila, which is used as filler in bouquets. The blooms in this case may last for more than a fortnight. In case of lupins too seeds should be sown where the plant is required since seedlings do not take transplanting well. Nemesia also does well when planted in the site and in this case too, pinching the tops gives bushy growth.
In the case of pansy, ensure seeds from a reliable source as the seeds of a pansy degenerate fast. While extracting seedlings from seedbeds, do not disturb the soil too much lest you upset still germinating seedlings. The germination in this case is irregular. Avoid exposing plants to the noon sun.
Statice and helichrysum are the flowers that are going to stay with you, without fading, for years. You can grow statice either in pots or in the ground. The flowers are available in yellow, and pink. An exclusive type statice, suworowi, grows to about one-and-a-half feet and bears bright rosy, pink or mauve flowering spikes.
Helichrysum is another hardy annual. The blooms attain a perfect shape and symmetry. They resemble half open roses and the available in white, pink, yellow, violet shades. The plant grows about a metre or so, and this should be kept in mind at the time of planting.
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