Sunday, November 7, 1999
garden can be a riot of colour in winter,
WINTER is the time when the garden seems to have a meaning. From December onwards first it is chrysanthemum and then a riot of colours, of winter annuals with a wide range. The gardener gets stuck while making suitable choice. This is a testing time for gardeners. The gardener has to be able to achieve a combination of various colours and fit the plant according to its requirement of sun or shade. The effect of plants getting lost due to merging of one species with the other has to be avoided just as the repetition of the previous year also has to be avoided in order to give the garden a new look.
Before proceeding to execute your plan, put everything on a paper.
Measure the area and make suitable beds. Those who are particular about planning, make a map and fill colours to visualise the kind of effect they are going to get in times to come. Due to advances in horticulture, one can get various species of annuals in varying heights and hues.
The magic word for perfection in gardening is the "preparation" of the ground. No matter how well you raised your seedling or the quality of seeds you use, once they are planted, the performance depends upon how you will make your bed. Annuals are short-lived plants and they complete their lifecycle within a few months. In that short period of time, annuals germinate, grow, give flowers and then form seeds again. Providing quick growth is a must and that is possible only if the beds are nutrition rich. In fact the period of active growth is a month and a half after which they temporarily suspend growth during extreme weather.
When the temperature starts warming, it is time for plants to grow a little more and then flower. Only the plants with a strong root framework will be able to bloom well. A sick plant with a leggy growth or a bed half-empty will never be able to give the mass effect.
In a bed with a dimension of 15 feet by three feet, you can add three baskets full (big) of well rotten farm yard manure. 300 gram superphosphate and 125 gram muriate of potash. These should be thoroughly incorporated in the upper six to eight inches of soil. The beds are then watered. When the soil is workable, it should be levelled like a table top. This is the secret of getting quality blooms. In the case of unlevelled beds, nutrients are washed over to one side where water accumulates, resulting in loss of uniformity in the bed. The Seedlings are then transplanted at a specified distance, depending upon the potential height and spread of the plant. Immediately after planting the beds are watered again. Do not overfeed plants as you may end up getting tremendous growth but no blooms. Nitrogen should be added in split doses rather than in a single, heavy dose. Also take into consideration the kind of species you are going to have in a particular bed Nasturtium, masembreanthemum (burf) etc grow very well even on poorly-fed soils.
The colour planning in the garden in fact tells about the understanding the gardener has about the flora and effects. Follow nature. Have you ever observed the rainbow carefully? Vibgyor, meaning Red merges into Orange, orange into Yellow, yellow into green and green with Blue and likewise Indigo and violet. Stepping down the colours, red is to deep pink to light pink and then white. Such combinations are very pleasing. Harsh colours should be kept at the far end of the garden. For locations with partial shade, use nasturtium, salvia, cineraria, nemesia etcetra.
Do not grow winter annuals in rose beds. The overlapping flowering will mar the effect of both. However, in case of standard roses, you can plant short-statured annuals like burf, nasturtium, sweet allysum, dwarf pansy etc.
Why not try some unusal
annuals like clianthus this time. Perhaps, you have never
heard of it? Look at the accompanying picture, it grows
very well here. Like any other winter annual, it even
likes dry spells. Grow it in a pot as it needs support.
| Interview | Bollywood Bhelpuri | Sugar 'n' Spice | Nature | Garden Life | Fitness |
| Travel | Your Option | Time off | A Soldier's Diary | Fauji Beat |
| Feedback | Laugh lines | Wide Angle | Caption Contest |