Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review of International Seeds suppliers - Thompson & Morgan

Earlier i posted a review of Chiltern Seeds UK. This is turn of Thompson and morgan. I m not sure though i have heard there is new management out there at Thompson and morgan and the standard of their quality and service is not as good as it use to be under previous management. Anyways, here is the review.

Promotions/Discounts: Probably this is the most alluring of all. After every few months they waive off P&P (Packing and Postage) which is around 4 pounds for international seeds delivery.They also announce a discount of 50% which is very handy. Special promotions are mostly at special occasions like Christmas.
Value seeds: There are many seeds packets which are sold at very low prices. These contain mostly the trial varieties or those varieties which do not sell hot.
3 for the price of 2: Choose any 3 seeds packets and pay for only 2. Price is fixed for all seeds packets in this category.
Voucher Codes: They use to send free 5 pounds voucher code with every printed catalog delivered. Although this does not happen often. Got a printed catalog this year but no free voucher code.

Poor germination rate: As compared to Chiltern Seeds UK, the germination rates of Thompson and morgan are quite low. No no wait, do not compare to anyone, germination rates are still not good enough. I bought lots of seeds packets this year. And quality was not which i expect from T&M.
Lack of variety: Very limited seeds. I can list hundreds of plant seeds which i expect T&M to have but they do not.

Please note that these are my personal experiences and other gardeners may have different point of view.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rose and Jasmine Garden Islamabad

Rose and Jasmine garden is situated in Islamabad near Aabpara. It is one of the most famous gardens of Islamabad. There are other gardens in islamabad as well including botanic garden (in development), the CDA kachnar garden i.e. Bauhinia garden but not as famous. This garden is also famous for flower shows held in autumn and spring.

Rose and jasmine garden includes almost all types of roses including desi or local roses, climbing roses,tea rose, floribunda roses, miniature roses, fragrant roses etc. Despite all my efforts i could not find any jasmine blooms there. These shots are taken in last week of december. I hope you would enjoy:)

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Seeds shops and Plant nurseries of Islamabad/Rawalpindi

During my recent visit to islamabad, I visited many gardening resources including seeds shops and plant nurseries. Many thanks to expert gardener Tahir khan from Rawalpindi for helping me out.

Here are some of the best.

Seeds shops:
Rawalpindi: Awan seeds store, committee chowk. Phone #: +92 51 5537828
Islamabad: Only two shops which I found and these were both in F-8 Markaz.

1- Awan Garden Center: Probably they are the only one supplying flowering bulbs specially amaryllis belladonna, agapanthus and nerine lily in whole Islamabad. They also sell seeds of brychome swan river daisy, a fragrant spring annual not available in Lahore. Their variety of bulbs is very good.

Address: Shop # 12, Hashim Plaza, F-8 Markaz, Islamabad.

Phone: +92-51-2260454, Cell: 0300-5100975 Mr Saqib Awan

2- Green impex: They are right besides Awan garden centre. They are in whole sale supply of seeds and gardening accessories. Phone #: +92-51-2254540

3- Awan seeds Rawalpindi: They are in Rawalpindi. The also sell flowering bulbs. Their trademark is Rs 5 Ranunculus tuber which is so cheap because it is local production not imported one.

Plant Nurseries:
The best nurseries are in H-9 Islamabad. There is a whole lane called nurseries area. Some of the good nurseries I found are following:

1- Madina nursery: Islamabad branch of Madina nursery from Pattoki. They have huge variety of flowering and indoor plants. Phone #: +92-51-4446645, Cell: 0300-5024293 Yasin khan

2- Fateh Muhammad Nursery: One of the top nurseries of Islamabad. They are branch of famous Doctor nursery of pattoki. Phone #: +92-51-4442877, Cell: 0300-5131412 Mr Naveed Azhar

3- Makkah Nursery: Another good nursery of Islamabad. Phone #: +92-51-443193-2, Cell: 0300-8565965 Mr Iqbal

4- Green Land Nursery: Phone #: +92-51-4434850

5- Pattoki Nursery islamabad: Phone #: +92-51-4433748

Other good nurseries include Hamza nursery, Evergreen nursery, Bismillah nursery and Mardan Nursery etc.

There is another plants nursery which is in chak shahzad, Iqbal nursery. They have got good selection of american hybird day lilies and plants are reasonably priced as well. Contact # is Mr. Adil Iqbal, Cell # +92 300 5280880

Some of my next posts would be about Rose and Jasmine garden Islamabad and butterflies of islamabad

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Annual Chrysanthemum show 2010

This year's Autumn Chrysanthemum flower show was held in Race Course Park Lahore. The show was not as vibrant as the last year. Few stalls, less space and not much activity was there. For last year's Chrysanthemum show click here

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Butterflies mating on my terrace garden

I found these butterflies mating in the leaves of my wisteria vine on my terrace. They remained there for almost whole day.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Runner up in Dave's garden photo contest 2010

It is of immense pleasure to me to announce that i got the runner up position in the annual photo contest 2010 at dave's garden, the largest online community of gardeners around the world. The category was "Macro" and this picture of water lily got 54 points. You can click on the picture for full view.

Thanks to all who voted for my photo. Although voting and photos were anonymous so nobody knew whose picture this was. It was my first time participating in the event and it was a wonderful experience. I would participate next year as well and encourage all the readers to do so.

I could not participate in Carol's GBBD this month due to EID holidays but i hope this post would qualify for bloom day as it does contain a wonderful bloom and there is nothing else blooming in my garden right now apart from this waterlily. Don't forget to see other bloom posts on Carol's website May Dreams Gardens

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blooms of rain lily, hibiscus and night jasmine

Fall sowing is at peak right now. I am almost done with planting the bulbs except the hyacinths. Other spring flowering
annuals are sprouting as well. Only few flowers managed to continue their bloom in this month of november. The first is white
rain lily, zephyranthes candida.
The other flower in bloom is white ginger lily or butterfly ginger lily with botanic name Hedychium coronarium

Another plant which blooms in october and november with heavenly fragrance is  sad tree or night jasmine with botanic
name Nyctanthes arbortristis. Its flowers drop at night.

Here is the closer shot:

And last but not least this purple single flowered hibiscus.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Sweet almond verbena, gram blue butterfly and skipper butterfly

Welcome to another edition of garden bloggers bloom day. This is a monthly event hosted by Carol at May Dream Gardens. Visit her website for some intriguing flowers blooming all around the gardens.
This is my second year growing sweet almond verbena, botanic name aloysia virgata. This year i pruned it hard in the last december and the results showed in form of more blooms. I deadheaded every bloom and it kept blooming and blooming.
Every butterfly of the area and every bee visited these blooms having strong almond fragrance.

The first one is plain tiger butterfly with common name african monarch and biological name danaus chrysippus. A very common butterfly from asia and africa found abundant in lahore pakistan.

This is Small branded Swift Skipper with biological name Pelopidas mathias. No other insect is so fond of sweet almond verbena but this skipper butterfly. There were more than 15 beauties luring over the blooms at one time.

Another bee but i am not sure which one it is. She is the one which stays still in air for a long time.

This is gram blue butterfly with biological name (Euchrysops cnejus).She is mostly after pea related flowers but this time she could not resist the fragrance and nectar of these sweet blooms.

Another common bee of our area. She loves murraya and any sweet smelling plant. She is the last one to leave the flowers of this sweet almond bush.

And last but not least, this sweet smelling flowers are no other than cestrum diurnum also known as Din ka raja. Unlike its cousin cestrum nocturnum it releases its scent in daytime.

And this post is also included in the Blooming Friday hosted by Katarina at Roses
and Stuff
. Do visit her blog for some enchanting blooms.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Floss Silk tree - budha

One of the few trees blooming in Lahore right now is floss silk tree also called as budha tree locally. One of the most beautiful tree, it blooms in September to November here in Lahore, Pakistan. Its botanical name is Ceiba speciosa previously Chorisia speciosa.

In Hindi it is called resham rui. The large spikes protect the trunk. Native to Brazil and Argentina it is drought tolerant here and starts blooming as soon as monsoon finishes.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bee pollinating waterlily

I had always thought how waterlilies are propagated in the wild. There are tons of wild water lilies in our province Punjab specially the white water lily. They are all tropical i guess. Finally i captured a bee doing this little work. I think she is trying to pollinate. Well, even if she is not, after all the hard work capturing these shots, believe me she is doing nothing but trying to steal the pollen. I wish someday i will see a butterfly on these waterlily blooms if butterflies do that.

Update: As indicated by "Dont bug me", it is a hoverfly and not a bee.
First she grabbed it.

Then she picked it and there she go.

This is blue tropical water lily i am growing on my terrace. It survived last winter without protection but got very weak. I am going to protect this waterlily with bubble polythene this winter for first time and see how good it is.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

White cabbage Butterfly

Welcome to another edition of macro monday.. It is difficult to attract butteflies if you are growing plants in containers. But planting the right plants at right places is the key. It appears to be a trifle task to capture a butterfly but it is not. This is probably some white cabbage butterfly. Still trying to confirm the identification. Sipping nector from my murraya plant on terrace.

Sometimes it takes hours capturing a butterfly. And the viewers are oblivious of the effort it is spent on the shot. Sometimes continuous shots are taken if butterfly is moving fast. Shutter speed matters a lot in this case. This one is another common butterfly of lahore. Just before rain she took shelter in the leaves.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

White Angled-Sulphur and tropical water lily

Here are some of the shots i managed to capture for this monday.
This one seems to be White Angled-Sulphur (Anteos clorinde). A sulphur butterfly for sure. They are almost everywhere in lahore these days. A bit fast though.

This is my tropical blue waterlily. It is blooming continuously from june and will go till november when it will become dormant. Will survive winters though.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tuberose (polianthus tubersoa)

Finally monsoon hit and rains started. Compared to last year when it was almost drought this year it has been raining good, in fact very good.So those plants which were waiting for high humidity to send blooms started to wake up. For this monday here are these two beauties.
This butterfly treated my soil bed as her guest house probably and sent whole night clinging to this jasmine leaves. I captured her at night with auto flash and macro. She seemed drunk to me as the flash and macro both did not make her embarrassed at all. In fact, i was almost thinking she is here for the photo shoot. This photo is also included in the Gardening gone wild Picture this photo contest

The second photo for this Monday is the tube rose flowers. I almost forgot murraya and my arabian jasmine when these started to flower. I planted around 50 bulbs in pots and this is the first one to flower. Would surely post separate on these warm climate flowering bulbs continuing the series.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Allamanda, Murrarya and rain lily flowers

Welcome to another edition of macro monday, a weekly event hosted by Lisa at Lisa's Chaos.You will find some magnificent macro shots out there. All pictures are thumbnails and you can view the full image by clicking on them.
I would start by macro of crinum lily. Very fragrant and large blooms.

Murraya exotica is blooming profusely as monsoon has started here. No aroma can compete that of murraya's.

And when we talk of rains and monsoon, rain lilies come into mind and into bloom as well.

Allamanda is another climber growing right now. Many colors are available of this beautiful climber but the toughest one is the yellow one.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crinum, giant potato tree and spider lily

It is a pleasure to be part of Garden bloggers bloom day once again. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this wonderful event every month. These are all thumbnail images and you can click on each one to view full image.

The first bloom, and because fragrance is my first preference, is crinum lily. They are growing wild in the Lawrence gardens. They bloom in july-October here in lahore. wonderful fragrance.

With botanical name crinum latifolium and common name milk and wine lily they are easiest of perennial bulbs to grow. Two colors are common. The white one below and there is another one bicolor, pink and white crinum.

Another crinum having very interesting buds is Crinum asiaticum with common names spider lily, grand crinum lily. It has the largest bulbs i have ever seen. the fragrance is not very sweet and flowers not very showy but buds are worth capturing.

This is some unknown flower to me blooming profusely in lawrence gardens lahore. any help with the ID will be appreciated.

This is giant potato tree with botanical name Solanum macranthum . Like many other solanum plants, the color of flower changes and you will find many colors blooms on same plant at once. Flowers are very mildly fragrant. A close relative is Solanum seaforthianum with common name italian jasmine, more fragrant than this one, and which i intend to grow from seed very soon.

And last but not least, here comes murraya exotica orange jasmine. The fragrance is divine and unbeatable. Blooming on my terrace in a large clay pot. They bloom extensively in monsoon rains.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gaillardia aristata

Welcome to another episode of macro monday, a weekly event hosted by Lisa.Visit her blog for more stunning macro shots. Gaillardia is very tough perennial here standing in the extreme summer heat of lahore. This plant is not common for sale in nurseries, may be because it has committed the sin of being COMMON.

Can you believe these species are not available at nurseries, seeds are available though with the name 'bicolor'.

The parent of all these species is probably gaillardia grandiflora. Various varieties are sold in other countries but the ones in this post have gone wild and self sow easily.

Winner of best photo blogger