Monday, June 28, 2010

Macro Monday - Zinnia magic

It was difficult to get shots for this macro monday due to intense heat here. However i managed to get a few shots. Until the weather cools down a bit when monsoon starts, plants will be in stress specially the ones on my terrace. Please do visit other blogs for more macro monday shots. Here is the link to Lisa's beautiful chaos

Not sure which butterfly it is but it was intense heat out there. Very fast moving butterfly though.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden Geek wins Best photo blogger award at Pakistan Blog Awards 2010

It is a pleasure for me to announce that i have won the award of best photo blogger in my country pakistan's first blog awards held in karachi on May 28, 2010. The blog award show was arranged by CIO Pakistan. I could not have been possible without you, the readers, the fans of my blog. I would like to thank you all who voted or put some kind comments for my blog. The credit also goes to hundreds of my fans who visit my blog at regular basis.

I could not attend the ceremony due to some personal commitments but got the trophy somehow. Here is the trophy. The trophy came with goodies bag as well, wonderful stuff. I would also like to congratulate Google Pakistan and CIO Pakistan on doing a great job of Pakistan blog awards.

There are very few gardening blogs from Pakistan and i am sure this award will inspire other bloggers from Pakistan and from lahore as well to blog and blog good. It will also inspire those folks who are passionate about gardening but do not blog. I would love some companions along the way.

For more information on the Blog Awards, please visit:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Macro monday - Waterlily magic

It is a pleasure participating another edition of macro monday hosted by Lisa's Chaos. You will find some excellent macro images out there. Here are my pics for this week's macro monday.

This blue water lily survived our mild winters and popped up blooms in june. It will continue blooming till october. I am growing it in a round clay pot not very large.

And here is the close up. My favorite blooms of all. And guess what it is fragrant as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tips for buying plants from nursery

It was not long ago when i started gardening few years back. It took a lot of mistakes, wasted money and valuable time to understand how and when to buy plants or seedlings from a plant nursery. In initial years excitement always overcame the wisdom and patience. Now things are quite different. Here are some of the tips from my personal experience on how to buy the plants from a plant nursery.
Do not buy a plant in bloom
Remember if you buy an already blooming plant then after transplanting it will not focus its energies on root development instead blooming only. Even if you are buying plants in pots and do not intend to transplant them, still it is better to buy healthy plants with no bud/bloom. If there is a bud or two, remove it before transplanting. As a result the plant will use its energies on root development and after then blooming will be profuse and much better.
Do not buy a plant not meant for your climate
In Spring, i always ask nursery men whether this aquilegia (columbine) is a perennial in my hot climate or not and believe me, although they very well know the correct answer, every time they say it is perennial. Sadly it is not true. Same is the case with delphinium and fuchsia which are annual for my zone 10. This is inversely true for northern gardeners that plants like brugmansia and jasminum sambac do not survive cold weather.Conclusion is, always consult form internet whether a particular plant is annual for your climate or not.Or if you are lucky you might find an honest nursery men.
Buy plants with healthy growth
Here is the trick which some clever nursery men do. They take a healthy plant out from soil bed and put it  i a large pot and sell it by saying it was raised in this pot. You must ensure the plant you are buying has a healthy new growth. Avoid plants with yellow leaves, wilting leaves, spotty leaves,brown or burnt leaves, leaves with bugs or pests on them. If there is not new growth then it can mean few things. Either the plant is dormant or the plant is root bound or there is some problem with this plant. If plant is root bound you will see the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. Transplant root bound plant as soon as possible although i would discourage buying a root bound plant. Remember there are few perennials which bloom only when root bound. So some exceptions are always there.Purchase a dormant plant only if you very well know the plant.
Do not buy a plant in pot but roots in soil
Sometimes a plant is in a pot but the roots outbreak and reach into the soil searching for water and nutrition. Do not buy such plant as the root damage will shock the plant and it will not recover the shock. I once bought a yellow buddleia whose roots were gone into soil although it was in 6 inches pot. The plant did not show any damage within first 15 minutes. But it was dead in next 2 hours.
Keep cell numbers of sales man in your phonebook
It is very handy. You can always ask the sales man before going to nursery for availability of a plant. I use it for price comparison as well. My cell phone book contains more than 30 numbers confined to seeds shops and plant nurseries.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pink rain lily, lotus and ixora flowers

Here comes another garden bloggers bloom day. Thanks Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting this wonderful event every month.

This is pink rain lily. The botanical name is Zephyranthes grandiflora. I got more than 50 bulbs in this plastic pot. They bloom mostly in rains. But you would find blooms all year round.

I just caught this bumble bee on ixora plant. There were humming birds on these flower too but only in the morning and in strong sun. They were so quick that i could not capture them. Still bees love these blooms. This picture is taken in lawrence gardens lahore.

This is pink lotus. Because i could not see the flower open due to cloudy sky, i could not be sure whether it is nelumbo or water lily

Don't Forget to visit other blogs of GBBD for more beautiful blooms.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review of International Seeds suppliers - Chiltern Seeds UK

Buying seeds online is not a big deal in countries like United states and United kingdom but buying seeds online from international seeds vendors is not something common in pakistan. The seeds shops in pakistan which are quite a few in number sell only annual flower seeds. No perennial seeds available. The only reason which i get to know is lack of customers. Although i doubt that.

I had a few experiences of buying seeds online from those seeds vendor which ship internationally so i thought i should share my experience as well as to have a little bit review and comparison of these big seeds vendors. The first is Chiltern seeds UK. They were the first i ever ordered from. Here are some pros and cons of Chiltern seeds.

Variety: There is hardly any plant which they do not have seeds for. From tropical water lilies to alpine wild flowers and from vegetable seeds to cactus seeds, they have got everything.
Mixtures: I love their mixtures. they have got so many of them and the seeds are great in number per packet. The few i got interested in were fragrant flower mixture, tropical seeds mixtures, butterfly attracting mixtures etc. They also offer anonymous mixtures as well. And last but not least the species mixture. Can you find somewhere a mixture of all the varieties of annual poppies in a single packet or all the varieties of lilies seeds in a single packet?
Free seeds/Bonus: They do give free mixtures of perennials or annuals or tree/shrubs with your next order but that's all.
Delivery Time: Very good. The packet reaches my country Pakistan just in 5 days as compared to Thompson and Morgan whose packet reaches me in 13 days.

No discounts/Voucher Codes: Unlike Thompson and Morgan, they do not provide any occasional discounts like 50% off or 10% off. They also do not give any free vouchers with the printed catalog. They did, however, put a sale of 1/3rd off last autumn and this was the first time they offered that. I hope they will offer this year as well.
No bulbs: Although they do provide some plants bulbs including achimenes but otherwise they so not sell bulbs/tubers, only seeds.

Overall They are the best seed suppliers in my opinion. I even rate them better than Thompson and morgan and parkseeds. In next post i will review Thompson and morgan international.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ixora, yellow rain lily and blue petunia flowering

Here are some of the pics for this edition of macro monday.

For more macro monday posts, visit Lisa's Chaos

Winner of best photo blogger