Friday, December 28, 2012

Garlic vine, Thunbergia alba and Sprekelia

Garlic vine is a beautiful climber from bignonia family. The flowers and leaves emit garlic odour hence the name garlic vine. Botanic name of garlic vine is Cydista aequinoctialis. It grows very good in Karachi and Lahore. It flowers in fall and spring. In my experience it suffers from pests in fall specially mildew so you may need to spray it. It likes hot and humid so Karachi suits it better than lahore. There are some mature specimens growing for many years in lahore. 

garlic vine

Another shrub growing in winter is Thunbergia erecta var alba. It is white color version of common blue Thunbergia erecta. Flowers are small but tub shaped and abundant.
thunbergia erecta alba                                                         
Last but not least, sprekelia formosissima is flowering in winter here in lahore. Its common name is aztec lily and it is a bulb from amaryllis family. It usually flowers in spring but maybe it is forced so flowering in winter. A good choice for hot climate. sprekelia formosissima

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Lisa's Chaos.
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Garden Bloggers bloom day

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winter growing vegetables

Sowing of winter vegetables in mild winter climates start from September and October while fruiting goes till February and March. Find below the calender for winter vegetables. Note that this calender is not for northern areas, only southern plains. Some of the commonly sown vegetables in winter include Broccoli,Potato, Onion, Lettuce leaf, Cauliflower, Turnip, Peas, Spinach, Carrot, Beets, Mustard, Coriander, Radish and mint etc. You can also sow tomato in winter if there temperatures do not go very low. You may have to place the plastic sheets over seedlings of winter vegetables at night specially in those areas where winters are cold like Islamabad, Peshawar etc.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Winter and Spring flowering annuals

Fall is the real gardening season in all climates where winters are mild. Southern plains of Pakistan are no exception either. This is the reason that major gardening activity is in winter in lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and other lowers plains areas. The plants which grow in summer in cool climates of UK and Europe grows in winter of lahore. This is the reason many winter annuals grown in lahore are actually summer flowering in cool climates. There are 3 main tips for these annuals
1- Feed DAP every 2 weeks in low quantity
2- Remove early buds to get healthy plant and then allow it to flower
3- Remove spent flowers to increase flowering

Do visit this link for all the spring flowering plants flowers . For sake of simplicity here i am listing most easiest to grow annuals only.
  • Petunia
Easiest and longest blooming flower. Single type is very famous. Comes in various shapes like star, picotee etc.
Flowering: December - May
Growth Ease: Very easy
Germination: Moderate to difficult
Sun required: Full sun
Famous series: Falcon F1 is winner. Ultra series (blue star, red star etc.) is good too .
You can see other petunia flowers on this blog here
  • Pansy
 Pansy grows in semi shade too. Flowers even for a child too. Long blooming period.Grows good  in pots too. Urdu name is banafsha.

Flowering: January - May
Growth Ease: Very easy
Germination: Moderate to difficult
Sun required: Full sun - Semi shade
Famous series: Magestic giants is good. Swiss giants comes on second number. My personal favorite is Mammoth.
  • Gazania
 A very beautiful annual from south africa. Very heat tolerant. Flowers till June and more.    

Flowering: February- June
Growth Ease: Very easy
Germination: Moderate
Sun required: Full sun
Famous series: Daybreak mix is good. Daybreak 2 is also good.
You can see other gazania flowers on this blog here
  • Dahlia
Both indian and pakistani dahlia are available. Pakistani is grown from seed and flower is single or semi-double. Indian one is grown from cuttings and  flowers are double and very large. Stacking is required.  Indian one needs more care than pakistani one specially in severe winter. you can buy cheap cuttings in october/november or buy small plants early in season. you can save tuber for next month while keeping it in soil. Not grown good from tubers in my experience.

Flowering: December- June
Growth Ease: Easy - Moderate
Germination: Easy
Sun required: Full sun
Famous series: In Pakistani dahlia, figoro and diablo are good. Indian ones, buy a plant with lots of side shoots.
You can see other dahlia flowers on this blog here
  • Freesia
 Freesia is super easy to grow from bulb and it is fragrant too. Check this post of mine for details

  • Ranunculus
Ranunculus grows from both seeds and corms. Plants grown from seeds have larger flowers than corms so i prefer to buy seed grown seedling from nurseries which is cheap. For growing it from corm check this post of mine Remember not to deep  plant the seedling of ranunculus in soil bed. The seedlings grow new shoots from much above the soil level. Also it needs to be protected from march rains.
Flowering: February- May
Growth Ease: Easy
Germination: From corm easy, From seed moderate to difficult
Sun required: Full sun
Famous series: The seed grown is asiaticus bloomingdale. Corm is probably different variety.
You can see other ranunculus flowers on this blog here
  • Aquilegia

Although a cool climate plant, it grows very good in semi shade and shade and flower is the most beautiful flower you will ever ever ever see. It is mostly germinated in murree and brought to lahore in winters. You can get seedlings easily at cheap price in start of season in October - November.
Flowering: February- May
Growth Ease: Easy
Germination: Difficult
Sun required:Shade - Semi shade
Famous series: N/A
You can see other aquilegia flowers on this blog here
  • Anemone
Another easy to grow from corm. Although it is grown from seed too but i never tried it from seed. Very easy to grow and flower. Check this post of mine for details

  • Hyacinth 
Hyacinth is another fragrant plant for cool climates so an annual here. You must try hyacinth in glass jar which is super easy to flower. Check this post of mine for details

Other easy  to grow winter annuals include Cineraria (Good for shade), Dianthus, carnation, Salvia(Red is good for our climate), Verbena, alyssum, hollyhock, calendula, phlox etc. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rare Morning glories on my terrace garden

I love morning glories because they are easiest to maintain,pest and disease free and they flower in the poorest of soils. Not to mention they are easiest to grow from seeds as well. Japanese morning glories are the uniquest of all and they have very beautiful rare patterns. Here are some of these i grew from seed and they all are growing on my terrace in pots and some in soil bed. All are grown from  seed.

This is Carnevale di venezia. Not truly a Japanese morning glory but a different one.

This is front view of my terrace covered with "Milky way" morning glory.
This is Japanese morning glory navy blue with white strips growing in pot and reached on the 2nd floor terrace.
This is Japanese morning glory FUJI NO SORA growing on my terrace in a pot.

This is another Japanese morning glory with crimson blue color flower having white strips
This one is also with white stripes but not very prominent in this picture.
I am happy to see seed pods forming for some of these morning glories. Would love to grow them again next year. I hope you would try some too :)

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