Diseases, Pests and Weeds
Fertilizers, Manures and Feeding
Flowering Plants
Garden Design and Planning
Gardening Terms (Glossary)
Gardening Tips
Gardening Tools
Indoor, Foliage and Shade Plants
Leaves, Roots and Flowers
Light Requirements
Planting and Transplanting
Pots and Potted Plants
Pruning and Pinching

Flowering Plants

Flowering Annuals (Seasonals)

In any garden it is often the flowers that steal the show. Annuals become ready to flower within a few! months after sowing. Once the seeds have formed (at the end of the season), the plants die and have to be sown afresh next year. The planting of annuals is generally done by first, preparing the seedlings and then transplanting them to their actual sites, whether beds or pots. This has the advantage of toughening up the plant, stimulating better growth and allowing a more systematic arrangement in the flowerbeds. Some flowers are, however, sown in situ.

For preparing the seedlings for transplanting use I shallow pots or wooden trays and crates, as they have the advantage of being portable and can be shifted according to the varying requirements of the light.

The soil used should be fine-textured and porous. Rough and lumpy soil does not provide the snug environment required for the roots to develop. A mixture of sieved gactlen soil and leaf mould (or old powdery manure) in equal proportions would be appropriate.

Sow the seeds by spreading them thinly over the seeding,soil and over, layer it, a few millimeters, with the same soil. Keep the soil evenly moist. Never allow it to dry up or become too wet. Covering with a sheet of clear plastic helps maintain moisture and minimizes sprinkling. Once the seedlings start appearing, exposure to sunlight should gradually be increased.

When the baby plants develop four leaves, they should be transplanted to their actual site. The bed should be prepared according to the suggestions, which is given in soil.

Flowering Trees

All trees must be planted on the north or west side of the garden. If planted on the east or south, the trees will throw a shadow over the garden and prevent grass and other sun loving plants from growing properly. Some of the trees suited for small to medium size gardens are bauhinia (kachnar), bottlebrush, plumeria (champa), peach blossom, calliandra, pine and bottle palm.

The best time for planting trees is during the rainy season. For large trees the pit should be about one metre in depth and diameter and smaller pits for smaller trees. Pits should be dug two to three months before planting. The soil should be mixed with organic manure (30 per cent) and 2-3 handfuls of bone-meal or 2-3 tablespoons of S. superphate and then allowed to settle. Pressure of falling rainwater facilitates soil settling. The saplings should then be planted one in each pit. The soil around the sapling should be firmly pressed into the place, the tree watered and a stake is put near the sapling to help it grow. The distance between saplings should be about five to 14 metres, depending on the size of the fully-grown tree.

Flowering Shrubs

Shrubs are smaller than trees, are usually bushy, and 0.5 to four metres tall. The main difference between the two is that several stems of the shrub rise from the ground in contrast to trees, which have a well-defined trunk and branches. Most shrubs require good sunlight for best flowers. There are some, which do well in semi,shade, but very few do well in total shade. For shrubs that will grow to about two metres, a deep pit, about 70 centimetres in depth, should be dug and five to seven kilograms of well, rotted cow manure added to the soil. The soil of the pit should be raised to about 20 centimetres from the ground level. This should be done just before the monsoon sets in so that the soil will settle with the rains. Tall and bushy shrubs are planted at a distance of one to two metres, whereas smaller ones are planted as close as half a metre to one metre. They need frequent watering in summer, and less in winter, but should be thoroughly soaked, instead of only a daily sprinkling. Once established, however, they usually become self, supporting with respect to water.

Flowering Climbers

These are ideal for walls, trellis, canopies and archways. Flowering climbers can also be used as ground covers, providing a denser and taller effect. Some climbers like bouugainvillea can be given a vertical support, the top trimmed and grown like a shrub. When blooms emerge over the canopy it presents an interesting effect.

Although climbers can be grown in large pots (in fact bougains do very well in pots), most of them thrive better, flowering profusely, when planted in the ground. For large climbers a pit 50 centimetres deep;, for light climbers a pit of 30 centimetres depth should be dug. A handful of bone,meal (for sustained release of phosphorus) and 2-3 kilograms of cow dung manure should be added to the soil. The main stem and branches need to be tied to a support to help the climber grow erect and then trained as needed.

Planting can be done at any time of the year but monsoon is best. A tablespoon of single superphosphate can be blended into the soil a week or two before flowering sets in to encourage abundant bloom.

When planting several climbers in a row a distance of 2-5 metres (depending on the bushiness of individual (plants) between plants is recommended.

Water the climbers occasionally until fully established.

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