Finally work on the terrace in our new flat is finished and planting can begin. A great garden set-up firm, Zensai Gardens, did the ‘hardscapes’ for us: the pergola, deck, raised bed and tiled floor. I wanted the deck to be higher but that was turning out very expensive because of the amount of cement and work involved.
Altogether, Zensia turned out to be a bit expensive, although rightly so since their work is high quality.
But to keep the overall cost down, I’ve asked another outfit, My Dream Garden, for help with the planting. I plan to grow a lot of vegetables, which My Dream Garden will set up for me. I’m also going to try growing fruit, starting with mandarin oranges, lemon and and lime. I already have the last two; planning to get the orange from a nursery in Lalbagh.
The lime flowered this summer but didn’t set fruit, perhaps due to lack of sun. The lemon is three years old but hasn’t yet flowered. I may have to wait a few more years for it to flower since it was planted from seed.
Although many of the flowers in the post below have featured in other blog posts, there are a few new arrivals. Let me start with those.
My daughter got me a lovely impatiens from a nursery in Conoor. It’s a pleasing shade of pink, which the photo doesn’t do justice to.
Another gift she got me from the same nursery is this red begonia.
A senecio has produced a light red flower. The contrast with the blue leaves of the senecio is so pretty. I’m hoping there’ll be a bigger display.
The bramakamal or night blooming cereus is full of buds. Sadly, these big beautiful flowers with a heavenly scent bloom after dark and last just one night. Nature at its most tantalising here.
The sunset bells, penta and calendula keep up their sturdy flowering, giving colour to the garden everyday.
Two creepers growing side by side in the neighbour’s garden, rangoon creeper and thunbergia, naturally vied for space. The rangoon creeper lost out at first. I’ve already written about the thunbergia invading our garden, choking and almost destroying our palms, and generally playing havoc. On the neighbour’s side, it had overcome the rangoon creeper.
About 80 per cent of the thunbegia’s growth was on our side of the wall. When I had it removed, the neighbour’s cut down what was left of the thunbergia in their garden. This gave the rangoon creeper a new lease of life.
Subsequently, the thunbergia grew back and, being a fast grower, spread rapidly. But this time the rangoon creeper held its own, having taken advantage of the dormant period of the thunbergia. It is now thriving in its corner and putting out a good showing of flowers. Quite a bit on of the creeper is on our side of the wall and is very welcome.
Meanwhile, after being restricted, the thunbergia is starting to flower in drupes, which is its real beauty. Earlier, due to rampant foliage growth, the flowers appeared in ones and far apart. Now it’s possible to enjoy the thunbergia, instead of resenting its rapacity.
I seem to have come up with a tongue-twister in this post’s title.
Gardeners know only too well that plants have minds of their own. They will do their own thing regardless of your hopes and aspirations. In my garden, some plants appear wherever they want to, while others become dormant and reappear at will. This leads to some interesting combinations.
A sunset bells planted in a pot previously occupied by an oxalis was joined by the re-emerging oxalis. The result is seriously clashing colours. But because this is nature, it doesn’t look hideous. I’m content to let them grow together.
In another corner of the garden, a bleeding heart vine seemed to have died but resurrected itself this year. It’s growing horizontally. Later I will train it up the ugly pipe it was meant to cover. Right now I’m enjoying the pattern in which the blooms are appearing. Next to the vine, a tomato plant has sprouted. To the right, a sunset bells has appeared and behind is a self-seeding penta.
I got rid of most of my tomato plants because they were etiolated and full of leaf-miner. This self-seeding tomato is also affected by leaf-miner. But my principle is that self-seeding plants deserve to survive. I will pick off the affected leaves and see what becomes of this plant.
A small bit of fittonia planted in a corner has covered the entire ground on that side of the garden. Now it’s invading the lawn. The combination of grass and fittonia looks quite good. So I’m going to let the fittonia spread as it likes.
Some time ago I had written about my thriving episcea plant that had died, seemingly overnight, due to over-watering.I had salvaged what bits I could and planted them in separate pots. But the transplanted shoots all died. I thought that was the end of the story.
Then recently I found shoots emerging in pots that now had other plants in them. I love it when serendipitous things like this happen and always give such plants extra care. Their perseverance needs to be rewarded.
Separately, a sunset bells that had died out began to regrow, as sunset bells do. But the emerging plant looked so scruffy for such a long time that I thought of chucking it out. Just as well that I never got round to it. This summer it has taken off and is growing and flowering with all its might. This encourages me to believe that the new episcia, which look as scruffy as this sunset bells did at first, will grow as healthy and prolific.
A jasmine creeper that Arun had planted, the only thing he’s added to the garden on his own, has grown for years without producing a single flower. Since it gets about 3 hours of sunlight, mainly in the summer, I thought it was never going to flower. But for Arun’s sake I let it keep growing. He hates it when a plant is removed or pruned, so we do it mainly behind his back.
This year I was looking at the creeper and pondering getting rid of it. Then, just as if it had read my mind, it flowered. This has happened with several other plants, to the extent that I’m wondering whether plants can actually read your mind.
A dark pink variety of impatiens grows all over Bangalore like a week. Any number of plants appear in our garden and I keep uprooting and throwing them away.
But one plant began to grow in a crack in the wall in our garden. I ignored it because it was too high to reach without a ladder and because I thought it wouldn’t survive in that inhopsitable spot. It not only did, it turned out to be a different rather nicer colour than the usual dark pink; it looks pink in the picture but actually is closer to red. The plant continues to thrive in its spot on the wall. I’m going to get it down and take cuttings to propagate it. This impatiens deserves to live on.