Viewing Dinu's Garden Diary: My home, garden and all the changes that are on
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Jaquemontia back againSince I was off work for 3 days for some house work, I suddenly thought of going to a nursery to see if some new plants had arrived for this season. My joy knew no bounds when I saw what I had been looking for all this time, ever since moving to this side of the house and a new garden area. It is the Jaquemontia violacea, my favourite and bees' favourite, being a blue lover myself. I had planned its locations beforehand in case I found it. It is a popular plant here used in many landscapes. It had been eluding me on my previous visits to plant nurseries. This time, I was lucky. I bought 4 plants at fifteen rupees each. I also bought 2 covers of rain lilies with pink colour. See photo. In another nursery on my way back, I bought a hand tool that I needed. I need to buy a hand trowel also as the old one's handle is broken. I bought two packets of seeds - of Tithonia and Zinnia. The latter is a butterfly attractor. The former has a lovely red colour. Bought also bulbs of Amaryllis and Tuber rose [Sugangharaja].
I put the Amaryllis in a pot, did the same with rain lilies and also planted two Jaquemontias near the wall where it would climb up and cover the wire fence on the wall. It's my dream again... I have to choose two more places for the two more plants. I dug up the corms that did not sprout in the Gladioli bed and planted the Tuber rose bulbs.
Before planting them, I had gone in our car driven by DD who is learning to drive with the help of Raju who is tutoring her practically so that a license would be given after a test by the authority. Now I will tell where I had gone. It was to the Pinjrapole Society here at the foot of Chamundi Hills for buying some 50 kgs of Vermicompost they sell there.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Garden progressesIn the last ten days overgrown weeds and grass were controlled. The yarden looks like someone who had a fresh haircut! It will soon be weedy what with rains. Our Dam which is the main source of water is full today at 124 feet bringing joy to one and all. Last year we had a drought-like situation due to scanty rains throughout. This has made things green everywhere. It is the growing season as can be expected and plants are growing at a brisk pace. My tomato plants and bean plants are doing good. Today, I made a second harvest of about 300 gms of beans while the tomatoes are taking time. I plan to make exclusive tomato trellises, instead of supporting it with a trellis gate. Browsed the web for some designs.
I shared some seedlings of Evening Primrose and Asclepias with my friend here. Today, I separated them from the seed tray and planted them in bigger covers to be planted later when they grow bigger. See picture.
Morning Glory Pink Star has bloomed for the first time a few days ago, seeds sent by Dee. In fact, all the seeds [flowering] were sent by Dee.
Nicotiana mutabilis is showing good signs of doing well. Asclepias tuberosa also is good, so are two surviving plants of Texas Star Hibiscus. If they do well, it would be a joy. So many first-time varieties, esp. with me. I had Nicotiana alba a few years ago from some trade. It grew well but did not seed, for some reason. Let's see this N.mutabilis how it will be.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Cosmos plants spaced and garden weededI had sowed the seeds and the cosmos seedlings were about 4 inches tall. Since had strewn them on the bed and covered with soil, they had grown randomly. Today, I spaced them equally and removing the weaker ones. See what I did in the picture. Cosmos is on the right side bed. Cilantro also is sprouting, [not in pic] beans have grown already 6 inches tall [leaves visible partly bottom of pic], tomato plants are growing steadily. I also cut up some grass and fed the stray cows on the street. After the rains, Bermuda grass grows vigorously. I make it a point to keep the growth in check and the cows enjoy them.
I had kept left over seeds from 2003-2004 in a box. I discarded many seeds as I did not need them anymore and also they were almost 9-10 years old. Even trading them was not a good idea as their viability is unsure. I wanted to try to grow 'Spanish flag'. There were many seeds in a box. Have to see if the seeds harvested in 2003 have any chance of life.
I also found as a great surprise, two volunteers of Quamoclit vine - white! I thought they have vanished. It did not grow last year! I wonder where from the seeds came up! So I saved them and transplanted near the arch.
Monday, June 10, 2013
2013 gardening season, new beginninghttp://dinusyarden.blogspot.in/2013/06/my-yard-then-and-now-...
I've put many photos in my blogpost, showing how my yard underwent changes.
Some new things are happening. Hope to focus on plants I grow unlike in earlier years as my garden space is small now.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
At last, seeds sown.Last evening, I went to the Pinjrapole Society where they look after hundreds of cattle. They are also now selling vermicompost. The price of it is just five rupees per kilogram. Bought 50 kgs. DomehomeDee, a DG-er had sent me some seeds last year. Today I sowed most of them. I had to use my seed tray for the tiny seeds of Primrose and six other varieties. 3 varieties will be sown directly once I choose the exact location. As of now still not precise. I hadn't used the seed tray in some years now as I had stopped trading or growing any new plants. And this is the first time I am buying compost!! Can you believe that? Vermicompost. It is prepared using earthworms. I planted the gladioli bulbs also. In the evening, I prepared a new bed beside the compound wall. I cut off the Papaya tree and moved a Sauropus plant to a corner. So by doing this, I have some extra ground to grow some veggies for the kitchen. May be some greens. I don't want to grow anything taller then the 7 foot high compound as they are prone to theft, esp, the fruits.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Seeds ready to be sown in bedSeeds sent by D/Dee from here [DG] and gladiolus bulbs are ready because summer has ended, a really warm one, monsoon rains are here any moment and then the bed is ready. Only thing I'm waiting for is manure. Saturday [Jun 1], I almost sowed the seeds but said to myself 'wait a moment, let me ask my friend for manure'. I called him right away, leaving my garden implements and said he would bring it for me. My friend Ramesh is a busybee, known to do many things during the day. Two days on, he informs me that he has bought 50 kgs of manure [organic] and he will bring it to me any moment. This weekend I'll be adding the manure to the garden soil provided monsoon rains does not come in the way at that time. So, I had to postpone my schedule.
I had removed the seeds from the box, but they went back! The previous week, my DW went to some stall and bought some bulbs [see them - 3 - in a cover on my desk, which is always cluttered like that] and they look like some interesting variety. Picture attached.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
New Gardening Season - 2013, begins!Summer is drawing to a close, though we are having drinking water scarcity due to a severe shortage in the dam which has touched an all-time low. I've my rainwater collection system and so the pre-monsoon showers are helping me greatly though I have to wait for the municipal supply [very restricted] for our drinking water collection from taps and that too at a lower levels as pressure is very low.
As planned, I've begun today, my 2013 gardening season. There were 3 tomato volunteer plants in the coriander bed. It had grown one foot high and I thought today was the right day to transplant them near the trellis gate. It will need support as it grows taller. I added some kitchen compost to the sandy soil that had been a month old. Gradually, I will enhance the quality of soil in the beds and I plan to buy some ready compost.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Garden bed ready for new seasonI plan to sow seeds my friend Dee has sent me. The far portion will be for the kitchen plants. Coriander and tomato mainly. The portion nearer to the camera will see some of the seeds I'll start. Hope to grow it with greater attention and care as I've only to care for this much portion of the yard. No excuses!! Earlier most of my time and energy were spent weeding and that left less time for other things. Once the papaya tree finishes its fruiting, I'll remove it from there. There are 2-3 plants already growing near my pond. I could also grow some bittergourd as there is now enough scope for me to erect a wire above and I could choose the gate you see in the picture there for a trellis for that. Wish me luck!
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Some fun in the Yarden - projectshttp://dinusyarden.blogspot.in/2013/04/bird-nesting-material... See the newer blogposts about the birds... my little projects.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Reshape of the bedsI had planted the tomato plants in some hurry as the ground was not ready fully. I had found that walking past the tomato trellis was not comfortable. So I removed one half of the iron frame and made the bed straight. I had planned this long ago. I also removed the Gladioli bulbs for rest. Sorted the colours as I could see the dried flower stalks. They will be planted again coming June, may be in a new bed. Removed the dried tomato plants also. I had to sieve the soil to remove the cement grits because the soil had been dumped outside and had been used for centering of the RCC roofing. I did not want to discard the soil. By retaining the soil, I could also raise the garden area entirely using stone curbs along the pathway.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Put up a shade netMarch 2013. Expecting a very warm summer for the next two months, I put up a shade net above the one half of the Yarden to give some protection to the Gerbera which I have planted. The Gladiolus bulbs will be removed and kept. I am in a dilemma to take them out or leave them as they are without watering it. I have already reduced watering - almost stopped - since 2 weeks because they are showing signs of drying, as it does always.
The net can be seen in the attached picture.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Forgot to post about tomatoesI bragged about this in my blog here: http://dinusyarden.blogspot.in/2013/02/tomatoes-first-real-g... But forgot to add it here at the right time. This is 'post facto'!
Read the short post in the blog.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Kalanchoe and Senecio bloomingI got this Kalanchoe identified here as K.blossfeldiana. It has a beautiful red. It is blooming now, as it does every year. But this time, it has more than 3 sets. Even one that grew as a volunteer in another hanging pot close to it, has thrown up a bloom. It is a very tiny plant I have been noticing it since more than a year but left it like that as it is not invasive or bothersome. I love the colour of this.
Also, Senecio fulgens gave a bloom this month. Now it has faded.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Senecio fulgens after a long time!Ever since I saw its bloom some years ago, I have made this a favourite. It blooms once in a year during winter, but it failed to do so in the last 3-4 years. So this time when a bud showed, I was gleeful. This succulent is in a hanging pot.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Many photos of my yard.....Since I can post only one image to this post, I thought of linking to my blogpost here. I've added many photos showing different views - all fresh pictures - of my yard. It's the winter season now and hence all are in dormant state. Not much green. Next season after June, I hope there will be plenty of green and some splash of colour also. Let's see how my new gardening activity will shape up in this small yard. See pictures in the link. Tomato plants also seen in it.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Trying out plants in new bedIn September I planted Gladiolus bulbs and it bloomed nicely. There were some bulbs that flowered two years ago but now they did not throw up flowers. The 'failed' ones were from Danmark. They bloomed for two seasons. Now all the local bulbs bloomed, plus the white variety. I forget the name right now.
I did some plumbing to bring in a tap into the yard and did it successfully. Now I can use a small pipe to water the plants in my small garden. But I recycle the water once used and collected in bucket - from mopping floors and other washing where water can be saved. Water is precious. If we recycle water to the extent possible, we may draw lesser from natural resources and hence slow down the global warming.
I am growing tomatoes for the first time. Planted just 4-5 plants so closely that I did not know they would grow nice and tall!! I gave it some support by way of an old gate-like thing I got it made from old material. They are giving nice tomatoes. Next time, I'll know how it grows. It is still doing well.
I grew Coriander also for the kitchen. Very handy herb for daily requirement.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Garden takes shape - work finally startsAfter deciding the layout, I divided the area into two parts using the gate-trellis. One half will have kitchen-usable plants [food] and the other for my ornamental plants. For the parapet along the path on the edge of the garden area, I used flat stone slabs [of Cuddapah variety] and kept the rocks underneath.
This morning, I planted Gladioli bulbs to start with. 4 days ago, I had planted some tomato seedlings that were growing in the kitchen debri pile. There is already a good papaya plant in the 'veggie half'. Fruits are raw. Hope it will turn out nice.
Picture of 'ornamental half'.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Overhead water tanks in placePlumbing work was finished. Two 500 litre capacity tanks were placed on top. They were interconnected at the bottom. I bought two instead of one 1000 litre tank, to distribute the weight and also I felt it is easier to clean the bottom of the tank myself when the need arises. For the 1000 L, we need to get down into the tank to reach the bottom. You can see the two tanks in the attached picture.
I tried many colour combinations for painting the house, to match the brick finish you see there, but none of them seem to match. Gray, antique white..... but I'll mostly choose the ivory for all places and then white for the areas beneath the canopies and window areas. This is to add light reflectivity. Finally I found the right colour to paint the bricks - called 'copper'. The house is not yet painted. The white seen is the 'primer' coat.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Painting to be done to the houseIt's been a long time since I updated. Work is going on in fits and starts. It is nearly over at this stage. Only the gates are to be fixed, portico flooring to be done and painting to be made. Otherwise, all works are 'said to be over'. I did the work myself with the rain water down spouts. I'm happy it has come off well. I really enjoyed doing it and now I can be proud of my skills! some more work is left with fixing of pipes and placing of the barrel to collect rain water. This is on the first floor. Two 500 litres water tanks were kept on top. These will get pumped water from the sump which will also get connected to the rainwater from the downspouts which covers 75% of the entire house. I planned the slopes on the terrace floors to come in two places. The other 25% will go to the drain as it is on the opposite side.
After this, I will make ready the sheds and their floors using old stone slabs - black ones, called 'Cuddapah'. Then I may build a small wall myself and fit old doors to it. It is a very small shed - 6x6x7. This is where I plan to keep my garden tools. The garden area is now set with the completion of the sheds and I have planned a straight path between the house and the garden yard. The level for this is a few inches higher than the path. I'm going to do this in the next two months, rains permitting. We will have lots of rains, or so we wish. By this time, it should have rained a lot. But so far it is a failure of monsoon in our area. Another dry month and we will face lot of other problems.
In the meantime, we shall be having separate connections for water and electricity. Meters to be fixed. Electric line already laid underground to the nearby pole. Water pipe to be laid out - which will be soon.
In the picture can be seen my pond in the tree shade, almond tree leaves, our old house, the yard path next to the old house leading to the new house in the background, now having painted with a coat of primer.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Garden yard work begun - reuse of soil addedI say 'reuse' of soil. This is actually the mud that they had dug up at the time of putting foundation stones for the new house. It was later used for 'centering' for concrete roof. They remove it after the roof cures. It does not stick to the concrete as cow dung is smeared before concrete is poured. That way, a slightly rough finish is obtained for the ceiling and the plastering will nicely stick to it.
The huge heap had formed from the 'waste debris' outside. I thought of using this earth for raising the level of my garden yard by about 5-6 inches. Today, there was one labourer who helped in this, to nearly finish off the heap. A small pile is left and that will be enough to obtain the desired level.
In the picture can be seen the view of the new house from near the scooter shed which is beside the pond. The earth work of the garden yard is seen. The stones lined up there will not be used as seen. I'll no longer need them. So they would go in to the earth as foundation for another shed that is to be built at the far end of that open space seen there. That is supposed to be a room where I can keep my garden implements. Hope things will work out the way I expect, without much pinching of the pocket as I want to reuse many things.
Picture taken today.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Yesterday's view of the houseParapet wall using clay bricks is ready today. Railings to the staircase was welded today. Part of the grill work behind the house for safety - just like an animal cage! - was done today, also the 53 feet long fence with weld mesh was erected. The fabricator had prepared the frames in his workshop and brought them here. He has done a neat job so far. The new 'shed' on the first floor, roofed with old tiles is ready. 80% of the tiles - about 290 in number were cleaned individually by me, clearing 90-100 year old dust from it before arranging them in the new location. I think it has come off well. Bought Rainwater downpipes and fittings today, also the rain collection trays [5" pipes cut lengthwise into two halves.] Work is progressing fast and nice so far.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Garden yard work begunLast week, I got the mud that the workers used for 'centring' for roofing, sieved, thus clear of unwanted debris. The soil is fine and I want to use most of it to raise the level of the yard. I plan it to be something like a slightly raised bed, all through.This would also help the compound wall base to get a fill as the other side [outside] is higher.
There will be another tiled shed in the foreground. I removed the one that existed and poorly done. I hope to get it right now, on the opposite side, detached from the house this time. I plan to lock up the garden tools in here to space some space in the house where I am now keeping. The garden area will be small and the passage too will be narrower, but fully paved with granite stones or concrete. I want to avoid soil and weeds which can be a lot of work. By doing this I can focus on work on the garden area alone. The better stones will go for the portico floor of the new house. That way, I can use them 'permanently' for a better purpose. They are solid and heavy. In future, I may be unable to move them myself as my body will get older. I'll keep the thinner and smaller ones in my own yard. This time, I have removed most of them to speed up the work on this side. Other work will be done by the labourers. The soil also was put in by a labourer. There is another heap outside and another batch of sieving will be enough for the yard. I plan to have some area allotted for the kitchen garden - even though small. This time, I will think of 'useful plants'. I will also think of growing some bulb varieties as it creates less material in its life, unlike any shrubby plant. My motto will be 'lesser the better'. It's been a lot of work in the last week. My hands have become rough due to work!
Monday, March 19, 2012
New House Coming Up - As seen on 14thViewed from the street, this is the view. the highest part is for keeping the water tank. The sump is on the diagonally opposite side which is NE direction. In 5 days there has been some progress. Parapet wall has come up. We are using clay tiles that are screen-like, with holes. Will post soon. The stair case 'side wall' [don't know what they call] and other parapet areas were 'meshed up' today for cement work. On top of that will come railings which will be pipes.
The last 4 days have been very hectic for me. I cleared up all the stones that we intended to use on the walls were deemed unusable because of its ugliness for that purpose. I now spread all of them - inlaid is the right word in fact - on the floor of the scooter shed. By doing that I cleared up lots of space that it occupied. All the flat-bottomed pieces were stacked up like a parapet neatly on one side of the shed. Lots of hard work as I did this laborious work alone.
A fortnight ago, I cleaned up nearly 240 roof tiles individually. Dust were of heritage value! Nearly 80-100 years. They were not removed since being laid and when the old building [a room] was demolished, I had stacked them up in the garden area. Now they will be reused on the first floor terrace. Some will continue to be on top of the remodeled shelter. Garden space cleared! The yard is ready to be reshaped. I intend to remove the odd sized stone slabs/pieces and use them on the side yard where they will be cemented 'permanently'. The good rectangular ones will be used for the portico floor.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
First floor has now come up, just a roomWork on the house has been hectic... lots of things to do, lots of things done, usually in fits and starts as it depends on the various work groups - tile layers, plumbers, masons, electricians. painters ... the worst is carpenters. They can keep you guessing and test your patience. The other work groups opine that they are the worst liars. They say they will come to work, but they wont come. They keep the tools at the work place [with owners] and go away! They are known to work in various such projects at different places - as is their wont. They are right to some extent as work depends on other things - masonry, painting... but it is their habit of lying which irritates the employers.
We have set no deadline to finish, but we have reached a stage when we want it to be over. We are buying all the materials ourselves. Sand supply is a major problem that has arisen since 3 months - policies and politics - it affected many and most building projects in and around Mysore. Cost factor and also easy availability. We hope things handled by the administration have streamlined.
Gardening.. just limited to watering some existing ones, a few pots and the ones in the ground. It's winter end now and things will pave way for summer months. So, things will continue like this till summer end [May]. I hope by that time, I would have also reshaped my garden a bit. There is also a plan to chop down the Almond tree fully. The falling leaves - twice a year - is creating problem because of its volume. I've had it chopped in half last year and there are few small branches now. So there was less amount of leaves. The area of my yard is now smaller and restricted. Hence the chopping down plan. I feel sad about it, but inevitable.
There is just enough $$$ to finish the house with just a room and a bath on the first floor to which we have kept separate stairs. Latest picture attached. Today they have plastered the wall on the right side.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
New House Coming UpWork is still going on.. house is nearly ready but the garden area is still in a mess as this is the only place available to store or pile up materials from our 'junk' or the building materials. I plan to reduce the garden area now as I require some space to store up junk, store some firewood for our hot water boiler, keep the garden tools in a locked shed which I plan to make where you can see some tiles in the same area in the foreground. To the left - not in picture - is the new house to which we have access through a gate but it is on a higher level to the ground in our area. We had to raise the new house level because we had to take in to account the level of the road and keep the plinth about 18-20 inches above it as is done everywhere and which is right too from many points of view. So I have to plan the storage area accordingly now in our lower level part of our old house. The tiled shelter seen in the background is also new - it is mainly to keep scooters there. I plan to enclose it with moat walls and then use the old grills that are lying around and I'll try to re-purpose them. Since the first floor project also has been taken up - just a room and a bath/toilet - it will take another 2 months before things get ready. In the meantime, I have to reshape the shelter/shed on our side. Will see how things go from hereon.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
New House Coming UpJust behind our house where we live was an old tiled dilapidated mud-wall structure which was once used as a 'breakfast/coffee preparation room'!! It was a large family with a few attendants around which demanded a constant working kitchen. So, this was used for that purpose. In my time, I was using it as a 'store house' for all the junk that had got accumulated over the decades. We disposed, actually, many of the really unwanted and unusable stuff while clearing it for demolition. The rest of the items went out and occupied my garden space. It also resulted in removing a few hibiscus plants. Had to keep them in their place. Demolition began in December and after some gap, the foundation and sump was prepared. This is how it looked yesterday. Door frames are in place and brick wall is coming up. It may take some while for this to complete. Till then, there would be less gardening and more time for the house work. It will be hectic. In the picture, the main entrance door is seen in the foreground. The door faces north, towards our old house.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
New birdbath finishing touches today24 hours ago I finished the basic shape. Today, I took up doing adding the shape of the brim. Mixed up some cement and white cement in equal proportions and applied the paste-soft mix around the brim and shaped using the index finger and later the mason's trovel and some brushing with liquid cement was necessary to even out certain areas and fill the tiny pits that sand particles had made. I wanted it to be a perfect circle, but did not achieve it. The depth at the centre is just one inch when the water is full. I hope the birds will love the bath with this depth. I have kept the base in water today and in the evening, I filled the bath with water as it was dry by then. Curing will take place. I can move it out any time and have to choose the right place for this second bird bath. One already is in place, a rectangular stone bath which the bulbuls and other birds have made it their own!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
New cement birdbath project todayI always wanted to have a circular birdbath with a shallow pan. After browsing the net for some ideas, I set about making one today. I made a circular ring from a stiff and thick wire and then used a mesh in the middle to hold the cement and add strength to the object. It is still laying upside down because that is how it is made. I have to wait for a day or two to see how the pan has come. I used a lamp shade that suited my idea to shape the mold in sand. It shape was just what I was looking for.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Disposing of old soil and manureNow that there is not much requirement for leaf manure which I was making by accumulating a load of leaves from the Almond tree, due to less plants since last year, today I took most of the lot that was unused for the last 2 years out to be disposed. That way, I have some space for making what I require only and not more. More will be a problem henceforth - both keeping or disposing. I also cut down the huge almond tree down to half as it sheds leaves twice a year and it amounts to a very huge pile.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Another new house projectThere was another portion of our premise where an old dilapidated building was. We had left it untouched when we got all the renovation done two years ago. In this portion, after demolishing the tiled structure, we are building a new house in the full area available which is 30'x50'. Digging work to lay foundation stones are in progress. The stones are seen on the road in the background. Also a lot of trash people throw in that spot can be seen. I'll be seriously complaining to the municipality to stop this trash throwing at that spot. This is a spot since 7-8 years. It is such a poor culture the educated (so called) families exhibit what with their arrogance because of their richness. That attitude is nauseating.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Garden still stays 'hidden'Since work is yet to begin, all the wood and other junk-like and real junk items stay where it was dumped in a hurry.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Another new project - a house coming upAs part of our plot there is another old tile-roofed structure containing a small hall that served as a kitchen and then a wash room plus a lumbar room and a passage. The size of this area including some garden space measured 30x50ft. Now it is time to bring down the dilapidated structure, which is actually a hundred years old. When we moved over to this part of the house following a family partition, this portion served as a wonderful storage area for all my beautiful junk that I collected (means 'not thrown') over many years of painstaking effort. Yet again, I'm in a situation where I can't keep my junk in nor can I dispose them off! Mostly I'll draw a line and decide on the latter and that will be soon. Many wooden pieces are accumulated and when our carpenter begins his woodworking for doors and windows for the new project, I'll decide the ones to use, or burn it up for our hot water boiler. That would mean a lot of junk cleared! There are many vintage things like this and they too will be leaving me. They have not been in use anyway and I've to do what others have done too.
Here is all the junk engulfing my garden space as of today. Hundreds of roof tiles, much of it I want to use it for some 'shelter project'. These 100-year old tiles are of such a quality that we don't think of these days.... confidently vouched by the workers who removed them today. I hope to travel in my life lighter as my body grows older.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Busy, busyBusy doing what? Not much gardening, but garden watching, cleaning, photography, blogging, resuming my cricket after recovering from a bad shoulder injury.....
Monday, April 6, 2009
Before and after shot, garden view - oldThe picture on the left was taken on 9th April 2007. The other one was taken today, almost 2 years later. The obvious changes that have taken place are visible and needs no explanation. It is a pathetic sight, but then changes were inevitable. That was the area which I maintained with great love and pain and made it green. I love this sight from the balcony. Not anymore. But we have to move forward.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Lotus growing quickly, many leaves nowThis is today's photo. A collage of three. The black half barrel has 'unknown', the green one has 'light pink parent' and in the pond, the 'white parent'. Observe the many leaves that have grown now. They seem to be doing well.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Hemerocallis fulva bloomsJasmine Bugli [jassy] sent me a bulb about 2 years back. It bloomed last year and it is blooming today. I'm happy about it. The bulb seems to be doing well. There are 9 more buds waiting to show up.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Lotus growing quicklyFrom smaller containers the seedlings, now nearly a 8-12 inches long, were moved in to smaller buckets. Soon, they have to be put in sand. 4 out of 5 seeds have sprouted and seem to be growing fast.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Lotus seed startedAfter I bought those hibiscus and dahlias, the next day too I bought three more varieties in another nursery by which I passed by and could not help stopping over. Raw grafts - hope they survive. The common white will, surely, but the other two. I put up shade nets to protect from the direct sun as they need a cooler light. Have to water them carefully and without fail.
A kind friend had sent me 3 varieties of Lotus seeds some months back but they were still in their labeled envelopes. After some study - this is the first time I'm starting lotus seed and hence needed basic information - put those seeds in 3 labeled bottles and kept them in the sun with water being changed frequently. On the 3rd day, tiny leaves sprang out. Today they are a couple of inches long. Now I've to get ready with a proper container and gravel/coarse sand that needs to be the base for their roots to grow, support and get nutrition (?). Two varieties are white parent and light pink parent and the other was labeled 'unknown'. It is a cross and so the colour cannot be predicted. So from now, there will be a wait with proper care and attention, a long wait for 2-3 years for them to give flowers. I'll be putting the plants in my pond though I've a small half drum ready.
Monday, February 2, 2009
New arrivals to fill spotsI was passing by a new nursery Friday last. It boasted of 150 varieties of hibiscus! They had a chart! In Mysore, this is something to sit up and take notice. There were a few in bloom and I chose to buy a couple of them that caught the eye. I needed 3 hibiscus plants to fill the holes ready for them and I got two. Also, two Dahlias caught the eye and they were soon making their way into my garden. Sunday again, we went to another nursery and bought two more, this time less expensive. I think some important areas are now full. Hope they grow nicely to provide endless joy to the eye.
Monday, February 2, 2009
How quickly the Almond tree sheds leavesThis lovely Indian Almond tree provides excellent shade to the crows that rest on its branches in the hot afternoons. Provides shade, work and manure to me as well. I took a pic of it from above to show the pond and I noticed the leaves were mostly green. The next 2-3 days.... I had my broom out. The leaves had begun to turn red almost overnight and they were all over the ground by 30th. Today, 75% of the leaves are down, many large leaves as big as to cover two of my faces up had fallen into the pond as well. The net caught many too. I'll dump all the leaves in a corner and press it up with my feet so that it will be useful for future purpose. Many leaves were used to mulch up some beds. It will take about 10 days for all the leaves to fall off for summer and I think this is the signal this tree gives for an early onset of summer. Usually the leaves come down by end of February or early March, then again in September or before. It may be August this time, going by the pattern. We too are beginning to feel the heat, though night temperatures are cooler still and expected to rise gradually. Mysore's temperature varies between 38C to 24C during summer and about winter 28C to 12C. That is the general range throughout the year. Salubrious climate!!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Aechmea, billbergia, find right placeThere was one rectangular area with a raised bed having rounded kerb stones. It was vacant. There was a dilemma whether to plant the bulbs here. Since it has shade from the three trees above it, I thought of choosing a sunnier place for the bulbs and planted them. Now the only thing left was a lot of Aechmea, billbergia pyramidalis and a couple of an unidentified plants of similar group. This was the right place for them. I made a slightly slopy bed with the taller leaves at the highest point. There is still a lot of space in the bed for other plants to be accommodated. I'll fill it up later with what, I don't know yet. This is a reasonably good background for the pond. Aechmea gamosepala, billbergia both flowered beautifully in recent months. So I'll have to wait till next season for them to bloom again. Presently, I'm satisfied that they found a place where they can stay for a long time, undisturbed.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Bulbs plantedAll bulbs of rain lilies, a couple of Hymenocallis, etc., had been removed more than a month ago. Now after planning, decided to plant them along the paved path [red circled area in this picture]. I've two varieties of white rain lilies, one that lasts just a day and a more sturdier lasting for two days. One set is pink, another is yellow. I chose to plant the Hymenocallis etc. in another area. One set of Hymenocallis has been put in a tire planter because I did not want to dig that area - the water line goes about 6" underneath.
All the soil heaps were cleaned up using a sieve and waste dumped out. Garden area is looking neater now, albeit dry. The season is in fact dry. It will remain so for the next 3-4 months which is summer time.
A small area was also cleaned and dug up for planting a few vegetables. That's right below the hibiscus shrub.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Bed expansion... gerberas get inNow the next turn was Gerberas. I have some single yellow, pink and red. Just ordinary ones. Now I thought that the right place for them is near the entrance where I had made a new raised bed. I thought I would expand it to match the line of that stone trough. I this simple thing last evening. I brought in some leaf manure [I'd them in a pit] and added it to the ordinary soil. Let's see how it does... it should get more light here and probably better blooms.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
More work... where else...in the garden!After much dilly-dallying about what to do with the many rocks that were lying around, some of them polished one that I was using near my pond, I finally hit upon the only preferred area to pile them up into a rock-garden-like appearance. This time round, I have not used the rocks on the perimeter brim of the pond, but put granite stone slabs that are easier to remove and handle if need be [I hope I never get the chance to remove for at least two years due to the liner problem that may arise]. What I did now was to remove two hibiscus plants near the pond that were not doing well due to shade there. The white one was too old to take transplantation and the pink one will be replanted in a different location. I'll buy the white soon. They were too close together too. I used that space for this rock arrangement. I'm happy the way it came off. I also used three old waste sanitary pipes [not PVC, but concrete type] as stands for 3 pots all around which are covered by these rocks.
I also tidied up the garden area even more by organizing more little slabs and tiles that were piled up near the wall. Looks neater now. The Plumeria branches that were cut about 3 months back but still alive, were taken care of. I mean just one of them. The biggest of the lot was planted in a pit finally, after much thought. Now was the time for it since all the other space was allotted properly for my other plants. I'm still keeping the smaller branches as they are, but since I had kept them on soil, just like that, I noticed some rooting taking place, which is a good sign, taking care of my neglect!
Also put a separate tap connection for the pipe to water my plants.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Stepping stone mosaic project - completeI had borrowed less than half a bag of cement from the 'works manager' once all the work got over. This came in handy now and there was just enough to make 7 slabs with different designs. I also had a small cart load of sand as left over from the remodeling works. After curing the slabs, it was time to place them. Dug out holes [oh, these gravel stones my great grandfather has probably trod on -- they are in thousands!!]. Every time I dig with the 'crowbar', I hear the noise of a 'treasure' strike! I then placed them in the holes and filled up soil around so that it is in level with the ground and not higher which could trip this accident-prone gardener over! This is where I used them. Due to those 'treasures' it took a lot of time to inlay them!
Tuesday, December 30, 2009
Stepping stone mosaic projectYesterday, I was browsing the Trash to Treasure forum and I saw a mosaic art there. I got inspired and thought of doing the pending job immediately, because I got the idea in a flash! I thought I'd use the lovely English floor tiles from our office [once a palace] building. Those tiles were being thrown away and I collected a few for such odd things. Now it is coming in handy. Those tiles I must say decorated the floors of the princess' palace in beautiful patterns. Now I have choice of my own pattern with those pieces. I made three in the morning and one in the evening. Let's see where it will be placed. I may dig the soil and inlay it at a suitable place.
Monday, December 29, 2009
Pond brim raised a few inches moreAs was planned yesterday, it was executed satisfactorily today. I added more flat Kadapa [also Cuddapah] stones for walking on, around the perimeter. They are now at least an inch below the stones on the brim. So that will ensure rainwater that flows from outside the pond area will not enter the pond and make it muddy. I also adjusted the ground levels and slopes to keep rainwater at bay. Only the rains will prove my work. Dirt is too loose here and can fly around in the wind. By raising the brim level, I also get a couple of more inches of depth. It now raises from 20" to about 22-23". That should be good enough I guess.
I return on 30th Dec. to add the picture. Notice the water getting 'dirtier'. You wont see much change in this picture except the darker water. If you observe keenly, you may see those paving kadapa stones and a stepping stone project I'm making now, near the pond.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Some more work on the frontThe old stone trough was slightly moved parallel to the wall, some new plants added on a raised bed kerbed by some stones. I'll keep mostly cacti and other plants that can take full afternoon sun here. This is the view seen from our front door.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The pond looks like thisAfternoon, the pond looked like this from the first floor window. But by evening the look had changed! I had decided that the brim level of the pond needed to be raised because it was still lower than the surrounding ground level and I foresaw some troubles that might occur from heavy rains -mud could rush in to the pond with water. So I removed those stones and put some more soil around the perimeter to about 2 more inches high below the liner. So when I keep back those stones, they will be higher than the ground level which is preferred by most ponders. I remember the suggestion of my friend as well as advices in threads. More work again!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Pond area getting readyLast 4-5 days, I've been working on making some arrangements around the pond. I also put in the two water lily [blue] plants down into the bottom of the pond using some round heavy stones to keep them down. I've put them on their roots. Around the perimeter of the pond, I chose to keep old grinding mill stones. Earlier I'd used them either as stepping stones or sitting benches. Now they have found a new found purpose. I'd kept one or two on the old pond, but the odd shaped rocks I had placed then did not highlight the same.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Yard getting cleared upThe weekend, work was hectic.. all my own making of course! Plenty to tidy up, remove long-standing clutter from hurried removal from their original location to pave way for repair or painting. Now they all went to other places. For us gardeners, there is no such thing as a permanent place, is there? Things and plants have legs!! LOL. They just move around once in a while. The arch found its place today and I've installed it near the pond. There is one already kept over the sitting bench near the compound wall [this is my friend's and that will be taken away by her on any day]. The one I installed today was a gift from her to me [it is bigger, and she cannot think if keeping it]. She gave/kept her arches [one more round arch is kept for Jasmine and that will also be taken by her] because she now lives in an apartment. It was a problem for her when her family left an independent house due to her family situation. Will post a picture soon. Haven't touched the camera for the last two days! Muddy hands!
Here I return to add the picture.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Before and after shotI had taken a shot quite oblivious to the fact that in the near future, a pond will replace the coconut tree stump here. I took another shot later on. Observe the many things moving around like we gardeners do! No thing stays put for a year on the trot, does it? LOL. This collage is just for comparison. Dates are put on the pictures.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Remodelling work finished...So finally, the work is over. The worker-team which had left their paraphernalia took them back. It has been a long wait for this day, which was actually 16th. A full 8 months. The new gates were positioned and just that portion of the compound and the gate itself needs painting. This will be completed once the cement cures off.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
How my pond came aboutI've a thread here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/913351/ showing how it all came about. Here is a collage of pictures showing the progress and finish [there is no finish, in fact!!]. The pictures could not be arranged in order while creating that collage in Picasa3. So I've numbered it. I tried the reshuffle button, but it chose randomly and manual method has no scope.
Monday, December 8, 2008
House painting finishedNovember was a bit dull with gardening activity, compounded by my sickness on my return from our tour [briefed in my other tab]. Also dull was remodeling work. By mid November, painting was begun and it took about 20 days to complete the entire outside and most of inside, including the many doors and windows. As always, the appearance brightens up with new coat of paint. Light blue was chosen and the choice was my DD and approved by our engineer.
Here is a 'before shot' added in this collage.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Pond hole getting readySimultaneously as the painting got along, the wood/tree-cutter was engaged to cut the roots and stump of a coconut tree where I have chosen to make the pond. He also helped out in digging most of the hole, but stays incomplete with the tree's tough-to-remove fibrous roots still uncut. It has been really tough work. I tried my hand last weekend when he did not turn up and I experienced how tough it is to remove them cleanly. He had left his axe behind and is expected any day to complete the 'agreed job'. There have been some roots from nearby trees that could pose danger to the liner as time wears on. Precautions have to be taken. There has been lot of excavated soil and last weekend, I moved a part of of the heap over to fill a slope that was waiting for a fill! Tough work again, as I had to carry tens of loads with a round-bottom tray. Good exercise!
Here is the pond hole. I'll shape it differently later on.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Garden arches go into placeWell, an old schoolmate of mine when she moved into an apartment, surrendering an independent house where she had a garden, did not know what to do with the 3 iron arches she had with her. So she gave them to me for keep-sake. She wants only two of those back [when she thinks of moving to a house - unlikely - like before] and one bigger arch is for myself. I had thought of giving them back to her because I was not knowing how much space and place in my new gardening area I'd get for these things. But yesterday, I found proper places for the two of them [one bigger arch still stands in the temporary spot]. Here in the collage you can see both of them. The one with the round top will support my favourite Jasmine plant. The other one still waits over a stone bench, in front of which my pond will come. I think they are the right places for them.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Garden getting into shape, pond area decidedThe back so far has held up the strain of Sunday and much beyond, though a bit stiff, the gait a bit painful. This is not a new feeling to me. I'm used to this. But I guess all the pain is worth taking - painstaking!
Here is a collage showing four pictures.
Top left: Shows the garden yard on the west side, paved with stone slabs, plants rearranged.
Top right: Shows entry through the gate, again, stone-paved path - a few more will be added, a new gate will come in in a few weeks.
Bottom right: Shot through the upstairs window. Gives some idea about the arrangement of plants along the wall as of today. I've thought of adding more plants between the hibiscuses in such a way that I can reach by hand the entire bed from both the sides - which we must, be it for weeding, cleaning or even taking close-up shots. In my opinion, the beds should be within easy reach.
Bottom left: The spot where I intend to dig for the pond. It will be some shape where the blue plastic piece is lying. I thought of a smaller pond near the front entrance, but have now thought of this place to be more suitable and will be bigger. :) My daughter is happy about it too.
Today there was sunshine drying up the wet soil that I cleaned up yesterday. This morning, I cleaned even more removing stones from the soil and making it look cleaner and flatter.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Rainwater harvested into the sumpIt rained profusely the last 3-4 days. Luckily for me, I had the rainwater harvesting system ready for this. I had connected the filter system to the downspout but had not connected it to the main water sump because I wanted to see how clear the output water would be since the filtering contents were new. I allowed quite a bit of rain to pass through it and out into the open, but not before collecting it in a vessel to see how clear it was. It was indeed clear without sediments. I'll post an article on this method of filter soon. After getting convinced, I connected it to the sump and quite a few gallons got filled up. What a sight! Water filling the sump for free!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Garden work in progressSunday is supposed to be a rest day... but it was not to be for me today. Just like a daily wage person, I worked >8 hours including an hour of OT [LOL] to transplant many of the plants I had brought in from my erstwhile garden on the other half of the property that now does not belong to me. My main intention and plan is to plant hibiscuses in approximately 5 feet apart along the compound wall and fill the gaps in between them with my ornamental plants. Hibiscuses will be more lasting but I can change the others. That way I can have a fixed system [hibiscus] and also a flexible system [others]. I do not want to crowd too much, but I doubt if I can achieve that, going by my own reputation for loving many plants at a time! LOL. I intend to put the ones that ask for less water in one group. That way there will not be much confusion even if I tell others to water the garden while I'm away. But I want to make the area greeeeen!
This collage shows one small section of the billbergias and the likes and also the yard getting into shape. You may not notice much from the pictures, but a lot of work has gone into it. I'll take a shot from above and show later.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Yard paved using available stone slabsAnother dream of mine was to have such a pavement in my yard. All these stone slabs were in the premise itself, some removed from areas that were no longer in use once we moved to the other half. So I brought them all here. The main intention is to have a flat pathway for my mother to walk around with ease as well as for me to push our scooters into the parking shed with ease as well. The soil would get soggy in the wet season and thus becomes slippery. This will avoid all these plus the growth of unwanted week. I'd like to replant the bermuda grass I removed from there in the gaps. It should grow nicely and closely to hold soil well. That means, less maintenance of the area, hopefully. Labour was expensive no doubt, but I feel it is worth in the long run. Now I can plan the layout for my plants. Intermittent rains firmed up the soil in the gaps nicely. The collage of 6 pictures shows how the progress came about. The first picture was taken 8 years back. At its peak, there was the 'green tunnel'. The shrubs were chopped down to make way for my new eden, which I wish to line mainly with hibiscuses.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Rainwater harvestingEven before I heard of this concept, I always had an idea to store rainwater for future use. I could not do it in my home where I grew up for 40 years. When I shifted to our ancestral home, I found a large gateway of creativity in front of me. I could put many of such dreams into reality. This is the latest work. I'll soon divert the clear water into the main sump once all the filtering materials settle nicely in the barrel. I put that system just last week and a few good rains will do to put them into real play. Presently, the filtered water is let out in an attempt to clean the lighter particles that are in the sand, sponge and charcoal I've put in. A more detailed write-up on this is on the cards. I just want to see it functioning well, first.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Getting greener, in temporary bedsShifting the pots, about 40-50 in my rough estimate, has been done.. removing what all shrubs and plants that could be was done, but my plumerias stay there - looks too hard for me. I'll satisfy myself with a few cuttings if not the roots and stems of my two plumerias. Have to allot places for those plants now and till such time, they will be maintained in temporary beds. Had to do that in such a great hurry because the dividing compound wall will come up this week and so movement to the other half of the premises will get difficult. Here is a shot taken two days back.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The house looks like this now, during renovationThis was taken a couple of weeks ago. Some changes are seen on the front. Notice on the left edge, the basement ready for the compound wall that divides the areas. Front portion almost ready. A corrugated shelter will come up on the front. I'll place my rainwater filter below the window and divert the water into the sump there.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Here is my new gardening area - my sideyardSideyard... that will be my main garden area though the front left has a large area. I've 3 trees there and so it is not favourable to have a garden there due to the shade and all the leaves falling down. Those stone slabs you see there will be paved.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Shifting my plants into my new garden from "Dinu's Eden"Though I brought most of the potted plants earlier, today, I begun work on shifting all my plants into my new yard and have placed them in a temporary bed till I decide on where to plant what. The layout has to take shape. Will be done once I take stock of what all ends up here. Brought in Gerberas, Gladioli and lemon grass to begin with. I've now borrowed a fork from my friend this evening and using that, I'll remove more plants on the morrow. I've taken a week's off from office to do these as well as supervise the renovation work that is still on inside the house.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Things change on the home front.....Most families have to pass through a situation where a family partition - meaning division of ancestral property - takes place at one time or other and ours was no exception. The issue could be as delicate as it is painful given the sensitivity of the situations in families here. But we get to a stage when it becomes inevitable. Ours was not a smooth one either. A cousin wanted our grandfather's share and we had to give one to her as it was the best possible option [out-of-court] in the circumstance. Then my brother wanted his share of the remaining property. So it became inevitable to draw a dividing line in our property where I am staying. I chose the half where we had to create basic amenities which originally exist in the half I decided to quit. Decision, indecision, arguments, disagreements, settlements, consulting elders and wise people... there was so much tension before everything got to a stage. That was in March 2008. I chose to live in the same property because I did not want to surrender this lovely place which my great grandfather built from his hard earned savings and my grandfather did his best to retain it despite being rented out for 47 years till I thought it was time to live here and got it vacated in 1997. I created my garden which I called "Dinu's Eden"... [more of this in an article I wrote here on DG]. Now it is time to create another Eden - it will be smaller but with my body getting older and time at a premium, I think this will suffice. Here is the picture of our house freshly painted in 1998 and that was the time when I moved in.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sowing old and new seedsJune end I sowed a few old seeds and a few new seeds that I got from trades. Many old ones as I would have expected, did not show up. Some of the new ones did come up, esp. the one named large yellow hibiscus. Two flowers bloomed. One pod is already forming. The other did not take the transplantation well. The top of the plant dried, giving two newer branches below it. The plant is less then 10 inches high.
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Start of the seasonFebruary to May is the summer season here in our part of south India. So, no seed-sowing takes place during these months. Gardeners wait for May to end and June to begin..... and that signals the beginning of the monsoon. We are dependent on the monsoon. Agriculture is the main importat activity of our country. Our water resources too depend on monsoon season. A good monsoon means no water problems and a good crop.
Hectic activity in the garden is between June and October. That is when the city is so colourful with flowers and the greenery [sadly, concrete jungle is developing faster than the greenery -- and they call it development].
As for me, I have sowed seeds in the last week of June. Seeds that I got from many trades from generous friends here on DG. From my little experience, some varieties germinate well and do well, but others that cannot adopt to our plains of our tropics do not sprout at all. That makes me sad. There is also a lesson for me here. I use my own starting mix of sand and earth, so as to make it drain out water that is excess. It makes it easier for me to remove the seedlings from the seed tray.
Have sowed some 25 varieties last week. Some more are pending. Will carry it out this weekend.