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My garden – My rooted friends. Krishnaja A.P. 27th June 2009.

When I first came to Bombay in November 1973, my first impressions were disappointing. In those
days, the city was like a concrete jungle. Once the train crossed Kalyan and the grey concrete buildings
with clothes hung out for drying started appearing, it was an eye sore. Coming from lush green Calicut,
Kerala only intensified the feeling. Even at Podanur at our place, we had lovely front and back garden
with all possible flowering plants and fruit trees.
The first thing I did after reaching my uncle’s house at Sion was cry. Neither my uncle, nor my brother
who brought me here could figure out why I cried. They thought it was sheer homesickness. I felt
suffocated, without seeing any green vegetation around. I yearned for the green of Kerala. As the years
passed by, I started my own garden, in whatever space available, wherever possible and created my
own oasis in the midst of concrete. It is another matter, now I love this vibrant city. I would rather live
here than anywhere else.
Wherever I lived, I maintained a balcony garden with my pots and plants, and created greenery around
however small it may be. Greenery around was always soothing and comforting. When we moved to
our new home in 1994, what attracted me most was I could keep plants around almost all windows,
apart from balcony. For quiet a long time our home was easy to locate, it was the green house of the
building. For more than ten years I had a lush green garden all around in the window sills and balcony,
at times with vibrant hues of petunias, roses, moss roses, asters, poinsettias, begonias, lillys, hibiscus,
bougenvillas, jasmines, crotons, basil and the common indoor plants.

City dwellers like me, who live in flats often do not have a chance to get in touch with Mother Nature.
Maintaining a balcony or window garden is one way of getting in touch with nature. Much of the
scenic beauty of nature in cities has been replaced by densely populated areas that stretch for miles and
miles. This concrete jungle virtually affects all of us, leaving us with a yearning at times for a closer
connection with nature. Since we spend quite a lot of time indoors, indoor plants are an ideal way to
get connected to nature, creating attractive and peaceful settings, enhancing our sense of well being.

Maintaining indoor plants, window, balcony gardens can also be a satisfying hobby. They help purify
the air in our homes. Indoor plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, also trap and absorb many
pollutants. Many of these chemical compounds are released into the air through a process called “off-
gassing.” They are released from everyday items present in our homes and offices. Our homes can be a
minefield of chemical hazards. Carpets, furniture, insulation, paint, and even fireplaces can emit
hazardous gases. The airborne chemical cocktail inside our home often includes: benzene - used in
oils, paints, plastic, rubber, trichloroethylene (TCE) - paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives,
formaldehyde - foam, clothing, particle board, carpets etc. All of these have been shown to be potent
environmental pollutants and likely carcinogens in humans. Our homes are no more an oasis from the
toxic modern environment. In fact our homes can have very poor air quality.

Plants around us ensure numerous benefits, making our lives better. They act as filters that absorb
noise, relax the nervous system. The Royal College of Agriculture, United Kingdom, had conducted an
experiment to monitor the behavior of children in the presence of plants. The restlessness and other
behavioral symptoms among children in rooms having plants reduced by 70%. Plants definitely have a
calming effect and sooth the mind.

When you take a walk through the woods, the scent of forest air is invigorating. The trees and
plants of are constantly circulating oxygen and carbon dioxide, unlike in the midst of a concrete jungle
where the air we breathe can get somewhat stale or downright poisonous.

Keeping indoor plants not only adds a nice green touch to our homes; some indoor plant species have
proven to be effective filters for the above mentioned pollutants and carbon monoxide, an element of
car exhaust. I came across a few very interesting studies by NASA carried out in the late 80's and early
90's that included information on the plants NASA found useful as indoor air filters to combat these
chemicals. A successful indoor gardener has to understand the interior environment that affects plant
growth as well as the difference between indoor and outdoor plants.

A home that's full of green plants greets you with a positive feeling. The air is alive and clean,
crackling with positive energy. The plants seem to be giving off not only oxygen but also good
vibrations. Plant-filled homes feel different not only because of what the plants are giving off, but
because of what they are taking in. Many houseplants literally consume the chemical pollutants
pervading modern homes that may be responsible for health problems from sore throats to cancer. For
less than the price of a doctor visit for a sore throat, houseplants can clean the air in your home and
make it safer to breathe. If you're not ready for the change you can begin on a smaller scale by
selecting plants that are known to remove the most worrisome pollutants.
Petunias – the beauties. Vibrant colors of Petunias are virtually irresistible to the eye.

I love Petunias. Petunias in full bloom are a sight to behold. Prolific bloomers, you can find them in
all shades imaginable, may be, except black. It produces medium, trumpet-shaped flowers, which
come in all hues, you name it: white, yellow, bright pink, purple, mauve and dazzling blues. They scent
the air with a mild lovely fragrance. One of the most popular bedding flowers, most varieties bloom
throughout the summer. Though believed to have originated in South America, their name came from
French.

Petunia, an
annual herbaceous plant, grows in, beds, as borders, pots, boxes and hanging baskets. Best of all,
they're amazingly easy to grow, both in the garden and in containers. The leaves are either round or
oval, and of pale to mild green color. The branching foliage is hairy and somewhat sticky. Propagation
is achieved through cuttings and seedling. It belongs to the family Solanaceae. Botanically speaking,
tobacco, tomato, potato, and petunia are all in the family Solanaceae. Most petunias are diploid with 14
chromosomes and are infertile with other petunia species. Petunias are versatile annuals. Being
annuals, they last just one year.

I love hanging baskets! Particularly ones overflowing with petunias.

The first step toward creating a lush, beautiful hanging basket is in choosing your plants. Long-trailing
plants such as trailing petunias require only top planting. Purchasing healthy plants is essential. I look
for plants with several stems, since they will produce prolific growth.

The most important requirement for growing petunias successfully is a location with plenty of light.
Petunias need at least five or six hours of good sunlight; they'll grow even better when located in full
sun all day. The more shade they receive, the fewer flowers they'll produce. Whenever feasible, it's a
good idea to remove faded flowers, including the portion below each flower where seeds will develop.
This practice, called "deadheading," encourages blooming by preventing seed maturation. It's a must
for flowering annuals in containers. Deadheading not only helps prolong blooming, it also keeps plants
looking fresh, healthy and well groomed. Petunias grow well in most soils. Best growth occurs in well-
drained, light soil of medium fertility.

Petunias do like to be dried out in between watering. It depends on how much sun or shade the basket
gets. Water it and then the next day if the soil is still moist, don't water it again, wait another day. Too
much water will cause petunia foliage to turn yellow.
Petunias are fairly small, compact and upright. They're the original plant. The types which trail have
been bred more recently are the Surfinias / Wave Petunias. They're the ones you want for your hanging
baskets.

Surfinias are a Japanese invention. Back in the mid-1990s two Japanese companies - Suntory and Kirin
(former better known for whiskey and the latter for beer) developed a variety of trailing petunia.
Suntory's known as surfinia was propagated from cuttings, while Kirin's known as wave petunia was
propagated from seed. They became immensely popular, to the detriment of the upright varieties.

Given just one undeniable requirement, plenty of sunshine, petunias are adaptable plants in the
balconies or windowsills. Everywhere you go, all over the world, you see petunias. They are
especially popular in areas with dry, sunny summers including many parts of the world. In short, they
are amongst the most popular of summer flowers.

My advice - Plant them in a container, give them tender loving care, they will grow and bloom all
summer, spreading joy.

One more secret: Petunias are survivors. They can survive a lot of black thumbs!

Bethlehem Lilly - The Queen of Night. Common name: Orchid cactus, Jungle cactus, Night
blooming cereus, Dutchman's Pipe. Botanical name: Epiphyllum oxypetalum Family: Cactaceae

Seeing this special plant bloom is an experience of a lifetime. Special Plants are those that we think
are unique and interesting. It is unique in that it blooms only for one night, stays open for only that
night, and closes by four in the morning. Flowers emit a mild, sweet fragrance. In the past 30 years, we
have been lucky to watch it bloom at our place many times. Many a time in the nights, we gathered
around this white magnificent flower enjoying its full bloom and heady fragrance for few hours. The
milky white flower in full bloom is a beauty. Usually many flowers bloom at the same time, which is a
treat to watch.

Now, having aroused your curiosity, I will give you the facts. This is a wonderful flower belonging to
the plant Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Dutchman`s Pipe), a species of Cactus. One of the most cultivated
species in the genus, it is also referred to as Night blooming Cereus and often confused with species of
"Selenicereus". Its bloom is widely known (mistakenly) as ‘Brahma Kamal’. In Maharashtra at least,
there is misconception about this plant being Brahmakamal. It is also known as Bethleham Lilly.

It is often called Bramha Kamalam but I think it could be a mistake because the real Bramha Kamalam
(Saussurea Obvallatta) is an exotic Himalayan flower belonging to the Sun Flower family, found in
higher altitudes (between 3000m and 5000m). It is one of the star attractions of the Valley of Flowers,
while the Orchid cactus actually belongs to the cactus family and cannot tolerate frost. The Indian
Government has released a postage stamp depicting the flower bramha kamalam, which is also the
State flower of Uttaranchal. The photo appearing therein is very different from Orchid Cactus. I do not
know how this confusion began and why it is being perpetuated.
The plant is rather unwieldy. When it flowers,
we are supposed to have a shower of blessings!
On the contrary, I vividly remember the time
when my husband passed away, almost all the
cactus plants were in full bloom with half a dozen
flowers each.

It is very easy to propagate this plant. Just break a


leaf and plant it in a pot. Voila! Another plant
springs up in no time. It requires full sun and
well-drained soil. No known pests attack this
hardy plant. Truly, a magnificent specimen of the
botanical world.

Strange are the ways of Nature. The night-


blooming Orchid Cactus (Epiphylum
Oxypetallum) is one such wonderful creation in
the plant world. The plant itself looks as though it
forgot to grow, well… like a plant. It has just long leaves sticking out of the ground. There is no stem
or trunk as such. Other leaves go out of the sides of the leaf. Wait. The best is yet to come. The flower,
like a second leaf, grows out of the leaf directly. The flower, in brilliant white, starts to bloom very late
in the night. If you don’t watch for it, you have missed it, the flower closes up and droops. The full
bloom is usually the size of a large palm, with very prominent yellow-headed stamen. A very mild
fragrance wafts through… the petals look so delicate that one is afraid to touch it.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is by far the most popular and widely cultivated species from this genus of
cacti. Orchid cactus blooms at night, since bats and large moths predominantly pollinate the flowers.
They have large white star-like flowers to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by moon or
starlight, and many have very lovely fragrances. Stems are sprawling, profusely branched, primary
stems cylindrical, flattened laterally. Secondary stems (which look like leaves) are flat, margins
shallowly crenate and wavy.
Epiphyllums are indeed true cacti, but are more often labeled as "Epicacti" or "jungle cacti" to
differentiate them from related desert flora. Orchid Cactus makes a great container plant for
terraces, balcony gardens, windowsills etc. So go ahead, get a leaf and plant it in one of the pots
and wait for your luck…

Indoor Plants add a different dimension to the Interiors. They brighten up your home.
Indoor plants add a special charm to interiors. Caring for Indoor plants makes for a great hobby.

There is a diverse variety of indoor plants.


Plants such as the croton need direct sunlight, while philodendrons will grow under low light
intensities. If plants are not receiving enough light, they wither and die. Improper watering is another
cause of most house plant problems. Both under- and over-watering can cause leaves to yellow and
fall. Check plant soil daily to gauge their water requirements.

Most plants, except those with hairy leaves, respond to an occasional bath. Spraying the plants
occasionally with a fine spray of clean water removes accumulated dust and keeps the pores open.
Some broad-leaved plants, such as palms, may be cleaned by rubbing with a soft cloth. Remove dead
leaves and also prune if necessary.

Gerberas
Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asterceae). It was named in
honor of the German naturalist Tragott Gerber, a friend of Carolus Linnaeus. Gerbera is very
popular and widely used as cut flowers. Commercially important, it is the fifth most used cut flower in
the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). Gerbera contains naturally occurring
coumarin derivatives. Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in
yellow, orange, white, pink or red colors. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower,
is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies
depending on their position in the capitulum. Like many flowering plants Gerbera's prefer bright light.
Gerbera Daisy. These
cheerful flowers, which come in a variety of colors, have been shown to help remove both benzene and
trichloroethylene from the air. These plants will do well on a sunny windowsill. Keep the soil evenly
moist and remove spent flowers to help encourage new blooms.

The Gerbera is a fantastic present for anyone! –

Gerbera daisies (also known as gerber


daisies) are known for their bright,
vibrantly colored flowers. For those
who aren't too good with names, it
basically looks like an overgrown daisy,
with a large centre. It comes in a variety
of different colours, from bright, brilliant
hues to delicate pastel shades. It's
virtually impossible to kill and very
happy as long as it is in a sunny spot and
you u keep the compost just moist to the touch.
Gerberas, I feel,
speak to the child in
each of us. They are
the kind of flower
that especially
young children
draw in their
earliest pictures, with big, round, obvious
centres and many, elongated petals. For
children, the Sun loving Gerbera is an
excellent visual aid for understanding
concepts of time, particularly in the context
of plants. Small children will love to notice how the flower moves around and changes direction to
keep it's face to the Sun throughout the day.

So welcome the humble Gerbera into your homes. The gerbera daisy is on NASA's list of indoor-
filtering plants, which can help improve the quality of the air in your home.

One tip on watering the Gerberas. Lift up the leaves at the base of the plant and try not to splash them.
As with most plants that have a slightly hairy covering to the leaves and stems. They do not like their
leaves wet and leaves that have been wet will tend to discolour, but these can easily be picked off to
leave a beautiful mass of deep green leaves.

If you cut the flowers, best cut at an angle if you can, they will just keep on blooming flowers, one or
two at a time. They also proceed very readily to seed and you get a lot of seeds from each flower,
which can be stored until you are ready to raise some more.

Moss Rose. Scientific name: Portulaca grandiflora. From the Purslane Family
Would you like a splash of colour in
your garden? The answer could be moss rose or Portulaca grandiflora. The brilliant red, crimson,
purple, yellow, peach, white, orange, and rose flowers bring to life, drab areas. Originally from South
America, the plant is widely used as a hedge and ornamental plant. They are very common in sunny
places in India Moss roses are available in single or double-flowered varieties. Portulaca has narrow,
fleshy leaves, up to an inch long. Low growing and mat forming, they act as a bright-green succulent
background for the pure bright colors of their blooms. The flowers borne on the stem tips open only
during bright sunlight, closing at night and on cloudy days. Portulaca thrives even in neglected soil,
livens up hanging baskets, garden edgings.

These tough annuals are


easy keepers, whose papery-pastel blossoms can take the heat. They don’t need much water once
established, although they need an even amount unlike other succulent species or cacti. The Moss Rose
is a cousin of the common weed, purslane. Now you know the truth, why the moss rose is
completely at home in poor soil areas where other beauties would simply wither.

Being able to grow plants in containers you can suspend at various heights, adds a huge
dimension to gardening-and the right plant in the right hanging container can transform an area.
Hanging baskets can be added to many indoor locations including kitchens. A well-lighted window in
any room indoors would be great for a hanging plant. The possibilities are almost endless.

Almost all plants with a trailing, billowing or vining nature are naturals for hanging containers. This is
effective for indoor and outdoor plants, foliage and blooming plants. Some suitable plants for hanging
containers are ivies, philodendron, spider plants, ferns, and asparagus ferns. Suitable blooming plants
include begonias, fuchsia, lantana, ivy geraniums, verbena, petunias etc. Proper maintenance is the key
to healthy, lush indoor hanging plants.

Spider Plants- These were the first plants shown to help clean the air. These lovely hanging plants
come in several varieties; all of them make babies at the ends of their leaves. They prefer medium
light and evenly moist soil.
Spider plant - Chlorophytum comosum is a trailing perennial. The plant removed over 96 percent of
this potentially deadly gas, Carbon monoxide. Also removed: Xylene, at a rate of 268 micrograms per
hour. And Formaldehyde, at a rate of 560 micrograms per hour. These are useful in kitchens with gas
stoves or in rooms with fireplaces, where carbon monoxide may accumulate.

Begoniaceae, about 1000


species. Begonias (genus Begonia) are attractive perennial herbs with soft, succulent stems, and white,
pink, red, orange, or yellow flowers, used as pot plants or garden plants. Prominent features are their
usually four-coloured tepals (petals and sepals together) in two pairs of different sizes and the three
wings on the ovaries of the female flowers. Flower colours are pink, red, yellow, or white, with the
ovary below of the same colour. The usually lopsided, alternate leaves are variable in shape and in
colour on different forms.

Hanging plants have the added advantage of taking up no floor space. Lush vines cascading from
hanging pots can screen a window with a less-than-lovely view or help divide living space in a large
room. Hanging pots demands extra care in plant selection, choice of container and culture. Appearance
is not the most important criterion in selecting a pot for your hanging plants. After all, the cascading
foliage should soon camouflage the container. The best plants for hanging containers are compact,
dense and branching. Plants that spill over the rim of their containers with drooping foliage or trailing
stems are especially effective. The plants should not have thick, woody stems or the tendency to shoot
up vertically. Remember that plants like children are easiest to train when they are young, so
select small starter plants.

Hanging flower baskets are effective in balcony settings where the space is a premium. Metal hanging
baskets with coconut fiber liners are effective. I've had my baskets for at least 8 years and I had to just
replace the liners every couple of years. Hanging flowerpots are simply another version of container
gardening all dressed up. Used mainly for aesthetics, hanging flowerpots can add visual interest and
texture to the windows and balconies of your home.

Wire mesh baskets are best. Mesh baskets with natural fiber liners such as moss or coir fiber help
support the soil evenly; insulate the soil to keep the roots cool during hot weather. The liners also look
nicer than bare plastic. At the end of the season, natural liners can be added to the compost pile. Most
hanging basket planters are viewed from below. A mesh basket allows you to plant through the sides of
the container giving it a luxurious look from below. If you use a solid plastic container, you will not be
able to plant through the sides and you will see the container when you look up.

This miniature white rose plant was a gift to myself on one


of my Birthdays. For many years it was on my bedroom
window, a source of joy with its pristine white blooms. Early
traditions used white roses as a symbol for true love, which
was later replaced by red roses. Known as the bridal rose, the
white rose is a traditional wedding flower. Bridal bouquets are
often comprised of white roses and other white flowers.
White roses are associated with honor and reverence, which
makes them a fitting memorial for a departed loved one.
Funerals traditionally incorporate white roses as a part of the
tribute. White roses mean different things to different people.
It can be a symbol of new beginnings or remembrance. They
convey feelings of love, friendship, respect and hope. White
roses are synonymous with innocence and purity.
The beauty of
Adeniums have intrigued lovers of flowering plants for decades. Adeniums or desert rose are
enduring, succulent ornamental plants. It does not resemble any other plant. It has its own
characteristics, general aspect, shape of the caudex, color and size of the flower.

Adeniums are basically tropical plants. It originated from East Africa and belongs to the family
Apocynaceae. Most of the best adenium cultivars originate in areas of tropical conditions i.e. Hawaii,
Florida, Thailand, and Taiwan. Thailand has produced a number of hybrids from scarlet red to white
over the years. The flowers bloom profusely during the summer season. The Arabians, Africans and
Chinese consider them as lucky plants.

Adeniums are desert plants by origin (Xerophytic nature) and as an outdoor plant, require a lot of
sunlight to flower in addition to well-drained soil. You can’t water the plant everyday. The soil should
be left to dry before the next watering because it is very rot prone.The plant exudes a highly toxic sap
which is used by some peoples, such as the Akie in Tanzania, to coat arrow-tips for hunting. They are
popular pot plants. They can survive for 2 month or more without being watered because of drought
tolerant characteristic.
ASTER is a flowering plant of the Compositae
family. The aster (from the Greek aster, meaning
"star") was so named because of its radiating or star
like flower head. It is found largely in North America.
Asters are popular garden flowers because they
bloom after other flowers are gone, have few diseases
and insect enemies, and last well after cutting.
Asters are usually perennial plants. The flowers have
yellowish or brownish disks encircled by white,
purple, violet, blue, rose or pink rays. The aster is
related to the daisy. The blossoms may be from one-
half to two inches in diameter.

Christmas poinsettia is also the most famous Christmas


potted plant, with thousands being sold all over the United
Kingdom and the United States annually. Presently, the poinsettia
plant can be found in a number of different colors in addition to
the traditional Christmas red. The plant blooms naturally in hues
of cream, pale, lemony yellow, pinks and peaches, both with
marks of gold and white throughout its leaves, which are
mistakenly called flowers but are in fact the plant's upper leaves
known as the bracts. It is these bracts that make these plants so
beautiful. The flowers themselves are fairly insignificant.

December 12th has been proclaimed as the National Poinsettia Day in the United States, marking the
date of the demise of Joel R. Poinsett, the man who initially introduced the now well-known plant to
the country. The first ambassador to Mexico, J.R. Poinsett, was fascinated by the “Christmas flowers”
he saw growing wild. He brought some back to the U.S., in 1828, where they have been propagated
and hybridized ever since. The common name was changed to Poinsettia to honor Poinsett’s discovery.
Aside from having the Christmas plant named after him, fascinatingly enough, Poinsett has also been
given credit for founding the Smithsonian Institute.
During Christmas time this year, why not buy a fine-looking Poinsettia and place it on your
windowsill? There is a wide array of Christmas Poinsettia plant available everywhere in the
world.

The Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a short day plant, which means it won’t bloom until the days
get short enough to provide 14 hours of darkness. The pretty red “flowers” are special leaves called
bracts. Poinsettias are members of the Euphorbia family, though they certainly don’t look like the
typical Euphorbias one associates with the desert or Africa, where most of the Euphorbias we are
familiar with come from. Euphorbias are native to nearly all the continents and this one, Euphorbia
pulcherrima (means very beautiful Euphorbia), is a Mexican native. Like all Euphorbias, it has a
sticky, somewhat noxious white sap that can be irritating to the skin or eyes. These plants were already
being used as medicinal and ceremonial plants in the 1300s by the Aztecs. The Aztecs called the
poinsettia Cuetlaxochitl. They made a reddish purple dye from the bracts. Chile and Peru called the
poinsettia the "Crown of the Andes."

Philodendron- This old favorite, with its beautiful foliage and easy care, has been shown to help
remove harmful chemicals like formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is found in everything from
grocery bags to cigarette smoke. Philos like medium light and a good soaking, but be sure to let the
soil dry between watering. They make gorgeous hanging plants

Philodendron, one of the most popular of all houseplants, have been used as houseplants as far back as
Victorian times. In the 70's they were the second most popular houseplants next to Swedish Ivy. They
are native to tropical forests and as such prefer the same type of conditions in your home- bright, yet
not direct sunlight and warm moist air.

There are two basic types of philodendrons, climbers, and non-climbers. The climbing group is very

well suited to indoor growing, although it does need a firm support to grow on, such as a moss covered

stick. The most popular of the climbers is Philodendron scandens, or Heart Shaped Philodendron. This

plant gets its name from its leaves, which are deep green, glossy, and heart shaped. P. scandens is a

tough plant, able to withstand neglect and less than optimal lighting conditions. Another popular

climber is P. Micans, also known as Velvet Philodendron. This beauty has the same heart shaped leaves
as. P. scandens, but they have a rich, velvety appearance and the undersides are tinged with burgundy.

A third variety, called Philodendron Brasil or Lemon Lime Philo is variegated. The leaves are a deep

green with splashes of lime. The climbing varieties of Philodendron are easy to care for. They will

thrive in lower light situations and tolerate some neglect.

Philos look lovely in hanging baskets, but you are likely

to find mature plants sold with a moss covered board or

stick. Such supports can also be purchased by themselves

at most garden centers and nurseries. Keep them moist

and push any aerial roots into them as this will help bring

moisture to the upper leaves of the plant. Philos are easy

to propagate, just take cuttings and place them in a glass

of water and they'll root in no time.

English Ivy-This plant has been shown to also help remove Benzene from the air. They like medium

light and evenly moist soil. They also appreciate being misted ever so often. They make lovely hanging

plants and also love to climb.

Lantana – the botanical name is Verbenaceae.


Lantana and Ixora

Lantana is an evergreen shrub, mostly used as ground

cover, bed trim, or hanging plants, since it spills over nicely.

Lantana can also be shaped into a bush. Since Lantana is

fast growing, don't plant many or you'll be overrun! The

nice thing about using lantana is that it flowers pretty much

all year long. You can get pale yellow, bright yellow,

orange, pink, lavender and white varieties. Lantana likes

full sun, and isn't choosy about the type of soil it will grow

in. Deep water your lantana once in a while. Trim

periodically. The bright flowers are all yours.

Hippeastrums make excellent container plants due to their compact upright shape and fabulous
foliage that are attractive even when not flowering. Their strikingly beautiful flowers are bold and
brilliant, in dazzling colors of crimson, red, orange, pink, rose, yellow and white sometimes with
contrasting stripes, throats or edges. Even when not in bloom, their long lasting fabulous deep green
foliage adds to their beauty and elegance. Try planting them en masse in your garden to attract
bees, butterflies and birds. They are easily grown, needing little maintenance.

Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium - flower with central white stripe and irregular pink
veins, leaves dark green with white midrib. Plant them at sunny and warm sites for best growth and
flowering. Keep soil moist, never overwater. Hippeastrums excel and flower more when they are pot
bound with a restricted root system, hence rarely need repotting. Also, the top half or third of the bulbs
should be exposed above ground, not buried. Once the blooms wither, cut off spent flowers / stems to
encourage growth of more leaves, leading to food production / storage.
Botanical Name: Hippeastrum , Common Name: Amaryllis (should not be mistaken for Amaryllis
belladonna, an African genus in the same family), Family name: Amaryllidaceae. Bulbous perennial
flowering plant that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, spreading from
Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Every Easter, this potted bulbs have not failed to cheer and brighten us with one erect scape, crowned
with a cluster of gorgeous blooms. The flowering momentum has incresed, after a fond scolding. The
blooming times per year and also the number of flower scapes have increased! Now we enjoy the
blooms for a longer period.

Maybe you weren't born with a green thumb, but you can still grow a window garden that will make
your friends and neighbors green with envy. Nothing adds so much cheer to the house as a beautiful
window garden with flowers and potted plants. These decorations are within the reach of all.

Window Gardens let you bring nature indoors on a smaller scale. Everyone loves the beauty and
serenity offered by a garden. Who does not want to do some gardening indoors? But a garden indoors
does not just mean bringing plants inside the house. It is quite a difficult job. If done with proper care,
your home could reflect the beauty of nature.

Gardening is nature's original meditation. The simple pleasures of gardening are very meditative. Why
not get kids involved early? We live in a fast-paced world full of impatience, anxiety, stress,
frustration and self-indulgence, where pills for nervous stress, depression and high blood pressure are
common. If we start teaching our children the pleasures of gardening as soon as they can walk, maybe
their lives will be less stressful. If you enjoy gardening, try to ignite this spark in someone else,
regardless of how young or old even if all you do is get them to put a few seeds or plants in a pot.
You learn patience by waiting for the results of your labor. You overcome failure through knowledge
and trial and error. You relieve stress and depression by working and achieving a beautiful, restful
haven that you, your family, friends, and the wildlife can enjoy. Gardening can ease your pain, calm
your spirit, and soothe your soul!

You get so much joy from gardening. It has been one of my favorite past times for over 25 years.
I love plants and I like to see plants growing. One of my favourite moments will always be
watching a plant sprouting out from a seed.

A garden is an expression of your personality. Don’t be constrained by things that you are
supposed to do. Plant in a way that you like, what you like. As long as you like the garden that
you have created, that’s all that matters.

As Marilyn Barrett said in The Joy of Gardening: “Planting a garden is an act of optimism. When
you plant a seed, you put hope in the ground. Your trust is in the future when there is no present sign
that life will come”.