In July, plants begin fading out of bloom. Regular deadheading extends the blooming cycle, spent blooms will increase bloom time, channelising the energy into the flowers. Cutting dead flower heads enhances the flowering performance of many perennials. Removing spent blooms brings more flowering.
Part of the joy of gardening is learning about new plants. In ‘Angelic Gardens’ there is always space for one more plant! The inmates know how to mix it up to keep it ‘fresh looking’. Perennials, as well as spring flowering bulbs, evergreens and flowering shrubs, lend the right blend. So much so –even bamboos are grown in the pots.
Many plants bloom in winters and lend colour to the environs during the darkest days of the year. More colour for a longer period of time is a delight. Fast-growing perennials make it easier with low maintenance; I have been watching the Gardens thrive as they bloom year after year.
- Plants growing in pots are watered very frequently. Attention is paid to how much sun or shade a plant needs. Well adjusted ‘Dried Floral Arrangements’ and synthetic foliage enhance the décor.
Though most of the selected varieties are native to the area, yet the exotic plants coexist:
- Pansies love cool weather; in a multitude of colors, can flower almost all year long.
- Daisies bloom all summer long and even into early fall; & bring loads of color to the Gardens. There are many different varieties; yellow, pink, red or bi-color
- Perennial Geranium is a great border plant. Tiny brilliantly colored flowers bloom for months starting in late spring.
- Red drop-dead rose symbolizes joy and cheer; gives warm feelings and happiness.
- Treasure Flower (Gazanias) bloom profusely in late spring and early summer. Here, they bloom intermittently through the rest of the year.
- Fuchsia ‘Blue Dancing Doll’ is a bushy shrub; large flowers with reddish pink keep blooming throughout summer.
- The Godetia (Punchbow) flower is a strong bee attractor. They bloom in early summer and can continue through the summer.
- Mallows are grown as annuals. The flower blooms resemble hollyhocks.
- Lilies are yellow & pink. They attract insects. White, orange, red, purple are yet expected to make an appearance.
- Dahlias are perennial plants with tuberous roots; though here they are grown as annuals, I believe
- Hydrangeas are drought-resistant and require very little care. Upright flowering, the bold foliage, strong stalks, and large flower heads in an array of colors are stunning.
- Ferns of lots of different varieties pour a great texture in to the Gardens.
Blooming bushes add lasting beauty to the landscape. Flowering shrubs are the backbone of the Gardens, offering privacy along the borders, attracting pollinators, and providing colour and interest without needing annual replanting.
- The Gardens are full of activity. In this hospitable environment butterflies and hummingbirds could find enough of their favourites. Orangey yellow marigold flowers as also the pretty annuals offer them a big support and attraction.
From the bridge table I watch pigeons and sparrows feeding on the special food laid for them. At times, I see Laila digging in to the soil of Gardens, perhaps because of boredom. She jumps across the flower beds above the layered ‘thorny stuff’ meant to ward her off. To be in the lovely Gardens is a joy, just as sharing my moments with her. I wonder if dogs and Gardens are a good match. Dogs love fresh grass, but they don’t know how to keep it looking good.
On coming to the end of the write up, I felt something was missing. Today I found, It was Sunflower, graciously smiling at me through the hollow pane of the new ‘glass house’; & the red Salvia bidding me goodbye at the main gate of Gardens.
With inputs from Prof (Dr.) Anurita Saxena
Prof. (Er.) Chander P Mahajan is an art critic & a free lance journalist. The Environmentalist stays in Shimla and Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India.