04 May

Nasturtium, Jewels in My Garden

I love Nasturtium for many reasons: its flowers stand out like small jewels, it is not so demanding and repels pests, it makes perfect plant to fill edges, empty garden beds, and containers… and i like its peppery flavor in salads 🙂

Nasturtium is a self-seeding annual and perennial herbaceous plant that bears white, yellow, orange, maroon and pink flowers. Nasturtium belongs to the Tropaeolaceae family and comes from South and Central America. It is a popular ornamental plant that grows well in direct and filtered sunlight.

Nasturtium Flowers

Image © Patricia Hamilton

Nasturtium also makes a good companion plant as it repels pests and caterpillars. Because Nasturtium attracts black fly aphids, it is usually grown as companion plant to save crops from aphids by acting as defense shield.

All parts of Nasturtium are edible. The seed pods are picked, tubers of some species are used as source of food, and flowers of nasturtium are used to garnish salads or prepare Nasturtium Lemon Butter. Nasturtium flowers can also be used in potpourri.

Growing Nasturtium

Nasturtium is an easy and fast grower. It grows well in well drained soil under full or partial sun. Nasturtium does not require rich soil; in fact, it produces more leaves and less flowers in soil is too rich. Leaves are light-green and round in shape. Flowers are shaped like a funnel.

Nasturtium Leaves

Image © Ken Mccown

There are many commercially grown varieties of Nasturtium available today that slightly vary in habit. Dwarf varieties make good plants for edging whereas the climbing varieties can be grown against fences in the garden or in pots with trellises. The cascading varieties are wonderful for hanging baskets.

Popular Varieties of Nasturtium

Alaska Series – These Nasturtiums remain dwarf and bear prominent flowers.

Jewel Series – Nasturtium in Jewel Series bear relatively larger flowers; the plant remains bushy and dwarf.

Canary Creepers – Canary Creeper Nasturtium is a climber and grows as perennial flowering vine. It can be grown against trellis.

03 May

Create Your Garden Design in 5 Minutes

Creating and designing your garden landscape like a professional is just as easy as click-click-click. GardenPuzzle is a smart software application that allows you to design your garden layout before you actually start digging and planting trees and plants. Thus, you can imagine how your actual garden would look like.

GardenPuzzle

You just have to define your climatic conditions and desired layout plan, the application suggests suitable plants and allows you to design your garden with simple mouse clicks. You can download and install GardenPuzzle on your PC as a desktop application or use it online in your web browser for free.

Here is a brief summary of my experience with GardenPuzzle

  1. To get started with your new garden layout, choose scenery (back yard, lawn etc.)
  2. Choose Scenery in GardenPuzzle

    Choose Scenery in GardenPuzzle

  3. Define the type of ground (fertile, dry, acidic etc.) and climatic conditions (your country, state and hardiness zone).
  4. Describe Garden Conditions

    Describe Garden Conditions

  5. Now that you have basic layout of your garden, you are ready to go ahead and start designing your landscape.
  6. Basic Garden Layout

    Basic Garden Layout

  7. Based on your selection, GardenPuzzle would display suitable plants for your climate. You can select from a variety of Conifers, Vines, Perennials, Trees, etc.
  8. Plants in GardenPuzzle

    Plants in GardenPuzzle

  9. Set surface type: Leaves, Grass, Lawn, Brick, Meadow, Planks etc.
  10. Surface Type

    Surface Type

  11. Add bridge, arbor, trellis, fences, garden furniture etc.
  12. Garden Equipment and Furniture

    Garden Equipment and Furniture

  13. Now ‘plant’ trees, vine, shrubs as per your choice. You can filter plants by size (large, small etc.) and type (vines, herbaceous etc.). GardenPuzzle provides complete information on habit and culture of plants that you choose so that you can select appropriate plants for your garden.
  14. Plant Data

    Plant Data

  15. Save your project and see how your garden would actually look like.
  16. Garden Deign with GardenPuzzle

    Garden Deign with GardenPuzzle

Some of the features are not available in free version of GardenPuzzle.

01 May

How to Transfer Plants in Your Garden Landscape in 4 Easy Steps

The worst you can do to your newly purchased plants is rushing ahead and planting them in the ground. Of course, you are keen to see those plants growing in your landscape but this enthusiasm could hurt your plants. Ideally you should prepare both the plants and the ground before you start the job.

Today, I am sharing some of the steps that I follow to transplant my plants into the landscape.

Planning the landscape

Whenever you want to plant trees in your landscape, first make sure that it is suitable for your climatic conditions. Also observer you landscape (garden, lawn etc.) and visualize how the plant would actually look like when it reaches it potential. Imagine how it would grow (some plants have columnar growth, some grow as woody shrubs, some are evergreen and some deciduous).

Imagine how your new plant would accompany others. Make sure that it does not intrude in to adjoining plants or is subdued by its neighbors. Every plant requires some ‘private space’ to grow healthy.

How to Transfer Plants in Landscape

When to buy new plants for the landscape

Do not purchase plants until you are ready to transfer them in the ground. Keeping plants sitting in their containers for a long time could be bad for the plants, especially when you do not have proper space and required environment for those container-bound plants.

Select healthy plants from your nursery and make sure that they are already established in their containers (not transferred from the ground or another container). Also make sure that the plant is suitable for your climate, lighting and soil conditions.

The day before the job

Water the ground thoroughly the day before planting to make sure that the soil is a little damp. Also water the plant thoroughly to make the transplanting easy for you and the plant.

The best time to transplant is early morning or later afternoon. Do not transplant in the heat of the day, especially in summer.

How to transplant them in the ground

Dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the container of the plant. Add some rotted compost as base for the plant. Also add some organic fertilizer and cover it with a layer of soil. This would make a perfect mixture for the plant to establish and grow roots.

Take care while removing the plant from its container. Be gentle and avoid damaging roots of the plant. Some old container-bound plants are hard to remove from their containers and you might have to cut or break the container. Root-bound plants are hard to remove from their containers. Keep this point in mind when purchasing plants for your landscape.

After the plant has been positioned in its new place, fill the hole with soil and rotted compost. Do not pack the soil in hard neither keep it too lean to support the plant. Some plants might require additional support, provide them with stakes.

Lastly, water the plant and well and try to keep the soil moist until the plant has established itself in its new place.

Native plants do not usually resist transplanting, however exotic plant might be sensitive to transplant and not bear the shock. Make sure you understand all the requirements of such plants.