17 Nov

D is for Delphinium

Delphinium is a genus of wonderful annuals and perennials known for their colorful and attractive flowers that grow abundantly on long stalks. Native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, Delphinium are easy to grow and manage. Most species grow tall with stalks full of flowers though some low-growing species are also available. Taller species are prefect for growing in the background of flower beds or landscape.

Delphinium is know traditionally for its showy flowers of strong blue or purple color, however a large number of hybridized Delphiniums have also been produced in recent years. The hybridized Delphinium produce flowers in all shades of white, blue, mauve, red and yellow.

Delphinium flowers

Delphinium/ Image by hello-julie(flickr)

Popular in traditional gardens, Delphinium has been extensively hybridized to produce long-lasting cut flowers. Some popular hybrids of Delphinium include: ‘Atlantis’, ‘Blue Dawn’, ‘Elizabeth Cook’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Summerfield Miranda’, and ‘Sungleam’.

Delphinium requires fertile and slightly soil but well-drained soil under the bright sun. The plants can be propagated from seeds as well as divisions. The flower stalks should be provided firm support of staking when the stalks reach 10 inches or more. Delphiniums can be cut back to the ground after the end of flowering season in order to encourage better growth for the next flowering season.

12 Nov

7 Edible Herbs to Grow at Home

Mint:

Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow. It just requires sunny or partially shaded spot in a moist and regular soil mix. Mint can be grown from stems cuttings (3 to 4 cm) that can be planted into the moist soil or water until cuttings develop roots.

Mint can be grown in pots or directly into the ground. Established plants can be harvested in from spring to fall. A number of varieties and hybrids of mint are available that differ in terms of height, fragrance, and texture of leaf. Besides commonly grown species of Mint, some unusual varieties can also be grown at home. These include: Mentha suaveolens (Apple Mint), Mentha x gracilis (Ginger Mint), Mentha ‘Berries and Cream’, and Mentha spicata ‘Tashkent’.

When growing different varieties, make sure that you plant them separately to preserve original fragrance of each variety.

Mint Leaves

Mint/ Image by Fernando Stankuns

Lemon Balm:

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is an aromatic herb that can be grown in pots as well as in the ground under bright sunlight. The plant is grown for its highly aromatic leaves that are source of essential oil used in aromatherapy and traditional remedies. The leaves are also added in preparing soothing herbal tea.

Oregano:

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is source of flavorful leaves that are dried and sprinkled on food for extra flavor. Oregano is quite an easy herb to grow in herb gardens. It requires sunny exposure, regular soil mix and moderate watering. Oregano can be grown in pots as ornamental plants with small pink flowers.

Chamomile:

Chamomile is another popular herb among herb gardeners because of its medicinal benefits. Chamomile bears feathery foliage and daisy-like flowers. The flowers are dried and used for preparing soothing chamomile tea.

Chamomile has both low growing and sprawling varieties. Commonly grown species is Chamaemelum nobile that grows under full to partial sun and requires slightly rich soil. Flowers can be plucked in summer.

Chamomile flowers

Chamomile / Image by Lynne Hand

Sage:

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a hardy herb with a bushy growth. The plant produces ornamental foliage which is used in many traditional recipes for culinary benefits. Sage can be propagated from cuttings planted in spring.

Sage is not fussy about growing needs and survives neglect; however, it should be protected from long spells of cold and frost.

Parsley:

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is grown widely in herb gardens as well as in commercial farms for its edible leaves that can be harvested almost all through the year. Parsley can be grown from seeds and grown under partial sun. It is a winter-hardy herb and grown well in the months of winter. When grown in pots, Parsley makes an excellent ornamental plant as well.

Parsley

Parsley/ Image by Jane Starz

Thyme:

Like Sage, Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a hardy and drought tolerant herb that can be grown easily in a herb garden at home. It just requires a sunny exposure and well-drained soil. Thyme produces beautiful foliage which is used in salads and various traditional recipes. Besides culinary benefits, Thyme can be grown as an effective ground cover or as companion plant with various annuals and perennials.

31 Oct

Sutera grandiflora, the Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora is a woody perennial from tropical regions of Africa. The plant is known for its aromatic leaves and its ability to produce large clusters of small purple flowers. Commonly known as Wild Phlox, Sutera grandiflora grows as a mound forming plant up to 1.5 meter and produces large groups in wild. The plant grows in ordinary soil and requires regular watering in summer. Flowers appear in summer or autumn and last for many days.

Sutera grandiflora, Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora, Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora is a good choice for growing in borders or as background plant in landscapes and flowering beds, or containers as trailing plant. Propagation is easy from seeds or cuttings.