Each season has its own charm. And nature has her way of spreading her abundance and colour all the year round – with a bit of love and care from us.
Temperatures are now ranging from mild to cold – depending upon where you are – but with a bit of effort and persistence – you can have your own little charming winter garden on your terrace, in your balcony or even on your window-sill !
If you’re feeling lazy or don’t want to make the effort – pick up winter plants from a nursery with instructions on how to take care of them. Don’t forget to pick up tools and implements to water and hoe, plus manure and supplements to keep them healthy.
And for those who want to create their winter garden ( almost ) from scratch – read on … to know about plants that can take centre-stage in your balcony garden – as they begin to bloom from January into March or April.
It is important to start with proper-sized saplings or stems – not too small and not too big either. Judiciously use sufficient numbers of plants depending upon your planter size. Position it where it will get as much sunlight as possible – in order to remain green and healthy. Water your pots carefully in winter. Check how the soil looks before watering it. Sometimes all that may be needed would be misting of the leaves from a spray-bottle. Smaller plants are more susceptible to over or under-watering. Make sure you check the compost regularly as it can dry out fast.
Raise containers off the ground on pot feet or bricks to improve drainage. Or move them around more frequently.
Now that we’ve understood the prepping and the caring techniques for our winter plants – it’s time to choose the blossoms we want for our garden. We do not have a very cold winter in India; in fact most parts of the country have just 3 seasons namely summer, monsoons and spring. Some of the commonest and easiest to grow Indian garden include marigold, hibiscus, rose, bougainvillea, sunflower. These thrive with a bit of love and care – all the year round – irrespective of location.
A few tried and tested flowering plants for suitable for winter in the plains include – petunia, cineraria, chrysanthemum and marigold. These flowering plants need soil up to 5 inches deep. So, all you need to do is take an earthen pot of 6-8 inches, dig a hole in the soil and bury the seed about 2 inches deep. After 6 weeks, you will see the seeds sprout into saplings. This is when after-care is very essential.
Read on and know about how you can set up your winter garden and how to treat a particular winter flower.
These seeds can be sown when temperatures are cool. These plants grow between 6 inches to 4 feet and are perfect for hanging baskets and planters. Prepare the potting mix before sowing the seeds, water and allow the pot to drain. Sprinkle seeds on well-drained soil.. Do not cover them with soil, as they need light to germinate. You can use small containers as petunias are low-growers. Light sandy soil is ideal.
Cineraria’s should be grown in partial to full shade, and planted in slightly acidic, rich, well-drained soil with high compost content. Water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but do not over-water.
Marigold flowers are easy to grow. Get marigold saplings from the nursery. Dig a small hole with a trowel and place the sapling in the container. Add potting soil gently around the roots Place your marigolds in sunlight for at least six to eight hours every day. Use any kind of well-drained soil. Occasional watering is needed.
Chrysanthemums can easily be grown and are propagated by dividing the roots, cuttings and seeds. Sunny, low rainfall areas are great for growing these. Well-drained soil is the best kind of soil for chrysanthemums. It is also necessary to add compost to the soil occasionally. It is important to provide chrysanthemums with enough irrigation so that the roots evenly absorb fertilizer and nutrients.
Create innovative nooks and mini landscapes with unusual planters, on the ground, hanging from above or aligned with walls. Use garden accessories and decor to add a touch of style.
So get started then. Growing your own garden can be therapeutic and bring you a great sense of gratification.
Create joy this winter. Create your winter garden.
Featured Image: Hummingbird Planter by Kalatmak Designs