Gardening for wildlife

Time to Prepare for Summer Annuals

Ms.Promila Chaturvedi is a freelance landscape designer whose organization "Gardens India" undertakes a number of projects in landscaping and gardening.

Unlike winter in North Indian plains, the annuals for summer season are numbered. If they are not sowed in time, even whatever colour one gets in hot weather conditions, may also disappear.

The Gaillardia, Portulaca, Gomphrena, Cochia, Zinnia, Balsam and celosia are the few, which will add colour to our gardens in scorching heat of May and June. The seeds should be bought in January. By middle of February the seedbeds should be readied on a sunny spot. The beds should be four inch higher than the ground level to avoid rotting by sudden rain.

To make a seed bed take one part sand, one part leaf-mould/compost and one part sweet earth. If small quantity of seedlings is needed then they can be sown in shallow trays also. They should be sown by the end of February when weather starts warming up. They should be mixed with sand and sprinkled on the beds/pots prepared for sowing them. A very thin layer of sifted leaf-mould/compost may be added to them. Water should be sprinkled over then with a watering can with a rose on it. If it is still cold, sowing can be delayed by a week or so. By the first week of April the seedlings will be big enough to be planted in the garden.

Prepare the annual bed by the third/fourth week of March depending on the weather. Hoe the ground. Remove weeds and other unserviceable matter from the beds. Add compost/ Bio-manure/ well rot cow-dung manure to the ground and mix well. Add water to it. Dress it. Before sowing the seedlings final dressing should also be done. Sow the seedlings; water it with watering can with rose on it. Water them lightly twice a day for a week. Then water as needed. Watering should be done in the morning or evening. The annuals will grow and brighten the garden in hot weather.

(Flowers pictured here are, from top, Gaillardia, Gomphrena and Celosia)

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