Monday, February 13, 2012

Gardening in Winter

In the hustle and bustle of urban life, your garden is the place where you have contact with nature and enjoy some quiet and peaceful time. Therefore, it deserves special attention in terms of dedication and constant maintenance, to make it a welcoming sanctuary in every season including winter. 
Keeping the freshness and greenness of one’s garden in foggy, frosty, cold winter is a big challenge for anybody. Plants are also living things: they suffer the winter like any of us do. In the absence of proper care and nourishment, the gardens would be lifeless in winter. Many people ignore their garden in the winter. The feeling is that, once the flowers fade and the leaves die, there is nothing of interest in the garden. Nothing could be further from the truth. With all the work you do to keep your garden beautiful and attractive from spring to autumn, why let your garden die down in winter? Against the harsh backdrop of dew, fog and earth, you can plant a variety of plants that will add dimension to your garden. By selecting proper winter 
plants (which are listed below) that produce flowers when most other plants are dormant, you can bring colour and interest into your garden even when the days are cold and gloomy. Winter is actually time to rake up all the leaves and make a compost bin so that they can be recycled into an excellent soil conditioner. It is also time to prune shrubs, trees and rose bushes which prepares plants to bloom and grow for next spring. It is about protecting your plants from the changes in the weather, cleaning up from the summer’s reward and winterizing gardening tools to ensure that they stay in good working condition. In winter, it is obvious that the cold temperature makes it very difficult to maintain and grow plants and flowers. But, this is not impossible if you prepare ahead of time during the previous seasons. With the first fall of temperature, it is necessary to begin the pruning of plants and new plantations have to be done before cold winter arrives.
Garden of Dreams, Kehsar Mahal, kathmandu

Plants and flowers for winter gardens
1. Foxglove flourishes in shade. Grow foxglove plant in partial shade in a well drained, acidic soil, rich in  humus.
2. Snapdragon (baghmukhe) needs rich, well drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Grow it in full sun.
3. Nasturtium has showy, often intensely bright flowers and rounded leaves. Grow it in full sun to partial shade.
4. Pansy (putali phool) is one of the most popular and recognizable cool weather annuals. Pansy tolerates a variety of soils. General purpose fertilizer works well with it. Grow in partial shade.
Pumila Liliput (in my garden :))
5. Calendula (asarfi) is commonly called “Pot Marigold”. It blooms throughout the season. Grow in full sun or partial shade.
6. Sweet Alyssum flourishes in a loamy, well drained soil. It requires very little attention. Grow in full sun to partial sun.
7. English Ivy needs a well drained soil. It can act as ground cover and also can climb heights. Grow in part shade to full shade.
8. Weeping Winter Jasmine (jaii) is a fast grower. It tolerates almost any well drained soil and suffers no serious disease or insect pests. Grow it in sun or shade, but it flowers more heavily in sun.
9. Bulbs are also good for winter gardening. Among the most popular of the winter-flowering bulbs are the Daffodil, Crocus, Hyacinth and Tulip.

Tools and their uses in gardening
Sickle (hasiya)—it is used for many purposes. In gardening, it is used to cut grasses, branches, etc.
Pruning saw (karauti)—very useful for removing branches which are too thick for secateurs or loppers and when working in confined spaces.
Rakes (chande)—a leaf rake is the most efficient tool for clearing up a heavy drop of leaves.
Hoe (khurpi, kuto)—hoes are tools used to create furrows in the garden for planting; to break up hard, clumpy soil; and to remove weeds. Hoes come in many different sizes and weights; they also come in a wide variety of blade shapes.
Grass shear (kainchi)—grass shears are used to prune and give shape to shrubs.
Lawn mower—lawn mower is used to trim lawn grass. Secateurs (Pruner) (kainchi)—secateurs are used to spruce roses, shrubs, etc. for cleaner cut with less crushing of the stem.
Leaves collector (doko)—this can be of bamboo or plastic and is used to carry dried leaves.
Watering can (jhari)—watering cans in metal and plastics are available in the market. Their purpose is to water plants.

How to take care of gardening tools
1. Remove soil from tools after use.
2. Never store tools wet. Make sure they are dried completely before storing to prevent rusting and wood handle rot.
3. After use, wipe the metal parts of pruners, shears and saw with oil.
4. During the off season, sharpen your tools. You can use a whetstone for sharpening cutting tools. Also, a file can be used to remove nicks and smoothen the edges of your tools.

Things to do in garden in winter
1. Pull up all weeds and dried leaves and begin a compost bin. Composting enables you to recycle garden debris and provides excellent soil conditioners for the next planting season.
2. Cut back dry stems, remove diseased leaves from evergreen plants and discard into the trash. Do not use diseased leaves for composting; it may transfer disease to plants. Prune roses and remove stems that cross each other.
3. Shape other bushes and trees to desirable shapes to ensure blooming next spring. Cut off all dead wood from vines, trees, bamboos and shrubs. Check support for vines and strengthen them.
4. A brick paved path on the lawn adds charm and ambiance to the home garden. Be sure to scrub green algae off the bricks. And, keep the edges weed free and clean.
5. Aerate your soil well, pull weeds and improve your soil texture. Add organic matter such as leaf mold or compost to your soil. Adding ash from firewood is an excellent way to provide nutrients to your garden soil.
6. Clean your garden tools. Be sure to sharpen the edges, oil the necessary parts of the tools. If you keep your tools in good condition, your work in the spring will be easier. Make sure blades are wiped off and clean before storing them in a dry place.
Happy gardening and may you and your family enjoy long leisurely sun soaked days in your thriving winter garden!

originally published on healthy life

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