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Spring is here!

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Beautiful Gardens of Doon – 64

By Sunita Vijay

Margaret Atwood ‘In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.’
After a long, cold, wintery haul, Spring is finally here. The gardens in Doon are beaming with life. Young butterflies, plenty of bees, insects, ladybirds all are working in full swing. The romantic season of birds is ongoing, and they are busy building their nests, all activities adding to the buzz. Simultaneously the annuals are in their youth, lending colours, vibrancy and life to the garden, balconies, verandah. The spring season is fulfilling, but it also creates work for gardeners. There is so much to do each day, and the hot days limit the working hours, and an additional burden of daily watering is demanding. Hence, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed about where to begin the work.

It’s time to plan for the summers.

Here are some tips to get you started –
1. Start seeding: Prepare kitchen beds and start sowing seeds of vegetables. Some seeds can be directly sown, while others are prepared in a defined spot or pots. The choice is yours, suiting what’s comfortable for you. Hybrid saplings of vegetables are available in the nurseries to ease the work.

2. Prepare for summer flowers: Visit the nearest nursery and buy seeds or saplings of zinnia, cockscomb, coleus, cosmos, gaillardia, portulaca, kochia, etc. Prepare them in poly bags, which are later planted in beds or directly in pots.

3. Prune shrubs, vines and trees: This is the best time to prune. Get rid of all dead branches. Give plants the desired shape and height. Leave fewer stems in the case of flowering shrubs to improve the quality of flowers. Keep the pruning tools clean. Ensure that they are dipped in antiseptic solution before pruning.

4. Place the pots of annuals as per the sunlight need. The whole blooming pots of flowers may be kept in semi-shade to prolong the bloom as the weather turns hot. Keep them at a spot where they receive sunlight for four-five hours. It will increase the blooming time, and flowers will remain bright and fresh. Water as per need.

5. Reconstruct, reshape garden beds: The lawn area can be given the desired shape during this time. Any bald patches of grass can be filled with new grass blades.

6. Sprinkle river sand on the lawn to improve the level. Sand will discourage moss growth and help fresh grass blades to grow fast.

7. Sprinkle DAP grains on grass and water well to improve the colour of grass every fortnight.

8. Propagate plants: Fresh cuttings may be prepared. These may be of hedges, shrubs like Dieffenbachia, Pothos, Allamanda, Lantana, Tecoma, Camellia, Bougainvillaea, Hibiscus, Plumeria, Acalypha, Vinca, Euphorbia Milli, Money plant, Rangoon creeper, Jasmine, Raat ki rani, snake plant, coleus, succulents, oleander, crotons and others.

9. Replenish the pots and beds with manure. New growth requires good nutrition.

10. Add organic manure in a bucket, filling one third. Fill it with water. Mix with a stick and add a mug full to each pot.

11. The trees are still shedding leaves. The dead leaves will fill the beds. They will look ugly against the blooming flowers. Maintain stamina. Keep cleaning. Regularly turn the soil but try to keep the soil moist.

12. Take care of indoor plants. Place them at the appropriate place for the coming summer to avoid sun burning. Keep the ones that love the bright sun in a sunny spot like bougainvillaea, thorny shrubs, cacti etc. Delicate plants may be shifted inside the verandah.

13. Do not throw kitchen waste. Recycle it by decomposing and use it as manure when it is fully decomposed.

14. Wash your plants daily to keep the leaves clean. It will improve the plants’ health.

15. Birds and other wildlife help control pests. Create a conducive ambience for them. Install nesting boxes in the right spot to attract birds. Keep water baths and water containers for birds. Change the water daily. Do not disturb the hedges or shrubs that birds fondly like to make a nest. Create an eco-friendly garden.

The coming hot days will boost the growth of plants. New leaves and buds will emerge, and plants will wear a shiny cloak. Be observant towards the requirement of plants whether it is enjoying the sun or loves to stay in the shade, whether it needs more water or less. The plant will tell you everything if you are interested in knowing.
Enjoy Spring!