Sunday, November 25, 2012

Curry Trees - Murraya koenigii


Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries. Often used in curries, the leaves generally go by the name "curry leaves", though they are also translated as "sweet neem leaves" in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are bitter).

It is a small tree, growing 4–6 m (13-20 feet) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2–4 cm long and 1–2 cm broad. 

It has aromatic compound leaves with about 12 dark green leaves pet stem. The flowers are small, white, and fragrant.White flowers occur in clusters and are followed by pea sized berries which turn reddish brown when ripe. The small black shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous

Curry leaf tree is a native of India and Sri Lanka where it has been used medicinally and in cooking for hundreds of years. Leaves are used in curries, vegetable dishes, chutneys, pickles. The leaves are often fried first in oil before other spices are added. Curry Leaves are now also used in Malaysia and Indonesia mainly in fish curries.

Curry leaf trees are tropical plants but will grow in cooler climates if kept in warm area through the winter. The trees sucker vigorously so if space is limited growing in a pot is a good option. They grow well in a pot and make an attractive plant for a verandah or outdoor area.
















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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gerbera










Gerberas are native to Transvaal, South Africa. The flowers often measure 17.8 cm across. They come in a wide range of colors - from light to dark yellow, orange, pink, brilliant scarlet, deep red, and many more. Having a long vase life, Gerbera flowers are great for adding color to any room or garden. 
The meanings of gerbera flowers stem from those credited to the general daisy family. These meanings include innocence and purity. Daisies are also a classic symbol of beauty.
Gerberas come in various forms. Broadly, they can be put into four groups-
  1.  Single Flowers - These Gerberas have a row of non-overlapping petals (ray florets) with a green center (disc florets). These are the most common gerberas available in the market.
  2. Double or duplex - These Gerberas have a double row of overlapping petals with a green, black, or dark red eye.
  3. Crested doubles - These doubles contain two rows of overlapping petals with one or more inner rows of shorter petals with a green, black, or dark red eye.
  4. Full crested doubles - These have solid overlapping rows of petals with an inner row diminishing in size, covering the eye entirely.

 Caring of Gerbera
  •  Place gerbera in a sunny location be sure to allow at least four hours of sunlight each day 
  •  Make sure the soil is well-drained.
  •  Keep the soil moist during blooming season and fertilize every other week using a water-soluble fertilizer. Allow the soil to dry between watering once blooming season is over.
  • Gerberas are heat-sensitive and go dormant in the heat, producing no blooms. Avoid fertilizing if this happens.
  • Gerberas does not like the cold and low temperatures can cause the leaves to turn black.
  • Remove any spent flowers and leaves as soon as possible to encourage new blooms.
  •  Make sure the crown of the plant is above the ground, as this can hinder the production of blooms.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Marigold - Tagetes



Marigold -Tagetes erecta, are annual summer plants. Although there are some 50 species, some marigolds we know come from just three:
  • Tagetes erecta are the tallest, at three to five feet. They are sometimes known as African, or American, marigolds.
  • Bushy T. patula, or French marigolds, are somewhat smaller and more compact. Elegant and eye-catching, they have relatively demure flowers and usually grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall.
  • The dainty T. tenuifolia are the signet, or rock-garden, marigolds that like hot, dry sites and make a wonderful edging. Their flowers are edible.
Tagetes erecta species vary in size from 0.01 to 2.2 m tall. Most species have pinnate green leaves. Blooms are naturally in golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, often with maroon highlights. Floral heads are typically (0.1-) to 4–6 cm diameter, generally with both ray florets and disc florets. In horticulture they tend to be planted as annuals, although the perennial species are gaining popularity.

Depending on the species, Tagetes grow well in almost any sort of soil. Most horticultural selections grow best in soil with good drainage.

Marigolds need lots of sunshine. Though they grow in almost any soil, marigolds thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. I can be sown directly into the garden once the soil is warm, or in pots till they germinate Germination from large, easily handled seeds is rapid.
  1. Plant marigolds in full sun and well-drained soil.
  2. Keep the soil moist but don't water excessively. 
  3. Fertilize marigold plants when the seedlings are planted Give each plant about 1 tsp. of a time-release granular fertilizer. No additional fertilizer is required, as marigolds are light feeders  
  4. remove dry marigold blooms.  
  5. Stake tall varieties of marigold to protect them against wind breakage.

Caring for beautiful marigold flowers is relatively easy, as these annuals tend to be low-maintenance. However they may call for a bit of extra assistance if they suffer damage caused by harsh weather and/or the common garden slug.



pluck dry marigold flowers

Remove the seeds (the inner part of the flower)


spread them in a small recipient


after 2-3 the seeds will sprout

Transplant the plant one by one in firm land

Use eggs to prevent garden slugs from eating those plants





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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holy basil - Ocimum tenuiflorum






Holy basil is a plant originated from India and is used in mainly Ayurvedic medicine. It is considered a sacred plant by the Hindus and is often planted around Hindu shrines. It comes in red and green varieties, both with a strong, pleasant aroma The Hindu name for holy basil, Tulsi, means "the incomparable one." 

Medicine is made from the leaves, stems, and seeds. holy basil has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions including cold, influenza, flu, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, earache, headache, stomach upset, heart disease, fever, viral hepatitis, malaria, and so on
In cooking, holy basil is often added to stir-fry dishes and spicy soups because of its peppery taste. Cookbooks sometimes call it "hot basil."

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cœur demoiselle - Carissa macrocarpa

Cœur demoiselle - Carissa macrocarpa
Cœur demoiselle - Carissa macrocarpa

Cœur demoiselle - Carissa macrocarpa
Ripe





The Cœur demoiselle - Carissa macrocarpa can reach 4 meters. The plant is bushy and dense with strong spines. Although it has edible fruits which is sweet flavor, but are rarely eaten. The flowers have a pleasant smell.

In Mauritius, this shrub is rarely planted. These plants are very beautiful when they are covered with fruits that are called Heart of lady. There are still a few specimens today



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