North India, Garden Calendar for April

Flower garden

Sunflowers, Mexican sunflowers, portulaca and cochea saplings are now to be planted to replace the fading winter seasonals. Portulaca is particularly great as the succulent leaves preserve moisture despite the strong sun.

Portulaca flowers garden

Shrubs and climbers

Pink Madhu malati in bloom

Madhumalati is ready to bloom through the summer and rains now. Train the new branches along boundary walls or some sort of support. Bela or jasmine which looked a dull green in winter is also ready to bloom and needs generous watering. White and pink rose shrubs (summer roses) are springing new branches and leaves and respond well to generous watering.

Vegetable Patch

It’s time to plant saplings or sow seeds from seed packets from the market.

Choice of vegetables: Brinjal, okra (ladies finger), gourd, white gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber, pumpkin, gawar phali, maize, coriander and mint.

Mint runners are easy to get from the nearest green grocer. Coriander seeds can be got from the kitchen itself.

Rooftop kitchen garden

Surprisingly many of the above vegetables do well in pots as well. Maize if planted now will be ready in the rains. Tall maize plants are a change from colourful flower pots, nonetheless attractive and useful. It’s a delight to find birds eyeing the corn if you are game for such things :-)

Fruit trees

Mango, chiku and lichi  trees need thorough watering as the fruit forms. It is best to dig a meter or so of soil around the roots and let the water soak in.

Anisha Sharma
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Niranjani akhara peshwai at Mahakumbh mela 2010, Haridwar Photo journal