Bangalore’s roses –
Lal Bagh’s Roses could do with some rainwater harvesting!
Whenever I am feeling glum, over the maddening power cuts that have increased considerably to irk Bangloreans, or am worried about the water running endlessly down my neighbour’s motor (it always runs five or ten or twenty minutes after it should have stopped) I run away to visit Lal Bagh’s roses waiting to catch rose lovers in its new large rosy enclosure.
In recent months it has been widened to create a mini rose market of so many rainbow colours, that hardly any one can walk away without buying. The prices range from Rs. 30 to Rs. 100 which is very reasonable. There are many button roses to choose from as well.
There is one bed of milk white roses, another bed only has yellow flowers, sunny, lemony, bright and cheering. Then there is a band of unusual purple, lavender dark blue and violet roses to attract that picky rose lover who wants something off beat.
My favourites are the pink and white roses that act like those nuns who pray especially for you on the darkest of dying days, or that kindest matron in long ago boarding school who hugged you on sad Sundays when you wanted your mom desperately, and made it all feel better!
And then of course there is always that slinky, sly and utterly captivating carnival of red roses that waits just for you to open up your handbag and never stop pulling out the notes: even those awful new sickly vomiting two hundred rupee new ones and those even more dismal, toothache giving 2000 rupee notes!
Red roses cast that achingly exquisite spell over the most stingy or morose person, to soften him into bending down to their poetry of joy to perk up! The only sad thing to grieve about is that none of these roses are organically grown. They all make us shudder with the amount of pesticides they have been doused with – they are pocked, stuck and burned with poisons!
And yet this is the truth about growing roses without using chemicals: plant garlic, onions around them and spray water vigorously on them to get rid of the aphids.
With Bangalore having entered the very dangerous zone of water shortages, it is horrifying to see that tap near Lal Bagh’s green house (which sells orchids and other plants) dripping water night and day! No one is bothered about it despite having been told by many visitors to repair it.
Lal Bagh also has not done any thing about rain water harvesting which is the easiest solution for watering all its plants especially roses which are water guzzlers and need constant watering. In fact, environmentalists tell us that gardeners who care for the planet should now keep the roses, especially hybrid ones out of their gardens as they are the worst choice for the planet.
A quick and easy way to drink up your roses for Vitamin C!
Here is an easy and fun way to eat up your rose buds and leaves for a bit of rosy Vitamin C! Take around half an ounce of rose buds and petals to one pint of water. Boil the water separately and pour it over the buds and leaves and steep it for around 20 minutes. Then drink it hot or warm, one to two cups or more per day, at bed time and at rising.
Remember that roses contain much more vitamin C than oranges!
Hippocrates recommended rose oil to treat diseases of the uterus! In the olden days it was used for many ailments such as diarrhoea, leucorrhea, colds and coughs etc.!
But now it is mostly used to make perfumes and the petals are good to use in baking. You can add them to cake batter and give your cakes a rosy beauty.
Bonfires? No. Try making BUG Soup instead!
Backyard bonfires are a massive mistake. They waste rich composting and mulch material! It robs your garden of wonderful humus!
An even more unpleasant fact is that ordinary garden-waste bonfire smoke contains 350 times as many parts per million of cancer-causing benzopyrenes as cigarette smoke!
Do-it-yourself Remedies: many kitchen ingredients can help to get rid of garden pests. Slugs like to slink under safe snug things! Leave a wooden or any kind of board on the ground. Then flip it over every morning, gather up the slugs, and drown them in some soapy or boiling water!
The way to catch snails is to remember they like the shade. Take a clay flowerpot and turn it upside down for them to burrow under its cool shade. Then catch the hidden snails and drown them.
Snails and slugs can be caught by putting a shallow dish of beer in their area. They will be lured by it and can be found dead in it in the morning.
If you can bear to do this, collect the slugs and other insects from your garden, run them through your kitchen blender with some water, and then pour out the bug puree on your plants. Bug soup amazingly is the most effective and biologically safe bug repellent says The Canadian Green Consumer Guide.
Keep rabbits out of your vegetable gardens by planting rows of garlic and chives, onions around them.
Try this natural pesticide spray: throw some garlic and green onion tops in your blender or food processor. Strain this puree and mix the juice with some soapy water. Spray it over your roses, begonias and any other flowers and plants.
A 0.5 per cent solution of baking soda and water (3 teaspoons baking soda per gallon of water) sprayed on roses is a remedy for black spot and powdery mildew. (Based on research by R.K. Horst, professor of plant pathology at Cornell University).
It will certainly be difficult to dump roses for the welfare of the planet, but till we decide whether to have them or not in our gardens, we can let them border each day with their radiance and innocence! And what we can easily do is to avoid buying cut roses and other cut flowers for Valentine’s day or other functions. Why not plant your own roses for gifting?