Attending the flower shows is always on our must-do list. Recently, the 30th Noida Flower Show was held in the city during the last weekend of February. It was a fantastic show for the nature lovers and gardeners. I love the opportunity it gives me to browse through various stalls set up by plant nurseries from all over Noida and NCR. The best part is the variety of exotic, ornamental, flowering and herbal plants at the Noida Flower Show you get to buy all under one roof. Not to forget the good bargains!
|Left to Right – Lettuce, Rocket, Celery, Dark Lettuce
Herbal section is my favorite. Incidentally the focus of the flower show was on herbal and medicinal plants. I have always wanted to maintain a herbal garden. So I got myself four tiny herbs – Lettuce, Rocket, Celery and Dark Lettuce.
I bought them from a corner stall where only the herbs – potted and tender sprouts, organic manures, few pots and garden equipment were on sale. They cost me just Rs 25/- a piece on buying 4 pots together otherwise the quoted price was Rs 40/- per potted plant. I found it to be a great bargain!
I was surprised to find an English-speaking gentleman in charge of the stall. Usually it is the friendly Maali (gardener) who man these stalls and are not even able to pronounce the names of the plants properly. But I do love their version like a ‘BeeganBel’ is Bougainvillea…haha!
Further down the line there were saplings of other vegetables and herbs available for Rs10/- a piece. These saplings are very tiny and their survival rate is very low. Last time when I had got these tiny saplings they did not survive long.
Every year I start a herbal potted garden but I am afraid to say it does not survive the harsh summers of May-June. I guess need to learn few tricks to maintain the same. Fortunately, this gentleman seller was forthcoming with tips to maintain these plants. He gave handy tips to all potential buyers and patiently answered all the queries. No wonder his plants were selling real fast.
After buying, I had kept the pots near the window. As advised had transplanted in a bigger pot the next day with a base of Neem Khali. It is an organic manure which acts as a fertilizer and is a natural pesticide as well. The best part is the herbs do not require very large pots. Everyday minimum two hours of sun is essential for the growth of lettuce. I have been alternating the pots from shade to sun depending upon sun’s intensity. February temperatures towards month end had spiked. However, sudden rains and hailstorm in March were bad for the dark variety of lettuce and lost the plant to the unexpected change in weather.
Three weeks down, the celery and lettuce plant have grown profusely. We are enjoying the goodness of our-very-own-grown herbs in various combinations of Salads. But I must tell you Rocket (very unusual and funny name for a plant) turned out to be the biggest surprise. I have never had this before and its strong almost stinging taste tantalizes your senses and gives the salad a new twist.