Morning Glory, Heavenly Blue

Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)June 1, 2005

Hi Everyone!

At first attempt I've had plenty of luck with 100% germination of the MG (Heavenly Blue) seeds. All the fifteen seedlings are now at a height of 10" and have unfurled their first set of true leaves!

Suddenly I found some of the leaves of the seedlings were having some kind of white spots and looked pale. On close inspection I found some kind of insects almost microscopic in size and rust red in color on and below the leaves.

Immediately I sprayed the plants with a weak solution of pesticide and water. No results so repeated with a stronger one but still no results. Hence, very carefully hand picked them as not to damage the tiny leaves. It seems I've got rid of them (at least temporarily). Any suggestion any one?

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

It could be some type of spider mite. Not familiar with the types of insects over in your part of the world but you could look for something that is labeled as a "miticide", since many garden pesticides seem to be useless on mites.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 7:36AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Hello Candle Tree. I agree with Jenny that it may be a mite, not an insect, so an insecticide will be useless. The white that you see may be the webbing and eggs of the "spider mite". We had plenty of them when I lived in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu. If you see a blood red stain when you wipe the leaves, it is most probably red spider mites. They reproduce quickly.

I suggest that you wipe off the leaves with mild soap and water especially beneath the leaves where they usually populate, and then spray the plant with a diluted solution from the plant Azadaracta indica - native to India. Here we call it "Neem", but in India it has numerous local names. If you can find this extract, don't spray it while the plant is in sunlight (the leaves will burn). If you cannot find it, weekly clean the plant with mild soap and water or dicard the plant.

Namisde. John_Z.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 8:54PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)


Thanks heaps Jenny & John, I will try the methods both of you have suggested. Hope it will fetch the results.

Will keep updated about how they (MG seedlings)are doing.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 9:46PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hi folks!

My MG plants which were under mite attacks are free from them (for the time being) and are in qurantine. Though new leaves are coming out, some of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. What's the matter now?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 6:51AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle Tree, I admire and respect your determination. Leaf loss can have numerous causes, so we would have to examine growing conditions. Are the leaves that are falling from new growth or the older leaves - or both? Are there drainage holes in the container and are they in ground soil/dirt/earth, or in a potting medium? The more information you provide the better. Roots will need to have some air between each watering so they can absorb water and nutrients. This mean that the potting mix must dry down to a degree so the roots can get some air. If the soil or potting mix remains too wet or too dry, problems will inevitably result. Also, Moring Glory loves full sun, which mean 6+ hours of direct sunlight. They will therefor take up a lot more moisture than if they were in a shady spot.

Relate all the growing conditions, my plant loving sister from India!

Respectfully, John.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:37PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hello John!

I really look forward to the day when the MG plants will bloom into beautiful and stunning flowers, for that I think any amount of hard work is worth.

With help/guidance from kind souls like you, Jenny and others I'm sure a novice like me can make it happen. I'm truly thankful to have stumbled upon this forum. are the conditions the MG plants are in:

1. The plants (some of them) still in the plastic cups are having this problem of yellowing leaves, but these leaves are the first ones that unfurled during the germination. The ones planted in the ground soil are doing okay till now.

2. There is drainage holes in the plastic cups and are out in the full sun.

3. The growing medium compostion is soil and leaf meal at a ratio of 50 - 50.

4. I was moderately watering them twice a day (temperature is around thirty nine degree celcius with no rainfall and upto ninety percent humidity) but for a couple of days watering just once.

Hope I have given all the required information to do the diagnosis correctly!

Thanks and best wishes.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 11:33PM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle Tree: The younger leaves that yellow are not a problem if the amount of light is good (6 hours or more) and the moisture is adequate (not too wet all the time, not completely dry between each watering). The first leaves that seeds produce are called the cotyledons and are already formed within the seeds. These will provide all the nutrients the plant needs until the "true leaves" are formed. These will look different than the leaves that follow. But these lower older leaves on the stem will eventually yellow due to "senescence" - the natural aging and death of older leaves. No problem. My only concern would be the soil and leaf meal in plastic containers that do not provide enough drainage and air to the roots (aeration). Landscape soil does not have pour spaces large enough to provide enough air to the roots in containers unless it is sandy, and the "leaf mold" may be an organic ingredient that breaks down or decomposes quickly - adding to the lack of air around the roots. Premature leaf yellowing can result. These ingredients simply become too compacted over a brief period of time.

Although I have not grown the Morning Glory myself, I have read that high fertilisation and moisture will produce many leaves and few flowers. They can grow over 3 metres and love something to climb on, such as a trellis or patio railings. Flowers will open during the mornings of summer, but will do so also during the days and weeks that are cloudy.

Personal note: I must compiment you on your skills in English. The Tamil I learned with a British accent was useless in Kolkata/Calcutta I learned quickly years ago, and I resorted to using hand gestures and drawing pictures in the sand with sticks sometimes. Wanting to share, we were able to communicate, and we also were able to have a good laugh with each other.

I will stay posted, Candle Tree. Shanti.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 9:57PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hi John!

Thanks, but in case the first leaves (cotyledons) are supposed to fall off then I guess I shouldn't worry too much. As for the remaining ones in the plastic cups, they are to go into the pots in a couple of days.

This is the first time I'm trying MG plants (I take a flip everytime I see the Heavenly Blue variety) and must admit that I'm sort of nervous and really, really want them to grow well.

The ones planted into the garden soil infront of our house have already started their climb and the amazing thing is they seem to grow by hours! Last evening there was an unexpected spell of shower and it has been particularly beneficial for the plants I suppose.

Will keep posted about their growth.

P.S. Thanks heaps, but my medium of study in school and college has always been English, hence I'm quite comfortable. Comparitively I'm always little unsure while writing in Bengali (my mother tongue) and Hindi (the national language)! As for Tamil, it is indeed one of the most difficult Indian languages (it's Greek to me) as it directly formulated from Sanskrit. Were you in Kolkata too during your stay in India apart from Pondi? I've never travelled South except for attending a conferance (on suicide prevention) in Chennai about three and a half years back.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 4:11AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Hello again, Candle_Tree! What a wonderful name. I checked some of my horticulture manuals for Ipomoea purpurea, the botanical name for Morning Glory, and some sources mention that they may not always "come true" from seed. This means that if you save the ripened seeds for next year, some varieties may not look like the flowers from the parent plant, yet others will. It is a matter of experiment. I have kept some of the most ugly seedlings from other species and genera alive just because they are life, but chose not to propagate them.

This you may already know, but if you choose to save seeds, let the flower dry on the plant naturally, remove the browned petals, and store the seeds in a warm, dry place in an envelope for next year. Before planting them, the hard seed must be scarified by nicking the seed coat with a file or sandpaper or soaking them in warm water for 24 hours before sowing them. Then they can be planted outside or started indoors. Germination will occur in 7 days at about 21 to 29 degrees C.

This plant is native to the Tropical regions, but naturalised in North America. One source said, "...don't even breath the name morning-glory to agronomists least they bring out the weed killer." Oh me, oh my.

P.S. Actually, I landed in Kolkata by accident afer getting on the wrong bus on my way to Delhi. It was miscommunication from the beginning at the station in Hyderabad. But I chose to spend the day there after meeting an English-speaking Indian man who noticed I looked quite confused. Not doubt I radiating an obvious "duh" look on my face. He was very helpful and kind, and also quite curious about my reasons for this European-American being in India for so many years. He politely asked me several questions and seemed delighted when I mentioned some facinating travel experiences from the U.K. through Europe and the Middle East and beyond. This Kolkata man viewed his life as an 'open book' (as he said, "I have no secrets") as I do most of the time, so we were able to share conversation throughout the day about what meaning life and death had for us personally, what "peace" in the world actually meant, and other subjects that would be considered "inappropriately profound" to most people in most social settings. To be candid, I found this respectful and open sharing far more common in Asia than I ever have in the U.S. Later that afternoon, I met his wife and chldren, and now really regret that I declined their offer to share a meal at their home that evening.

So I only experienced Kolkata through the eyes, mind, and heart of one Being who lived there - and for me at that time, it was sufficient and fulfilling. India, like the U.S. and all of places, has its share of those who are rich and poor, enlightened and en-darkened, of kind heart or greedy, etc. It is the way of things.

Although Pondi was my home base, and lived in the Sri Aurobindo ashram for 3 months, I also spent a lot of time in Bangalore, Mysore and other place - preferring smaller villages in the south. To my suprise, I actually met Hindu priests that had university degrees from the U.S. and U.K. I could write a book on that subject.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 3:04PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hello John!

Thanks for taking all the trouble and educating me about Ipomoea purpurea. After and before purchasing the MG seeds I did a little bit of reading about them and found that many people were really irritated and wanted to know how to get rid of MG plants from their garden, because of unruly self propagation. Well...that shouldn't be any problem for me, as the MG seedlings I've planted outside is on a tiny slice of soil infront of our house where I plan to grow nothing other than MG and Moon Flower (Ipomoea Alba). Though I searched for the MF seeds couldn't find it in any of the local shops, so my friend who is visiting Kolkata in July has promised to get me some from NJ. In fact MG plants are quite rare in Kolkata and I haven't sighted Heavenly Blue in more than one place (I've shared my first sighting experience in Morning Glories' Climbing Ability discussion thread on this forum).

I believe that Japan is a MG crazy nation and have done a lot of alteration to the seeds to get beyond recognition MG flowers. However, I think my taste is quite conservative and I prefer the Heavenly Blue variety but have to admit that Brilliant Trumpets and Hatsu Arashi has caught my attention!

Last night too we had some beautiful rain and monsoon is expected any day now (this year it is quite delayed) and I'm already feeling happy, mainly because during the monsoon there is so much greenery all around and that makes me very calm and peaceful from within.

P.S. Indeed you are quite well travelled! So far I didn't get the chance to travel much but would just like to go to Kerala during the monsoon once and stay in a rice boat and a tree house (what is life without a few dreams)! Also I must say I love coastal food and often cook some for my friends!

Of course like everywhere India has got it's share of rich and poor, greedy and generous etc., but what bothers me is that our country has an overwhelming number of uneducated. Nothing can be worse than that, because I believe it is only knowledge that can set a person truly free from darkness of mind and soul.

Priests having foreign degrees? You've really got me amazed, I know of very many people from the Brahmin sect (but not priests) who are very highly qualified.

What you say about Asians (being more open and sharing than Westerners) could be true but I'm not sure if that is also applicable to the Chinese (I do deal with them a lot due to my business). I find that they take very long to feel comfortable in unknown/less known company but then that could entirely be due to the language barrier. However, the Chinese living in India (mainly in Kolkata) are very different in fact most of them can't speak their native tongue fluently anymore!

You know what John? Our post scripts are lengthier than our actual posting, do you think the portal owners are likely to throw us out for that (just joking)?!!!

P.P.S. Thanks so much I thought that Candle_Tree was a beautiful name too while choosing it, I wish I truly was one!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 8:57AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle_Tree, as long as you try to be a point of light and continue to grow in your life - the name is well chosen.

Impomoea alba is another wonderful annual I have seen, but like MG, I have not grown it yet. 'Heavenly Blue' is a cultivated variety ("cultivar") that is listed as Ipomoea tricolor (I just learned), not as I. purpurea as I thought. One of my books said that the I. tricolor has flowers in the characteristic sky blue and in various pastel shades. I. purpurea has flowers that may be white, pink, red, violet blue, striped, three-coloured, or with double flowers. This may be the species that the Japanese are hybridising since there is more genetic diversity. As you may already know, botanical names give one plant one name all over the world no matter what language we speak or what the local name is. So they are useful for researching plants on the Internet.

Over the past few decades I've been astonished to see how many more plant species are being imported and exported around the planet. It has mostly a positive side, especially for providing variety, but invasive species can really be a problem. I'm not concerned about MG, but Kudzu has ruined plantings on highways, national parks, and private properties here and everywhere. In the U.S. it is illegal to bring particular plant species into some states because they out-compete native plants for water, soil nutrients, and land space.

P.S. I agree that education in any way, shape, or form is critical for so many reasons. But apathy is the main problem in my view - simply having no reason or interest in having one. This indifference runs in families and ghettos, but in India, as we know, there is caste influence and/or peer pressure too. Illiteracy is also a basic problem in so many countries. I am multi-lingual, but meet many immigrants that will not learn basic English to function within the society and particularly improve their work skills & financial possibilities. Many are also illiterate in their own language I learned. That is their choice, but I cannot say it is not real conscious, enlightened Choice with a capital "C". Some people simply have no frame of reference to greater possibilities perhaps, and I am not talking about those who have functional limitations that are genetic in origin.

I'm sure you might agree that education is not absolutely about university degrees. I have had professors who were morons (socially, philosophically, politcally, etc.) outside of their chosen field of study, as I learned through private conversations with them over the years. Others without any college education are busting with curiosity and interest, and use the libraries and Internet to broaden their mind and sharpen their skills. They have my respect and admiration! But in my experience, this is certainly not the majority of low-income workers that I've encountered here.

I encourage you to write something about yourself on Gardenweb's "My Page" because you are bright and have much to share.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 7:58PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)


Though I have had various interests, enthusiasm for growing greens is a considerably new found passion. Can't begin to describe the joy and excitement I felt when the seeds germinated (perhaps this is the feeling new mothers talk about)!

I'm trying to learn things from the Internet, books, this/other forum (s) and personal experience. In the meantime if I seem daft, please bear with me (though there is no reason to do so).

Does cultivated variety mean that it has been genetically altered? If so, then what are the true varieties of MG? Any idea if MF really imparts that lovely fragrance many talk about or is it just another hype? Indeed I found that the botanical names are of extreme importance not only while searching on the net, but also while shopping for the seeds etc. For example when I asked for Goblin in the shop, they couldn't identify but the moment I asked for Gaillardia I got what I was looking for!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you that one of the MG plants out in the soil had been destroyed by the sparrows. I was quite upset because it was growing so well and have replaced it with another healthy plant. Hope the sparrows will stop being such a bother.

P.S. Recently many tea estates have been temporarily shut down in my home state West Bengal because the main foreign buyers are refusing the product due to residual pesticide and chemical fertiliser. The owners are taking time to switch over to organic pesticide and fertiliser, while the labourers who are employed at no work, no pay basis are starving. I blame the entire situation to lack of education. If the management cared to update/educate itself on hazards of using chemical stuffs it would have switched over long before. The labourers are not educated/trained for any other way to earn their living.

At the same time in a small village in Kerala have changed their entire lifestyle due to education. The main occupation over there had been fishing but were not doing well (per household income was slightly less than a dollar a day) a man trained in Dubai took the initiative and trained the villagers to cultivate mussels. They are exporting worth millions of dollars and preparing a domestic market as well.

Unequal sex ratio, dowry, out of control population, infant death, oppression of women, child labour, environmental pollution, adulteration of food, corruption that exists in India is largely due to lack of education. Sometimes there is no opportunity (not fortunate enough to have a single proper meal let alone education) and sometimes it's apathy (as you said). A report of WHO said that due to unwise use of antibiotics by many doctors (in India), TB is emerging as a major problem to reckon with. The worse part is, mostly it is Multiple Drug Resistant (MPD) type, meaning fiercely contagious and difficult to treat. Young children with diabetes (due to wrong food intake) are common instances. By 2010 cardiac problem is going to take the shape of epidemic, because of stressed life style etc., but also due to our changing food habit (newly discovered delights of burgers, pizzas, pastas, colas etc.). Many don't even know that compared to the Americans, Europeans and Japanese our gene structure makes us more susceptible to cardiac diseases.

I fully agree with you, education is definitely not about university degree but what about the basic? Our culture dates back to 5000 years but instead of improving why this backward journey? But having said all that I'm still hopeful about my nation.

Wellas writing something about me on the Garden Web's "my page", I don' know if that's possible my more. While registering, due to connectivity problem I hurriedly had just put in the basics. Later when I tried to update 'my page' didn't find any option to do so (but me being me, may have missed it). Wow! Thanks for considering me to be bright! I must say that I have been really enjoying (and learning) while interacting with you on this forum and if you like you can write to me at

P.P.S. Life without growth is death, existence without evolving is stagnancy. I don't know if I've been able to be a point of light or not, but I thought I would at least try when I decided to join as a volunteer in a suicide prevention centre. It is perhaps the best decision I made in my entire life, because there is no greater joy in giving unconditional love and support to a person who is depressed enough to consider suicide.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:04AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle_Tree, I had a strange coincidence happen a few hours ago. I was at a shop looking at gardening magazines on my way home from work, and was curious about one called, "Birds and "Blooms". I dropped it by accident, and when I picked it up it was opened on pg. 28 showing a large picture of MG 'Heavenly Blue' with an inserted picture of the "Moonflower". How very strange! I thought instantly, and that I must send this to Candle_Tree somehow so she will believe me. So I decided to incude my e-mail address in this posting, but saw that you shared yours. I will be in touch this week-end when more time permits, and we can talk outside the forum to our heart's content on the issues we have shared. Also, I do not feel that you should be without any seeds you want (without violating international laws that I will check out). I will get them to you in the appropriate seasons if you wish. After all, we need to cultivate also the "earth goddess" aspect in you as a budding horticulturist.

A cultivated variety or cultivar means that humans choose to propagate/multiply a particular plant because it has desirable characteristics (disease-resistance, improved flowers or foliage over the species form, etc). These hybrid traits can occur by nature's cross-pollinating through butterflies, moths, or the wind - or by human nurture and selectivity. I confess that I am not informed fully enough on the pros and cons of genetic engineering with the plant kingdom's food crops, so I have no view. I'm sure that when we manipulate or bypass natural evolution, there can be a lot of consequences and/or rewards to be debated. Hopefully, only the best educated minds on either side of the controversy will be in the spotlight - not the opinionated and ignorant hysterics versus the greedy corporations. A cultivar name has been traditionall written in semi-quotes, such as Impomea ( the genus) tricolor (the species) 'Heavenly Blue' (cv). So I doubt that this term applies ot genetically engineered plants.

It pleases me to no end that ou are attuned to the lack of education impacting the work force. Trust me, I see it here all the time with workers endangering themselves, others, and the environment by mixing and applying pesticides when they cannot even read the warnings and instructions on the label. (These are not people in the company I work for). I have approached them on several occasions about serious mistakes they make, and there is no language barrier - there is a lack of interest in safety concerns. My Spanish is good enough to realise that they don't know what they are doing. I have quite a concern about the use of chemicals, and I do use them wisely as a certified pesticide applicator for horticultural use - but not on food crops. At the same time I am not in agreement with using organic fertilisers over "chemical" ones. Everything physical in nature has a chemical basis, and for "organic" products to bash chemistry is simply absurd.

Plants could not care less whether the source of fertiliser is organic or chemical because it can only absorb the needed elements in an ion form (cations or anions). It's a chemistry thing. So they don't absorb the nutrients in the way we apply them - no matter what the source. They go through a series of stages until a cation/anion usable form is reached to absorbed by the roots. Organic fertilisers have the disadvantage of not supplying enough of the "micronutrients" (iron, copper, manganese, etc.) so it had better be present in the soil in sufficient amounts to begin with. If it doesn't, nutritional deficiences will result for the plant and for us. Quite often, sufficient soil nutrients do not exist, especially in tropical soils. And the most element needed by agricultural crops as well as most foliage plants is nitrogen. Urea nitrogen is synthetically produced organic nitrogen that will convert into a usable form through the beneficial bacteria in the soil. It makes no difference whether it comes from seaweed, fish emulsion, or a synthetic urea-based nitrogen. The conversion process (via soil bacteria) will remain the same for it to be absorbed by the roots, and chemical fertilisers can provide a better and much cheaper source for nitrogen that is MEASURABLE for application.Organic fertilisers do not list their percentages of micronutrients because they are either not present, or they do not have a guarenteed percentage. (Take a rest, John_Z).

You are a gem. I look forward to sharing with you via mail and/or e-mail, especially on social concerns.

Respectfully, John_Z.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 9:40PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hey John!

Guess what? I managed to figure out how to update 'my page'!

I'm very excited, what did 'Birds & Blooms' say about MG & MF?

THANKS! It's really, really sweet of you but don't even dream of encouraging me by thinking I must have all the seed variety of my heart's desire, because every time I enter the shop I kinda go loony and want to pick up all! Currently it's mom versus me fighting for garden and pot space, while dad is having all the fun from sidelines (refuses to comment on whose side he is exactly)!

From what you have told me about cultivated varieties I presume that maybe in some cases (say like certain food crops) it can be really beneficial? For example in India where farming is largely dependent on monsoon, if a certain variety of rice crop is drought resistant it's good news to the farmers. Or say the way Japs altered the watermelons genetically to make them in squares for better storage (trust them to come up with such ideas)! However, I'm not sure if the result is always as good as they promise. I mean there was this suicide incident in down South (India) among the cotton farmers because the result was disastrous though there were many tall promises about fabulous crop output.

I'm no way an authority to speak on benefit or lack of it while using chemical products in farming but our media regularly goes blue in the face screaming. We get a daily dose in newspapers/magazines that how we are consuming chemical contaminated cereals, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, meat, milk and even water. There was a huge cry over pesticide residue found in aerated drinks, both Coca Cola and Pepsi had to take in a bashing and saw a sales dip. Later, the government gave a clean chit, but frankly no one was too convinced (because people would rather trust rattlesnakes than politicians).

After you mentioned Kudzu in your second last posting, I did a little bit of reading and found that many times I have seen it growing on roadsides here too. There is good news though (you may have read about it already), in Harvard Medical School they have developed a drug extracted from its root, which might help to cure alcoholism. Maybe when it is ready for human use, Kudzu can be harnessed and cultivated? In Japan and China, kudzu root is ground and used as a common ingredient in foods and medications for centuries.

O God! I have some unwanted visitors in my garden - bush snails (the ones with flat shells). I was reading about how to get rid of them and some suggested feeding them XXX beer (whatever that's supposed to be)! WellI'm a teetotaller and have never been to a liquor shop in my life, so getting started for the benefit of the snails is not on my agenda. Some suggested plain squashing, but ee..e..ks I can't do it (horribly messy). Hence, thought to try something new and it worked! Simply sprinkled little table salt on the slimy things and they kind of fizzed and conked off!

Sorry, but I have to rush (to the bank) or my Banker will fizz me off! Will check out my inbox for your mail this weekend.


P.S. One who is good is likely to have a good opinion about everyone. As you are so kind, you think well about others. Thank you.

P.P.S. Gosh! It's suddenly raining outside can't begin to describe how lovely it is!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 2:56AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

Well, let's hope the monsoon arrives and cools things off. I'm heading to Calcutta in August and hot weather is something I can't stand these days:)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 10:28AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Dr. Horticulture, I envy you going to Kolkata this year. As I said, I had only one day there (by accident). I keyed in "Kolkata picture gallery" on my Google search engine last night to see what I missed. Well, there are a lot of interesting things there to say the least.

Candle_Tree, you are right about icky snails, and they can be so destructive rasping away at the foliage. Slugs are my #1 pest and I cannot use the snail and slug pellet baits because my yard is a bird sanctuary. Mostly I have swiped them in the early morning hours with a paper towel and have eliminated litterally hundreds of them in within 2 days. Hand picking really requires persistence to make a difference, however. Copper strips of at least 24 mm or more will give them an electrical shock if they crawl onto it, so they can be placed strategically in all the right places as a barrier. (My problem is finding the copper sheets). So now I'm going to try placing a shallow pie pan or saucers filled with a mixture of yeast, molasses, and water and submerge the bowl so the rim is at soil level. I had to laugh when one man said he refused to waste his good beer on those critters. The suggestion is to use one of these traps for every 0.9 sq meters of garden space. They also will not crawl across a surface of diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shells, or wood ashes either. But diatomaceous earth and ashes are only effective when kept dry and are an aesthetic "zero" to me, especially when dusted onto the foliage. I'm scratching out that suggestion. Also, home made traps such as inverted flower pots on short stakes are effective if you remember to empty them daily. One chap from Australia said he wets the mulch with instant coffee in water and the caffeine kills them. So I bought caffeine tablets (a product here called "NoDoz" maximum strength 200 mg/tab) and will experiment with a bowl of this brew in the garden. (And speaking of drugs, I was shocked to see Tetracycline and other antibiotics available without a prescription when I lived in Tamil Nadu. This will really advance antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Not good).

The Birds and Blooms article gave lots of good info about the 'Heavenly Blue' MG, and the author said her plants reached 3 1/2 to almost 7 meters in a single season. She emphasised that they need something to climb on suchas a fence, trellis, or just plain wire. They will not bloom is they are over-watered or if there is a drought. Planted in the ground, she prefers not to fertilise them. The article mentioned other favourite cultivars (and showed pictures of them) such as the red blooms of 'Cardinal Climber' (Ipomoea x multifida), 'Star Glory' (I. quamoclit), and 'Spanish Flag' (I. lobata), a shade-tolerant type with narrow crimson blooms that mature to yellow and orange.

The Moonflower (I. alba) she said opens its white blooms during the evening hours, and that there are dwarf varieties that do not require any support and are attractive to use in window boxes or as hanging plants. She also gives advice about sowing the seeds of Ipomoea and states they don't transplant well from containers; she sows them in the garden after the soil warms to about 22 to 24 degrees C. Again, it would be my pleasure to simply mail the magazine to you - no problem. One annual here that is common is Cleome hasslerana. I must plant a drift of them every year or I would feel so horticulturally deprived that life wouldn't be worth living. LOL. Some people dislike it because it self-sows prolifically, but I collect the seeds in an envelope before they disperse.

I will send you an e-mail this weekend on our off-topics, and must keep in mind that you are 9 hours ahead of me. I'm very impressed with your social consciousness and concern. I'd love to share notes on many issues.

Peace. John_Z.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 11:47AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)


I was reading your profile. Do you think horticulture as a career *and* a way of life (from the individual's point of view) is more enjoyable in India compared to North America? I'd like to discuss it a bit; could you please email me?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 2:18PM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Dr. Horticulture, I wouldn't be one to say that horticulture is more enjoyable as a "here vs. there" thing. Each experience is unique, and there a quite a few personal and job situation factors that each individual must consider before making a value judgement. "Enjoyable" is a very subjective word, no doubt. The field is also quite diverse, so if you become bored or dissatisfied for whatever reasons, you can always change your specialty. But what I also see happen is that people generally don't quit jobs, they quit managers. Or they think they are in the wrong field sometimes, but actually they are at the wrong company. I could never make the statement that practicing horticulture here is better or worse than anywhere else.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 4:14PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Dr. Horticulture,

By August it should be cooler in Kolkata. With May/June, the worst heat usually gets over. However, sweat factor is likely to be quite high.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:51AM
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