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Man, what a wonderful day it has been!

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I was out for practically the whole day in the garden! I accomplished a lot considering I wasn’t working toward a deadline; it was see this, think about it, do it! Brilliant.

For (my) record, let me list what I have done:

    1. Southern border extended:

    To my surprise, one of my Cassia fistulas broke its tie to the cane (it’s a young plant of less than 2 years) and just collapsed on the ground! Needless to say the warning bells were ringing rather loudly. On investigation I found that the ground around it was not compact at all, it was very spongy and the roots were not penetrating deep into the ground, considering the age of the tree. It could be because of the zillions of ants I have around the garden (suggestions to eradicate them welcome) or even more probably it is because with the ready availability of water, it just didn’t bother rooting at all! That also explains the slow growth I have had with this one and its neighbour.

    It’s strange that even after 3 years living in this house and being in the garden countless times, things just don’t hit you as awkward. I guess this is how experience is gained. I looked at the water sources around the tree and I found about 6 sprinklers in an area of about 8 – 10 square meters! One was directly behind the tree, another in front and yet another about a couple of feet to the side! So it was getting far too much water… It wasn’t a good idea to plant them in the middle of the lawn!

    I decided the best thing to do is disconnect three sprinklers and move just one to be positioned in between the two Cassias; that would give them enough water to flourish and would water the lawn sufficiently enough – I hope.

    So I created a wave:

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Budha Patch

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Oriental garden

Oriental garden, originally uploaded by malyousif.

The plinth is built and Buddha is gracing it with his presence. I’m glad that this phase is over now, the basic construction and infrastructure. Now I can really concentrate on the plants and to bring it to life.

The observant amongst you would have noticed yet another name change to this patch! It is now officially “The Buddha Patch” which I think is much more appropriate and gives me a bit more flexibility as to the overall theme I want to adopt for this area of my garden. It will still be “oriental” in nature, but because of the unavailability of appropriate plants and material to that end in Bahrain, I shall strive to maintain at least the atmosphere of a Japanese/Oriental theme.

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

In-progress and overhead pictures after the break

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The Plinth

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A couple of things I really came to appreciate today: the first is the wealth of information available on the Internet, again, and the second is those manual labourers who we continuously take for granted!

The story is this: I wanted to build a regular red-brick column/plinth in the Zen Garden onto which I would place my newly acquired Buddha. I brought a builder to survey the site this morning and he quoted me a reasonable labour charge of BD30 (about $110) for the complete job without materials. He also agreed that he would finish the job in one day, but I thought I could do the thing on my own, not to save money, but because I thought it would be simple enough.

That brings me to the appreciation of the Internet as a simple Google search presented me with this article which included a video and sufficiently explained what needed to be done. Simple enough and convinced even more that I could take up the job on my own, I came home and started working on the plinth with the aid of my son Arif, bless him. He got to appreciate that being wrenched from in front of a TV is not a very nice experience!

The plinth foundation

Following the instructions, I built a 50cm square wooden frame, dug a hole to accommodate the frame at at a depth of approximately 50cm, mixed the cement and filled in the frame to create the base. That was a simple enough process to do, what wasn’t is the time-factor. It took us about 90 minutes to accomplish this simple task and the amount of intensive labour required was unexpected. I didn’t think that simply mixing the sand and cement to make sludge was that back-breaking. Nor did I expect that wet cement was that heavy either!

Anyway, we finished the task by nightfall and I am leaving it now to set and solidify. Hopefully tomorrow or the day after I can start laying the bricks to create the actual plinth. I should finish the job completely and take a few pictures to show you the new addition to the Zen Garden by the weekend.

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Zen Garden

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Zen Garden

What I thought I would do as a rockery, demanded to be made into a Zen/Orental garden instead! Don’t look at me, it all started with the devil getting into my sub-conscience and demanding that I get some bamboo for the background.

The only place I knew I was to get that bamboo was from Jannusan Exotics and that trip resulted in not only getting some tall Yellow Bamboo, but also Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo too along with a volcano lamp and a sitting Buddha statue!

At the apex of the plot I planted some asparagus and in front of and to the sides of the lamp I planted red penisitum grass and finished off the first phase of planting with a nice moderately sized agave to give a contrast in texture and colour.

I must say that I am rather happy with how it is turning out so far, even with the dire warnings by my wife that the bamboo will uncontrollably spread and it would be a murderous exercise to remove it.

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The Rockeraaaay

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The Rockeraaaay

The Rockeraaaay, originally uploaded by malyousif.

That’s what I hope to make of this new patch. This is just the first phase completed this afternoon; enough sand has been moved into it I think, and the border made from cut branches off a conucarpus tree that fell over when it was rather windy last year.

Tomorrow I’ll mix the peat moss, cow manure and run the drip-lines.

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20 tonnes of sand need to be moved!

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I’m changing a part of the garden and adding a flower bed, the area is about 25 square meters and I intend to make a mound or two in it, so I ordered this pile of sand, all 20 tonnes of it and also 10x 40kgs bags of cow manure for the vegetable patch in preparation for the forthcoming season.

All this needs to be moved inside, so Arif (my son) and I moved about a third of the mound already, and I moved 10 bags of manure to the veg patch, the ones remaining here I’m going to return to the vendor as I over-estimated my need for the good stuff.

Back-breaking work but immensely satisfying!

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‘Tis the Season

With the turn of wind and the breaking of the temperature over the last few days, it leaves no doubt in any Bahraini gardener’s mind that the new growing season has almost started! What a wonderful time it is too.

This is the third year for us in our home and although the garden is far from being mature, I have certainly gained some experience in gardening, which means that I keep changing things around and for the most part, the changes are relatively good and the plants have a higher than average chance of survival.

This weekend has been very productive, gardening-wise; I’ve potted up 30 spider plant babies in small pots and I have planted 11 varieties of flower seeds and covered them to protect them form the sun. I’ve even put up a scarecrow made with one of Frances’ old abayas! I’ve also finally chopped the top 3 feet of the money-plant in the living room which was almost reaching the ceiling and potted that after smearing rooting gell over the bottom 6-inches. I’ve also potted the rooting money-plant which I have left simply in water in a vase.

This afternoon I cleared and cleaned the two pool planters, they look tremendously better now for the trim and cleaning they got. The huge ficus is now manageable and the devil backbone’s extra branches have been snapped and the plant generally been made a lot neater.

I re-positioned an Agave in the smaller breakfast-area planter to balance it out a bit and chopped off the 1.5m-high cypresses that grew there by themselves.

So all in all I am rather happy with what I got up to this weekend. Hopefully in the next few weeks I shall update you with the progress of the nursery.

For the record, the “nursery” now has – as seeded on Friday 21 Sept, ’07:

I’ve also planted Sweet Pea in a large pot which I equipped with a circular trellis.

All of the above should flower next Feb – July. I’ve got a few areas in the garden earmarked to receive them. I’ve got plenty of other seeds and am planning at least 2 more flower beds (eating away at the lawn!) to be planted this season.

More back-breaking work, but very much enjoyed and hopefully worth it.

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