Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Moss Rose

CandyFloss in bloom

The Moss Rose is supposed to be a rather common flower in Indian gardens, but I first saw it on the way to work, growing in the Circle near Bagmane TechPark. At the height of summer, the ground in which it stood was parched; but the flowers were all in bloom, a riot of bright magenta.

Then and there, I decided that I must have it. I acquired 2, from a gaadi wala. It had no flowers then, so I did not know what colours it would yield. I did not know the name either until Mom dropped by and called it "Table rose".

Interestingly only in India is it referred to it as Table Rose, the actual name according to Google-land, is Moss Rose. This, I found, after a hour of extensive googling.

I have two, and both turned out to be a candy floss pink, not the magenta I had seen. Here is a Bud, looking rather nice, growing in front of a tangle of weeds.

Waiting to bloom

Some times, weeds can enhance the beauty of your garden; as in this case ( or so I like to convince myself) but only in Macro mode.


Scientific Name : Portulaca grandiflora

Family: Portulacaceae (purslane Family)

Where did it come from?
Originally from the hot, dry plains of southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina, moss rose is cultivated throughout the world as a favorite garden annual.

Can you eat it?

The Purslane is a common weed, The related purslane (P. oleracea) is a bothersome weed (which I yank out every now and then) in warm climates, although it is widely cultivated for food and has been for more than 2000 years. In fact, purslane, which is used raw in salads and cooked like spinach as a potherb, is very high in vitamins A, B1 and C.

Needs full sun to flower. Do not water with overhead irrigation ( Means dont give the plant a shower ); it damages the flowers.
Moss rose grows well in poor, sandy or gravelly soils. The soil must be very well-drained. ( This is according to a lot of non-Indian websites, but I think the joy of tropical climates is that you can chuck anything in the ground and it will grow well) Be fearless, grow it anywhere.

Apparently, the seeds are as tiny as dust ( this explains why I never saw any) So mix them with sand before sowing to make them easier to scatter. But lucky for us, in warm climates, moss rose usually self-seeds itself ( This is what Im counting on)

Pretty in Pink

Photography Tip:
What to do when the background is distracting? ( the moss rose is growing in front of bushes of short marigolds or the wall of the garden is white ) I have both these problems. Mighty Mouse Pad to the rescue! Place behind the subject and adjust exposure accordingly.

Where can you buy these flowers and do your bit for society?
If you live in Bangalore, there is a nursery in Jeevan bheema nagar managed by The Association of People with Disability. They have a well trained staff who are extremely helpful. They also stock manure, gardening implements, pots, manure mixed mud and fertilizers and pesticides.

More Pictures of Different Varities:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Cosmos Flower

It is now almost close a year since I acquired garden space. With Bangalore losing its green cover and turning increasingly into a concrete nightmare, I realize that I'm among a privileged few to have a few square feet of earth at my disposal - esp in an apartment building.

Cosmos skyscraper
My Cosmos Skyscraper - photoshopped, see original below

I believe that Mother Nature is the best gardener and usually does fine on her own with a little occasional help from me. ( Ok, so I admit, I am a lazy gardener )

Given my non-intensive gardening intentions, I carefully selected hardy plants that flower, look good, propagate themselves and need little or no care (No care is preferred). I have in due course obtained from various sources around 20+ different plants (flowering and non-flowering)

Yellow Cosmos
Yellow Cosmos, one early morning

I am starting what I like to call the Lazy gardener series. Every post will feature a plant I have in the garden, and info I have on it collated from various sources with citations. In this feature, the Cosmos flower.

No doubt among the most cheerful flowers in our garden. I have 2 colors (yellow and orange) I began with 4 seeds from my Mom. I now have a small cosmos jungle ( self propagation - o joy! )

Cosmos Orange
Orange variety
Original cosmos skyscraper
Original Photo

Some things you may not know about the Cosmos :

Scientific name: Cosmos sulphureus
Cosmos are native to Central America and Mexico.
They have brightly colored single or double flowers. Colours include white, pink, orange, yellow and scarlet.

So, they look good, but can you eat them? Yes! In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

Growing Cosmos:

Cosmos plants prefer full sun to partial shade. They will do well in both average and poor soils. They are tolerant to dry soil conditions.
They grow quickly to a height of 4-5 feet - the tallest among mine are just about a foot high.Taller plants may require staking. (this means they need support) Insects and disease problems are very rare for Cosmos - I can vouch for that!


They have long slender seeds about 1.5 cm long. They spring up rather rapidly and while they are small seedlings, look very similar to marigold plants.

Flower Power: Cosmos Army
Uncontrolled growth can lead to this :)

For various varieties:


Flower Photography:

While I had tried several times to photograph my plants, I usually was met with little (read no) success. I often gave up with a "No camera can capture the true beauty of my garden".
Until recently, I did a little reading up on flower photography and decided to try some simple steps. These yielded the photos seen here.

In particular I liked Marion Owen's tips :
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