Nelumbo (A sad tale)
Nelumbo better known as the Lotus, is not considered to be part of the water lily family, though botanists continue to argue over this.
We have tried and still endeavouring to get this plant to grow successfully. We have sown over 100 seeds so far and still we struggle to get it to grow, yet alone flower. The seeds germinate very successfully in a glass of water. The seedlings grew until they were planted out then died. More were sown with the same results.
We changed our tactics, we tried growing Nelumbo in a pot. The seedling grew and were looking good, but not thriving and the edges of the leaves began to look burnt. Thinking the plant was getting too much sun, the very heavy pot was moved. In the shade the little leaves kept coming but only one managed to raise above the water in case the pH was too high a little vinegar was added to bring the pH down. The shade was not a success to the plants were moved back into the sun.
Next, one of the ponds in the garden was specially prepared for the struggling Nelumbos. Eureka! The leaves grew beautifully, and the plant looked better than it had ever looked before – but only for a short while. Once again, the leaves started to die back so now we are not sure what to do.
Nelumbo grows in most countries, including Russia, so why not in our garden?
In prehistoric times Nephrolepi ferns dominated the landscapes, now it is a genus of about 30 species. They are easy to care for as they love the coastal climate. To be seen at their best and give the cooling jungle look, they need to be grown in a rich soil, watered and fertilized regularly. They thrive happily in open ground, but can become rather invasive, or suffer from neglect. They can grow in deep shade as well as full sun, but somewhere in the middle is best. The fronds certainly get burnt during the hottest time of the year. They can also take a fair amount of sea breezes. After several years, the plant should be divided, new plants taken and re-potted. The damaged fronds should be removed to keep the plant looking ‘well dressed’. Check for mealy bug which tend to hide but are easily removed by hand.
Note: once these ferns become established they can become difficult to keep in bounds.
Nephrolepis biserrata can be seen growing in most gardens at the coast. Some are flourishing whilst others look rather sad. When happy, the fronds can reach up to six feet!
Up dated 24/12/16
Nephrolepis cordifolia, or the Sword Fern, grows well at the coast but I find Nephrolepis biserrata, is better in every way. Nephrolepis cordifolia can grow in full shade but prefers partial shade or bright filtered light. It requires regular watering and feeding and can be propagated by division of the rooted runners.
Nephrolepis cordifolia Duffi
Nephrolepis cordifolia Duffi or ‘button fern. So far, this has only been allowed to grow in a pot. It did so well that, when we moved the pot, there were several new ferns happily established in the ground. It can tolerate a fair amount of drought, likes to grow in the shade, and is not fussy about the soil.
The Oleander has been grown since ancient times and features in many of the Roman wall paintings in Pompeii.
Nerium oleander is native to the Mediterranean and comes in different shades of pink, white, and red, and with single and double flowers.
It manages well in poor soil, is drought tolerant, and can be grown in containers as bushes, though, if it is grown in a pot, it requires a more care and the soil needs to be fertile with good drainage. Don’t over water – let the pot dry completely before watering again. It takes time for Oleander to settle and, once established, they don’t like to be moved. Any we moved have died. Growing Oleander from cuttings can be difficult so take lots of cuttings for a few successes. Prune to keep in shape.
Nerium oleander is one of the most beautiful plants in the garden – it is also probably the most poisonous.
Nymphaea , better known as Water Lilies, have a great attraction for gardeners. Illustrations of them date back thousands of years in Chinese and Egyptians remains. Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) painted water lilies and in modern times both Bangladesh (the whitewater lily) and Sri Lanka (the blue waterlily) have chosen them as their national flower.
Nymphaea contains about 65 species from around the world and they can be divided into three groups – tropical, night blooming, and hardy.
They are easy to grow and can either be grown directly in the soil of the pond or in baskets, which can then be lifted, and top dressed yearly, Whichever method is used, it is important to remember they are VERY hungry and need constant feeding.
Nymphoides indica is an attractive pond plant, which has a small white flower that it produces freely. Ponds in general need to have at least 75% plant cover to prevent the growth of algae. Nymphoides indica helps to do the job, although it grows so fast the pond surface fast becomes completely covered with it. In some parts of the USA Nymphoides indica is considered a noxious invasive weed.