Garden Photo of the Day

A Happy Yellow Container

Ankita proves that persistance through frustration can yield happiness!

"This is Ankita Singh from New Delhi. I am very attached to my plants and the death of even a single plant breaks my heart. A few days ago, I had a very bad day thanks to a very rude lady and I decided to try to feel better by doing some soul therapy in my garden. I had painted this colander very meticulously for use in the garden and I decided to plant tiny Vinca Rosa plants in it. I planted them all and propped the colander on a stand and watered it.

Within a minute, as I was pulling my watering pipe back, it caught on to one of the legs of the stand and the stand fell with a resounding crash and everything from soil to plants to pebbles was scattered. Imagine my chagrin at the end of such a day, when my hard work of an hour was in ruins at my feet! I still held on to the last weak threads of my self-control and rebuilt the thing from scratch. I just couldn't bring myself to throw these little plants in the bin, no matter how upset I was.

So here is my sunny canary yellow colander, planted with Lilac coloured Vinca Rosa, replete with moss mulching and colourful pebbles. This time I changed the location and got rid of the wobbly stand too. What do you think?"

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  1. wGardens 05/05/2016

    Looks like your Vinca are settling in very nicely! And a great idea for a container, also!

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you! I got the idea while browsing for interesting planters on Google. Had a spare colander, used it. The Vincas are a very easy, happy plant to grow; and now my Red Vinca seeds are germinating too! I hope that within a month this container should be one riot of hot red, pink and yellow :-)

  2. user-3565112 05/05/2016

    That's a beautiful small container & could l also serve a dual function as a colorful center piece for the dinner table. My daughters are coming here for Mothers day & now I know what to give them. Thank you for posting your neat idea, good luck, Joe

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you, Joe! I fell in love with this bright yellow at the shop, and I knew I had to paint something in this colour. The idea was to create a central focal point bursting with colour in my otherwise sober garden.
      I love your idea to make it a center piece for a dining table. If mine got any sun, I would! But my plants would perish inside the house for lack of sun, so this one now hangs in my balcony. Good luck with your attempt to make the Mother's day gift for your daughters :-)

  3. Cenepk10 05/05/2016

    I think it's lovely!!!! Great to get pics from India !!!! Keep up the great work !

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you!

  4. user-7008037 05/05/2016

    Ahhh that accident! I wanted to pull my hair out and break some stuff, but I'm glad I used my rage for something constructive rather than destructive. I recreated the whole thing in fifteen minutes flat! Took me an hour in the first attempt :D

  5. user-7007960 05/05/2016

    Thx for such a joyful and vibrant project of love and persistence! l luv the message too, "Don't give up!" Have a glorious day to All garden Lovers....

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you! So glad to share snippets of my little green haven here and get appreciation and encouragement from kind and kindred souls all over the world! Much love to everyone <3

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/05/2016

    Well, Ankita, now you have your personal bowl of sunshine that will shine for you 24 hours a day. I think it symbolizes your sunny disposition and desire to keep happiness in your life whenever and wherever you spite of those sometimes bad days.

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you, that is so sweet :-) I can't wait for the plants to grow and fill the yellow bowl with clashing lilac blooms! Like a typical Indian I love me some hot colour :-D

  7. frankgreenhalgh 05/05/2016

    Your story Ankita demonstrates that gardening teaches us many fine qualities, including determination and persistence. Well done! The soil in the potting mix looks very heavy - is it a clay-based soil? Keep up the good work.

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Hi Frank, thanks for your kind words.
      The soil is indeed clay-based. I had run out of potting mix so dug up some soil from the park downstairs. The soil here is quite heavy and water retaining.
      I didn't mind using it for two reasons - 1) I have mostly used compost to plant and soil is just the top layer, and 2) The colander hardly retains any water, so the clay-based soil would ensure that the plants do not dry out in the harsh Indian summer. Hence the heavy mulching and use of moss as base instead of burlap as well to plug the holes before planting.
      Temperatures are touching 45 degree Celcius here and they'd go up to 48 in June. I water the pot twice a day but the clay-based soil ensures they stay alive and aren't parched.

      1. Ahhohman 05/05/2016

        45 degrees Celsius? Wow. I had to look that up to convert it to Fahrenheit, and that's about 113 degrees! That's an amazing temperature. I'd really be interested in seeing what other plants you grow in that climate. Look forward to seeing more pictures in the future!

        1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

          Hey Angela, India is tropical country so its disposition is primarily hot. However, we have climate that varies from extreme cold in the Himalayan regions, to moderate in coastal areas to arid in the desert.
          In the plains, where I live, we have distinct seasons. Our summers start around April and last till August, when Monsoons arrive. October marks the beginning of Winters, which see temperatures go down to 1-2 degrees Celcius here. I assume it's comparable to spring or summer in the US, isn't it? Winters recede in February, marking the advent of Spring till March-April.
          This cycle of seasons allows me to grow a wide variety of plants, which I can rotate depending upon the temperature. Right now I'm growing Vinca, Hollyhock, Plumbago, Hibiscus, Bougainvilleas, native Rain Lily, Clitoria, fern, Pothos, palms to name a few. In winters I grow Dahlias, Caledula, Marigolds, Chrysanthemums, Roses, Dianthus, Pansy, Petunia, Morning Glory etc.
          I hope I'm able to keep up a steady supply of pictures! :-)

      2. frankgreenhalgh 05/05/2016

        Hi Ankita again - yep 45C is hot! We in Australia also have temperatures up to 45C and sometimes higher in summer so I can appreciate what you are saying. The air temperature might be 45C, but the mix in which the roots are growing could be over 55C with black plastic pots. Have you tried using different types of pots to reduce the temperature in the potting mix?

        1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

          Hey Frank. That new insight indeed, I didn't know there could be a difference in air and soil temperatures.
          However, generally looking at the temperatures, I use porous terracotta instead of plastic. I only use plastic when I've bought a plant that comes with the black plastic pot and I don't want to transplant it immediately. The porous terracotta pots are beneficial in multiple ways - they keep the roots aerated, the soil cooler than plastic, and they're much cheaper than plastic pots!
          One reason I wanted to plant my colander in a light bright colour was that it's made of metal, and it's best to reflect as much heat as possible in this summer.
          Could you suggest some materials I could use instead to tackle this problem?
          P.S. Could you share with me what kind of plants you grow there in Australia? I could use some inspiration from similar climates to revamp my balcony :-)

  8. anitaberlanga 05/05/2016

    I think those catastrophes happen to every gardener (like when you plant a rosebush and step back ON ANOTHER ROSE!) - but taking a deep breath and starting anew is what makes us stronger. I absolutely adore your little colander - it's so cheerful. And the vinca obviously loves it, too!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      I know! I've accidentally killed so many. Sometimes too much love also kills them. But you just lift your chin up and move on. I do a very quick analysis of my options. Between redoing it and throwing so many plants, there isn't really a choice, is there?

      So just pick up the pieces and plough on :-)

  9. user-4691082 05/05/2016

    Ankita, you are the inspiration that I needed today! I'm not sure what that plant looks like in bloom, so will you send a picture of it blooming? Thank you and God bless you!

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Hey, Rhonda! Thanks a lot for your kind words :-)
      Here are the images you asked for. The first image is of the Red Vinca, whose seeds I sowed as an experiment to see if they germinated under the moss mulch and the pebbles, and they did! The second one is of the Lilac coloured Vinca, of the tiny plants you can see.
      My camera for some reason can never catch the vibrant rich red of the Red Vincas and they end up looking glaring and garish in pictures, apologies for that. Hope you like the pictures :-)

  10. wittyone 05/05/2016

    I love the colander idea as a planter and the sunny yellow makes for a perfect accent piece. I can imagine your dismay after all all your preparation to have to start over nearly from scratch. Do send pictures once all those little seedlings take off and the original plantings fill out. I'd love to see the fulfillment of your project.

    1. user-7008037 05/05/2016

      Thank you so much :-)
      I would definitely send an update in a few months. I hope it lives up to my vision!

  11. GrannyMay 05/05/2016

    Ankita thank you for reminding us all that we can respond to accidents in a positive way. Your colander planter is a wonderful idea and brightens the day for all of us who see it.

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016

      Thank you, GrannyMay! :-)

  12. schatzi 05/05/2016

    Ankita, you are an inspiration! I appreciate the series of construction photos. The difference between the last 2 with the addition of the colored pebbles is amazing! Beautiful! I applaud your gardening efforts in that hot a climate - I would absolutely melt! I like bright colors too and your colander will be a riot of color. Good work. and thanks for sharing.

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016

      Thanks Shirley! Humans adapt wherever they are, that's the quality and resilience we have! Thank you so much for your kind words :-)

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 05/05/2016

    Ankita, I admire your perseverance gardening in such great heat which must also bring with it lots of bugs and other plant challenges, but you have a true gardeners attitude. If this project is a reflection of your garden then I hope you'll send more photos. It's so great to see what people are planting in other parts of the world.

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016

      Hey Linda, I'm sure gardening can be a little challenging anywhere in the world. The bugs are not a big problem, Delhi is a dry place. Bugs bug people (did you get the pun?) In hot and wet areas. In coastal areas, bugs are a problem.
      But the dry heat is definitely sapping and dehydrating. I usually wait till evening to go out, which gives me very little time on a daily basis. But it's alright since there isn't much to do in the little balcony on a daily basis anyway :-)
      Thank you so much for your kind words :-)

  14. annek 05/05/2016

    I love the bright, cheery colors and kudos to you for sticking with the task at hand. Bravo!

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016


  15. user-4691082 05/05/2016

    Thanks Ankita, for the photos! They look just like the vinca we have here!

  16. nenitafranck 05/06/2016

    Not only the death of one plant can break my heart but the shearing of bloom buds on my plants will break my heart. My garden helper was using a weed eater on the grass and decided to make one of my borders neater by using the weed eater on my hydrangeas and spireas and roses plus other plants. The plants were just hanging or bent over so nicely with buds ready to bloom any minute and he sheared them off instantly while I wasn't looking. I have seen this happen before to other gardeners and thought that I would not let it ever happen in my garden. I've told helpers repeatedly to never touch my plants as I too am also very attached to each and every plant in my garden. My garden is so very therapeutic for me too.
    Thanks for sharing your garden story from India!!

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016

      Nenita, I know exactly what you're talking about. My garden helper has in the past decided on his own about which plants need pruning and to what extent, and he once mixed pesticide in my succulent misting spray bottle. I was really miffed but I didn't yell or fire him, the poor guy barely makes $1.5 a month.
      I did explain calmly (I think) that I don't want him to do whatever he wants wherever and whenever he wants without asking me. How did you handle yours?

  17. sheila_schultz 05/06/2016

    Ankita, I do so enjoy your posts. Your words are thoughtful and always give me something to think about. I'm continually amazed at how working with plants can soothe our nerves and quiet frustrating thoughts. I'm pretty sure your yellow container will put a smile on your face on a daily basis!

    1. user-7008037 05/07/2016

      Thanks Sheila! It did indeed calm me down, otherwise I'd have bitten my poor husband's head off! I was in such a bad mood. But I'm glad I stuck to my determination of making it, because it's the pride of my balcony now :-)

  18. user-7007496 09/22/2016

    Sounds like the kind of days I have. Your work is lovely.

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