The last picture that I posted was of the Indian blackberry tree in my garden. In this part of the world, the mango and this berry ( known as jamun) bloom in early March giving us the first taste of Spring. All the yellow leaves will fall off leaving the entire tree in resplendent green. And enough food for the soil as they turn to mulch. Oh, the wonders of recycling in the garden! When the fruit matures and ripens, the birds come. Just like the butterflies and the bees that flutter or flit about, the birds have a field day up on the higher reaches of the tree. There's something so delightful about our fea- thered friends coming to feed in my compound. Although I cannot identify every species, the pleasure that I get watching them from the veranda is in itself, wonderful.
A capricious wind ruled the roost the other day. It first started with the sounds--of the frenzied shaking of the coconut and betel nut trees; an unhinged window banging against the wall, al- most shattering the pane; the dull thud of a certain heavy something f.a.l.l.i.n.g............... And then a little pile of dry leaves landing with a raspy swish near my feet. Then, as suddenly as it had come, it was gone. Silence. What wind? Wasn't it another sunny March morning? New leaves, buds, birdsong --the almost tangible feel of Spring. After the dust was swept, it started again, fiercer this time.Sand and dust blew every which way creating a haze outside. My chilli plants were bent backward and for- ward against the onslaught. I quickly cut some bamboo and drove the sticks into the ground forming a support for the plants. Then I tied plant and bamboo with bits of string. Ah, respite from Nature's fury. I left them holding their heads high after the blow! And talking about bamboo,I was pleasantly surprised to see several blogs dedicated to the plant. I thought I was the only one raving about the virtues of the fastest growing plant!
Some years ago, in the month of July, I went on a family trip to Bomdila. It's a beautiful place in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and we were blessed with ideal weather. Despite the time of the year, there was no rain wreaking havoc on narrow hill roads. Getting away from the heat of the plains was great. We drove by ponds where water lilies vied for blooming space. When the ascent started, wild, pink begonias ran riot spilling over the road banks. As we went higher, my young sons whooped in delight as turbulent streams tumbled down the steep mountainside. The sprays caught the light and little sunbows danced in front of our eyes. On the narrow roads, we crossed many vehicles stuffed to the gills with tourists. Down below, the roaring ribbon of white water rushed on its end- less journey. The mountains, the spectacular mountains evoke a deep sense of reverence. On the peaks, the Buddhist prayer flags fluttered gaily. In July, Bomdila was a floral delight. Most homes had begonias and fuschias growing in earthen pots, buckets, oil and food containers. Nasturtiums spilled out of straight and straggly fences--their bright orange hues adding a splash of colour to the roadside. Wild pansies tumbled out of gates and wire fencing! Near our hotel I noticed a signboard with Norling Nursery written on it and an arrow pointed towards its direction. The next morning, we made our way to Norling crossing a less inhabited part of Bomdila. We also passed a little spring, a common feature of hilly or mountainous terrain. Norling was on top of a hill with a magnificent view of the valley and another range of mountains beyond. It was like entering a smaller version of Eden where every imaginable hue burst out of containers. While the lady showed us around, her husband made two steaming cups of tea for us. Sitting there, surrounded by exotic blooms, and the whisper of the wind in our ears, the glint of the sun in the river below, and again, the prayer flags in the distance...it was beautiful. The conversation veered towards Tibet, they spoke about fleeing their homeland and the atrocities inflicted on their people. Our host even lent us the autobiography of the Dalai Lama. He said we could leave it with the receptionist and that he would collect it later. We thanked our gracious hosts, paid for the plants we'd selected and left. I've visited several nurseries but this is one that I shall cherish for a long time. In the evening, when I mentioned Norling at one of the shops,the shop-owner asked me when I would be leaving. When I told her the time, she asked me to pick up a begonia plant before leaving. The next morning, I walked down to the market and she handed me a lovely plant and absolutely refused to accept any money! Before I went to Bomdila, the image in my mind was of red apples and snow. This was due to two girls from my school who'd earlier studied there and had often mentioned these. But now, apart from the images of red apples and snow, I've added some more endearing images of my own.
When the weeding is sporadic the weeds proliferate, especially in this weather. These sudden showers work like potent potion for any kind of plant! When I saw the buds I didn't have the heart to uproot a weed which looked this pretty. The actual plant this pot was intended for, lies somewhere in the middle, dwarfed by this lushness!
The most common vegetables have beautiful blooms. I couldn't get a clearer picture of this bloom in my backyard. Mauve of the egg-plant and the bright yellow (not in picture) of the bitter gourd creeper provide colour in my potted kitchen garden.
Deep in the depths of my soul lies dark, rich alluvial soil. Borne by the river of fertility it promises abundance, bounty! And when you hold it in your hands and let it run between your fingers you can actually feel the nascent pulse of life! I can imagine the tender green of the shoot sprouting... My mother used to say that housework is like going around in circles. You end up doing the same thing over and over again.But nurturing a garden gives one a sense of satisfaction... it's soul food. This blog is about my plants and surroundings and maybe about other spots as well.
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau