Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In The Pink Of Floral Health!

Hoping to attract more bees and butterflies, I'm gradually
adding more of bright blooms to my collection. I love the
pattern on this variety of coleus. The line of bromeliads at
the back also has tinges of pink on them!

I once had an adenium but it died. Maybe I should've gone easy
on the watering. A recent post by Eric of I Like Plants had
such a beautiful bloom that I HAD to go and get one from a nursery.
There was only a hint of a bud when I bought it but now it's
blooming. I'll most certainly remember that its other name is Desert
rose and where there's 'desert' there's no water!

I've only recently started adding more euphorbias to my collec-
tion. This colour instantly lifted my spirits!

I made a little bamboo trellis for this pink Ixora. Once the blooms
go I'll prune it. The trellis immediately attracted a carpenter bee
which soon gnawed/drilled a near-perfect round hole on it!

This Ixora is a dwarf variety. The person at the nursery told me
that it'll grow to a height of two ft or so. I'm happy with that but
most of all, the thought of the butterflies that'll come is worth
the wait!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blotanical, thank you so much!

Thank you to all who voted for Terra Farmer and all Blotanists --
who stopped by, left their kind and appreciative comments ... It's
been a wonderful learning experience and has enriched my life in
ways that I had not even-- it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say--
dreamed of!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Little Discovery

Another beautiful day and I'm chasing a yellow butterfly...

Mission unaccomplished but it led me to the grassy road-bank
on the fringes of the marsh. And bugdom unfolded before my eyes.
I don't know what this one is called but it looked pretty with
a touch of red!

There were several damselflies--in reds and bluish-greys but
they were really tiny. Couldn't get a good shot of the insect
which resembled a lady-bug but it was in orange.

Miniature blooms amidst all that green and luxuriant grass.

Returned home happy with what I'd seen, carrying with me a spray of
wild grass blooms....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Birds Will Always Be Here!

Today was the day of the birds...but the first one to greet
me this morning was this dragonfly. Totally and wholly at
rest on this plant. I even adjusted the pot a wee bit but
it gave no indication that it knew about another creature's

The day was hot but by afternoon there were clouds that bore
the promise of rain.....

Carpenter bees live in this bamboo. As I passed this way I
saw this sight. Usually, they go in very fast but this is a
smaller bee or wasp being dragged down!

The water rail is an elusive one and difficult to photograph.
These birds come only when no one's around. The moment they
see me they fly their short distances and disappear in the marsh.
But they forage here every day and their squawk is something
I've gotten used to.

Here's another shot. It might be a little difficult to
locate the bird.

Ever since the rains started, I've often seen the pond herons
in flight. They look absolutely white because of their wings.
But that's only in flight. At rest, they're a light shade of
brown. This is only the second time I've seen a heron on my
coconut tree.

Looking up Wikipedia, I found out that in warm countries, they
dwell in wetlands. Pond herons nest in small colonies often
with other wading birds. They feed on insects, fish and amphibians.

Couldn't get a clearer picture. The moment it sensed my presence
it flew away to a neighbour's mango tree!
Without any ripening fruit in any of my trees, I did wonder
whether the birds would come. But seeing them happily twittering
and chirping on the wire and the trees I now know that they'll
always come. And that, in itself, is heartening!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Flowers I Have Sown/Sewn

My hybrid bougainvillea is all set to light up my life!

My fading blooms next to the Masai lady. I used wild grass blooms
from the marsh as fillers.

Fast growing plant, this Jatropha. In a day or two the tiny petals
will open. I've placed it next to an (earthen) container water-

The reigning Princess of my yard!!

"Embroidery has a natural affinity for flowers. It can also,
of course, represent nothing at all." ~ Chris Rankin,
Splendid Silk Ribbon Embroidery 1996

Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so
quickly.When you sew, you have something that will last to
show for your efforts.~ Elizabeth Travis Johnson
The Complete Book of Sewing For Children

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Day Of The Bees

While watering the plants this morning, I found this bee
moving about on the ground. I thought that was odd! I've
never managed to get a close shot of this kind and here it
was, barely moving. I got down on my knees and watched it
for a while. It tried to fly but simply couldn't take off!

I held out a stick and it got on to it without any hesitation.Then
I placed it on this flower. Now I've never seen a bee of this size
on these blooms. But there are always tiny bees hovering at light-
ning speed here. It seemed happy but was still slow for a bee!

I went back to my chores and temporarily forgot about it. But the
moment I remembered I went back to check. Still there.

Went back again after a while...still there. But when I went to
check the third time it'd flown away. Well, I didn't actually
see it in action but I'd like to think about it that way. Maybe
the flower must've rejuvenated it! If all the smaller bees
happily buzz around these blooms, it must've done wonders for
my sluggish/hurt bee too!!

And a bonus as well! This carpenter bee drills holes on dead
bamboo and I'd never seen one as still as this. Didn't even
let go of what it was holding on to when I clicked away. I
didn't think that I'd get bees to 'behave' for my camera!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Moonlight is sculpture.~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Star Appeal!!

My mother-in-law sent me a whole lot of produce from her garden.
Besides the star fruit there were two bunches of bananas, bay-
leaves, fragrant lemons, a small pumpkin, corn and bamboo shoot.
The last came cut into thin fine slices, wrapped in a kind of
leaf that is commonly used for wrapping food in north-eastern

I've always been fascinated by this fruit and the tree. Originally
from Sri Lanka and the Malaccas, this tree has been cultivated in
many south-east Asian countries for hundreds of years. Mature trees
reach a height of 25 to 30 ft with several branches. The blooms are
mauve with purple tinge and the fruit grows in clusters.

When it comes to bearing fruit the only word which comes to mind
is, prolific. At my ma-in-law's there are hundreds of fruit during
the season and they look so pretty hanging like green and yellow
little lanterns. Green or yellow, depending on its maturity. This
is the sour variety and is good for pickling. There are two kinds;
the other is the sweet variety. Even the sour ones turn sweetish when
they ripen. ripe fruit turn yellow with light brown splotches on them.

There are many medicinal properties attributed to this fruit. Several
sites list the benefits, but ever since I was a child I've heard about
the juice of the star-fruit curing jaundice. Maybe not on its own but
with other prescriptions of alternative medicine.

Also known as carambola this fruit is now found/grown in all sub-
tropical and tropical regions of the world.
This picture shows stars in the making ( of the pickle!) A full day
in the hot sun and they're ready to be spiced up!

Freshly cut, mixed with turmeric and salt. Out they go to soak up
the sun! After being sunned I've added these spices....
Whole ones that went into the hot oil---
Fenugreek, mustard, bits of dry chillies, caraway seeds, cumin seeds
bay-leaves and asafoetida.

Roasted and ground into submission------
Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, fennel.

Soaked in vinegar and ground--------
Dry chillies and about ten cloves of garlic. The last ingredient
enhances the taste and the flavour!

The pickled stars!! A few more days of sunning and voila, the
pickle will be ready for the eatin'!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frangipani Blooms

The frangipani trees with white blooms can be seen in many
gardens here. But this pink isn't all that common, which is
why I couldn't help stopping by this Namghar, (the literal
translation is Prayer House) at Zoo Road, in our city, to
click a few pictures. I hope you enjoy going through the
photos. A very happy weekend to all those who stop by.