The Grapes of Rot! I had gone to a nursery to get a mussanda plant. The nurseryman was dealing with other customers who were there before me so I looked around and saw this. The climate in our region is not conducive to growing grapes and yet plant-lovers go ahead braving pests and the produce--sour grapes! These turn purple when ripe but even then the taste that it leaves in the mouth is sweet- sour! For Some Plants, the Stakes are High! I noticed this plant sprouting at a place where the soil leaves much to be desired but I staked some dead branches anyway. Manure should do the needful, to some extent! The Down(side) of Decorating An empty nest and its surroundings yielded this find. The softest, lightest feathers, lighter than a whisper! Rooting For a New Pot! Looks yucky but was the best I could find to match the description. An old tin, an ancient ficus, bursting at the seams(?)--crying out for a new home!
Hello, lizard, how have you bean lately? The lizard seems to know me well by now. She seems to be happy being photographed pretty often.
Two hot varieties; the one on the right is the world's hottest!
The "Bhut Jolokia" ( bhut means ghost and jolokia means chilli) was given a rating of 855,000 Scoville heat units by officials at the Defence research and Development Establishment, Gwalior. They reported their findings in an August 2000 issue of "Current Science". The scientists tested a Tezpur (a town in Assam) variety of the bhut, or "Capsicum frutescens var. Nagahari as it is known to botanists. Some bhut specimens have since scored over a million units in tests done in other labs, like the New Mexico State Uni- versity's chilli Pepper Institute in the US. The Guinness Book of World Records recently certified the bhut jolokia as the world's hottest chilli pepper. The bhut is between 35 and 50mm long. It looks similar to the habanero, but the skin is more dented. In the north-east, besides being used as a spice, the bhut is smeared on fences to scare off wild elephants.
( Facts taken from the Indian Reader's Digest, April 2008)
The last photo should've been first! My younger son Nishant, turned 14 today! We were at Greenwood, a beautifully kept property in the outskirts of the city. Nishant and his friends played football, cricket and went boating. The skies did not let them down! The place is very well-maintained and the plant collection, extensive! These are some of the plants in Greenwood. Enjoy! Happy Birthday! Fourteen. Wow!
That's him, on the left. Loves music, plays the drums and the guitar. Also LOVES to eat!!!
We've had so much rain this month that I thought I'd remain unmoved by it. It'd been drizzling during the day, raining at night, all along, but today, there was a lull from the skies; everything looked and smelled Sunshine and the activity around the house was sun- related. Shoes were sunned, pillows were out, clothes too, just to get rid of that musty, mildewy smell which hangs like an invisible cloak in closets, rooms; so much a monsoon thing. With no long hours of sun to turn to, the mustiness makes itself at home and out- stays its welcome(?)! In the evening, the skies turned a vivid shade of blue, in patches, thunderclouds loomed large, then a brief storm violently shook the trees but before I could say--I'd better close that door--it'd passed. To be followed by rain, pitter-patter for a few minutes, then, a full-fledged shower! With the wind and the rain, for one transitory moment, I had the feeling of being on a hill with the wind against me and orange clouds racing above! But the earth, deprived of rain for only one whole day, was parched and dry, and oh-so-thirsty! It drank up rapidly and the smell of raw earth, the essence of life, wafted all around... I sat with my cuppa out in the veranda, drinking more of the sight, the smell and the sound of rain than the tea from my cup! The earth, denied rain for only one sun-drenched day could no longer wait to be quenched by rain again!!
...continues... in these handicrafts skilfully created by artisans/simple village folks, in obscure hamlets, beyond the blue hills, across the vast green plains of my fertile land--beside gurgling streams and seemingly placid rivers. Sold for a song to middlemen in the nearest town, and later sold in ritzy emporiums and wayside stalls, next to fabled silk and expensive figurines. Or maybe with trinkets and gaudy statuettes adjacent to a tea-stall with a blackened, dented kettle on a smouldering fire and stale buns on sale. In a land of contrasts, anything is plausible. And as I write this, a craftsman could be working outside his house, under the mango tree, cutting bamboo thin and fine after a back-breaking day in the paddy-fields---- battling the mosquitoes that breed in our malarial rainforests. But we have bamboo in our souls. I look at a basket and see beyond that! I hear the distinct sound of a sharp knife slicing through a fresh green stem, the raw smell evocative of an unending green of a tropical jungle...the aroma of the dish made of bamboo shoot garnished with herbs freshly picked from a garden as fertile as a forest. Bamboo-- so many images come; green, yellow, shoots, dense groves, bees, birds,snakes, stakes, huts, fences, benches, archways, bridges... it's a melange of images turning into a slide-show in the recesses of my mind!
Peacefully resting on the best green leaf... at times there's only the hushed silence of droplets of rain caught in the rays of an early morning sun! Life wriggles on....time to explore the big green space! For some it's a balancing act as they juggle between choices--- this insect or that!! Sneak a peek between eats... while I merrily dangle on a leaf! ...before I fly off again... Life's on a roll! All this lushness eggs me on---- to increase and multiply! Let me enjoy the view before I flit off again to gorge on mosquito larvae! All's well in the bamboo world!
Lizard on a lemon tree I really can't go on posing like this any longer!! Let me get back to my moment in the afternoon sun-- there isn't much left anyway. Why don't you go back to chasing dragonflies, you mad woman with the camera? This is ridiculous!!!
Fungi on dead wood. No space to build a proper trellis for my pumpkin plant so I let it follow the bamboo trail! Caterpillar on the bean vine. Backyard green island I created for plants that I can give away. Most of these are fast-growing and I already have several in containers. In order to house the surplus I've used a large plastic bag, punched little holes in it, then put in waste from sugar-cane, coconut husks and mulch from all the leaves and grass trimmings. There's just a bit of soil here, a mix- ture of sand and good garden soil bought from a nursery. It's like trying out a recipe. A bit of this and a bit of the other and my plants aren't complaining! Grow, bean, grow!!
Noticed this bee at work on a dead bamboo around noon. Still at it! Hold on, honey! Only the finishing touch is left! There! Home Sweet Home!
Yesterday, when the backyard was cleaned, a dead bamboo came off easily. I noticed that it had a hole and I did wonder whether I'd deprived a wasp or a bee of its home. Sure enough, I saw this bee hard at work drilling its new abode today. I'm glad I have the photos but regret not keeping track of the time that it took to complete it.
Sunita of The Urban Gardener http://the-urban-gardener.blogspot.com/ has tagged me. I was tagged recently by titania (Trudi)of Yesterday Today and Tomorrow in my Garden so I won't be playing the game now. But I'm glad that Sunita thought about me. It's a compliment to be remembered. Thanks Sunita. I was very happy to see Sunita on Blotanical recently. We're both from India (even though we are at the opposite ends) and it felt good to see another Indian flag flying on Blotanical. Since then we've kept in touch through our Blotanical plots and we also visit each others' blogs often. Like Sunita said, Indians are busy gar- dening, so there's no time for blogging!! I agree, totally! I'd like to wish Sunita many happy blogging hours/years on Blotanical!
I've had this pretty little plant for several years. Little, because it grows to a height of 24" only. Mexican Heather or cuphea hyssopifolia is a hardy plant with tiny branches and oblong leaves. If the plant did not bear a profusion of tiny purple flowers it might be easily mistaken for a fern. From a distance, of course! It seems to love the heat and the humidity but since our summers can be cruel, I've recently shifted the pot to partial shade. Didn't want to take any chances! I've read about Mexican heather bearing pink and white flowers also, though I haven't seen them. They must be pretty too!
This wispy dragonfly loves to flit around my worst garden feature. She's on a dead bougainvillea branch, next to the arum with giant leaves. But she wasn't really bothered about me hovering near her to get a closer shot. Her only wish was that I shouldn't get-- up close and personal! This mottled beauty played hard to get, leading me on- a wild goose chase till we both got tired of running around in circles! Finally, she succumbed to the green temptation of the sedge leaf and I closed in on her...!
how sweet that sounds. And the maize looks and tastes delicious! This variety of maize is grown in the hilly region of the north-eastern part of India.It's sweet and aromatic. Some varieties are multi- coloured. The cooked maize in the photo actually has cream-coloured kernel but the cob is intense purple so cooked maize looks like this! Even the hands get a tinge of the colour, as though one had been gorging on purple berries!
At 8 in the morning, soon after it was placed in this container. At 9.30 in the evening---in full bloom! This morning at 7. At 9.30 in the morning.
My lotus plant, complete with two pink buds about to burst into song, arrived yesterday. It came in a thick polythene bag, traversing the great, wide plains of Assam, across flooded fields of rice, rivers in spate, and a sea of humanity! For that is what you travel through in summer, in India. It must've crossed fields of its own kin, maybe, cascades of pink and white, in ponds flushed with the night's rain and the constant drizzle of the days before. But still, vying for space to breathe. And bloom! But inside the bag, in a place so foreign for an aquatic plant, it showed signs of fatigue. One long wilted stalk, and the other less so, still drooped after being freed of polythene bondage. I placed the plants in a karhai, a utensil as ubi- quitous as rice in Indian kitchens. Soil and slush does the needful for water plants. The leaves, browned by the heat, should look better in a week's time. The karhai sits on partial shade, under the palms heavy with green and yellow fruit. Where birds, bees, butterflies an even an occasional marsh mongoose love to haunt! And as for me, I have a spring in my step and a song in my heart. I'm the proudest owner of a lotus plant!!
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