We're celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in India. I'd like to take this opportunity to send every Blotanist my regards and my good wishes.
Ever since I joined Blotanical, so many lives have touched mine. It may have been just a few words or paragraphs, a photo, or loads of them! For each and every connection that was made,and will be made, I am thankful.
In a short span of time, I've had the chance to learn so many aspects of gardening, visit the most amazing gardens, meet wonderful people, drool over the prettiest blooms and insects and skyscapes... admire the changes that the seasons bring, FEEL the sense of joy or or sadness.I couldn't have asked for more!
As I light my earthen lamps and my candles, my thoughts are with you ... Wish you all peace and happiness...in this Festival of Lights!
I don't have many rosebushes but this pink one has been a consistent October bloomer. It is fragrant and bright enough to add that bit of happiness to my yard. The threats have been coming for a while now. Menacing thunder clouds have been looming large on the horizon...But it was all bark and no bite.
I've almost forgotten the smell of rain...the earth's essence wafting into your senses when the first drops fall. Brings back a cloudburst of memories-- of other seasons of deluge... Another ordinary day--- my winged visitors still refuse to spread their wings for my camera. I can almost imagine their conversation. Says the brown one to the white one...Psst! (lest She hears). Under no circumstances must you spread those pretty wings of yours. If you do that you're done for! It's enough that she hovers around us with that whatchamacallit. If she sees us with our wings spread out we'll be able to get her off our backs!
Sigh...responds the other. Wha...?! I should've been the one sighing! Till yesterday the soil was bone dry. I got down to do some weeding but the afternoon sunshine can still be punishing so not much was done. But I did gather tiny grass blooms and headed back to the house. The kitchen table is embellished by weeds! It'd drizzled at night. I wished it wouldn't rain during the day...but if wishes were horses.....It drizzled some, rained some, the whole day! The roses were dotted with droplets... But by late afternoon (it gets dark early nowadays) they'd almost doubled over, weighed down by a steady drizzle.
Suddenly, the temperature has become much cooler and for the first time,I wore a sweater today.
I've always found this colour so appealing. While buying plants at a nursery, my attention was drawn to the pretty mauve blooms of the star-fruit. It was planted in a large plastic container, and in the midst of myriad greens and browns, it stood out.... resplendent in mauve! I've posted the picture of Mexican heather before but can't resist posting again. Ditto with the wood sorrel below. I'd always considered these 'edible weeds' not deserving their own pot. But seeing the plant in others' blogposts changed my perception of weeds. With some plants there's only a thin dividing line between flower and weed. I don't know what this is called but the mauve blooms are tiny and pretty too! Even the stems are purplish and the variegation makes it look attractive. These are the mauves that I have now. My garlic vine died with all the water-logging during the rainy season. But a cutting has survived. It'll take some time for the mauve clusters to make their resurrected debut...Hopefully, I'll be able to post the photos--in mauves! And on to something else...With the change of season, the skies are all dressed up for the occasion! Orange rules...and how! The red bleeding hearts I'd posted earlier are baring their hearts out now. But somehow I feel they're baring their souls too!
The pomelo is the largest citrus fruit in the world. No wonder it's called the Citrus Maxima. A native of south-east Asia, it is believed to be the ancestor of the grapefruit. The size can grow to 12" in diametre. The fruit is pale green or yellow, depending on the variety. The rind is thick but soft and spongy. The segmented flesh is either white or pink. Even the pink varies, it may be dark or light. Some can be slightly sour but this one in the photo was sweet. Time for a snack! Salads and juice must be the most popular ways of using pomelos but my favourite is to add some salt, sugar, chopped green chillies and a mint garnish. Yummy!!
The "Painted Net Leaf" or Fittonia has other synonyms too. Also known as the Nerve Plant or Mosaic Plant, it belongs to the Acantaceae family. Originally from South American tropical rain forests it is a moisture-loving plant. It comes in other colours also but mine is white-veined. The stems are fuzzy. Propagation is by the stems, broken off and planted.
I've never been good with fittonias although I've grown them, or in this case, I have to say, tried to grow them for years. But they would wilt and wither, and eventually die.
About two months ago, in frustration, I pulled it from the pot and dumped it unceremoniously on a heap of rotting tea-leaves. Then I forgot about it....One fine day I noticed a rejuvenated green on the leaves. Even the white lines looked more prominent. I knew I could no longer ignore or leave the plant like that. Now it thrives in its new home, tea leaves and all. The pot sits in partial shade and I water it everyday. And if it gets too hot, I spray the leaves. They're happy and that shows!! The Portulaca Grandiflora or Moss Rose. Here it is commonly known as the 9o'clock flower. This is a multi-branched sun-loving plant with thick fleshy leaves. It grows to a height of 15 to 20 cms and spreads to 12 to 14 inches. Its origin is the hot dry plains of Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina. The best part about the portulaca is that it's very easy to grow through seeds or by breaking off the stems. Although a well-drained soil works wonders they're also not averse to the idea of thriving in poor soil or gravelly and sandy areas. The blooms open in the morning but by 3o'clock in the afternoon it's time to call it a day! Uh-oh! The sign reads---WE'RE CLOSED FOR THE DAY. WE OPEN AT 9O'CLOCK EVERY MORNING
Thinking that this area would be heavily gourded by now I went to check it out. Instead, what do I see? No green leaves, stem or tendrils clinging on the wire but dry leaves; browned, shrunk and shrivelled by an unforgiving, relentless sun...you could almost sense the crackle of leaves---as dry as loofahs that's never been used!
Severed from The Main Stem it will only be a matter of time before any signs of a vine ever being here will remain... From now on it looks like the vine is going to be within the confines of a certain space. Better sense has prevailed, after all.
Wires, electrical or otherwise, have a lot of activity on them. And with so many birds flocking to these perches, dull moments are few and far between! It's time for a little romance for these love-birds... whereas for these two, time spent on the most happening perch is in--- companionable silence. belligerent? Taking a breather... contemplating the instant future?! tragic, an electrocuted bat...I happened to see it from the car, stopped and took this shot. I've never seen anything like this before. What can I say about this, except GO(ourd) FOR IT!!!!!
I was greeted by this vivid blue yesterday. My butterfly pea's first bloom! It's the double-petalled variety and almost rose- like in appearance. In the single variety, the white in the middle of the flower is easily seen but here, you can't make out. This plant belongs to the pea family. The colour of the blooms may range from purple, lavender, white and deep blue.
A native of sub-tropical America and India, it can grow up to 9ft in length. It looks nice trellised. The seeds are produced like peas.
This plant is less spectacular in appearance than its white and red cousin. Although it is known as Red Bleeding Heart it's more pink than red. But against those dark green leaves, the pink clusters certainly cannot be ignored!
These photos were taken over the past few days. Baby's fine, doing well and growing fast. It sensed D for danger everytime I climbed a rickety table to get a closer look. I was wrong in thinking it'd go "cheep-cheep" (an overdose of bird cartoons in my younger days!!) because the only sound it made came from opening and shutting its beak. Although I took great care not to scare it, it was annoyed. I was, after all, an alien. All puffed up as I went nearer for this shot. I didn't see the mother near the nest when I went to the shed but she was in the vicinity, either on the wire or on a tree, and that was a heartening sight. These might also turn out to be the last pictures. Look at the feathers! Isn't she beautiful? And beginning to look like the mother too! She even raised one feather when I went too close. She could well be on her maiden flight in a day or two. And I also found out that a fledgeling pigeon is called a squab. I wasn't aware about this earlier. I thought the beak looked too long for such a tiny body but a few days' growth has changed all that. Here's to a fine little bird....may you never run out of worms, nuts, leaves, bugs and berries. And if you're a 'she' as I'd like to believe, may you come here when it's time for you, to nest and brood...
The very prolific Racquel--Perennial Garden Lover--had a post titled Seedhead and Berries on Oct.9. Reading that interesting post, I thought about this particular plant. The seedhead does look a little strange and some are almost grotesque in shape. There are several names for this plant; Malabar spinach, Ceylon spinach, Vietnamese spinach, Slippery vegetable and Vine spinach. It does taste like spinach but it has a mild flavour. Whereas spinach is smooth in texture when cooked, this one becomes slimy if over-cooked. This is because of a thick gluey substance rather like okra, so care must be taken not to cook it for long.
Said to be originally from India, it is found all across south- Asia and Africa. The botanical name is Basella alba or Basella rubra. The B. alba is the light green variety whereas the purplish-stemmed ones are B. rubra. I have the latter, but it is slightly different from the ones you might see on certain web pages. The leaves and stems are smaller and the leaves are not thick. In our area, the smaller type grows like weeds, which is why I could separate the various stages of seeds for the photos. I treat them like weeds too, uprooting them as they spring up even in pots, ready to twine and choke the plant the pot was intended for!
I remember reading in someone's blog ( I can't remember the name) that one should never be happy about really fast-growing plants as they tend to be invasive. How true about the basella! Propagation is by seeds and stems. Cuttings do not take long take root. A very easy to grow plant indeed!
This soft-stemmed vine tolerates high rainfall and humidity. Even if the soil is fairly poor, it'll still do well. Like any other leafy green vegetable, it is high in vitamin A, C, iron and calcium. LIke berries, the ripe seeds yield a rich purplish- red colour when crushed. The dye is used for official seals, rouge, and even food colour. The colour is enhanced by adding lemon juice. The last photo is a mixed vegetable I cooked. It has bits of pumpkin, potatoes and basella. Here I've added only the leaves but tender stems are consumed too. I like to have the stems in mustard sauce. We also add the finely chopped leaves to fish curry.
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