Friday, February 27, 2009

The Grand Opening.......of a Zinnia!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Mango Flowering Season

All across the land this is the sight that greets us-
mango trees heavy with blooms. It's a sight that lifts
our spirits, reminding us that summer's just round the corner.
And despite knowing that the heat will be relentless, the
sight of these blooms and the thought of mangoes somehow
makes us temporarily forget the other face of summer.

When the mango trees bloom,the weather is dry and dusty.
Many,especially young children, are susceptible to common
cold. There are sudden winds too, and hints of rain. It
turned a little cooler today, and in the afternoon, there
was a drizzle so light I wondered whether I'd imagined it.

When the tiny fruits make an appearance, the first storms
blow too. And rain, and hailstones. Small green mangoes fall
to the ground and you wonder how much fruit would be left on
the tree. But the tree does not disappoint.

These photos are from different areas of the city. On my
tree, the blooms are sparse.

I thought I'd post these photos as well. On the plate are
two onyx mangoes from Pakistan. The bowl with oranges and
the candle-stand are made of mango wood and are from Thailand.
We have an annual trade fair where neighbouring countries
participate and without having had the opportunity to visit
our neighbours, we have some of their famed products.

A close-up of the blooms. Here's hoping that the wind and
and the rain will not do much damage to these wonderful
trees this year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a Sony!!

Ever since my husband gifted me a new camera, I've been
like one possessed! I'm trying out many of the features
and am happy with the results. In fact I'm so happy that
I feel I've sprouted wings myself!!

Sometimes, I'm plain lucky! My focus was on this, the
bloom of the sky-blue cluster vine. I was about to click
when this gorgeous skipper landed on it and did not skip

Here's another one on my favourite patch.

The Common Indian Crow descends near my feet!

The coleus blooms have been attracting a great deal of
wings. If you click on this photo, you'll see a trans-
lucent pair of wings caught in the sunlight. It's right
there, at the top.

The damselflies are here! Here's one on a nasturtium leaf.

The most common butterfly flitting about my blooms.

There are so many bees here...sometimes it's impossible to
take a picture of a bloom without a very busy bee inside it!

I tell myself it's all right if the dusting is half-done,
if the chicken curry is on the verge of getting burnt, or
if my cup of tea remains cold and forlorn. I have a new
camera and a whole world of nature calling out my name!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wildlife In My Neighbour's Yard

Early in the mornings when the sun starts on its western journey,
there's no sign of life in my neighbour's yard. Even the dahlias
look drowsy at this time of the day...

But as it gets brighter and warmer the first visitors drop by. The
sparrows, the mynahs, magpies and the common tailor birds. The
Asian pied starling is another visitor. It usually does not come
alone. There's always a companion in tow and they're very noisy
when they land.

I'm so glad that my neighbour is passionate about gardening
and has a vast variety of plants. Her best blooms are out in
the front of her house but I'm happy with what I get to see
from my kitchen window. This patch is her southern area. And
the best part is that I can take photographs of her yard when-
ever I want!

Of late I've noticed a white-breasted water hen foraging in
this patch at different hours of the day. With the low-lying
areas nearby, this is the most prominent aquatic bird seen
in the neighbourhood. Oh yes, the egrets still come to feed
on the marsh but that's only in the mornings. I never see
them at other times of the day.

Water hens belong to the rail family and live near marshes
and rice fields in both dry and wet habitats. They have a
white face and the colour runs through the entire length
of the body on the underside. The upper part is dark grey
and the rump is a rusty red. The bill is greenish yellow
with a red frontal shield.

She runs as soon as she sees me! It really is difficult to
take good pictures of this shy bird. She flies off to the
wall, and then beyond it. For a bird that looks the way it
does, the cries are raucous. Especially in the mornings.
That's when they keep calling out loudly.

I catch her on a quiet afternoon when she's busy pecking
about the yard. The water hen's diet consists of worms,
insects, small fish, snails, grain, tender shoots and roots.
For the snails and small fish, she'll have to wait a little
longer. The rains aren't here yet!

It was heartening to find out ( on the Net) that the white-
breasted water hen is not an endangered species. There are
142 different types of water hens in the world.

Initially I was happy to have a view of a garden. But to
see wildlife from such close quarters, and in the midst of
such surroundings, is a blessing indeed!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The First Dragonflies of 2009

In order to welcome dragonflies and all the other winged
lovelies to my yard, I hung up this metal wind chime above
my potted plants yesterday. I did see a dragonfly a few
days ago but it simply zipped past and never came back!

This morning, as soon as I had watered my plants, something
in blue whizzed over my head. The something-in-blue landed
on my budding canna. What luck! I've never photographed a
blue dragonfly! And here she was posing for me! I quickly
got two shots before she decided to fly off to greener

This afternoon I saw a flash of red on my salvia. A closer
look revealed one of the kind that I had chased all summer.
That unmistakable pattern on the wing tips!

I tiptoed to the other side and happily got these shots. I
have spent these past few days taking pictures of several
bees, wasps, birds, and butterflies. But now that the
dragonflies are here, I don't think I'll step indoors.
At least not in the daytime!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


On a recent visit to Haflong, my hometown, I went around
town taking a whole lot of pictures. I was happy to see
the poinsettias still blooming. The photo above is the
new(er) building of the Circuit House.

All across India, a Circuit House stands for comfortable
rooms and basic food. Catering to bureaucrats mainly, the
room rent is cheap too. Some of them also have picturesque
views and this is one of them.

Part of the old building (built during colonial times) can
be seen in this photo. The garden is a riot of colour!

The bright red of the poinsettias amidst all that pink!!

There's another lovely garden beyond these small trees. The
C. House stands on the edge of a hill opposite the beautiful
Barail Ranges overlooking the Diyung valley.

Poinsettias are popular hedge plants too!

There's more at the back yard.

On the edge of this property near the lake, they bloom...
Maybe not as bright and not as beautiful as the ones seen
on top but that red is enough to cheer us up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day/ February

In the past few days, on my mixed patch, more zinnias have
bloomed. Pink is the predominant colour.

I still have a few gladioli blooming. They looked pretty,
so next year I'll be planting more of them.

The tomato plants are blooming in profusion...

Last year's orange nasturtium decided to show up again...
You're more than welcome!!!

The last of the single-petalled marigolds has an attractive

I didn't expect these red salvias to grow this tall. Can you
see the damselfly on one of the plants?

The red hibiscus is all set to bloom. I was very happy to
be able to get a shot of the Common Lascar resting here.

The drab winter look of the Acalypha Wilkesiana is almost gone.
It's slowly regaining its refreshing green/cream colour. It
helps that the Common Sailor is in the vicinity!

My mixed bed again...a combination of phlox, zinnia and

My biggest joy is that I have been able to attract more bees,
butterflies and other beautiful winged creatures to my garden.
Watching them on these blooms, I feel blessed. Even a small
patch of earth can bring so much happiness....
If you want to join Bloom Day, please visit Carol at
Maydreams gardens.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Horticultural Show

This afternoon I headed off to the National Horti-Expo.
The entire space has been converted into a huge garden,
a potted garden. Several hundreds of plants were in
plastic bags. It was like taking a walk through the
real thing (and not a make-shift one) replete with
bees and butterflies!

An eye-catching arrangement with potted flowers, marble
potatoes and maize. These potatoes are very popular here
but this is the first time I've seen them so artistically

There were many azaleas on display. They looked spectacular!

As you go through the pictures you'll understand why I
didn't want to return home!:)

These were new to me! Darker (purple) ones are more abundant.
I hope you've enjoyed going through the displays. Despite
GBBD coming up, I simply couldn't wait to post this. It was
too good to be kept for a later date!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.