Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Dragonfly Days Of Summer

I really thought I'd seen them all, at least for this season.
Dragonflies in many hues have been regular visitors for the
past three months or so. I've photographed most of them too.
But yesterday, as I went to see whether there were any bees or
butterflies waiting for a photo-session, this vision of black
and white landed on the four o'clock plant.(Not the same as
the one in my last post--this four o'clock has dark pink blooms).

Honestly, this is the first time I've seen these colours on a
dragonfly. Googling, I found out that this one is named-----
Neurothemis tulia.

These are the only two shots I got before it flew away. I
hope I get to see it again!

One good thing about dragonflies, or butterflies for that matter,
is that once they get used to your presence, they simply remain
where they are. This red grasshawk (I think!) kept staring at me
as I clicked away. I was so glad I didn't have to zoom while
taking the shots.

Another first time sight! The Trithemis aurora is a pink-bodied
dragonfly and very beautiful. This photo was taken in April.

Discovered this tiny blue one as I was adding manure to the soil.

There are many damselflies in my yard. At times they land on
my arm as I do the weeding but the moment they discover that I
don't belong to the kingdom "Plantae", they quickly fly away!!!
Found a mating pair yesterday. I'm glad that there will be more
of these beautiful insects flying around my garden.

I wish all my blogger friends and visitors- a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

All Whites And Pinks This Blooming Friday

Welcome to another Blooming Friday. First on the list is a
fragrant bloom called Champa/Magnolia champaca. A recent
addition, I have yet to transfer it to the ground.

Fragrance again, and very refreshing too! The Orange Jasmine/
Murraya paniculata will soon be filled with tiny red fruit.

The common Crape Myrtle--a first for me.

This hot pink Penta has been blooming for some time. It's a
favourite of many kinds of bees.

Another pink penta in a lighter shade of pink is
also beginning to put on a show.

And my ever-faithful four o'clock continues to amaze me
with what hues nature can come up with. Almost every bloom
has different patterns but the colours are only two--pink
and white.

I hope you enjoyed going through these pictures. For more
Blooming Friday posts please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some Blooms And Some Herbs

My potted hibiscus, in a lighter shade of red, is blooming now.

And these two were in the hospital garden where last
week, my son had his moles removed. While he was in
the OT I had a quick look around.

Angel trumpet outside a shop/office complex. This reminded
me of Tina's recent post. Even the colour is the same!

Culantro/Eryngium foetidum is a much-loved herb in my region.
We use it for garnishing a whole lot of dishes. It has a strong
flavour but it's not unpleasant. I was surprised to learn that
it's widely used in South America and the West Indies. I'd thought
it was popular only in eastern Asia.

Other names are--Mexican coriander, serrated coriander, fitweed,
spiny coriander. Locally, it's known as Maan dhania. Dhania is
the word for coriander in Hindi and a few other Indian languages.

Another popular herb in this region is the Chameleon plant/
Houttuynia cordata. Although this plant comes in other colours,
here we only have this variety. It's pungent but one gets used
to the taste and smell.

As for this one, I don't know what it's called in English.
It's the best garnish for dishes made with a combination of
vegetables and dry fish. It resembles the basil and has a
pungent but refreshing smell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Purple Passion!

With the mangoes, melons, litchees and blackberries,
summer is also about yellow and purple passion fruit.
These are pictures of the purple variety or the
Passiflora edulis. It's a vigorous climber and can
easily reach heights of 15-20". A native of South
America it is grown in many tropical/sub-tropical areas
of the globe. In hot areas, it's one of the easiest
things to grow.

The blooms are striking mainly because of the size and the
thread-like edges. The oval fruit turn to purple when ripe.
The rind is thick and the orange pulp with small black seeds,

See how the tendrils cling to anything in its path. In
this case it is the long stalk of a papaya leaf. If the
vine is not trained on a trellis, it goes out of control
and threatens to envelop trees and any surface it may find.

The passion fruit vine grows best in full sun to partial
shade. Apart from the fruit which is made into juices, jam,
marmalade or simply eaten raw, the leaves are also edible.
Cooked,of course! The fruit when ripe falls to the ground
but this does not damage the fruit. Any soft fruit falling
from a considerable height would be squased to inedibility
but the thick rind acts as a barrier to any damage.

The juice is a good source of ascorbic acid. Oil extracted
from the seeds is similar to sunflower oil. I've found out
(online)that the rind is used for making pickle. It also has
medicinal and cosmetic uses.

An interesting story that I found while googling was this.
When the Spanish explored South America, they discovered
that the passion fruit was used in native folk medicine as
a sedative. When the Spanish brought the fruit to Europe
the leaves were used as a sleep-inducing medicine.

The name "Passion" was given by Catholic missionaries in
South America. The 'threads' of the flower were seen as a
symbol of the Crown of Thorns, the five stamens for wounds,
the five petals and five sepals as the 10 Apostles (excluding
Judas and Peter), and the three stigmas for the nails on the

All these photos except for the close-up of the tendrils
were taken in my mother's garden in April. I was on the
phone yesterday talking to my mother when she mentioned
that all the summer fruit are ripening. In her case the
list is a good one--mangoes, blackberries, grapes, guavas,
jackfruit and passion fruit. My mouth waters at the thought!
And that's why this post!:)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Close Encounters Of The Winged Kind!

This isn't the first time Mr. Rusty's here, but I
managed to get closer shots after that post--hence
three more photos.

Another blue-eyed bee came by and I could take only
two shots before it flew away.

A resident of my yard hard at work, boring its new home
on dead bamboo. Covered in bamboo shavings,this was the
only time I saw a messy-looking bee.

A moth I found resting on a tree bark at the local zoo

I had gone scouring the nurseries for more plants with
fragrant blooms. My final stop was Dreamflower nursery.
As I was looking around, I saw these butterflies on the

The Common birdwing is Asia's largest and most beautiful
butterfly. Also known as black and gold birdwing, these
butterflies are as big as (smaller)birds.

It was indeed wonderful to see that flash of black and
yellow fluttering over the Ixora. The pair was never still
which is why I couldn't get better pictures. But seeing
such a sight was indeed the highlight of the day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blooming Friday/ Orchids From The Jungle

Forgive me for not knowing the names of these orchids in
today's Blooming Friday post. These pale blooms looked
like a bunch of inverted commas while budding.

Some of the blooms have faded but there are winged visitors
every single day. Although Blooming Friday is all about what's
blooming on this particular day, I've included the other
orchids not in bloom now, but to give you an idea of the kinds
of orchids found in the jungles of north-eastern India.

From a train window, I took this photo as we trundled through
bridges and tunnels, bamboo forests and a sea of trees. If you
click on this photo you'll see epiphytes on one of the trees.
In the months of April to June, with many of the epiphytes in
bloom, it is a common sight to see flashes of cream, yellow
or different shades of purple on tree-tops.

Below, are some of the orchids from the jungle. These were sold
at the weekly market in the town where I grew up. Many are sold
when they are in bloom. I've recently added these to my collection.

These are from the mango tree in my parents' garden. I got
a clump from here too. And I'm eagerly looking forward to
the day when these beauties will bloom again.

Thank you for visiting. If you'd like to see more Blooming
Friday posts, please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Very Berry Days...

...are here! As of now the colour purple rules! It's the
season that I look forward to, for this annual garden rite
of passage. The season may be short-lived but like all
garden produce, it re-affirms the faith that we have in
the good-ness of the soil...and in gardening.

The Indian Blackberry or Jamun (in Hindi), is sweet when
its fully ripe.

The first ones to ripen. Just a few at a time.

Many birds come to have their fill but when they realize
I'm around, they fly away...

...or turn away.

Even this butterfly tucked its proboscis in and perched itself
on a nearby plant. Ah, well! Every day isn't the same.

The first picking. Followed by many more, all sent to
relatives and friends--with compliments of the berry