Monday, August 31, 2009

Blooming Dragonflies!

With very few blooms during this season, I'm glad my winged
'blooms' are here to add that element of beauty and joy in the
garden.There are many pale-looking dragonflies now. I mostly see
the golden ones flying about.

The one pictured above was on a mango branch. As soon as I got this
shot, it suddenly darted to catch a fly(?) and munched looking into
the general direction of where I was standing.

Then it remained on its perch awaiting the next tasty meal! It
didn't budge even when I walked past. It was as if nothing mattered,
except food!

This one was an extrovert! Oozing with confidence it started to
show (off) all the moves as soon as I started clicking!!

The kind that's a constant here. Rather drab with green/black lines.

The bluest one I've seen in months!

The palest of them all....Found this one on the bamboo grove
this afternoon.

Although I've photographed several dragonflies this year, some
have been too fast or too shy. Maybe next's a heart-
warming thought!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blooming Friday!

Welcome to the last Blooming Friday of this month. I got these
images from my recent journey. Since all the plants are still
in bloom, I'm posting these photos.Only the last two images are
fom my garden.

To see what's blooming around the world today, please visit our
gracious host Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Since Guwahati lies in a river valley the moment you leave the
city behind, you cross green or golden (depending on the season)
rice-fields. And on the edge, there are swarms of dragonflies and
damselflies. These pretty blooms belong to the Arrowleaf Pondweed.
These aquatic plants simply thrive in low-lying areas.

The green of the rice-fields looks so refreshing.

At my parents' the pretty flowers of the Cypress Vine has
started to bloom. The fern-like leaves have such a delicate
look. These re-seed easily and once you plant them, they remain!

A hibiscus has a visitor.

The lavender bloom of the Peacock Ginger.

A bitter vegetable. I don't know what it's called in English.
The leaves, the flowers resemble the eggplant's. The tiny round
fruit turns yellowish orange when ripe. Only the fruit is

Not blooms but I thought these berries of a common weed
growing in the backyard look lovely.

On the roadside, more wild blooms. These are the red flowers of
Leucas aspera. The white variety is more common, and edible. I'm
not sure about the red ones, though.

My four o'clocks are blooming again after a lull. There are white
ones and yellow ones too. But I didn't get their photos because
they take longer to 'wake up' and they go off to sleep early! But
for these dark pink (wide-eyed) ones it's party time, mostly!!!

A view of my potted four o'clocks on the terrace.

I hope you liked going through these photographs. I wish you all
a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gifts From The Garden

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration
of the five senses
.~ Hanna Rion

Everytime I'm at my parents' garden, I marvel at the tenacity
of the plants. Willing to hold on, despite not getting the care
they've been used to, all these years. When you shower love on
your garden for years there's so much that it gives back. It's
as if the months of neglect, the luxuriant growth of weeds, the
sporadic cleaning and watering does not stand in the way of
'giving back' in much the same way as unconditional love does!

My mother's hurried sowing of chillies one afternoon in April
is now ready for several pickings. This purple variety is a
favourite of chilli lovers in this region. The purple is so deep
that the chillies look almost black.

Look who's keeping me company as I click away? In the background
you can see the chillies facing downwards. But in the next photo
they're all upright!

The green ones are not wholly green. Half of the fruit is black!

The green/black chillies have white blooms. But a closer look
reveals a careless brushstroke of purple at the back.

These pink guavas taste best when the pulp is scooped out
with a spoon. The skin isn't soft (unlike most guavas) and
the green skin is of a dark shade.

The blooms of an edible variety of Clerodendron--C. colebrookianum.
Attractive to pollinators it has a strong smell. In traditional
medicine, the leaves of this plant are used to bring down high
blood pressure.

Many of the plants are in full bloom.

Caught this squirrel early in the morning. Usually an army descends
to raid the guava trees.

A skipper on a ginger leaf.

The ginger patch. We love to garnish our meat dishes with
fresh ginger leaves.

A ginger cone ready to bloom. The recent rains are the cause of
that mud-splattered look!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Long And Winding Road

I was away again. To be with my parents. My father's health took a
turn for the worse and we, my brother and I, took the long route home.
Long, because we were fraught with worry and the road during the rainy
season is at its worst.

But nature was at its best! In whatever season I'm on this route, I always
feel that it's the best season. The green was refreshing and the jungle
was in a blooming frenzy. Although we stopped at only a few places to
stretch our limbs, every point had either blooms or beautiful insects.
The flora and fauna of North Cachar Hills, our district, is rich and

From the road a view of the river Diyung, the longest river in the

Crepe ginger in the wild.

From the red bracts you can tell that it's been blooming for
some time.

A butterfly on the roadside. I've never photographed this one before.
It's the Rustic butterfly.

The bridge of sighs (of relief). When we get this far, our destination
is near!

Below are some grasshoppers I photographed.

Many kinds of wild grass were in bloom. This is the shortest variety
and against the green backdrop they looked really pretty. The vine
looks like the Grape-leaf wood rose, a variety of Ipomoea.

My family can only pray that my father's suffering doesn't get worse.
Age and illness can be a near-fatal combination.I'll be blogging at
my usual pace now but I might soon have to go back.And if there's
silence from my side, you'll understand.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Return Of The Blue-banded Bees

Although the Musical Notes have been blooming profusely since
June, I have never noticed any pollinator being active here! Or
else I'd surely have caught a winged admirer against that
pristine white backdrop.

But the other day I was in for a pleasant surprise. The familiar
loud, almost angry buzzing, was music to my ears! After a gap of
two months (I last saw them here in May), the blue-banded bees
were back!!!

From March to May they were active in my garden. The loud buzzing
and that striking metallic blue made sure you didn't ignore them!
I wonder if it was because certain plants were trimmed and re-
arranged that disturbed them in some way. But I'm so glad to see
them again!

Although I've tried taking several shots in the past, I've never
managed a clear shot. This is because they fly very fast and even
if they hover near flowers, they're never still! The above photo
was taken in May and the one below, in March. I found one hovering
near the Coleus. You'll need to look hard to locate it!!

I looked up several sites and here's what I found.

The Blue-banded bees are native to Australia although their close
relations can be found throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They
are members of the genus Amegilla. They are all small to medium
(7 to 15mm average) with conspicuous pale-blue or bright-blue
bands on a mainly black abdomen. Males have five bands and
females, four.

Blue-banded bees are buzz pollinators. They use a special technique
to get pollen from flowers. They hold on to the flower and vibrate
with a loud buzzing sound. The vibration causes the flower to drop
the pollen on the bees' bodies. Although the blue-banded bees are
attracted to blue and purple flowers, they visit blooms of other
colours too. They are not aggressive and will sting only if

The female bees build nests in shallow burrows in the ground or
in the soft mortar of houses. Males cluster at night by clinging
to twigs or stems. At rest, the blue looks very pale. I did find
them once at dusk (in April) clinging to a stem, and with their
wings closed.It's only when they fly that the deep blue can be

And now that they are back again, that's one blue that won't get
me down!