Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September Sky

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon,
my soul expands in worship of the Creator
. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Although the heat hasn't said its reluctant goodbye, the play of
colours has already started...Our usually orange sunsets turned
spectacular the other day. I'm glad I could capture the many hues
because within a few minutes, the show was over. It was as if the
sky had never worn any other shade but the usual blue with flakes
of orange.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Coral-tailed Cloudwing

Regular readers of this blog might remember that the above picture used
to be my header-photo a few months ago. At that time, I hadn't found out
the name of this beautiful dragonfly. That was in May. I saw it in a
shady patch near the mango tree and was bedazzled:)

You can see why. The reddish body and the transparent wings with the
spots of whitish-blue and brown make it a spectacular dragonfly. I got
a few shots but in my excitement, I went too close and it flew away.

I did see the species a few more times but it was flying about and
that's something I haven't quite managed to capture. In flight, the
Coral-tailed Cloudwing/Tholymis tillarga looks striking. That's when
the spots on the hind-wings look more pronounced.

The other day, I was lucky to find it again on a bougainvillea branch.
Although the red looked much paler, the wings were the same. It did not
budge as I took several shots in the hot sun. I've read that it is most
active in the evenings. The Coral-tailed Cloudwing is commonly found in
Asia, Australasia and Africa. Insects living near water is seen in my
yard because of the swampy areas in our locality. It's common to see
clouds of dragonflies in these low-lying boggy plots of land.

This is a male dragonfly. I'm yet to photograph the female of the species.
They have amber bodies and the transparent wings have brown patches on them.

With so many dragonflies in the vicinity, sometimes, I also come across
dead ones. The head was missing so for the photograph I placed it at an
angle where the fact is not obvious. The tattered wings say it, anyway.
The white blooms are of the dwarf Ixora and the ones next to it are the
colours that tell you that (the heat of) Summer still wants to linger on,
at least for some more time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


September is the month for the Blotanical awards.
The nominations have been announced and voting is on now.
I was very happy to find out that I have been nominated in
two categories. They are:-

1. Best Gardening For Wildlife Blog

2. Best Asian Blog

Being in the august company of wonderful bloggers is an
honour indeed! Thank you, Blotanical.

The founder of this fabulous site is Stuart Robinson. If
you aren't familiar with the name, it's a meeting ground
for gardeners and plant lovers from across the world. There
are gardeners in every kind of terrain with a mind-boggling
array of plants. And if one is not too sure about names,
there's always someone out there who'll come up with them.

Even if you do not blog, you can still become a member. So
click on the link and check out THE site for gardeners and
plant/nature lovers.

To all the finalists, I wish you the very best!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blooming Friday/Wildflowers

Welcome to the last Blooming Friday post of September. The
dragonflies are still active and I've been lucky to spot one
I hadn't seen before. This is the female Pied Paddy Skimmer/
Neurothemis tullia. The male has pronounced black and white
wings but I think this one looks striking too!

One of my favourite wildflowers happens to be the Porterweed. I
helped myself to some from the wayside and they have just
started to bloom. Mine is the blue variety. Since they attract
pollinators and are a host plant for butterflies they will now be
staples in my garden. Also, I've read that the blue-banded bees
are drawn to blue and purple flowers. There's much to look forward

Growing on the edges of roads are these creepers with white
blooms. The blooms close at mid-day. I don't know the name
but they sure look good!

Another variety from the waysides are these eye-catching blooms.
These two photos were taken in April. I'm glad today's post is
about wildflowers or else these photos might not have been posted.
So thank you, Katarina.

For more posts on what kind of wildflowers are blooming across the
planet now, please visit Katarina at Roses And Stuff.

Thank you for stopping by. I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Ooh! (crunch) Doesn't it feel good to start the day feeding
on the choicest part of this bloom?!

True! I could be here the whole day (slurp)! Eat at the pace we
are famous for! (giggle)

As I was saying the other day....

I guess you're right! Now if we could.....

Psst....she's here again with that whatchamacallit....

I know! I can sense her. Just go on pretending as if you
haven't noticed she's here. That makes her very happy.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Indian Borage

The Indian Borage is an attractive addition to any garden. This
perennial herb with serrated, fuzzy-textured foliage is low-
maintenance and easy to grow. My potted one sits in partial shade,
does not need a great deal of water and keeps looking good for most
months of the year.

This plant goes by several names too. Botanically it's Plectranthus
and the long list of names includes--Broadleaf thyme,
Spanish thyme, Mexican mint, and Cuban oregano. The Indian borage
is believed to be native to Africa but has naturalised in the Old
and New World tropics. There are two varieties: one is green and the
one I have has variegated leaves. The Chinese name translates as
"giving fragrance to the hands". And rightly so, because even if
you brush against the leaf you get a whiff of its strong smell.

The leaves are said to be added to mutton and fish dishes. Personally,
I find the smell so strong that I prefer to treat it as an ornamental.
The medicinal properties are many. It is said to cure cough and is
used in the treatment of asthma. The leaves are also used in the
treatment of wounds, sores, swellings and burns.

The blooms are in this shade of lavender. Some photos that I've
seen online had pinkish and white blooms too. The plant grows to
a height of 12-18 inches. Propagation is through seeds or stem

When I got the plant some three years ago, the only thing I knew
about it was that it was edible. But finding out its many virtues
now, I can't wait to try out some of the recipes and remedies.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blooming Friday/Bougainvillea

Not much blooming here right now. The ones that are blooming have
already graced my earlier posts. So I have chosen blooms that are most
popular in warmer climes. Every garden has a few varieties of this
shrub/woody vine. Yes, it's the Bougainvillea!

This photo was taken at one of my favourite nurseries, "Dreamflower".
The back of the nursery is a hill and the entire hillside is full of
flowering plants. In bloom, this is what the area looks like.

The actual flower is small but the papery bracts add all that
gorgeous colour!

Another one from the album...the rooftop garden of a car and clothing
outlet always looks interesting. Ficus, palms and bougainvillea abound!

For more Blooming Friday posts, please head over to Katarina's beautiful
blog, Roses And Stuff.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


With all the dragonflies, the damselflies, and myriad bugs in
my yard, the skippers are also regular visitors. Initially, it
was very difficult to shoot them because of their quick,
darting, flight habits but I guess now, I've got the hang of
it. I'm still not familiar with their names except for the
tiniest one in the last two photos of this post. That's the
Green Grass Dart feeding on a kind of basil. Enjoy!!

[A post I did on the 6th of this month titled "Almost Lost....
In All That Yellow" also had two kinds of these stout-bodied

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blooming Friday/Gladiolus And Four O'clocks

Welcome!! It's time to display our blooms again! I found this
red and black dragonfly and I thought it'd make a great welcome
picture. To see what's blooming in gardens across the world,
please visit our gracious host, Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

I'd brought this gladiolus plant from my mother's garden in
July. All the plants had finished blooming (then) and I only
got to see some drying-on-the-plant flowers. But I did get a
tiny plant with a few leaves (three, I think) and brought it home.
Well, I didn't expect it to bloom this year but gardens never
fail to throw in a few surprises from time to time.

Honestly, I thought the bloom was going to be in one colour.
But the pink lines make it look rather special. These plants
are common in the hilly areas (like my hometown) but I admit
I've never grown them. You see them in most gardens or on the
edge of gardens spilling on to the road.

As I photographed the buds yesterday, the heat of the afternoon
sun was so intense that I had to rush back in. Thankfully, it
rained last night and getting to photograph any bloom with raindrops
still on it, is a gardener's delight!

At the back you can see the Sunset Bells, still providing a great
deal of colour. The idea is that when the summer colours fade, other
plants will take over:) It's a small circular bed but the photographs
give the impression of a little more space....

This photo was taken early this year in February. This is to
show the glads I grew after buying the corms from a local nursery.
This variety is not found in the wild.

As for other blooms, the pink and white four o'clocks are
blooming in these colours. Some are pure white, some have
a tinge of pink. It's interesting to see the blooms.

The yellow ones are also blooming...the scent in the evenings
is wonderful. I'm waiting for the hummingbird moths to come.
So far there's been no sign of them. Still hoping......

Have a great weekend, everyone! And thank you for checking out
my "Blooming Friday" post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ET Of The Insect World

The other day, as I was photographing a golden dragonfly, I
noticed this Praying Mantis on the Crape Ginger plant. It's
the first time I've seen a mantid here in my garden.

Taking a closer look, I found that it was heavy with egg.
Since most of my potted plants have been shifted to the
terrace, and I'm trying to attract more garden wildlife
there, I took it (there) and placed it on the Mussaenda

The word 'mantis' comes from the Greek for 'soothsayer' or
'prophet'. They are named because of their posture, front legs
together as if they're praying.

There are 2000 species of mantises.They are carnivorous and their
diet includes moths, grasshoppers, crickets and aphids. They blend
in very well with their surroundings and this is important as
birds prey on them.

This is how it stayed for the rest of the day. On the bean
trellis. I'd seen a caterpillar there there so I thought it
wouldn't need to hunt for food!

But the next morning, it'd climbed higher and had laid eggs
or was still laying eggs. It was still attatched to the mass.
The eggs were encased in a frothy liquid. It was so fresh that
it still looked like a soft mass and it was whitish green. I
found out online that the frothy liquid is called an "ootheca".
The ootheca hardens and turns into a protective shell. The colour
changes to brown.

I'll have to wait and see when the babies emerge. They'll be the
size of ants and will start eating each other if they're not
released in an open area. The female Praying Mantis is known to
eat its mate during or after mating.The babies will moult several
times before they become adults. It'll be worth the wait!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Almost Lost...In All That Yellow!


And sometimes, in a sea of white!!!