I made a quick trip to my hometown to visit my parents and my mother-in-law. It was short but hectic and I bumped into many familiar faces. Connecting again with relatives and people from my past made the trip all the more worth-while. And somehow the thought about giving time to near and dear ones turned into a reality. It was on an impulse that I went, not long after I'd visited my sister in Dec/Jan.
My beautiful hometown called Haflong, was enveloped in a winter haze. Even the hills, those blue hills that I love so much, was not visible during my five-day-stay. But one scenic spot, the Haflong lake, was serene and resplendent in green.
On Sunday, we headed towards Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, some 40 kms away. In this pleasant weather, picnickers are out in the open making the most of the weather, and off we went too, for what is hopefully, the first picnic of the season. The day was hazy and it shows in many of the photos. Many of the trees were bare as seen in the first photo.
Please click on all images for a better view.
Besides tea and the mighty river Brahmaputra, Assam is also known as the home of the one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis). Although the sanctuary is spread over an an area of 38.8 square kms, it has the highest concentration of rhinos as compared to other sanctuaries in the state. With the day being hazy, I couldn't get a clearer shot and we were told by the guards not to venture into the grassland. This shot was taken from the road bordering the park.
The small water bodies in the picture attract several birds. Birds of the heron family dominated the water whereas the skies were for migratory birds, mainly Siberian cranes which flock to warmer climes in winter.
Another view of where the Rhinoceros roam.....
The Spider flowers (Cleome spinosa) were in full bloom. I'd never seen cleome growing so abundantly in the wild. There were many butterflies and a few dragonflies near the blooms.
On the edge of this water body too... A prominent feature of the great wide floodplains of the Brahmaputra valley is a water body of this type known as "beels". These low-lying depressions are fed by rain and floodwaters during the monsoon. Rich in aquatic life, they are a source of food to man and animals. Many villages in areas near these "beels" depend on them for a constant supply of fish. The Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana). This is a stunning butterfly with the spotted pattern on the wings. This species is native to India, Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka.
After lunch we went boating. Took this shot from the boat. Sunsets cannot be missed...just look at that colour!
As we passed colourful clumps of cleome and flocks of parrots pecking at wild berries, huge flocks of Siberian cranes came to roost on these trees. The sunlight was no longer strong and I could only manage to capture these beautiful creatures sihouetted against a fading light.
Like I said earlier, these birds dominated the Pobitora skyline. I'd read about these birds coming here during winter but I'd never seen them. We had no plans of going to Pobitora. We wanted to be together somewhere in the great outdoors. Not everybody liked the first spot and that's how we reached a place so rich in flora and fauna. Needless to say we all came back happy with how it all went.
With GBBD and floral thoughts still on my mind, I'm posting photos of more blooms taken in this beautiful amusement park on the Chennai-Bangalore highway. While the children freaked out on the rides, I went berserk at the sight of hundreds of trees, flowering and non- flowering shrubs, birds, butterflies and dragonflies. All this, and a water body, spread over an area of 70 acres!
The Orchid Tree (on the left) is popular in the East. So called because the blooms resemble orchids, the tree can reach heights of 20-35 ft. The botanical name is Bauhinia Purpurea. The tree blooms in the winter with the blooming period lasting till January.
Three different varieties of hibiscus. I simply ignored the common red ones.
Although I coudn't get good shots of butterflies, this little dragonfly showed me what camouflage was all about!
Wild grass blooming in white abandon.
A fountain amidst all that verdure.
Late afternoon...the sun turns a brighter shade of orange.
I hope you enjoyed going through these photos. I wish everyone a wonderful weekend!
Seeing all the Bloom Day pictures I couldn't resist joining in. Winter, in many parts of India, is a vibrant splash of colour. If it's January, chrysanthemums are still at it-- blooming in profusion. An early morning shot has this little guy staring back at me with no sign of flitting away from its fragrant, floral bed!
Purple salvia in the mixed bed. Red and peachy ones are blooming too.
More mums opening up. Good to know that my li'l space won't be bereft of colour for another three weeks or so.
Dianthus...love that pristine white!
Prospects of a bright future at the sight of this baby bottle-gourd and a bloom! Finally, the view from my kitchen window and this does not belong to me. My neighbour's yard with all those pretty flowers...a welcome sight at any time of the day!
If you'd like to join Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day, please visit Carol at May Dreams Garden.
Being in a new place the idea of visiting a nursery was so tempting! We headed off to a place that my sister often passes by, on the way to her friend's house. The sight of the adeniums was breath-taking! There were hundreds of them lining the terrace in colours to die for! Such subtle variations and so beautiful too!
Rajendra Kumar the man behind it all! A storehouse of information on all things botanical. It was a pleasure meeting him and talking to him. When we got there, he was busy working in the garden and also dealing with customers who were buying in bulk. I did buy about seven varieties but he charged me for only about three of them!! Such a kind gesture because I'm from the other extreme of the country!
Checking out his site on the web later, I learnt that PLR Gardens ( that name was on his card) is a formidable presence in Chennai and in the state of Tamil Nadu.
David admiring some of the plants at the nursery.
As you can see from most of the photos the 'soil' looks different. It's actually coco-dust, a by-product of the coir industry. The outermost layer of the coconut is processed for the extraction of fibre which is used in making rugs, rope, brushes and upholstery stuffing. Between these fibres is the corky substance known as Coir pith or Coir dust. This is fast becoming a hydroponic growing medium. Some of the advantages of using coco-dust are--- High water-holding capacity Healthy root growth Larger roots and blooms Doesn't smell, is bio-degradable and is easily incorporated into soil The idea of using this by-product originated in the Far East and made its way to the Netherlands and Canada. Some websites have mentioned cocodust as a replacement (in the US) for rockwool in hydroponic rose production. Some of the garden features that I liked. I particularly like the small but attractive water feature. I did see a solitary water lily but forgot to take a close shot. New place, new plants....the mind goes haywire!!
Hello everyone! Thank you for all your visits and the lovely messages you left for me! Although I got back a week ago, several commitments kept me away from blogging but now I'm here and rarin' to go!! There'll be a few posts on the south Indian city of Chennai where I'd gone to be with my sister and her family.
The yellow blooms seen in the photo above seem to be everywhere. The bright blooms of the Chestnutleaf Trumpetbush (tecoma castanifolia) greet you from street corners, parks and innume- rable Chennai homes. I noticed that other prolific bloomers are the bougainvillea and jasmine.
Waiting for our turn at the Himalayan Water Ride at Queensland Amusement Park. From left---my sister Molly, her older daughter Shivani and Suzanne (in red), husband David, and my son, Nishant.
Suzanne turned 10 in December. When her sister Vani turned 13 in October, the latter had raved about becoming a teenager. Feeling that one needs to be some kind of an "ager" she announced that she's a "ten-ager"!
Some terracotta items on display/sale at a roadside. Many of the objects were very beautiful and reasonably priced.
Vibrant lime-green money plant ouside a house in Anna-Nagar, an old locality in Chennai. This variety is not common in my state.
Caught the last 2008 sunset with rooftop workers silhouetted against that vivid orange. So different from my usual sunset shots!
Molly's friend Micky and husband Rupam (not in picture) joined us one evening. It was great meeting them.
We had a wonderful time in Chennai. We visited several areas, made a trip to a beautiful place called Pondicherry, savoured different kinds of sea-food (we're far from the sea here). I'm glad I somehow managed to leave the house and travel a few thousand kilometres away to be with family. So many times, other responsibilities come in between and visits are put off till tomorrow. And the proverbial tomorrow takes its own sweet time, or never comes! Children grow so fast but I'm glad that at this time of their lives they got to spend some days together. And till we make the next trip, we can look back on this and be thankful that we did it!!
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