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.
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 away!! 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!
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!
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 pastures! 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!!!
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.
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 visitor. 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 dianthus.
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.
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 displayed. 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!
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