In full bloom in early April was this Night Blooming Jasmine. This photo was taken in the hospital grounds at Haflong. The fragrance was intoxicating and I suppose no garden should be without this lovely plant.
Cestrum nocturnum is also known as Raat ki Rani in our country. It means "Queen of the Night". And rightly so. For its fragrance is wonderful and the surrounding area is filled with it. The flowers are small and cream-coloured and are in clusters. The shrub produces three or four flushes of flowers in a year, lasting for about two weeks or so.
After the night's rain...amazing that without the fragrance, the blooms seem less spectacular.
In my mother's garden, the Tej Patta was in full bloom. The name I've used is in Hindi. The botanical name is Cinnamomum tamala/Cinnamomum tejpatta. The tree is medium-sized and the tough leaves are three-veined. The leaves are aromatic and used in a lot of Indian dishes. For us, a kitchen without tej-patta would be incomplete. It is often referred to as the Indian bay leaf.
The following is the information I got from Wikipedia.
Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs belonging to the Laurel family, Lauraceae. The species of cinnamomum have aromatic oils in their leaves and bark. The genus contains 300 species distributed in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world. The etymology is derived from the Greek word "kinnamomon' meaning spice.
Although Tej patta is called the Indian bay leaf, it is different from the one used in Mediterranean/Western cooking. Tej patta has a flavour that reminds you of cinnamon. The leaves of the Bay Laurel/ Laurus nobilis, also extensively used in soups, stews, and other dishes, has a milder flavour.
My recent post on wildflowers had one prominent variety missing from the list. The Four O'clock flower or Mirabilis Jalapa. Growing next to railway tracks and roadsides, they come in several hues. The most common ones are- dark pink, white, yellow, and pink with white lines.
The flowers are so named because they open in the afternoon when the temperature drops. They close the next morning except on dull and cloudy days. The plant is multi-branched and the blooms are tubular. The long tube is suited to long-tongued nectar-feeding, night-flying pollinators.
Mirabilis jalapa is also known as Marvel of Peru. This native of South America has now become naturalized in tropical and temperate climes.
The plant does well in full sun or partial shade. Propagation is easy. Through seeds and its tuberous root. The seeds resemble pepper seeds. I've succeeded in growing it from stem as I couldn't yank out the root. The stem just above the root gave away and I planted that portion. That was in January. Now tiny white tubes have sprouted. Can't wait to see whether those pink lines will also be there! As of now, the pink variety has self-seeded. There are quite a few plants in unlikely places rooting:) for new homes/pots!
The above photographs are of the ones in my pots. The blooms in the last photo were picked from the roadside and promptly put in a vase in my kitchen. I remember reading that "Mirabilis" means wonderful in Latin. An addition that's surely welcome in any garden.
April, and my mother's lilies are in full bloom. The brightness of the blooms never failed to lift my spirits somewhat.
Wildflowers abound on the edge of roads. These plants have tiny blue flowers but I've never found out what they're called.
An early morning shot of Angel Trumpets blooming in profusion. The roadsides were more interesting because of the variety of wild blooms.
Poinsettias planted on the edge of the road but now neglected. They could well keep blooming through May.
I counted four varieties of Ipomoea on fences, trees and walls. This variety, Blue Dawn Flower, looks spectacular because of its vibrant colours.
A white variety I'd never noticed before.
Here's one with pinkish hues. Shot early in the morning.
Wild sunflowers in abundance on roadsides.
Look at that yellow!
The most common orchids on the trees of my hometown. The sun was no longer strong as I tried to capture the yellow cluster on this tall tree.
All the photos were taken on the route between home and hospital. April brought its showers and blooms in abundance. Another month will have its share of nature's bounty, maybe in forms and colours totally different from what you have just seen.
I'm back after the longest gap ever. I did not mention the reason of my being away because I did not imagine that my father's health would deteriorate so much that nothing could alleviate his pain.
The past three weeks have been the most harrowing time for my family to see a loved one struggling to survive against odds that seemed to outweigh everything else. But thank God, some kind of stability, if it can be termed that, did come. And although he is bed-ridden now, the pain has been reduced somewhat.
Between tears, prayers, and trips to hospital and home, I took these shots. My beautiful hometown is surrounded by blue hills. And from the hospital, dawn seemed to carry more promise. Or was it that I was seeking a desperate reason for more scenes as promising as day break across these blue hills?
View of the hills from my parents' backyard.
Part of the town near the hospital.
The backyard again. Sunrise scene.
All the other photographs were taken near the hospital and home.
Thank you to all my visitors and also to everyone who commented on my last post. I'll soon be posting on garden wildlife and of course, blooms!
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