Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wild Wednesday

Yesterday I was the witness to a drama of wild things. The Heron which was standing motionless beside my lilypond in the hope of catching a frog, flew to the coconut tree when I came back home in the afternoon. Immediately, the Koel which has kept its eggs in the crow's nest on top of the neighbour's coconut tree, began to make a lot of noise, trying to distract the heron's attention.
The heron's attention was distracted by the Koel's behaviour.

But the Koel,s clamour gave the clue to the Crow Pheasant, which started to watch the neighbour's coconut tree, and managed to get a chick, before the angry crows came and chased it away.
I was happy to find that all my students had managed to get the geometry problem involving Heron's Formula right! (Heron's Formula is formula in geometry to find the area of a triangle when the sides are known)

Monday, March 29, 2010

What is That?

The Quisqualia indica, Or the Rangoon Creeper is named quixotically by the botanists. Its name in Latin means 'What is that'. The early botanist who saw the plant for the first time in England must have ejaculated "What is that?", and the name got stuck. But its name Madhumalti in Sanskrit means 'Honey jasmine."
The flowers match their name because they are surrounded by honey bees. The delicately scented flowers start as pale pink blossoms and become darker as they age, so that you see at least three diffenrent colours of flowers in one branch.

The British planted these creepers along railway tracks in Burma. That is how the Honey Jasmine got its other ugly name 'Rangoon Railway Creeper'!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blooming Friday- Perfect Pink Pouts

The Adenium is flowering pinkly now. It likes the heat and the lack of rain.
This Alpinia has put out its delicate, shell like pink flowers with yellow throars.

The Barbados lilies ate blooming profusely now. They can hardly be called pink, but I couldn't resist showing them.

These are the Pinks, or Dianthus as they are often called. They flower through the year. Cuttings taken from the plant easily germinate and make new plants, but I have found that the plants coming from the seeds give the most flowers.

The Nerium Oleander bush is covered with delicate pale pink flowers.
For more Blooming Friday flowers, please visit Katarina's Roses and Stuff.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garden Creatures

The locust is a voracious eater, and no friend of the gardener.

But the frog is a welcome sight in the garden. He keeps the insects in check. Old timers say that as long as you see a frog in your garden, you don't have to worry about drought. It is only when the frogs disappear that you are in serious trouble.
This moth is pretending to be a dry leaf, to escape from the frog.
The frog has its own enemy- the snake. The rat snakes love the taste of frogs. I catch sight of it now and then.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Watery Wednesday!

This is the Rangoli design made in my school during the farewell of the Year XII students. It depicts time, hope and success. Water is an integral part of hope and success for a garden.
Unfortunately, due to the continuing drought, we are starved of water here.

This calm jungle lilypond reflects the forest surrounding it. For me it is a symbol of hope.
Water saving and harvesting is done in many ways. I cover the flower beds with coconut fibre, dry banana leaves and jackfruit leaves to prevent rapid evaporation. It is very effective, but my gardener hates it. He says the garden looks shabby.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Fairest of All

There are many types of jasmine, but the Kunda is the only one without fragrance. But it has extraordinary beauty and whiteness to make up for its lack of fragrance. The Kunda is the comparison of whiteness in Indian literature. "As white as the Kunda", not "as white as snow", in a land where snow is never seen.
Another point in the Kunda's favour is that it flowers throughout the year, and in profusion. Unfortunately, my Kunda plant is not so prolific this year for some unknown reason. It is called Kakda in Kannada, the local language.
Mid March is the time when the Exam fever is on .Students , parents and teachers visit the temple of Saraswati , the goddess of Knowledge now. Saraswati is considered by the Hindus and the Buddhists to represent Intelligence, Cosmic Knowledge, Creativity, Education, Music and the Arts. She is described to be 'as white as the Kunda'. People offer the Kunda jasmine in her temple.

This 19th century painting of Saraswati is by Raja Ravi Varma, a Prince of an Indian state. Here the goddess is shown to be playing the Veena, a favourite musical instrument of India.
May Saraswati shine the intelligence of all the students!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Rain Tree

The Raintree, Albizia saman, is in full bloom everywhere. It is also called the Monkey Pod tree because its pods are favourite snacks for monkeys, and also called Saman.
The Albizia was named after the 17 th century Italian nobleman Filippo del Albizzi. The Siris tree, which is a native of India , also belongs to the same family. The Saman is a native of South America.

This is called the Rain Tree because it can predict rain. Its leaves fold when rain is expected! Unfortunately for us, it has not predicted rain in more than two months. The great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt saw a giant Saman tree in Venezuela in 1799, which was already 200 years old. The tree still stands, and is the national treasure of Venezuela. There is an 80 year old Raintree in my ancestral house in Mysore.

The pods fell onto the road in the heat of summer when the tar had melted, and made a design .

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blooming Friday- Beginning of Summer

The blue-purple flowers of the Ruellia are common, but very pretty.
The red Amaryllis blooms twice a year.

The pineapple has fiven a flower (or is it fruit?) three years after I planted the top of a pineapple I had eaten.

The Seven-layered Jasmine has a lovely perfume- reminding one of sandalwood.

Summer starts early in these parts, and yellow flowers are having an upper hand. These golden yellow French Marigolds are already showing signs of wilting in the intense sunlight.
I am thankful to Katarina for her wonderful blog Roses and Stuff.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Swallowtails in Spring

The lovelorn Mormons flew slowly past me and landed on the lower leaf of the mango tree.
The Crimson Rose became tired of chasing his partener and rested for a while on the eggplant bush. You can see his crimson body.

Now I know why he coudn't fly as high as the female. The slight damage to the wing makes so much difference. Hope he finds a partner soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flavourful Pandan

This is the Pandan I use sometimes to flovour the rice. Although it looks like a lily, it belongs to the Pandanaceae family. It is growing in semi shade, and has never flowered in six years. The leaves have a nutty, grassy aroma , similar to the aroma of Basmati rice. It is called the Basmati Pandan locally.Pandanus amaryllifolius is used extensively in Indonesian , Malaysian and Thai cooking. The leaves of this plant have a cockroach repllant quality!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today is Yugadi, the Indian Lunar New Year. We decorate the entrance of our homes with rangoli designs and green mango leaves. After an early morning oil massage and bath, we visit the temple and offer flowers and fruit.
The jasmine is one of the main flowers offered. It becomes very expensive on this day.

The Marigold is another traditional flower offered at the temple.

The Hibiscus bushes in my garden which are full of flowers, will be robbed of flowers by early morning temple goers.

The Neem leaves and flowers are an integral part of Yugadi. The doorways have garlands of Neem leaves. The bitter,tender leaves and flowers of the Neem are mixed with sweet jaggery and eaten today. This is to signify that we must face all sweet and bitter experiences that life offers next year, with equanimity.
Happy Yugadi ! And a Happy New Year!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day- March 2010

The Barbados lily buds are seen at all unexpected corners of the garden. The unrelenting heat has made them flower earlier this year.
The roadside trees are resplendant with flowers. The purple flowers of the Jacaranda carpet my front garden.

Golden showers of flowers from the Amaltas Cassia fistula attract birds and bees.

The serene beauty of the white Amaryllis contrasts with the exuberant colours all around.

The Lobster Claw Heliconium plants are full of bright red-and yellow flowers. The flowers are becoming longer day by day. Some of them become 2 feet long and last for two months or more. Squirrels seem to love them too.
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Blooming Friday- Viji's Garden

These flowers are from my friend Viji's garden in Mysore. The blue blossoms of the Thunbergia gladden the heart in the heat.
THe Thunbergia Mysorensis is blooming profusely.

These beautiful flowers are the blooms of Pandorea jasminoides. The pink blooms of this native of Australia are not common in these parts although it belongs to the Bignonia family.

The Lobster Claw heliconium has brilliant colours.

The orange blossoms of the Bignonia venusta are full of nectar and attract the birds and the bees.
All the photos were taken by Viji.
To see more pictures of Blooming Friday, please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Colour Purple

All gardens here are full of yellow and red flowers, but one longs to see cool colours in this heat. The Petrea is a sight for sore eyes.
The Matchstick plant is blooming in the shade.

The flowers of the common Asystasia have purple and white markings.

The deep purple flower of the Thunbergia erecta.
Hope it will rain soon and the weather will become cooler.