Monday, November 30, 2009

Leaves of Different Hues

This Rex Begonia has ruby red leaves which shine like jewels in the sun.
The Selaginella is a shade loving plant which grows under my pomegranate tree.

The Swallowtail butterfly found a resting place on the fern.

The croton, with its many coloured leaves is a perennial favourite here.

The Alpinia has bright , variegated leaves.
I hope you enjoyed the colours and forms of the leaves. Have a good day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks for Exuberantly Blooming Friday

When I see the riot of flowers in the gardens now, my heart is filled with gratitude to Mother Nature. The pink frilled Angels' Trumpets Brugmansia suaveolens in my garden are joy to see.
The Brazilian Red Cloak, Megaskepasma erythrochlamys has just started flowering. Soon, the whole bush will be covered with flowers.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Euphorbia leucocephala, is full of white bracts which look like snow flakes.

The native Snake Jasmine, Rhinacanthus masutris, is also flowering profusely now.

My Poinsettia is putting out a good show of bright red bracts.
There are other plants too like the Cassia and barleria which are flowering their hearts out. I feel so thankful that we have so much colour and warmth here now in this part of the planet.
Please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff for more Blooming Friday posts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Flowers of the Season

Gardens all over the city are full of flowers now. Chrysanthemums of different hues are seen everywhere. These are some Pink Ravenia Ravenia spectabilis in my school garden.
Thunbergia grandiflora on a fence.

The Bougainvilleas are flowering their head off.

A Canna Indica in a neighbouring garden.

The Crimson Morning Glory Stictocardia tellifalia is also called Spotted Heart. The heart shaped leaves of this native climber have glandular spots, giving it the name. The latin name also means 'spotted heart'.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Natural Pest Control

Mother Nature has her own ways of maintaining the balance. One of her intrepid warriors is this centipede. Although hounded by humans, the centipede does an efficient job in controlling the slugs and snails in the garden.
The baby African Snail is as voracious an eater as its parents. It has already decimated my spider lilies.

There are some plants , like the Golden Zebra plant Sanchezia speciosa which has found its own defence mechanisms. Two years ago when the African Snail infestation was at its height in my suburb, I feared for the Sanchezia, which was attacked day and night by monstrous snails. But I don't know what chemical it has manufactured now, it is no longer palatable to the snails.

The Heliconium is not so clever. Its leaves get eaten by the hiding snails during the night.
I am not much bothered about the snails now, because it has its own natural predators which keep it in control.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amla, The Fruit for Eternal Youth

The Indian gooseberry, Amla, Phyllanthus embilica has flooded the market now. It is a small, green fruit, astringent and somewhat bitter to taste, but it is purported to have great rejuvenating qualities. All systems of Indian medicine make extensive use of the Amla. Jams, pickle and murabba is made from it, which are very popular. Chyavanprash, a spicy jam made from it using 100 medicinal herbs, is based on the Amla fruit.
The feathery leaved tree framed by the other trees is the Amla tree. There is an interesting story about the tree.
In the ancient times,the beautiful Princess Sukanya accidentally pierced the eyes of the old sage Chyavan, who was meditating sitting in an ant-hill. Sukanya's father, fearing the wrath of the sage, married her off to the blind old sage. Sukanya looked after her husband tenderly, and soon fell in love with him. One day , the gods' physicians, the twin Ashwini Kumars, visited them in human form. Pleased with Sukanya, they asked Chyavan to take a bath with them in the nearby lake. When they emerged from the lake, all the three were looking alike - like young and handsome men. They asked Sukanya to tell who her husband was. In a daze, Sukanya looked at her favourite Amla tree and saw its long shadow. Immediately she knew who her husband was- the man with the shadow. The gods cast no shadow as they are beings of light.
The Ashwini Kumars were pleased with Sukanya's cleverness and love for her husband, and they taught Chyavan the secret recipe for Chyavanprash, which keeps one youthful till the natural end of one's life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In the Pink

Pink is the colour of joy. The men wear pink turbans during a wedding in Punjab. This climbing rose which is climbing up my Amla tree has the faintest trace of pink.
Unlike its climbing cousin, this rose is full of joy, like a pink turban.

The pink Angels' Trumpets Brugmansia salveolens has started blooming again. The garden is full of its sweet scent in the night.

The Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia milii has a face blotched with pink. It is named after Euphorbus, who was the Greek physician of king Juba II of Numidia(Algeria) in the first century B.C. It was King Juba who discovered the plant.

Another shot of the brug when it opened in the night.
Have a joyful day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blooming Friday-Mallow Flowers

The mallow is a large family of plants destributed all over the world. They are more in the tropics. Different parts of the mallows are used as food, fodder and medicine. The yellow flowers of the okra shown above , result in the pods which are a general favourite as a side dish.
The pink mallow is a wild flower which has medicinal value.

The hibiscus too belongs to the Mallow or Malva family.

The leaves of this mallow are used in the kitchen. A tasty chutney can be made by grinding the leaves with green chillies , fenugreek seeds and jaggery.
The leaves of some mallows are used to treat urinary disorders.
To see more Blooming Friday posts, please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Mood of Blue

I love blue flowers, which are not prevalent in this part of the planet. Now that the days are shorter, there are more blue flowers to be seen everywhere. These Blue Dawn flowers from a neighbour's garden has climbed over a roadside tree and flowering happily.
The Amazon Blue has started flowering again, bringing a sense of harmony.

The wild flower, Blue Convolvulus has not stopped flowering since summer.

Another wild flower, the blue Butterfly Pea is seen in all vacant lots.

A volunteer Jacquemontia, flowering in a vacant lot, its tiny flowers attracting bees in hoardes.
My Blue Sage is flowering profusely in my garden. We can enjoy the colour blue in our gardens till mid- February, after which it will become warmer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

butterfly Migrants

Suddenly there is an army of butterflies which have migrated here. Every year they migrate southwards during winter. There are so many in my garden fluttering wildly about , but I can take the pictures of only the slowest! The Common Crow Euploea core is visiting the Blue sage.
Last month, hordes of the Dark Blue Tiger, Tirumala septentrionis passed through the city, on their way to the Western Ghats. Some of them seem to have found this city good enough to break the journey here.

The Dark Blue Tiger's favourite is my Butterfly bush, Buddleija.

The Lime Butterfly Papilio demolius is an annual visitor here. Its favourite is the lemon bush, but it likes other flowers too. Here, it is visiting a Pentas.

This Blue mormon, Papilio polymnestor, poor thing, had a damaged wing. This swallowtail is big- the size of a man's palm. My camera was unable to catch its beautiful blue colour.
We, in the tropics, are lucky. When most of the world is devoid of colour in winter, we have colourful butterflies and birds visiting us, adding to the colour of the flowers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Bloom Day

The tropical region has a great biodiversity, as it is blessed with warmth throughout the year. I feel grateful for all the colour we see all through the year. My Crucifix orchid is flaunting its flaming colours, making a sharp contrast with the Blue Sage.
TheRex Begonias have started putting forth their delicate flowers.

The purple Petria vine has also started blooming. In a few days, the whole vine will be covered with beautiful violet flowers.

The Heliconium 'Golden Rod' flowers throught the year.

The purple ground orchid is also preparing to bring forth more flowers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blooming Friday

This Blooming Fricay's topic is Winter Storage. What better than these bees who have started a honeycomb in my Amla tree? The beehive is the size of a Ping-pong ball at the moment. I hope it increases.
This plant in my school garden has put out tiny white flowers for the first time. The flowers have the fresh scent of oranges. Is it a Murraya? The leaves are thick.

The purple hibiscus has started flowering now. It is an old, native variety, which is not spectacular like the new hibiscuse flowers, but I like it.

The French marigold has no fuss. It flowers profusely whenever you plant it.

The Black-eyed Susan, Thunbergia alata is growing like a wild flower everywhere. It is a neat little vine, not invasive.
My thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday.
My thanks to Totsie of Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday.