Friday, January 29, 2010

Blooming Friday - Preferred Colours

I like all colous, but I prefer pastel shades- especially blue. But the flowers that bloom in my garden are mostly the ' hot' colours - red, scarlet, yellow, orange. I have found that it is not which plant I like that counts, but it is which plant likes to be in my garden!
My pink rose is contantly attacked by hopping pests, who are not bothered by my organic pesticides.

This bougainvillea is in a pot, unlike the golden variety which is dripping with flowers.

This is another colour I love. The Petria vine has started flowering profusely now.

The bright blue flowers of the Blue Sage attract lots of butterflies.
Thanks to Katarina of http://rosorochris.blogspot. for hosting the weekly Blooming Friday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Common Sergeant and the Crimson Rose

The Butterfly Common Sergeant has stripes like an army sergeant. It is also aggressive, befitting its name. It chases away other butterflies when they come near its territory.
The Crimson Rose is a swallowtail which usually flies too high for me to catch in my camera. I was lucky to see this guy when he was resting on the hibiscus leaf. You can see the crimson body of the butterfly between the wings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Watery Wednesday

The Kunigal Lake, which is the inspiration for many romantic folk songs.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Immaculate Lotus

Today is the 60th anniversary of India becoming a democratic republic. As a tribute to my country, I am writing a few words about the Lotus, the national flower of India.
The Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera is a symbol of purity in most of the Eastern cultures. Although it grows in a mire, it reaches to the light. Its structure is such that it is always immaculate.
The lotus is an unusual flower in many ways. Researchers have found that the lotus blossoms, like humans, maintain their temperature at the same level even in freezing cold, to help the pollinators.
Microscopic bumps on the waxy lotus leaf make its surface extremely water repellent. Dewdrops slide down the surface removing the dirt.This "Lotus Effect" is made use of in nano technology. Because it is not affected by dirt or temperature, and remains immaculate always striving towards light, the lotus is compared to a yogi.
Happy Republic Day to my Indian friends.
Happy Australia Day to my Australian friends.
The pictures in this post are from Wikipedia.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drumstick Tree

The Drumstick Tree Moringa oleifera is said to be one of the world's most useful trees. Its seedpods which look like drumsticks, are a foot or more long . They have the pride of place in South Indian cuisine.
The profuse white flowers of the tree is also used in curries. They taste like mushrooms. The tiny leaves of the drumstick tree is also a valuable vegetable. It can be eaten with a salad, or cooked with garlic and chillies to make a tasty dish.

The roots of the tree are used as a medicine for snake bite. The flowers, leaves and the seedpods all contain high amounts of calcium, iron vitamin C and beta carotene. The soup made from the drumstick leaves make you feel energetic.

The name of the tree in Sanskrit is 'Shobhanjan', meaning beautiful sight. The tree which flowers three or four times a year is a beautiful sight to behold. The flowers are faintly fragrant and attract hoardes of bees and birds.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blooming Friday

The Bellarica tree in the village is covered with greenish yellow, fragrant flowers. The tree is abuzz with bees. The Eucalyptus at the back has not yet flowered.
THe Sanchezia is commonly called the zebra plant, but its flowers remind me of the tiger, with their yellow and orange colouring.

The bright yellow blossoms of the African marigold are a favourite of bees.

I had pinched the buds of these French marigolds , and now I am getting a bushelful of flowers!

Warm colours of the French marigolds compliment the colours of zinnia.
I thank Katarina of Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Butterflies in Spring

I wonder why butterflies are given such prosaic names. They are usually named after animals or birds, or even flowers. The Common Crow is seen everywhere now.
I caught this Dark Blue Tiger when he was feasting on the Buddleja.

Same fellow when he came back for more.
Common Jays , Lemons and Crimson Rose are seen flying high in my garden. I have not been successful in catching them in the camera.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baheda Tree

I used to see this tree on my way to the neighbouring village. It was quite a non descriptive tree, with grey bark and gnarled trunk. It was only yesterday that my gardener told me that the Baheda tree was in full bloom.
The tree is festooned with light yellow flowers. It is beseiged by bees , clamouring for the nectar. There are scores of little birds too, feasting on the nectar.

The Baheda, Bellarica myrabolan, is a native Indian tree, prized for its medicinal properties. The honey scentedd flowers are very attractive. Villagers think that this tree is inhabited by demons, and so they leave it undisturbed. The fruit of the Baheda is used in the Rasayana treatment by Ayurveda practitioners. It is also used for tanning.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moon Beans

French beans are also called 'Moon beans ' and 'One month beans' here. The name is apt because it takes exactly one month from the day you plant the seeds to the day you harvest the green beans. I plant beans every fortnight so that I always have a supply of the tender green beans.The plants you see in the picture are in the flowering stage.
The beans are cut and boiled in salt water and tossed in butter . Fresh coriander leaves and fresh grated coconut is sprinkled on top to make a tasty dish.
Beans contain iodine which is good for growth and for the brain.They also contain plenty of fibre.

Monday, January 18, 2010


There are some unexpected flowers in my garden. These chrysanthemums are still blooming, although their season is over. Perhaps the cool weather and the long nights are encouraging it to bloom.
This mauve mum has been blooming since last July! I wonder when it will sleep.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Foliage during the Eclipse

Yesterday afternoon there was a solar eclipse. It was an annular solar eclipse, where the sun appears as a ring of fire. We could see only the partial eclipse though. You can see the images of the eclipse on the ground beside the plants in the picture below.
The tiny holes between the leaves of the lemon tree under which these plants are kept act like pinhole cameras, and the image is received on the groundYou can see the image of the eclipsed sun like cresents beside the fern.

Aglaonema, Alocasia metallica,Ti plant, Peparomia and other foliage plants are in deep shade and could not get the eclipse.

Some of the begonias have not yet started flowering.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Many colours of a Tropical Blooming Friday

I have planted Impatiens of different colours in the shady parts of my garden. Among the few shade loving bloomers, impatiens are the the most prolific bloomers.
The Salvia is in full sun, but it can tolerate some amount of shade.

The golden Gerbera has started blooming now.

The Amazon lily is another shade loving plant which has put out flowers in deep shade.

The yellow poinsettia is slowly covering itself with pale yellow bracts.
For more pictures of Blooming Friday, please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Sweet Cane

The sugar cane is flowering in my school garden. The feathery pink flowers are typical grass flowers, with no smell.
The sugar cane in the fields on Mysore road have just been harvested and sent to the sugar mills. Some of the sugar cane juice is made into the golden brown jaggery , which is used in the traditional sweets of India.
Sugar cane juice is a popular drink sold all over India, in street corner mills. The washed sugar cane is fed into the hand driven or power driven mill and the juice is extracted. Lemon juice, rock salt and ginger added to the cane juice make it very refreshing and energizing. The fresh juice costs one third the price of Coke or Pepsi, besides being health giving. It is claimed that a daily glass of sugar cane juice prevents breast cancer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Return of the Tyto alba

The barn owl has returned to my school garden. It has made its home in one of the trees facing Class III and sleeps there during the day, to the delight of the students.
The barn owl is also called the 'Ghost owl' as it flits by silently during the night, hunting its prey.

Its chief enemy, besides humans, is the crow. If the crows spot it during the day, they attack it and kill it. I hope crows will not find our friend's home.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chess Flowers

The game of chess originated in India in the distant past. Although modern chess has changed a lot, it is also a game of war, like the ancient version. In the ancient version, the rook was called the' elephant', the knight- 'horse', the bishop 'camel, and the pawns 'foot soldiers'.The king was of course the 'Maharaja', and the Queen was 'Prime minister'. Below are the pictures of some of the flowers which have associations with the game of chess.
The Bishop's Cloak Magaskepasma erythrochalmis has started putting out its deep pink flower bracts. They resemble the red ginger from a distance.

The Queen's Tears, Russelia equisetiformis has attractive tubular flowers and needle like leaves. It also comes in pale yellow and white.

The Cup of Gold, Solandra grandiflora has started flowering after a winter rest.

The Maharaja's Plume, Alpinia purpurata has not stopped flowering. Don't the flowers look a bit like the Bishop's Cloak?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blooming Friday of Tropical Flowers

Our spring is already here, and the plants have started flowering profusely. The lemon yellow blossoms of the Shrimp plant Pachystachis lutea have covered the bush.
THe Bird of Paradise flower, Strelitzia regina has also started flowering. This beautiful flower was named aftera queen.

The Mysore Clock Vine Thunbergia mysorensis is flowering in clusters from the treetops. The flowers hang like chandeliers from the Amla tree.

The bromeliad flower is becoming bigger day by day, but the other bromeliads have not been encouraged to flower.

You can clearly see the blue 'bird' in the Bird of Paradise flower.
Please visit Katarina at Roses and Stuff for more Blooming Friday posts.