Saturday, October 20, 2012

It takes two to tango!

You know that life is chugging back to its wonderful old leisurely pace when things start happening the way they used to happen. Finally I have been able to bring myself back to sit down and write my thoughts. Ever since I started blogging about my plants and my world there have been instances when I felt that I have nothing left to show in the garden, no ideas to share, no new things to write about; and every time I missed writing the post on account of a ‘block’ I rued it; but not this time.
This time there was a strong and a very welcome reason for the absence. SHE is the reason:

She is the second fairy to have blessed my life and life seems beautiful with the sweet gurgles and coos. I can only imagine this little sapling too to blossom with a love for nature and plants, like her elder sibling.

Gardening didn’t exactly get neglected but wasn’t there on the priority list for some time, so though whatever was there has been preserved but nothing new has been added. Now is the time when the garden is back on radar and I am looking forward to the uber pleasure of tending to all the little things which make this life beautiful and worth living.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surfing Seeds

For a long time things had been sedate and the tits and bits which went on in the garden were not enough to stimulate me to write about them. Thankfully, there has been something different, something to cheer about and something to look forward to. I chanced across a website selling seeds and decided to try it. These concepts, though quite in vogue in other parts of the planet, are relatively new to India. I made a generous order of seeds (by my standards), and was thrilled to receive the neatly packaged courier. The seeds were sown around 15 days back and the best part is that the germination has been an astounding 90%.Internet and Satellite television have really taken the pain of being cut off from the modern way of life away from living in a small town, although, thankfully, the peace and tranquility hasn't been much affected. A few months back I couldn't grow Broccoli because of non availability of the seeds. Broccooli, although a wonderfully nutritious vegetable is remarkably absent from Indian culture and cuisine. It was perchance that a nursery had brought Broccoli seedlings a few years back and I had the unexpected pleasure of reaping the rewards of a Broccoli crop. But on finding very few takers in the town, he didn’t bring it again, leaving me cursing the town I live in. Thankfully now things have changed a lot. It is a sea change from the times when one, while on travel to distant places, used to scout for seeds and saplings; but now at the flick of a finger you can order what you want through the internet - though money still remains a basic necessity:-) The weather is excellent and besides the newly acquired seeds the older vegetables and fruits too are thriving like these Brinjals which have been aplenty, Some bitterness to add to the flavor... Salad is ready...
Pure, Carbide free, fully homegrown Bananas are waiting for harvest... and....when life gives you Lemons - collect them:-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Green is my valley

We are almost into September and the landscape here is replete with an abundance of Green. A pleasant sight, thanks to the wonderful rainy season we had, though it does make keeping the garden organized a heavy job. In India Monsoons have always been very important determinant of crop production and many a political fortunes have been made and destroyed depending on the quantum of monsoon rains. Despite the advancement and the heavy talk of maintaining a 8% growth rate, we are a primarily agrarian economy. All the scientific advancements haven't been able to make weather prediction 100% accurate, it remains an imperfect and largely unreliable science; and so a good rainy season is always a pleasant surprise...a reason to rejoice. The plants and the garden in general seem to be echoing the general mood; beautifully bejeweled with tiny droplets, gleaming in the crystal clear post rainfall Sun.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A weekend escapade

It seems that the general psychology nowadays has changed and most of us tend to get bored of the routine too easily and too quickly. It is to escape this mundane routine of life in a small town that I feel the need for frequent small vacations. Mussoorie, a beautiful hill station had served the purpose aptly for a weekend escapade, but lately it has almost become a suburb of Dehradun - with all the hustle bustle and an overflow of human species. Constant and ever increasing flow of tourists with the resultant urbanization has robbed the hill station of its erstwhile charm. Therefore, this time we went to Dhanaulti instead, which was around 28 km drive from the picture palace end of Mussoorie. Dhanaulti was like a dream. It felt as if we are high up in the clouds, or above them. Unlike other hill stations, there was no commercialization, except a few kiosks selling tea and light snacks. The air was crispy fresh, pollution and humidity-free. All of the hill station was just a ridge on the mighty Himalayas and in the name of development were two ‘eco parks’. The parks had numerous varieties of trees and a host of birds flocking to revel in the relatively virgin nature. There were, thankfully, very few hotels and restaurants. The chief attraction was untouched nature and the wonderful weather. ‘Eco parks’ had several attractions for kids in the form of rides and swings. Acres of green area on a hilly terrain with a cool mist engulfing you now and then, amidst the chirping of birds with scant humanity made the experience really unforgettable. On our way back we dropped in Musoorie for an hour or so. It was a rare stroke of good luck that we found Ruskin Bond sitting in his favorite book shop at mall road. His books have been a part of my growing up years and now they are a part of my daughter’s. Without wasting a moment she was inside the shop, requesting her favorite author for an autograph, and with which our dear ‘Bond’ promptly obliged.

Friday, April 8, 2011


It is a beautiful season. There is magic in the air and on the ground as well! looking at the profuse blooms gives a joy unparalleled in nature. This year I added some new flowers to my collection and thankfully they have all bloomed, with the unfortunate exception of Tulips. It may be the weather... or soil...or plain bad luck, but the Tulips have not blessed my garden by blooming. Silver lining is that the local nursery guy has taken a fancy for Tulips after looking at the awesome curiosity and demand they generated, so I can look forward to pushing my luck again next year. That’s what i love about gardening - the potential for continuous change. It raises my oxytocin levels to no end to see these exotic flowers blooming here in my garden. In fact the desire to flaunt these exotica pushed me out of my extreme lethargy to write this blog post :-) Liliums... Primroses... Hyacinths... are the first time bloomers. There were many issues i had with life in a small city, and not getting flower seeds/bulbs of my choice was one of them. But there seems to be a change in the air. The tastes of people are changing. And, thankfully, some nurseries here are receptive of the changing tastes.They have stocked up on many hybrids and different varieties of flowering plants. I think I can look forward to a good gardening season ahead.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Towards a healthier life

I remember reading somewhere that if you want to give someone permanent happiness, teach him gardening. It was while going through the newspaper that I came across this interesting article It is about a School in Indian city of Mumbai where they have successfully banished junk food from school canteen and substituted it with healthier alternatives grown in the School compound by the children themselves! Children were encouraged to cultivate crops which they could consume in their school lunch. Net result is that you have happier and healthier little gardeners who grow up with the satisfaction of having contributed to the betterment of environment besides adding to there own health. The world has changed rapidly over the last two decades. Advancements in Information Technology have revolutionized the way we used to do things. Globalization has resulted in nutritious traditional diets being replaced by junk food, which is heavily advertised by multinationals. Young impressionable minds find it glamorous to associate with these starchy, trans-fat full, patently unhealthy foods. One cannot fight the side effects of growing market economy with socialistic rules and regulations alone; instead, providing healthier alternatives and educating masses about them is the way to go. I admit that before reading this very inspiring news article I used to scoff at NGOs trying to teach people about environment sustainability etc, dismissing them as an attempt to gather publicity and government funds. But, thankfully I am wrong and there are some genuine and very brilliant attempts at preserving the Globe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cute Nibblers

Sunny winters ensure that to escape the cold dark indoors I spent more and more time outdoors; at least till the frigid sun less days are not here. There is always something happening and so you do not get bored even for a single second. Just yesterday I saw - what I then thought to be a strange bird but google told me that this brown headed Barbet is fairly common in India - this cute birdie helping itself merrily to the Guavas. Guavas are one fruit in my garden which, to my utter helplessness, are reserved for the winged; I seldom get to enjoy the lovely fruit as the birds always beat me to it...not that I mind. I very carefully tip toed to shoot it with the camera, but it was blissfully unconcerned with my presence. It must have been after a few minutes that I looked in the direction of Guava tree to find that the Barbet had now been replaced by a Bulbul. Like the Barbet, Bulbul was relishing the same Guava and didn’t mind me taking a few snaps in return for allowing her an unrestricted access to the Guavas.I was wondering on the wonderful cooperation that goes on in nature - Bulbul,Barbet, all eating the same Guava one after another. As I turned my gaze again towards the Guava tree, I saw the visitor number three - A squirrel. I do not know if this was mutual cooperation or she bullied the bulbul away, but here she was nibbling the left over Guava which was still hanging to the tree branch. I was out for almost quarter of an hour and so much happened on a single Guava tree. At other occasions I have noticed other welcome culprits like parrots who satisfy their appetite on the Guava tree leaving me with the half eaten fruit to gaze on but the satisfaction of watching nature in perpetual motion is all worth much more than the ‘loss’.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Moving on...

Life moves at a very interesting pace when things happen in the garden. I have planted the seeds which i had stored in last season. The beds are ready. Today we had the first fog of the season, quite prematurely in fact; fog is not to be expected before mid December here. Spinach is growing in plenty and that must be the situation everywhere in this area because a lot of my neighbours have asked me if i can use some Saag - a pureed spinach preparation, commonly eaten in North India. After a long time I had the luxury of visiting local nursery yesterday. The nursery owner had - to my utter surprise - brought in some Tulip bulbs, along with Irises and Hyacinths. I had been dying to grow Tulips here. All the lovely blogs, even some of the Indian ones, feature their gorgeous Tulips. I do not know if they will grow in my climatic conditions but i will have the satisfaction of having given them a try. Besides the exotic ones i also got some Marigolds. I plan to plant them between the Mums, so that when, by spring it is time for Mums to wither, the Marigolds would be in bloom. And then there was this little birdie tip toeing her way around the garden; I haven’t seen it before but was completely enamored by its furtive walk. The bird was obviously happier on the ground as it made no attempts to fly despite my presence there. The pleasant outdoors in North Indian winters are capped by these unexpected bonuses. Things are picking up slowly. Winters have begun and till now the temperatures are cool and comfortable. The days ahead will see the mercury plummeting further and one will need all the will power to get up and get going....but the prospect seems inviting to me:-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back to blogging

Last three months have been stressful. This monsoon saw an unprecedented increase in incidence of Malaria, Dengue and unexplained fever, keeping me too busy with professional obligations. Thankfully, with the advent of healthy season (winters) things are better now and I have time for both myself and blogging. Not much change in the garden except that the winter vegetables are growing. It is the most enjoyable aspect of this season that I get to enjoy homegrown vegetables – infinitely healthier than anything sold in the market. In another significant development, the eucalyptus trees in the garden were cut off by the people from forest department as they posed a threat to the residence. It always pains me to see a tree being cut, and it was even worse to see that happening in my own backyard, but I had little say in the matter. One of the trees was leaning dangerously towards the house and had to be cut. The other was also perceived to pose some threat hence removed. Sometimes seemingly bad things are for good; now, at least, I can sleep in piece during thunderstorms.The stumps are looking unsightly. I am still thinking on as to how to give them a prettier look. Chrysanthemums have started blooming, formally indicating the advent of winters. It is still around 3 months to spring and by all indications there is going to be a very frigid winter before that. Life will mostly be indoors and I will have the posts of all my blogging friends to keep me warm.


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