Wednesday, April 25, 2007
As plant lovers, maybe, we all fantasize about having a garden with an assortment of different kinds of plants yet there is a limit to which we can realize our fantasies howsoever economically endowed one might be. Well maintained Public Parks come reasonably close to help us enjoy our dreams as I discovered while enjoying walk in one such park in New Delhi. Aptly named “The Garden of five senses” the park had some really beautiful flowers in full bloom filling the evening air with their heavenly aroma. Thankfully it was the month of March, and the garden was blooming, with the colors of spring all over. No! It is definitely not a desert, at least not yet! (Although it just might soon be, considering the global warming and lack of rains); this ‘ship of desert’ was enjoying the sun right at the centre of the garden. Later, I found that the camel was hired by the authorities for the children to enjoy a ride Now that was an interesting find! This low spreading tree was teeming with mini-chandelier like flowers. Still searching for its name though. Its heart shaped leaves resemble those of Disanthus but the flowers are quite different. These beautiful cacti and succulents were providing perfect contrast to the flowering plants. Agaves and Yuccas were basking in the glory of evening sun. Finally, this beautiful specimen(which is actually a fountain!) created by man, attempting to mimic nature, was standing romantically against the backdrop of setting sun. >
Saturday, April 21, 2007
With a heavy heart I bid adieu Spring! Spring is all but gone and the tearful reminders are the withered flowers.The sun is blazing and temperature is touching the 40 Celsius mark. The last six days have seen a phenomenal rise in temperatures and my garden can feel the heat.Only my Petunias are braving the intense heat,but not for long... Roses in their prime. Things as they (barely)stand now. It’s giving me heartbreak to see all those lovely plants I had tended to, now wilting under the cruel summer heat but then that’s the law of nature. These dying plants will dissolve in the soil and provide the necessary replenishment for future flora to grow and thrive. Remarkable, how the dying too serve a purpose in the scheme of things governed by the supreme. Daily happenings of our life contain a deep rooted philosophy and reemphasize the clairvoyance and conservation with which nature operates. On a more positive note, it might be bye bye dear sweet spring but welcome scorching summers for you have a unique charm of your own. Spring might have taken away some of the beauties it bought to my garden but now its time to drape it in summer wear! What with all the caladiums, canna lilies showing promise and Zinias, Sunflowers, celosia…waiting patiently for their chance to bloom their way through my heart into the warm embrace of Indian summer TheBuddha belly plant (Jatropha Podagrica)too has broken its slumber after about four months and is welcoming summers by giving out new tender leaves. Finally, Welcome summers, welcome to my garden! I've so much to look forward to.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
A very Happy Blooms Day to all.Blooming today in my garden are Dianthus and Petunia in their pink glory. Marigold,merry as ever. Hibiscus or gurhal as is known in Hindi brightening the landscape. Roses in so many colours and hues imparting their divine fragrance to my garden. Oleander displaying its exquisite blooms. Dahlias with their beautifully shaded flowers That's the picture story of my garden as it stands now. Unfortunately, with every passing day, sun is getting harsher and that doesn't spell too good for flowering plants but this time I am determined to get some heat hardy plants to ensure a perma-bloom in my garden.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Gardening is such a cool hobby that unless you are to step in the outer space, there always will be something interesting. Jaipur, besides presenting me with some breathtaking sceneries and palaces, had these lovely pots and plants. Certain things catch your attention for their beauty as much as their uniqueness. I saw this lovely blue pot planted with Syngonium podophyllum in the lobby of the hotel, where I was staying. Something as simple as a pot can actually go a long way in accentuating a beauty manifolds Beautiful Amaryllis blooming in the Hotel Garden. Adenium, a beauty par excellence! I have a few in my collection as well but this one is from the Hotel garden. I didn’t see many of this size in my local nursery and found myself wishing for a similar fate to the babies in my garden In the premises of Birla Mandir, was this captivating tree with its yellow flowers providing a perfect contrast to the blue sky! I still don’t know the name of this beauty, maybe my blogger friends can help me with this identity search! The Hotel outdoors had these tray gardens on display. Containing some lovely plants in an arrangement, they just stole my heart. I couldn’t help but capture a few of them in my camera. That gives me an idea of having one for my own collection
Saturday, April 7, 2007
I guess that the trip has been so exciting for me that I can’t help but share more of it. There is something with these vacations that lingers on pleasantly in the memories long after the actual thing is over. I still am beseeched by the medieval charm of the palaces, scenically complimented by the ‘Birla Mandir’ made of pure white marble. The famous Taj Mahal in India was also made from marble specially imported from Jaipur! Although I am not a very religious person but definitely a spiritual one, the calm and peaceful environment around the temple, somehow invoked a feeling of respect and reverence to God. Situated adjacent to the temple was this pure marble construction of god Shiva’s idol. Surrounded by marble pillars, the God has an arm raised for blessing (a common feature in most Hindu idols). With the calm and serenity still pervading we made our way up towards the Amber fort. En-route we came across another temple, significant because the Rajas of Jaipur used to pay their obeisance here before setting out for war. By now Sun was almost relentless with its heat, undaunted we hired a guide to guide us through the complex yet beautiful intricacies of the palace architecture. Now we have to give something to the genius of the architects of that era, the structure here is the sheesh-mahal, loosely translated it means a palace of reflecting glass. Designed as a winter bedroom for the royal females, its indo-Persian architecture of reflecting silver ensured that the oil lamps fixed on either side of the room get uniformly reflected, lighting the room, besides keeping it cozily warm. That’s the roof of the sheesh-mahal, opulent! The structure here was the summer bedroom! We were told that the royal rooms, inside the structure, had a storage space for rain water on their roofs, keeping the rooms cool. These people certainly had an idea of rain water harvesting! Concepts believed to be so recent and in vogue, ante date almost a century Finally, we were taken to the museum, again a glorious edifice of indo-sarcenic architecture and housing remarkable remnants of an interesting era. The museum has been modelled on Victoria and Albert museum in London.Now with the trip over and having compulsively shared my excitement with you I am back to the routine, but it is no longer drab and monotonous.
Monday, April 2, 2007
My sincerest apologies for taking so long to write this post but finally after a long gap I was able to treat myself to a vacation, although a short one, to the pink city Jaipur. A stark contrast to my first love that is gardening and green, Jaipur is situated in the desert state of Rajasthan but Jaipur as an exception had some flora I hadn't come across before. Magnificent and opulent, the city of Jaipur was a feast to the eyes. I could not help but wonder at the kind of lavish lives led by the erstwhile rajas and maharajas. Huge palaces on the top of hills presented an awe inspiring view despite the blazing sun (It was 37 degree Celsius!). Entering Jaipur city, I was greeted with the sight of the huge yet beautiful gate, an apt reflection of the architectural megaliths, on its other side, awaiting my visual senses. My trip started at the so called ‘City Palace’ the abode of descendants of the Raja of Jaipur. The Peacock Gate took my breath away (can only dream of one at my entrance!).A 15 Km drive away from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur took us to ‘Amber Palace’ perched atop the Aravali mountains and a standing proof of the architectural abilities of people of those times. That’s the gate of Amber Palace, splendor in abundance intricately decorated with vegetable dyes! (Imagine the eco-sensitivity of those times) That’s the famous Hawa-Mahal, a façade, constructed for the royal females to watch the various processions passing by the city, without being seen themselves. I feel, despite the lavish and luxury, women got a raw deal in those times. To be pushed behind a façade for avoiding exposure to males is so demeaning.