Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best Out Of Waste

Lately there was a lot of talk about environment conservation on the blogophere with many bloggers giving their thought provoking takes on eco-balancing and environment protection. Coincidentally about that time I had a chance to visit the ‘Rock Garden of Chandigarh’ It is a marvel of a common man’s imagination. The garden was conceptualized by an official of a transport office, Mr Nek Chand who wanted some space to pursue his deep passion for sculpting and gardening. He cleared a patch of jungle and started making sculptures with whatever he could lay his hands on, working mainly at night out of the fear of being detected in the day. When finally authorities came to know of the existence, initially they were appalled on the illegality of the creation, but then pragmatism prevailed and judging the artistic quality and potential of the thing, they gave him an official sanction and a grant to carry on with the job.
Click to enlarge
As it stands now, the garden has immortalized the creator and is a major tourist attraction of Chandigarh. Who would have thought of using condemned telephonic wires or electricity sockets to be made into something as artistic! The matted roots looked so real that I had to touch them to confirm that they are actually carved out rocks! Rows and columns of pots used to create partitions. Broken bangles, discarded pieces of broken china, house hold plumbing…almost anything, inanimate and existing, has been used to sculpt these cute figurines. Works like these are an inspiration. It’s not just the beauty that one appreciates; these places stimulate one to be creative, imaginative and loving towards Mother Nature.I hope my little one learned a thing or two from the visit. As of now she is infinitely more interested in breaking things than to create any thing worthwhile from broken objects:-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Oct 2007

Time is flying! 15th October and it is time for posting one’s blooms, courtesy Carol at Maydreamsgardens. Although October is a wonderful month considering the wonderful cool weather with sunshine at just the right intensity- the blooms in my garden aren’t much different from last month. So here goes my bloom list: Hedychium Summer Poinsettia or Mexican Fire Plant or Euphorbia cyathophora Pink Oleander Gladiolus Dwarf Ixora Crinum Asiaticum Touch me not or Mimosa Pudica Hibiscus Rosa sinensis Lovely Peach coloured Hibiscus Bleeding Heart vine or Clerodendrum thomsoniae This is the flower of a purple bean whose name I don't know, the seeed was planted by my undergardener and he could not recollect the name of the bean.Can anybody help? P.S.-The bean was later identified by Annie in Austin as the Velvet bean or Mucuna Pruriens.Thanks Annie!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Harvesting Colocasia

Beginning of October has seen some sudden drop in the night temperatures, though the days are still very warm and sunny. Usually this drastic change of weather is an invitation to flu and that is what bugged my daughter and then the rest of us over the past few days. It is really a surprise that despite such advances in medical science, with all that research going on in the fancy areas of AIDS, cancers etc, there has not been much one can do about flu by way of medicines. Well with, hopefully, my seasonal quota of illness over I set out to take a measure of things in my vegetable garden, and there the leaves of Colocasia had turned yellow and started falling-time to harvest the tubers or corms. It was around 7 months back, in the month of February, that I had planted the corms. Thereafter the bed was left all alone except for hoeing and earthing one or two times in the following four months. Without any pestering or pampering, the corms continued to mature below the soil and signaled their presence in April by giving out the first leaves. The rainy season(monsoon) which followed the month of May-June was a boon for the leaves as they acquired reasonably big proportions in it. In some homes, the fresh green leaves of this plant are coated with gram flour and fried, the resulting ‘patodas’, as they are known in local language, are very crisp and spicy. They induce a slight 'stinging' sensation to mouth and the throat, and are loved precisely for the same reason; not everyone likes that though.This stinging sensation is due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Now the leaves have started turning yellow and some of them have fallen off, signaling the time for harvesting the corms The corms are now dug up… The cormlets are detached The mother corm is then stored in a dry place to be planted in the next growing season. Finally the potato like starchy corm is ready to be cooked and eaten. Colocasia esculenta, also known as Arabi here in India and Taro in many countries around the world, is a widely eaten vegetable. It looks and tastes like a potato, but is nutritionally superior to potato, and the leaves too have a nutritional value same as that of spinach.The corms are a good source of Carbohydrates and Potassium.They also contain good quantities of Vitamin B complex. As an afterthought, I feel, that till the time a definitive treatment for viral nuisances like flu, is found, we will have to trust fresh vegetables and fruits to ensure a speedy recovery, and if they are home grown, it is- good bye flu!


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