Thursday, September 20, 2007

Captivating Cacti

It is strange that the very set of eyes which revel in the colorful beauty of soft fragrant flowers, also find the crude, thorny cacti appealing. Nature is a master crafter to have hoodwinked our brains into enjoying such a contrasting variety of things, that they all appear so beautiful in their own unique way. I was besieged by these thoughts while falling in love with my cacti & succulents again and again.Enamored, I caught the few I have on my camera. The diverse geometric shapes and the unique adaptability characteristics make them a tribute to the eclectic craftiness of nature. Some of them have swollen stems to store water and food for testing times of drought.Known as Caudiciforms, they make lovely shapes and forms.
Adenium Obesum or the Desert rose
Jatropha Podagrica or the Buddha Belly Plant
Beaucarnea or the Ponytail Palm
Some of them form rossettes by complex geometric arrangement of leaves like these Agaves and Haworthias .
Agave isthmensis
Agave palmeri
Agave Americana variegata
Haworthia limifolia
Some form long spiny columns like these Euphorbias Then there are Kalanchoes which are known for their non exacting, non demanding nature. Some varieties bless their owners with profuse blooms in gorgeous colours, while others have an understated beauty and charm.
Kalanchoe Beharensis
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri
Kalanchoe farinaceae
Kalanchoe longiflora
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
The identity of these two plants still eludes me as the local plant nursery person was, unfortunately, more interested in selling them, without caring to know more about their details, and hence I am left only with their physical presence to admire. I wish I can get some more information on them, and I am still searching… Although I have tried my best to name them correctly, but I hate to admit that my knowledge on their exact names is slightly challenged, therefore I request my blogger friends to please point out, if I have bungled somewhere. This little fellow seems to be enjoying the shade, or maybe testing the place for its winter hibernation, blissfully oblivious of the attention he is getting.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Sep 2007

Here comes 15th of the month, and is time to preen and prance around the blooms. Weather Gods are being benevolent. Although the day lengths have considerably reduced, but it is more fun to be outdoors, as the temperatures have come down to cool and comfortable levels. So, here I go clicking with thanks in my heart for Carol at Maydreams gardens, for this beautiful idea of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.
Plumbago busy encroaching others' territory.
Alamanda accompanied by a Jatropha bloom in front. After braving months of heat, Roses are coming back in form. Though still small in size, they are a worthy indicator of good times ahead. Different types of Portulaca in one pot having a nice time. A Gladiolus complaining of the absence of support, still trying its best to stand straight. Gaillardia featuring for the third time in GBBD,couldn'nt help posting,they look lovely together. Bougainvillea in beatiful magenta looks gay The subtle shades of red on this Canna lily look amazing. Ixora- a new member in my Garden family A bunch of Plumeria imparts a serenity to my garden. Salvia- the only flower in Red. Lantana showcases its miniature blooms and lovely variegated leaves. Hibiscus blooms make a cool pair. Hedychium blooms are pristine white. An unknown bloom-I seek the help of my blogger friends in identifying this plant My little blossom poses amidst the blooms, to a proud mother, and a proud gardener…

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Handful of Henna!

It is a mystery, how certain customs and practices find their way in our daily lives. It is only when we sit thinking about them, that we wonder on their existence. Some of these practices have a fundamental basis and logic behind them, others are plain whacky, but a few are interesting for the pure and plain feeling of fun they inspire. In south Asia dyeing of hands or legs in beautiful intricate patterns with Henna is customary on certain occasions. The variety and the artistic depth of the designs show how old and intrinsic the art is to Indian culture. Henna, also known as Mehndi in Hindi, is an evergreen shrub-Lawsonia inermis ,whose leaves contain a chemical ‘lawsone’ which leaves a dye like mark on the skin. Unlike permanent tattoos, Henna marking is temporary, natural and relatively free from allergies and other side-effects. Leaves of the plant are the richest in Lawsone content. They are dried, pounded into a powder and sifted so that the resultant fine powder can be formed into a smooth paste. . The paste is then applied through a cone or an applicator, on the skin surface... creating some splendid designs... The initial coating of dark brown gradually dries and sheds, meanwhile the pigment moves into the superficial layers of skin Finally a reddish brown impression of the dye remains... as the lady of the house stands preening... delighted by the result... It is the festival of ‘Teej’ celebrated in North India, where married women dress up traditionally in a sari and sport beautiful patterns of Henna on their hands and forearms, that made me think of 'Henna' or The Mehndi plant. It is said that the love of ladies’ husband is in direct proportion to the color, the Henna leaves on hand! Well, I personally will go for more objective criteria to decide on my Husband’s love for me, but as I said earlier, looking for logic in every thing we do, tends to take the fun away.


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