Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Whacky and Whimsical Containers

When I did this I was accused of being downright eccentric and whimsical by my family, but now these ‘best out of waste’ ideas look like work of art, at least to me.It was, thanks to some careless handling on a bad mood day that the base of my favorite water flask came off. The sight of the fresh Kiwi fruit on the body had made this flask a much cherished one. So obviously my despair knew no bounds when the base gave away. Not in a mood to throw away something so dear to me, I hit upon the idea of planting some ornamental Asparagus in it. And now the plant is thriving and the flask with the kiwi fruit photo too is all there.What used to be a beautiful lamp once was reduced to a rotund glass structure after meeting its nemesis in my little daughter. One fine day she decided to test the resilience of the lamp by banging the telephone receiver on it; as it turned out, receiver won the mini battle and the lamp was left separated from its neck. And so here it is, sitting pretty in my garden, with a portulaca in it instead of a bulb. This sea shell was brought from Kerala coast, where my hubby had gone on an official trip, and I instantly knew the best use I could put this shell to. So that’s Haworthia in a Sea Shell for youThis one actually is an earthenware pot, which was a ubiquitous presence in Indian households for storing water, before plastics and other synthetic derivatives displaced everything traditional and healthy. Because of the naturally present micro pores in the earthenware pot, it kept water very cool and lend a slight ‘taste’ to the stored water making the water feel very fresh to the palate. As a fond remembrance for the, now vestigial, earthenware pot, I planted a Tradescantia in it, and as the structural material of this pot is same as the conventionally used one, plant is happily thriving. Having read a number of articles about the dangers posed by plastics, I have come to despise them, especially for microwave cooking. I believe that warmth can cause the toxic chemicals from the plastic vessel to enter into food, even with the so called ‘food grade’ plastics. Saying no to plastic for cooking, I used it in my garden! The Portulaca seems to enjoy its modified container.Aromatic tea gave way to beautiful Caladium, as the handle of this cup gave away, and the floral pattern on the cup makes the cup appear at home amidst other plants…or so I hope! Now that is numero uno in the list of my whacky containers. I had a sedum planted in this loofah and had it hang through a support. Having seen me indulge in these whacky, and may be downright atrocious container planting, my hubby says, “I am scared that if I am to stand still for more than 15 min, you might even start entertaining the idea of potting something in me” Now that is so inconsiderate!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Heart goes Banana...

Its time to go bananas again! I was rather impatiently, and with a little apprehension – the fondness of bugs for my fruits has been all too evident in the past - waiting for the bananas to ripen. Fruits are arguably the best thing that comes out of a garden. One can buy a whole bunch of bananas in the market but it is not a patch on a single one produced in your backyard. After all it is not without reason that most of the anecdotes allude to these wonderful gifts [fruits] of nature. Have we ever heard of, ‘reaping the flowers of one’s labor?’ Or may be, ‘tasting the sweet vegetables of success?’ quite obviously these altered proverbs don’t cut any ice with logic. Finally ripen they did. When the bunch of this, potentially creamy, juicy, but now raw green fruit showed slight roundening of borders, I knew that the time was ripe to free the bunch from the branch. Now, here was the catchy part as I had to invest in a kilo of apples from the fruit vendor so that I could put one of those apples with my beautiful bunch to enable ripening. The acetylene gas, which is liberated in whole sale by the apple, helps ripen the bananas quickly. The banana bunch, with the apple, are put in a bucket and covered nicely with a newspaper… Lo and behold! Rich, sweet, creamy, healthy, power packed, absolutely homegrown(but for the solitary apple), bananas are ready…

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Diwali

The festival of lights, Diwali, is here. On this wonderful occasion I wish all my blogger friends peace and prosperity. As per Hindu tradition this festival marks the homecoming of lord Rama after slaying the demon Ravana. Therefore the festival in essence is celebration of restoration of good after destroying evil and etymologically Diwali means a ‘row of lights’. The houses are spring cleaned, decorated and lit with a row of lights. I will get on with the preparations and may you all have a very Happy Diwali. (photo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Feel of Autumn

Things are going to be good for next five months; the weather I love most is here. Finally, I can say that autumn has arrived.This year saw a protracted spell of heat and humidity with less than expected rains. Therefore, after the harsh heat and heavy humidity, the soft cool caress of autumn feels divine. To max the autumn fun is the vivacious atmosphere created by Pre-Diwali preparations. During these days life goes on at a hectic but interesting pace. And it is not only the bipeds who are having an interestingly busy autumn, even the quadruped here is kicking his feet, celebrating the jovial weather. There is a sudden flurry of activity. The beautiful butterflies flitting in and out…The colorful caterpillars are in competition for the green leaves. Soon nature will molt one beauty into another... more elegant... more colorful. the squirrels busy mixing fun with the serious business of storing food for the waiting winters, the birds merrily perching on the post monsoon lush greenery… Autumn feels like a second spring. And unlike spring which is followed by summer and its accompanying side effects, autumn brings in winters, which may be cold, numb, sedate, but still feel better than the grime of summers. For me, the best way to enjoy winters is from under a heavy cotton quilt with a strong cup of coffee in hand; and the Groggy eyes peeking at the first rays of Sun falling on the blooms of roses and chrysanthemums on a really lazy Sunday…utopia!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Bloom too soon!

Diwali, the biggest event in the Hindu festive calendar is about 3 weeks away. I wanted the garden to have at least some blooms which I could show off to the guests dropping in for celebrations. Alas! This Garlic wine, on which I was counting so heavily, is in bloom now. The blooms of this lovely Vine are gorgeous like always, but for me they came a tad sooner then they should have. I guess the ‘flowery fireworks’ will have all fizzled out by Diwali. The other blooms, which I turn to for this festival, are the mums. But the mums have decided to not to oblige soon enough; they will be in bloom only by November 1st week. So, even the chrysanthemum bloom will elude me this Diwali. But this one plant, whose bloom may not have coincided with the festival, has still made me happy just by blooming. Dracaena is known to be a very capricious bloomer. That it gave out flowers is enough a cause for celebration. Now I feel that I should have planted some Marigolds which quite likely would have bloomed at the right time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The '5 colored' plant!

It was around two years back that a home to home vendor sold this plant to me. I was told that the then small green sapling will grow up in a plant having 5 colors in it. Quite naturally I was intrigued, not so much by his 5 color statement, but just to know the true nature of the plant that had this vendor so amused. I am a little wary of buying plants from such vendors, as besides being unsure of the health and quality of the plant, there botanical knowledge is also somewhat challenged. Yet there is a benefit, which I found in this case that sometimes they hand you over a sapling whose growth is almost as interesting as turning the pages of a mystery novel. Well, I planted it anyway … and had forgotten about the 5 color thing, till yesterday I saw this beautiful leaf. The leaves were a perfect heart shape, with a different color on each half. I still don’t know the actual name of this plant. I tried to Google it and it looks like Disanthus cercidifolius. I hope my blogger friends can help me out with the solution to the ‘mystery’.


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