Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Brush with Paradise

I love rains but the humidity which invariably accompanies the rainy weather here, sucks the life energy out. Tired and exhausted by heat and humidity I planned an escape to the hills. About three hours drive from Saharanpur is the scenic hill station of Mussourie. Located in the heart of mighty Himalayas and at an altitude of about 2550 meters, it is aptly nicknamed ‘the Queen of the hills’. Driving up the sinuous roads and dicey curves, one can feel the change in air and gradually changing vegetation from deciduous to coniferous type. Greenery greets the sight all around, on the rocks, on the rooftops, even on the tree stems ‘Awe’ is the emotion which predominates when one looks at the mighty, looming figures of some of the tallest peaks of the world but for me the best part was the sight of beautiful fuchsias, hydrangeas, begonias, blooming merrily all over, without any significant effort on the grower’s part! Remarkably these succulents-Aeoniums were omnipresent here, although I logically associate them with places having hot dry weather unlike Mussoorie. It is a heady feeling to be at 3000mts above the sea level and my little one could appreciate that as she enjoyed the rickshaw ride. These cycle rickshaws are ubiquitous all over India and are a very popular means of local transport here, even in hills. The grit and stamina of hill people is legendary, as these people fight the daily vagaries of a life on hills. Tourism has brought better living conditions for them but has also eroded their rich and vibrant culture. Thankfully, there are virginal hills, as yet untouched by large scale human invasion and there the colors of a tribal hill culture can be seen in their pure natural state Inspired by their traditional attire my little one decided to try one herself and the result…not bad… what do you say? Roaming around in the relative tranquility of the hills, I came across shops displaying their beautiful wares. There were lanterns in exciting colors with some intricately carved and decorated pots . Then there were Brass idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses invoking reverence and love. A leisurely stroll, down the road and I find this ‘weeping willow’, reminds me of the whooping willow of Hogwarts of the Harry Potter fameFew kilometers away from the main town authorities have very sensibly designed a garden; known as ‘Company Baag’ (‘Baag’ is Hindi for garden). To be there is an aesthetic experience par excellence. Cool air of the mountains, laden with the aroma of fresh blooming flowers, fill the nostrils and the view of the town and tall coniferous trees takes the breath awayThe Dahlias seemed to be smiling at me for the look I had; like a mortal lost somewhere in the paradise! I had to have the pleasure of enjoying a boat ride in this artificial lake 2500 meters above the sea! Like all good things my brush with paradise had to come to an end. My angel agreed for one last pose before we return to heat and humidity, worries and work… but then that is life and we are fortunate to be living it…

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, July 15

Thank God! I can pull off another Blogger’s bloom day with satisfactory blooms. Well, the worst for my garden is over. It hasn’t rained as per expectations but the humidity has had a beneficial effect on the plants. So, at present, there is a descent bloom and a lot is in the waiting! Gaillardia or the Blanket flower, don’t they look like the sparks coming out of a firecracker? Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia), looks like a cotton woolly clump in pink. It’s a delight to take a handful of flowers and have a sensual delight in the crepe like texture The red flowers of Celosia are seen in the backdrop of green kochea. Nature looks so inviting in basic colors. Plumeria with its wonderful leaves, displaying their magnificent parallel venation, gives a fresh clean scrubbed appearance, just after rains. To see a bright yellow Sunflower in bloom is elevating for the mood. It gives my day a head start. Impatiens or the Balsam- seedpods, which open suddenly when touched, makes it rather interesting. Fire Bush (Hamelia patens )-known for its heat tolerance,comforts me when it is sizzling outside. Dwarf Mussaenda (Mussaenda glabra) - Sometimes, beautiful things of life come in small packages. Old horses there- Hibiscus And Zinnias

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bloggers for Positive Change Award

Many Thanks dear Wild Life Gardener for nominating me for this Award.I feel deeply honoured. The award is the brain child of Climate Of Our Future to commemorate blogger's efforts around the world to share their knowledge, thoughts and inspirations in making this a better, healthier, more sustainable world. Here are my five nominations: *Annie in Austin, Texas at The Transplantable Rose You can trust her to make even the daily local news appear interesting through her presentation skills. I love the way she gardens and simply adore the Way she presents things. She has already been a victim of several internet memes so I hope that one more is not going to do her much harm! *Caribbean garden by Nicole, she says her job requires her to travel to different places and that’s the best part of it. You can find several very interesting posts and pics from her various visits and some very lovely photographs contributed by her friends. Thanks to her eclectic interests and globe trotting, she seems to have seen it all, done it all! *Carol from May Dreams Gardens, here I may add that its my absolute honor and privilege to nominate her, as she is easily one of the most regular, revered and respected garden blogger. She pioneered the idea of ‘Garden Bloggers' Bloom day’, where every participant is required to enlist their blooms on the 15th of every month. *Kate smudges in earth, paint and life by Kate is an adoringly sentimental take on things.Blog with cute pictures and some heart warming poetry charms its way into the hearts of fellow bloggers. *Andrea’s garden is a blog set in the scenic locales of Germany. Her writings and tidings about her cat ‘Stella’ keep me amused. It is a pleasure to enjoy her life through her blog. Needless to add that it is a pure delight to be part of this blogging world and to be nominated by a fellow blogger for any internet meme makes me feel myself to be an integral part of the fraternity. I had to come up with five nominations which I did but at the same time express my gratitude to all fellow bloggers for the impact they leave on each other and the world in general. Meme Rules The participation rules are simple: 1. When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way. 2. In your post, make sure you link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme. 3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme. 4. Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Monsoon Mania

Welcome rains! It seems that the worst is over. The place has been blessed with some wonder showers bringing the temperatures significantly down. There are very few sights more appealing than the sight of gray fluffy clouds, pregnant with water, looming on the horizon, especially after a scorching month of June. My little daughter could appreciate that as she was overjoyed to see the rains and decided to experience the wonder of nature first hand. There is a magical hypnotism in the face of a child. The thrill I had, to see her enjoy the rains, was almost unparalleled in magnitude. And then the rains stopped but this ‘Rain lily’ or Zephyranthes blooms as a memento of the first rains and with a promise of more in store! The change can be appreciated in the long stretches of green. All the leaves and grass which had turned yellow, scorched and parched, are now turning to a shade of soothing green. Its almost miraculous, the effect few good showers can have on the flora. The vitality is palpable. There is an air of freshness, an invigorated look about the whole garden. The leaves and the flowers carry such a washed and clean appearance. The whole garden gives a happy and grateful look!Here, the Plumeria presents a pretty picture:- The inevitable accompaniments of heat and humidity, these mushrooms grew, uninvited, in a corner (They don’t give an appetizing look, do they?). I hope, someday I’ll come across a black or white (Alba) Truffle, growing in my garden. Keep your fingers crossed, it just might happen! The huge leaves of colocasia attained these mega proportions in just two days post rains! I don’t know whether there is a scientific rationale behind it, but no amount of irrigation can match the beneficial effect of rains on the growth of plants.


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