Saturday, June 28, 2008
Mango the king of fruits is here! One thing which makes me treat the hot and very humid summer season with less contempt is that besides heat it also brings lots and lots of Mangoes – my favorite fruit for all seasons. This season, for the first time, Mango trees in my garden produced a bounty of fruit. Last several years had seen the fruit being destroyed by the notorious Mango Mealy Bug. All measures to prevent the bug from depriving me of my home grown fruit had proven useless. I remember reading in ‘The Alchemist’- one of my favorite books- ' if you want something very badly the whole universe conspires to give it to you!' So this time around there was some divine intervention (as I didn’t try anything new), and despite the bug, fruits thrived. When you are a witness to the whole process of a mango inflorescence turning into a beautiful handsome fruit, you develop a special affection for it. It was a sight to behold. For a mango lover what can be more pleasing than the site of a Mango laden tree standing proudly in her lawn? They withstood strong winds, rains and stood their ground despite all odds. Finally when it seemed that the time and the fruit, both are ripe, I asked the garden help to pluck and pack the fruits away for ripening.The Mango which comes off the tree requires a storage period of 3-4 days in slightly warm and humid surroundings; it is only after that that it develops the sweet flavor and an appealing yellow color – depending on the cultivar. Here lies the advantage of having home grown mangoes: at some places, in order to make a quick buck, unscrupulous vendors do away with the 3-4 days wait time and artificially ripen mangoes with Calcium Carbide – a sinister practice. Calcium Carbide when dissolved in water gives away Acetylene gas which ripens the mangoes quickly and gives them a healthy color, but the gas is highly toxic and inflammable, moreover Calcium Carbide contains residues of Arsenic and Phosphorus, two very toxic chemicals. After knowing all that, it is very difficult for me to not to eye the luscious looking mango at the local market with a considerable degree of skepticism. 4 days later the Mangoes were all ready to begin their journey down our gastrointestinal tracts. A sweet fruity fragrance pervaded the storage room, tingling my nose and taste buds. My little gardener was also quite excited and shared her Mother’s infatuation for the fruit; she has a very natural way of enjoying it – allowing not just the taste buds, but all the cells on her face to savor the feeling!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Things on professional front had kept, most of my time and nearly all my attention, diverted from anything else, including my blog and gardening. But thankfully, despite my compromised attention the blooms have continued and even the Weather Gods have been benevolent; showering their watery blessings on the parched plant souls. The Rainy season here, which is popularly called as The Monsoon, has arrived and hopefully – if the weathermen can be trusted – we are in for some dark drenching days ahead. With these thoughts I present my Bloom list as part of GBBD started by Carol at Maydreamgardens: Crepe Myrtle or Lagerstromia Ball lily Periwinkle Fire Bush or Hamelia Patens Garlic vine Dwarf Mussaenda, White Wing or Mussaenda glabra Buttterfly weed Gladiolus, though not fully open... Gerbera Shooting star flower or Pseuderanthemum Laxiflorum Canna Lily Crape Jamine Balsam or Impatiens Hibiscus This is an unknown bloom which I bought from the nursery a few days back. Any guesses?? All my blooms are drenched in rains, rain drops can be seen on almost all of them, still they appear very cheerful and happy! Good times ahead for my garden.... P.S.- The bloom was later identified by 'Debofkolkata' as Lemonia spectabilis. Thanks a lot!