Aug 3, 2008

Babies and toddlers!

The slowly expanding Plantville (that’s what I named my Greenies’ world – I know that sounds dull, but anyways I couldn’t come up with a better name) is filled with many make-shift tents for the guests, some permanent homes and few mobile homes. Today I coaxed the Jequirity triplets to move in as a permanent resident of Plantville into a home similar to the Bittergourd couples, who by the ways are happy and comfortable now.


As I mentioned before many invited guests were given make-shift tents (cardboard boxes) until they grow as naughty little kids. Most of them are babies now – the Sunflower, Gaillardia, Pansies, Cornflowers, some are toddlers like the Impatiens (Impatiens Balsamina), Hollyhocks, and Petunias, and some are in the wombs – Strawflower, Larkspur, Wallflower, Zinnia, Dahlia, Amaranthus, Pot Marigold, Aster, Calliopsis, Forget Me Not, and Sweet Pea. Sadly, my Calendula and Wallflower toddlers couldn’t bear the Sun’s heat during the recent eclipse (August 1st 2008) and left their guest house back to the ground. Some seem to be holding on but I’m not very optimistic about them though.
Hollyhocks and Petunias
Cornflowers and Gaillardias

Though it’s disoriented, it cute to see the babies and toddlers with their cute faces. Now, a bit about the Jequirity which is otherwise famously called the Rosary Pea as it was used for the purpose. It’s a beautiful creeper native to India and the only species of its kind – Abrus precatorius, called Gunja in Sanskrit. I’ve seen its attractive seeds right from my childhood during the Vinâyaka Caturthi (the birthday of Lord Ganaesha or Vinâyaka). These seeds are used for the eyes of lord Vinâyaka’s clay moulds in Southern parts of India. Only recently I realized that it the seed of that plant! I was excited and went to a seeds shop to get some and guess what? The shopkeeper gave it for free – he wouldn’t get money for that.

The Jequirity seeds are highly toxic when ingested and are as toxic as Ricin – a notorious toxin, so never allow kids near it, as their seeds are very attractive. But the creeper’s flowers are so beautiful that you’d be tempted to have it in your garden despite the seeds’ toxicity. So, about planting:

Soak the seeds for 24 hours before sowing in warm water and select the seeds that have bloated (enlarged ones) and sow them a quarter inch below a normal potting mix and they should grow within a week. I sowed 5 seeds – all soaked in water, but only one came out after 3 days and the other two took more than a week. I remember that the one that came out was the largest one after soaking and others – some enlarged a bit and some didn’t. And yes, they require lots of sun – at least after they germinate so place them somewhere they get direct sun. They even endured the really hot sun on the day of eclipse whereas most of my other seedlings seemed wilted under that heat and recovered only after few hours.

Hope the triplets grow into adults, flower and beget offspring. Fingers crossed!


Anonymous said...

hey.. where did u get the seeds for Petunias, Pansies?? I would love to have them too.. :(

Chandramouli S said...

You can get them from Ashok Seeds, Lake View Road, Chennai. But again they were all ruined by Nisha :(

Jim Long said...

Your posting about seedlings answered a question I had when I was in India some years back. The little red seed beads were what I couldn't figure out. Your photo of Jequirity seedlings caused me to look Google it. I thought it was another name for curry tree because the leaves looked similar. Then I saw the seed- beads. Thank you for clearing up the mystery of what the beads were. I had thought they might be another variety of Jobe's Tears, which I found growing when I visited New Guinea. Thanks for your postings and insight into what you are growing in your garden.


Dear Chandramouli,

Your passion for flowers/gardens is interesting. I sail the same boat and have a recipe for excellent home compost. I am experimenting with balsam, zinnia and a few others and would like to share my experiences.

Lets keep in touch

Chandra - (Chandrasekhar)

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