Nov 29, 2008

At loss of words...

Too many things happened in the last 2 days. I was going to blog about how beautifully my Pot Marigolds were gonna bloom to thank my friends all over the world for Thanksgiving, but a hurricane (people named her 'Nisha') flooded our city and due to the terrible and pathetic drainage system, we had to get out of our house for the first time in my life to my aunt's. As I write this, fear grips my heart as to when I'll go back to MY home... Will be back soon with more cheerful posts... Take care everyone

Nov 21, 2008

The Twisters and Mounters

They slither… they shuffle from the heavens… they crawl about… they try to reach the sky… I’m sure you already guessed about whom I’m talking. Yes, it’s the every gardener’s favorite creepers and climbers. My love for plants began with them. If you had read my very first post, it was the Betel Creeper that initially got me started and then I wanted to have creepers, creepers and only them, but due to the lack of enough space, I had to restrict myself with a few. But someday, when I own a large space I’d fill it with almost all creepers that I get my hands on! That’s my dream!

Anyways, coming back to reality, this is the first ever creeper that I grew from the seed. Remember Mrs. and Mr. Jequirity? Well, they've grown really tall and are trying to reach the sky.Turning and twisting around each other they make a wonderful sight now.They look so delicate, elegant, and are a loving pair!

Abrus Precatorius - Gunja (Sanskrit) - Jequirity

The climbing Purple Allamanda joined the team next. He’d go up, up, and up but would never flower and one fine day with the arrival of Autumn, he surprised me with a lipstick like bud, which grew, grew, and grew and ever since he’s been flowering almost continuously.

Allamanda violacea - Purple Allamanda

To accompany him, came the glorious Morning glory from heavens. She shuffled down, delicately twisting herself around anything that touches her.

Ipomoea nil - Kalanjani (Sanskrit) - Blue Morning Glory

I almost forgot about this handsome and slithering hunk. He was sold to me in the name – Celosia. And that too by someone learned in Botany! I looked at the Bill she gave me thinking she might have spelled it wrong, but no she spelled it clearly as CELOSIA! I wasn’t an expert (nor am now) at identifying plants, but I was good enough to know that Celosia’s leaves don’t look like this and moreover they don’t climb! I saw this vine climbing and twisting about in the nursery’s arch and asked her for it, attracted by it’s beautiful orange flowers.

I waited… waited… and waited… Hoping he’d flower someday and yes, he did… And he turned out to be a pleasant SURPRISE in capitals! He was none other than the great Mr Senecio confusus (Now I see where the name Celosia came from, but it was still too much a mistake coming from a Botanist) – Mexican flame vine.

He’d slither about everywhere, flowering profusely…

His flowers initially look yellow and darken to red in a few days.

Senecio confusus - Mexican Flame Vine

Since this not being a native Indian plant, I'd like to name him Agnikana (Spark of fire)

And the most deserving member of this Vine family is Butterfly Pea! I thought I planted the couple yesterday and lo and behold! The very next day they seemed to start flowering (actually it hardly took them two weeks to start flowering). That too the lady white would flower crazily, some of her creations being extra large! Mr Blue wasn’t all that active, but he was no flop, all the same!

Clitoria ternatea - Aparajita (Sanskrit) - Butterfly Pea

I plant to train the lady white into some shape…Clitoria ternata 'Alba' - White Butterfly Pea

How shall I do it? You got any ideas?

Nov 16, 2008

The Sun-flower

No, no… not the Sunflower, but I was referring to the Sun Flower. May be you’re thinking – Eh? Is he gone nuts?

Well, this flower is used as a metaphor for Sun. Sun is described as – Japâ-kusuma samsam (in Sanskrit), which means, He looks like the Japâ (Hibiscus rosa-sinesis) flower. They said right, as Hibiscus comes in all colors that resemble the sun in different seasons. In Brahma Purâna (one of the 18 great works in Hindu Mythology), sun is said to shine in different colors in every season. While I was reading it, I realized that I almost have all the colors in my Hibiscus-es!

Brahma Purâna says,

“During the spring (Vasanta) season, Sûrya (Sun) shines tawny,

Golden during the summer (Grîshma),

(Well, this is the yellow Hibiscus, but looks golden under sun - hope to find the right colored b soon)

And white in rainy (Varsha) season.

Bhâskara (Sun) shines yellowish during autumn (Sarad),

Coppery during winter (Haemanta),

And reddish during dewy season (Sisira).

Thus Sûrya exists in these colors in every season. According to the conditions of the seasons, Sûrya offers prosperity and abundance of food.”

Nov 10, 2008

A gardener’s exciting moment

With the mere touch, your fingertips tingles, nose becomes sensitive, eyes become attentive, heart flutters, and you’re in heaven. When does this happen? When you’re shopping for plants/seeds! Isn’t shopping the exciting time for a gardener? I’m sure it is. Of course your wallet would lose weight. DUH!

But tell you what! My mom’s purse didn’t lose much weight as we hit JACKPOT two days ago! A healthy plant, with beautiful blooms, at a cheap price! What else do you need? Isn’t that more than a Jackpot? I and my mom wanted to buy some Oleanders and Chrysanthemums and burned the EC road. Our eyes flashed upon a small nursery, which we missed the last time. The moment I laid my eyes on it, an array of humungous roses welcomed me (Damn me for not taking my camera with me!) It was such a delightful sight.

We went in and saw that all the plants were sooo healthy and fresh. We tentatively asked how much the Chrysanthemum costs. The woman said, “10 rupees.”

Jasminum sambac var. 'Belle of India'

Orange Rose

I thought, What? Am I dreaming?

Holy Basil

Mini Rose

Almost all plants costs the same, except the ones that come in mini pots like roses that cost 20 or 25 max. Damn! That was so darned cheap. We chose two chrysanthemums, two roses, two jasmines, and a basil. [Jump… Jump… Jump…]

Jasminum sambac var. 'Grand Duke Of Tuscany'

White Chrysanthemum

(Not sure if it's Oxyene Daisy but the flowers look like it. I'd appreciate if anyone can identify it exactly)

We also saw a grafted Hibiscus plant that had five different colored flowers. The moment my mom and I saw it, we thought, We gotta do that. I got wild and said, we’ll collect all available colors and graft them! Is that possible? Let’s see…

Yellow Chrysanthemum

(Is this the Crown Daisy? I'd appreciate if anyone can identify it exactly. The leaves are yellowish green if that helps)

Of course I wanted more, especially the ogre sized red rose, but I held myself. I didn’t have space for all that, so I restrained and drove back with a kid-holding-extra-large-chocolate-cone-faced expression!