Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wildbytes Videos

Wildbytes Videos

Monday, June 6, 2011

The season of yellows

The labernum is in full bloom announcing the summer season ahead. Labernum is native to India and is venerated by Indians as a "lucky charm". The pretty dangling flowers cannot be missed where labernum grows as avenue trees or as a tree welcoming one to a house.

Another tree, the silver oak (Grevillea robusta)an exotic from Australia which is now very popular in urban parks, also blooms. Very few take notice, as the blooms quickly transform to seeds. A fact which is least known about this tree is that its flowers and seeds are known to cause dermatatis. The flowers are golden-orange washing brush like blooms and are toxic.

The ground is awash with yellow blooms as soon as it rains. Pretty lilies bloom to welcome the short rainy season in these parts.

The yellow and white butterflies are common now.

Not so common, is the yellow lemon pansy.

The birds are busy nesting and bringing up new chicks to feed in the abundance of the rainy season. The bulbul decides to make her nest just outside our main door, on a Christmas tree. She has been very clever. The tree pie is on the look out for eggs every day morning and one day we woke up to bulbul cries. Luckily the nest attacked was not the one near the door, but the one on a ficus tree outside the gate, on the main road. Her nest is resting on a branch near the wall of our house. No big bird can reach it. The height is such that the prowling alley cat will not jump at it either. But every time someone comes out of the house, the male or female(they take turns) sitting on the nest is disturbed and flies out to the nearest tree.

We are honoured at the trust imposed by the bulbul in us.

When the little chick flew out for the first time leaving the nest vacant, we celebrated.

Bye bye season of yellows till next time!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Season of Blues

The Jacaranda tree is in full bloom with blue -violet flowers

Spring is here in Gurgaon with cool mornings and evenings. What we call, beautiful weather. When spring comes with a tinge of cold, rather than an abrupt change from cold to hot, the colours are vivid and rare beauties bloom.

The above flower is called bachelor button and it is mostly blue in colour.

More bachelor buttons among pink flocks

The iris lily forgot to bloom last year as the summer came swift and strong. But this year one eagerly awaited the blooms hiding inside wrinkled leaves of the lily.

Young Iris bloom

Full bloom Iris Lily

But the highlight of the early spring is always the appearance of Common jay butterfly, that streak of blue in flight, but whose underside blends well with the surroundings, with hardly a hint of blue.

Common Jay resting on the kitchen garden hedge.

Common Jay in flight

The Blue pansy also appears sucking in wet mud and taking a break on the Ashoka leaves

The crowning glory of the season this year, was of course our own blue cricket team who lifted the world cup after 28 years!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Cosmic Dance

My camera is not good for taking photos in the night. But I was determined to freeze my experience of watching the "super moon " rise over the apartment buildings near by house.

Super Moon, 2011

But what I am sharing with you, is not this bad picture but the thoughts that raced through my mind as I focused on the super moon, which was at its closest point to earth on 19th March 2011-"14% bigger, 30% brighter".

The Cosmic Dance

The above Ikebana arrangement is taken from an exhibition held in Gurgaon on 29th January, 2011. The theme was "symbolism" in Japanese Ikebana. This evocative piece by Gayatri Dayanand was titled "The Cosmic Dance". Nice mixture of Japanese symbolism and Indian thought, I said to myself. But it looked like a 'wreath' you present at funerals and so I had no intention of publishing it anywhere. How wrong I was! As I watched the super moon rise, I felt like asking the moon to place a wreath on Japan.

I also remembered the beautiful "Bonsai" garden of Renu Vaish in Kapashera(near Gurgaon) which the members of our Kitchen Garden Association visited on the fateful day of 11th March, 2011.

Images of the Japanese Bonsai garden, clicked just one hour before the earthquake struck Japan on 11th March, 1.04 PM, IST.

I am ending this blog with a photo from the ShantiStup in New Delhi.

Nichirin Buddhism, Shanti Stupa, New Delhi

Writing this blog has been cathartic for me. So, thank you, all of you who have had the patience to go through it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tale of a mustard plant

The mustard plant in full bloom in my kitchen garden conjured up visions of large fields in Punjab/Haryana and even in Leh (Ladakh), during the short spring in the Indus valley.

The warbler and the tailor bird started visiting the mustard plants in the morning. They seemed to relish some white powdery substance from the back of the leaves-the leaves were now nearly white with morning frost and not good enough for making "sarson ka saag". So I let them be and started watching the birds. Only small birds came, warbler (almost daily) tailor bird and an occasional white eye.

Then one day, I noticed the leaves getting eaten up by large worms. The birds stopped coming on the plant. Even the babblers and bulbuls ( who I found were particularly fond of worms) gave the mustard plants a miss. The worms grew bolder and bigger.

I tried spraying neem oil, since by now, I was determined to let the mustard seeds ripe. The worms were apparently not moved.

Then, within a week, the temperatures started going up. The morning sun hotted up. One such hot morning I found the crawlies all down from the plant moving around in all directions.

I looked up Google. The worm had a name-diamond backed moth worm, which normally affects mustard leaves and cabbage leaves. The leaves were all eaten up, but the seed pods were intact. So I can still hope to get some home grown mustard seeds.