LIGHT IT WITH FLOWERS

Diwali or The Festival of Lights is a festival of Love, Joy & Sharing.  Darkness is dispelled as Light enters every corner of our being, dispelling all negativity.

For many readers who are not aware of this Indian Festival, it is similar to Christmas or the Chinese New Year and accompanied with a lot of Lights, Gifts and Delicious Food.

As a departure from the years gone by we celebrated it with  “Flowers” and Lit up our home with potted flowers.( all the Marigolds or Gaindas were potted and we avoided using cut flowers)

The terrace garden attached to the living room at home has two new floral members in Red this Diwali.

2 in red.jpg
Celebrating with New Plants in Red

Poinsettia ( Scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima ) in the picture above is associated with Christmas Decorations and adds colour to our Home in New Delhi, India  this Diwali alongwith the traditional Marigolds.(do read up previous blogs “AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS & “GOLDEN FIELDS to see as to  how they were so called)

What I did not know is that their milky sap contains deadly toxic esters , so if you have pets ensure they keep away from the Stunning but deadly Poinsettias.( an earlier blog titled Euphor(b)iashowcases a very dissimilar family member )

tubular-bud
Red is considered Auspicious

It is Diwali Morning and I was might pleased to see these  lovely Crimson flowers with Ivy like leaves being checked out by Sunbirds ( you can see them in a  post written almost a year ago titled ECLIPSED)  under the gaze of the Morning Sun.

I rushed to get my camera but by then the Sunbird had gone yet the Lens captured the Morning  Dew on the flowers ( see the featured image) along with the Buds which were bursting to transform into Crimson beauties.( picture below) .

“The Cardinal creeper or Lady Doorlys Morning Glory (English) , Ipomea horsfalliae ( Scientific name) is a spectacular creeper  covered with Splendid Tubular  Crimson Flowers and traces it’s origins to Brazil.”

clenched-bud
A Bud bursting to turn into a Flower

The Crimson flowers are yet to be identified by me but am sure my enlightened readers will help me as more Flowers Bloom and Light up the Festival of Diwali.

“After sweating it out have now finally identified the plant . This most beautiful and relatively rare creeper  belongs to the family Convolvulaceae.( many previous blogs have covered other members of this family)  The leaves resemble those of the Chinar or Maple tree and are a lovely Olive Green which offsets the splendid Crimson colour of the Cardinal creeper.”

I hope, by the time Diwali re-arrives next year,  the Crimson creeper would have covered a major part of the terrace wall.

Happy Diwali and May the times to come  bring Joy & Happiness to one and all.

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GOLDEN EARS

 

Wheat ( English), Gehu ( Hindi), Triticum aestivum ( Scientific name) refers to to Cultivated grass known to man for over 10,000 years.

The Spikes of this grass give us our Daily bread , Pasta or Rotis across the world.

Modern Iran , or Persia as it was known as in former times, is supposedly the Origin of Bread Wheat.

The pictures that follow were taken across Northern India and stretch over 4 months.

Field of Wheat
Green Fields of Wheat Near Delhi

India is the second largest producer of Wheat in the World and by and large self sufficient in this extremely Important Winter Crop.

The Green Fields gradually change colour with rising temperatures and the advent of Spring.

field mid way
Green turning to Gold

Local languages are extremely Illustrative, Wheat is called Kanak in the region of Punjab in India and has its roots in Sanskrit. It is a Pun on the word Gold.

Evolution of Golden Ears of Wheat is evident from the picture that follows.

green turning gold
The  Ears of Wheat  are more Gold now

By the end of March and the advent of April , Yellow Fields of Mustard yield giving way to Golden Wheat Fields. A sight to behold and Savour.

The following picture was taken from a Train in Rajasthan.

golden field
Golden Fields of Wheat seen from a Train

Ladybirds ( friends can you spot the dots) cling to the Spikes formed by the Kernels as the Wheat Ears turn to Gold and thus called Kanak.

wheat and ladybirds
Golden Wheat attracts Ladybirds too

This  scene of Harvesting  will be replicated across North India welcoming the Onset of Summer and celebrated during a lovely festival called Baisakhi on the 13th of April.

This picture was taken in Late March through the Window of a Train.

harvested
Harvesting begins across Northern India

Do have a closer look at your Bread, Pasta or Chapati ( Roti)  and be Enchanted.

FIELDS OF JOY

 

The following pictures reveal the Green Fields of Rural India and the Joys of Nature it encapsulates within its folds.

Pictures taken near  Village Dhankaur, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.( 40 kms from New Delhi) .

Can you spot the Cattle Egrets near the Hay Cottages  ?

two cottages
Amongst the fields

This group is having a blast within the Fields of Joy.

 

spreading wings
Spreading my Wings

Another Field of Joy  and closer to the Village Huts, the  Pea Hens are nearly invisible till you are literally within an arms length.

pea hens
PeaHens amongst Green Fields

They don differenet hues.

pea hen close up
A Closer Look at the Pea Hens

Leaving the Fields of Joy with a Heavy Heart as I take my last picture.

huts
Two Cottages in an Expanse of Green

You really do not need to make extensive plans to experience the Magical Spells cast by Enchanting Nature.

HOME FLIGHT

Witnessing Birds in their Natural Habitats has an Enchanting charm which cannot be compared to a visit to a Zoo or even a Sanctuary.

Each moment is a Splendorous Surprise which cannot be predicted.

The Birds are totally free and in Harmony  with Nature. You can view them without hundreds of DSLRs clicking or gawking tourists.

The fast disappearing Wetlands near Greater Noida ( 40-50 kms from New Delhi)  are currently home to thousands of Migratory and Native Birds.

The photographs below capture the Sunset over one such wetland which is Home to numerous Painted Storks, Spoonbills, Stilts, Sarus Cranes ( we counted close to  50 cranes usually seen in twos or fours )  and many others.

end of day
Sun sets over a  Wetland near Greater Noida
black specs
Home Run as Light Fades
flock
The Ducks  flock to their Water World
night
Birds returning Home as the Light fades

The region has been earmarked for conversion into Highrise Residential and Commercial Buildings.

Thus unknown to the array of Water Birds the Sun will Set to an entirely different Landscape in the near Future and they will need to seek another Home.

SUPER STAR

The Rose Garden in the foreground is part of the revival of the 16th Century Persian Garden now called Sunder Nursery undertaken by THE AGA KHAN FOUNDATION along with the celebrated HUMAYUN’S TOMB located adjacent to it.

Have written in depth about Roses in  earlier blogs titled ROSES ARE RED and RED AND WHITE. Do check them out for a plethora of information on this absolutely fabulous flower.

Numerous species of Roses  have been cultivated down the ages and the cultivar in the featured image has been aptly named SUPERSTAR.

lakharwala burj and the rose garden
The 16th Century Lakarwala Burj at Sunder Nursery ,New Delhi

These Gorgeous Superstars have an unusual hue, somewhere between a Blushing Damsel and Scarlet.( Do you recall the classic Gone with the Wind ? )

The fallen petals take a leaf out of Reality and reveal that nothing is Immortal, not even SuperStars.

field of super stars

All are Super Stars

A close look unveils the multi-petaled Superstars and their undulating  and enchanting colours.

The buds, half blooms and full blooms are all SuperStars.

Do keep your distance and do not Touch them as they are fragile and the delicate blooms will simply fall apart at the slightest touch.

super  star

Budding SuperStars

Soak in the aroma of these SuperStars and be enchanted in this fabulous and historical Rose Garden located in the heart of New Delhi.

RED AND WHITE

Buds of Red Roses  as seen in the featured image have always symbolized the Ultimate in Love.

The pictures that follow are Roses in Bloom and were taken at the Sunder Nursery at New Delhi. The Sunder Nursery now represents an Indo- Persian Garden of the 16th century and is located right next to the Humayuns Tomb.

With no information  and few words in this blog ( do check out my blog  ROSES ARE RED) I leave you with the aroma and beauty of these lovely BLOOMS.

red roses
Into a Red Rose

White roses in contrast are equally beautiful but have never represented Love. For me they symbolize Tranquility and Peace.

The red stemmed leaves are lovely as well .

white roses
Into a white rose

The Gorgeous Pink Rose  is a mixture of the  colours Red and White . The blushing pink Rose  attempts to hide under the cover of red stemmed leaves.

neither red nor white
Red with a bit of White

Do read between the lines as well , as Nature speaks volumes even while it enchants us.

SPECTACULAR

These Spectacular climbers from South America have set the trees at Sunder Nursery, New Delhi  AFLAME with their gorgeous and bountiful blooms.

all is scarlett
The Scarlett Tree

The Bougainvillea is named after a French Naval Commander and was introduced by the British in India in the 19th Century.

Bougainvilleas are ferocius climbers  and have set this tree AFLAME.

scarlet all over
The blooms envelop the Tree

The enchanting scarlet blooms are actually bracts ( leaves pretending to be petals). The Flowers are inconspicuous, tubular and of the same colour as the three  three faux petals or bracts which surround it.( see the featured image)

The  enchanting Scarlet Bougainvillea seen in these pictures is in all probability Bougainvillea glabra ( Scientific name) 

on a limb
The Scarlett Limb

This sturdy vine/shrub or plant with tiny sharp thorns is extremely hardy and thrives in the warm and dry climate of India.

Numerous cultivated hybrids can be seen across the world now , however one hybrid called TEMPLE FIRE caught my attention and seems closest in spirit to the species seen in the pictures above.

The colourful Bougainvillea can be seen in various colours and is also the national Flower of the country of GUAM.

 

LEMON TREE VERY PRETTY

Fruit Orchards were an essential cornerstone of Mughal Gardens . It is said Pomegranates were introduced to India by the first Mughal Emperor Babar.

The Aga Khan Foundation has given the Sunder Nursery in New Delhi a makeover and recreated a spectacular Mughal Garden  (in turn  inspired by Persian Gardens ) of the 15th Century .

An orchard of Citrus trees encircle the Sunder Burj , have a look at the Pretty  Tree  in the picture below.

Lemon Tree
History backs this beautiful Lime Tree

Sour Lime ( English) , Nimbu ( Hindi), Nimbukah ( Sanskrit) or Citrus aurantifolia ( Scientific name) belongs to the Citrus family called Rutaceae.

Not as thick skinned as the Lemons, the Lime is nonetheless very similar.

These  lavender coloured buds   exude a lovely  but typically citrus aroma which attracts a large number of pollinators.

flower buds
flower buds

The flowers grow in clusters , are white in colour with a brush of lavender.

The Lime flowers have a distinctive and sweet aroma which is infused in the leaves as well.

The double  leaves of the Citrus family are a distinctive feature of the Lime Tree as well, thought not as pronounced in this species at the Sunder Nursery.

bouquet of flowers
bouquet of flowers

Having completed their task the petals are shed and the flowers gradually transform into Fruits.

The Lime Tree is a unique distinctive species, native to the Indian Sub Continent. Rich in Vitamin C it was the cure for the dreaded disease Scurvy.

British sailors were administered Lime to combat Scurvy which they contracted on account of long journeys at Sea. They were thus nicknamed Limeys.

fruits in formation

transforming from flower to fruit

The fully developed Lime fruits have numerous Medicinal Properties as well. It combats Obesity, acts as a Natural Tranquilizer as it calms the nerves, helps in treating Hypertension and is an Antiseptic as well.

lemons
bunch of lime fruits

Remember the song Lemon Tree Very Pretty. 

The Lime tree has travelled a long journey from India to Arabia in the 10th century. To Spain from Arabia through the Moors and from Spain  to the Americas.

Even the word Lime is derived from the word limun in Arabic or Persian.

MOON BEAM AND A BLOGGER’S EYE PACK

Vernacular Languages are so accurately  descriptive especially when describing native flora and fauna. 

Chandni in Hindi says it all. Somehow when translated into Moon Beam in English , it looses a bit of the moonshine.  The magical and enchanting Chandni bush is draped with these gorgeous flowers and is a romantic  sight to behold on a moonlit night.

chandni
                                                                     Chandni

I always thought these flowers were called Periwinkle. Don’t  they looked like the paper periwinkles ( fans you get for children all over India. Another thing to look for on your travels within India if you have not seen them thus far.

However I  discovered a beautiful name and an eye pack for my sore eyes. while I was hunting for the botanical name of  Chandni. Scientific name Tabernaemontana Divaricata.

Simply crush the Chandni flowers in a mortar and put the paste  within the folds of a very damp muslin cotton handkerchief. Place it over your eyes and all burning sensations caused by long working  hours in front of  the computer  will be beamed  out of the window.

They are also called Carnations of India. An evergreen tree , there is a magnificent specimen outside Hema’s house in GK 1, New Delhi.

the feather and the Carnation of India
                                        The feather and the Carnation of India

Can you guess the name of the bird which left a clue behind?