Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Mesmerizing Madhobi

With a mild yet sweet fragrance, Madhobi Lota blossoms are a beauty to take in. 


What fascinates me is the colour. 

Three colours can be seen in one single bunch: soft pink, soft red and dark red to maroon. It's the perfect splash of contrasting spring-summer hues to the bright green of my lawn.

My mother was an ardent fan of Bengali literature. She had a lovely collection of books by Bengali poets and novelists.

It's because of her that I came to be fascinated with the works of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore, Maitreyi Devi, Ashapurna Devi and Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay at a very tender age. 

I would quietly read some of the books knowing well that they may not be suitable for my age at that time.

Maitreyi Devi's Sahitya Akademi Award (1976) winning novel Na Hanyate left a lasting impression on my young mind, although I don't think I properly understood the depth of feelings or the meaning of love at that age. 

I was mesmerized by the author's narrative; how the Madhobi Lota bloomed in quiet beauty, just like her love for her Russian lover. 
I fell in love with this pretty flowering creeper as I lost myself in the novel.

 I would sit under the Madhobi Lota in my parents' garden and try to visualize Amrita and Mircea's little love story from the novel ... and the fragrance would linger on ...

Rabi Thakur's "Oi Maloti Lota doley ... doley ... piyal torur koley ...
Pub-hawatey ... Maloti Lota doley ..." playing in my mind. 

Today when I look at my Madhobi Lota, she's a young lady, glowing with happiness and hope, reminding me of my younger self, discovering beauty and love.

 Common name: Chinese Honeysuckle, Rangoon Creeper
Assamese name: Madhobi Lota, Modhu Maloti (মাধবী লতা, মধু মালতী)
Scientific name: Combretum indicum

Date of Photography: 10th May 2020
Location: My Garden

Flowering Season: Flowers throughout the year, blooms profusely from late April to early November.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Peach Dainties

They are the peach beauties of Spring in my garden. So very dainty and delicate ...
This is one pretty Orchid that makes the Spring so very alluring.

The Dendrobium moschatum, commonly known as the Musky-Smelling Dendrobium, Musk-Scented Dendrobium or Musk Dendrobium.

Due to incessant rains these last few days (impact of Amphan the cyclone), this delicate Orchid did bloom but were all drenched in rain. Today as the rains stopped and the Sun shone softly for a little while, these Musk Dendrobiums bloomed in joy with all their glory. I hurriedly captured them in my lens.

Flowering season: From Mid-May to Mid-June

Can't remember the year when I had grown this Orchid, or from where I had collected it. 

Just to watch them bloom is sheer joy 

Sunday, 24 May 2020

The Little Fairies of My Garden

Spring does bring in prettiness and charm to my garden in the form of these pretty blooms.
I call them my Little Fairies as they actually look like Fairies in their white flowing gowns, swaying over my garden. I regard them as the protective charms of my garden.  

This beautiful Orchid is commonly known by three names, the Fragrant Fox Brush Orchid, Fragrant Aerides and Fragrant Cat's-Tail.
In Assamese too it has several names. It is called Ganesh Kopow (গনেশ কপৌ) as each tiny floret on the stalk looks like the head of Lord Ganesh. At some places it is also known as the Bhatou Thutiya Kopow (ভাটৌ ঠুটীয়া কপৌ) as the florets look like the beak of a Parrot. 
Since it blooms in the Assamese month of Jeth (জেঠ মাহ), it is also called the Jethuwa Kopow (জেঠুৱা কপৌ).
Scientific name being Aerides odorata.

                       It’s been probably two decades now since these Orchids are blooming in my                                                                          garden. 

I had collected and brought two small plants of this variety from Jorhat and grown one plant of this Orchid on the trunks of each of the two Indian Rosewood Trees (Sisoo/Sheesham) alongside the main entrance of our home. 

Over the years they multiplied really well; hence, I had taken a small plant out and grown on the Neem Tree. 

Today Aerides odorata is flourishing on the Neem Tree too. 

Flowering starts from around second week of May and lasts till first week of June. The luxurious blooms hanging from the trees look like wedding decorations, particularly by night.

Growing Orchid is very easy. They do not need any care particularly the local varieties. 

I hope and pray that my Orchids grow well, flourish and live long to tell these tales to my grand and great grand children some day ...

Oh what a splendid sight it is to watch them hanging from the tree trunks on a Moonlit night …

Monday, 18 May 2020

Pink Shower

I planted two Radhachura saplings in my garden, at a time when my daughter was a young girl and my son wasn’t born yet. As the years passed, I watched the saplings grow alongside my children. My children are now independent, thoughtful adults trying to make their mark in the world, while my saplings have grown into two beautiful trees, ushering in spring every year with their pink blossoms. They are rightly named Pink Shower, because they shower my heart and my garden with happiness and hope.

My children grew up playing around these trees and painting pictures of them. Naturally, they were very attached to them. To them, these weren’t just trees, they were dear friends. I let a couple of Orchids too to grow on their trunks, which bloomed every year along with the Pink Shower blooms.

With their calm, shaded branches, the trees invited many a feathered folks, and became home to quite a few.
As my home was agog with activities, bringing up my two children, so was the garden. It was bustling with life, with a variety of birds carrying on with their daily chores on the two Radhachura trees. 

In Assam, spring is the season when trees blossom, throwing a riot of colours against the blue sky. Travelling through Assam during this time is a pleasure, because both sides of the roads are dotted in golden yellow, stunning red, magnificent mauve, beautiful blue, mesmerising white and pretty pink. My favourite is a Radhachura in its full glory.

Seeing the ground under this tree covered with a beautiful carpet of pink towards the end of the flowering season never fails to amaze me.

Time goes by so soon, and before I knew it, my children had flown out of the nest to start their own lives. All I was left with were memories, and the Radhachura trees. This is when they became my companions. As I sat marvelling at them, I noticed so many species of birds visiting. I started capturing them in photos, so I could hold on to their beauty. And that’s how I ended up investing in cameras and lenses. I haven't stopped capturing the beautiful birds, butterflies and various flowers that bloom in my garden ever since. So far captured around forty (40) species of birds in my lens on these two Radhachura trees alone.

The Pink Shower is also called the Apple Blossom Tree, even though it does not bear apples or any other edible fruits. The similarity of their flowers to apple blossoms is probably the reason for this name.

2020 as we all know, has been a year of misfortune to the whole world. It’s also the year when a bordoisila  uprooted one of my beautiful Radhachura trees. It was devastating to see it fall, like losing a family member. When I told my children about it, they were heartbroken and felt helpless sitting hundreds of kilometres away. They asked if it was somehow possible to save the tree, but I had lost hope.

My husband however hadn't. He was thinking hard, trying to figure out a way to save the tree. He started inspecting the uprooted tree closely to see what could be done. 

He let the tree rest gently on the strong beam of the porch roof as that was the way Radhachura was leaning after the storm uprooted it. He then piled some earth at the base so that the roots were not exposed to harsh heat and got the necessary nutrition and moisture. Then some heavy branches needed to be cut off from the tree as they would pull the tree further down. That done, he assured me that the tree would survive. I informed the children. We all prayed. 

 Few weeks later, the fragile Radhachura started flowering despite losing more than half her branches and leaning on support. Maybe she was trying to say something. Maybe it was a heartfelt gesture to all the years of love and care I’ve showered on her. It fills my heart to think how love can be reciprocated this way. We continue to pray for our Radhachura, that she may get stronger every day. 

This is one of the pictures painted by my daughter when she was in the 9th standard, sitting under the Pink Shower Trees.