Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Indian Gum or Anogeissus latifolia!

Over the weekend we went to a resort called Windflower Tusker Trails, Bandipur. Actually its a 17 year old resort belonging to the Mysore royal family which has been leased to the Windflower group to run professionally. The whole resort was covered with this one tree and was so obviously planted and a monoculture effort. Asking the management I did not get any satisfactory answers -- jungle trees - was the regular response.

Since I do know about trees and these were certainly not 'jungle' I decided to take closeup pictures of the bark and the leaves and post them on my e-tree group. Overnight I had the answer from a Rashida Attar, a botanist who correctly named the tree - Anogeissus latifolia - or the Indian Gum. How I knew she was correct was when I googled the name she supplied and the second picture on the blog popped up and I recognised the beautiful seed clusters! Presto! I had my answer!

Wow! I just love the internet!

Infact from the same group I had a Neil Soares who even told me that I should soak the seeds and throw away the ones that float and plant only the ones that sink!

Thats something my Grandmother did with eggs when we were kids. The 'koli muttae' man brought his brown eggs in a basket and she put them into water and took only the ones that sank! All of us children sat around and watched. And I was so worried that the 'chicks' in the eggs would drown! My overly imaginative writers mind had already begun to form I guess!

Now off to my beloved Hoskote to plant my very own forest of Indian Gum, if several seeds do sink! Will keep you posted!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Red and White Valentine's balloons!

The red and white Valentine's Day balloons were being put up in the Club when I went to use the gym. It was wonderful watching the waiters and auxiliary staff using a small pump to blow up the heart shaped balloons in a trice. No more huffing and puffing to blow balloons I thought like we did as kids. Blow and blow till your mouth and lips ached!
Here the man just inserted a sharp nozzle into the balloon and with a few pumps the balloon was full and he knotted it and threw it on a big pile for them to be strung up!
The balloons were also a lovely red and pure white and shaped like hearts! Really gave the club a happy, lovely Valentine's Day feel for us to enjoy when we went for dinner much later.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My plate sized Hibiscus in Hoskote!

Take a look at the jewel coloured hibiscus in the picture. As a kid we could only see them in the 'hot house' in Lalbagh! Dad took us there and we oozled over the different coloured blooms. You could not get the plants easily and they were really rare in peoples homes. One just had the ordinary red hibiscus or shoe flower as we called them.

Now one can buy the saplings from nurseries across Bangalore and even from the little nurseries which have sprung up on highways like Old Madras Road etc. I bought this one for just Rs 50 - a tiny plant which was probably 10 inches tall with a huge flower in a black plastic bag!

I wanted so much to have it in Castle Street -- bloom and lift my spirits there as I put out the wash on the balcony once in a while. But it looked unhappy inspite of putting it down in a really large pot and filling the pot with only 'leaf mould' like Dad called it or compost which is the real name!

So one day I put the pot into the car and took it off to Hoskote and planted it there. Pow! in a month the plant looks so grand and in two you can see the flowers it is full of.

The red soil in Hoskote has definitely made a great difference and the plant is blooming and growing splendidly as you can see.

Now I am training it to grow upwards rather than spread flat along the ground as it is doing now!