Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lantana domestic and wild weed!

While going to the farm over last and this year, we have found a huge invasion of
Lantana in the village. They are tall and massive bushes which are almost impenetrable along the road leading into the farm. The flowers are very colourful and the farmers dont seem to mind it being around. However I have just done a story on how invasive a weed it is unless controlled and it can be detrimental to herbivores as it overtakes the landscape and does not allow grasses and native species to grow.

I also saw huge areas in the jungles of Bandipur and Nagarhole when we went on a jungle safari on the Serai Kabini trip.Both the jungles are over run with the weed which prob keep the birds happy with their fruit but def d not allow grasses to grow under them.

Funnily enough the domesticated variety is very pretty but not that hardy. I redid the balcony plants recently for Davids wedding and Bonny bought me the most delightful domesticated purple variety and a really breathtaking yellow one with variegated leaves.

Check my pics!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pochampalli Exotica!

Suddenly with the first rains two pots in the garden have sprouted these beautiful leaves while the second leaf is in waiting- like a little flute fixed to the side. I was given a few bulbs by a friend from Hyderabad probably 8 years ago and year after year the plant sprouts its leaves at this time with the first April showers!

Sending off the picture to a tree group that I belong to, a Neil Soares got back telling me that it was called the Kaempferia pulchra. That sounds like Greek to most of us so I asked neil again for the common name and this is what he said - " Have no interest in Exotics & Garden plants but anyway it is the Pretty Resurrection Lily."

For me that was looking at the plant differently, as just today in church we were told that this is Holy Week leading upto Easter! And with Easter comes the resurrection of a crucified Christ as we believe.

However I do like to think of the plant as the Pochampalli plant because I did get it from Hyderabad and the markings on the leaf do look like the Ikkat weave.And the person who gave it to me called it that!!

In a few days, once more leaves appear, beautiful mauve flowers will bloom amidst the leaves and make the plant a stunning sight to behold.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The strange Bamboo flower!

While on a recent fam tour of the Serai Kabini I saw the Bamboo in flower really close. Its been months since I noticed it on our trips through Mysore to the jungles of Nagahole and Bandipur. All the Bamboo are this strange goldy colour, and look dead from a distance.

Apparently in the past, when the bamboo flowered it meant there was going to be a famine and this has been believed by the people of the NE and Burma.
According to a scientific journal this is a common occurrence among grasses. They flower profusely and die. Whole clumps just wither away leaving many species of animals who depend on the bamboo for food like elephants and Pandas starving.

One little clump can produce pounds of seeds, as much as 800 to 1000 in an ounce which causes a population explosion in rodents like rats. They multiply in huge numbers and feed on the seeds. Once the rains come and the seeds germinate the rats have nothing to eat, so enter neighbouring farms and fields and decimate the crops.

The famine of 1862 in Mizoram is well documented. It was in Mizoram in the '70's that the rat population exploded to 2.5 million. Since they follow the slash and burn style of cultivation farmers are exposed to rodents destroying their crops since their farms are in the midst of bamboo clumps.