So I found myself a new orchid. Found growing in the wilderness that adjoins my vegetable patch while it's lying fallow, waiting for the next lot of seeds to burst into life. Isn't it beautiful?
And then there was this beauty. I really fell for its bell-like shape and clusters of flowers...
ummmm..... hold on a minute! Can we re-wind please?
Oooops! Sorry ... okay, I exagerated a bit (a lot?) . That first photo, like the second, is not of any exotic garden bloom. They're common wildflowers ! They spring up all over the place here in Mumbai and are religiously weeded out.
If they were just a bit bigger and a lot tougher to grow, I think they would've found their way into every gardener's wish-list.
As it is, the poor Lindernia crustacea (first and third photos) has been relegated to a wannabe status. As pretty as any orchid ... if only someone would look at it long enough to realise it.
And the pretty pink Boerhavia diffusa has been burdened with the most unfortunate tags of 'pigweed' and 'horse purslane'. Have you ever heard of anything more unfair?
Some wildflowers are lucky. Like the lantana. Pretty, a riot of colours and big enough to flaunt it. And the birds and butterflies love it too. Which more or less guarantees it a ticket to any garden, don't you think?
Then there is this very pretty blue flower which looks so much like a Skyblue Clustervine.
But while the Skyblue clustervine reaches for the skies and billows over fences, this little look-alike carpets the ground with tiny blue dots. Perfect groundcover!
During the monsoons, this is one of the plants I rely on to hold on to the little bit of soil I have in my garden before it is all washed away. Who cares if it is wild or even a weed (*gasp!*) so long as it's helping me out and looking so pretty while doing it!
And meet Cinderella. I don't know how and why this little wildflower came to be called the Cinderella weed but Synedrella nodiflora has to be one of the most commonly seen wildflowers in Mumbai's concrete jungle.
Incidentally, cinderella seems to have hitch-hiked all the way here from tropical America. One of the original hippies? The pumpkin coach seems to have been dumped long ago anyway.
This flame-red Ixora is native to Mumbai. I've seen it growing wild all over the place on my way home.
And of course, they force their way up from small cracks between rocks. Which looks quite spectacular considering that everything else refuses to grow there. The contrast bewteen the grey-black stone and the fiery blooms have to be seen to be truly appreciated. I quite like their pointy-shaped buds too.
Which brings me back to wondering ... when does a weed stop being a weed and get appreciated as a garden flower? Is it when they are big enough to be in your face, instead of slightly shy with teeny-tiny blooms ?
Or is it when they become too tough to grow? Maybe in another Hardiness Zone?
I've seen photos of what gardeners from other countries call weeds. Believe me, there are more than a few that I would love to have growing in my garden.
Just as I'm sure that this Vernonia cineraria below must be intriguing for some gardeners out there. Just don't tell them it's a weed here.