The Monsoon is here! Season of moss and fern and everything green. Of lush verdant growth and moist cool days. Of receptive Earth, urging seeds to grow and plants to ramble.
All over Mumbai, Gulmohurs lay out a red carpet for the Monsoon. Everywhere I look I can see brilliant red swatches of colour painting the ground.
Red does seem to be the colour of the season. And it shows up so beautifully amidst all that Monsoon refreshed green.
My tardy Gulmohur alone seems to stick out as the last bastion. Late to bloom and stubbornly last to fall. I'm not complaining!
Long-forgotten Caladiums are now popping up everywhere. These were growing wild in a vacant plot of land when I persuaded them to shift to my garden.
I gave them a spot near the Vincas thinking that when the Summer blooms of the Vincas are done, the Caladiums would add their splotches of colour. But they seem to be very happy to grow side by side even when the monsoon winds have blown the Vincas all asprawl over the Caladiums which were cosying up to a young Geiger tree.
And as if that weren't enough for this picture of monsoon harmony, can you see the roots of the Dendrobium orchid (not in the picture) slithering down from the tree to join in all the fun?
One of the first things that I did was to make sure I re-stocked the water on the verandah with plenty of guppies and other fish to take care of any mosquitoes which have ideas of moving in and turning it into a maternity ward.
This is a large black jar which I had planted with some waterlilies and kept in the sunniest corner of my verandah. Unfortunately, the crows soon discovered this new watering-hole and with a couple of strong tugs, pulled out the interefering water-plants until they had clear access to all that lovely water.
It made no difference to them that there was a bird-bath kept filled with clean water just a few feet away. They obviously didn't want to mix with the hoi-polloi and staked out the jar as their own.
After several attempts at rescuing the poor waterlilies and several incidents of finding them tossed disdainfully to the floor again, I gave up. Now that jar is the pit-stop of choice among all the crows who fly in. Not the other birds, though. They, like well-brought up birds, prefer the bird-bath.
I keep a pot of bamboo behind the jar and I love seeing its reflection in the water. Somehow it looks just that little bit more eye-catching than the real thing. Especially when the fish weave in and out of the reflected leaves and sky. There's something a bit surreal about it.
I do add a couple of large leaves for the fish to hide under when the crows are on the prowl.
The Monsoons also bring a windfall, literally, for these Red-vented Bulbuls. This banana plant with a ripening bunch heavy on it, toppled over and before I discovered it, the bulbuls did. I found this pair feasting on it and looking a bit annoyed at being disturbed.
I dont know what they're grumbling about. They've been feasting all these days on the Carissa carandas, or 'Karonda' as they're commonly called here.