Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back in the garden

I'm back ( pun unintended) and am busy scrounging in the garden to see what I missed during the last few years ... ooops! sorry, last few weeks ( seemed like decades, though).
Do you know how fast things move in the garden when there's no way you can be up and about to appreciate them?

Well, first there were the lovi-lovis (Flacourtia inermis ). I've been waiting for years to see the first fruit on my tree and now here they are, brilliant red and plump with lip-curling, eye-scrunching tartness!

Then, I found this lovely peaches-and-cream tinted bud on a creeper that had draped itself all over the wild lantanas.
Plump seems to be the trend of the season, doesn't it?

It turned out to be a lovely, pure white wild Ipomoea, lighting up the lantana bush. I wonder where the peach tint disappered?

Oh, now I see it!

The mango trees are in bloom! This is something that we look forward to the whole year through. From now we can start our countdown to the heady mango-season. Oh yum!

One of the trees is speed-racing ; it has beat all the others and is already bearing clusters of tiny baby mangoes.

This is such fun! I love these baby mangoes. They look so cute and chubby, filled with the promise of sweetness to come. Summer in a baby pod!

Just as cute are the baby cashews. They're on show now, peeping through clusters of flowers and still liver-red. They've a long way to go.

Now this find was brilliant! I've never seen such a gorgeous electric blue anywhere in my garden before. So what is it? One of the forewings of a particularly exotic beetle?

Or....? It fit my daughter's baby finger perfectly.
Hmmm... maybe it was a beetle, after all. I wish I could've seen it alive and beetling around!
If anyone knows what this mystery beetle (I think) is called, please let me know. I love keeping track of who's living in my garden or just visiting.

Until next time, here's looking at you.


  1. joco-serious.blogspot.comFebruary 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Hiya Sunita,

    What fun!
    That is a ladybird sprayed with blue metallic paint?
    You are having us on, right? Such a beautiful beetle couldn't possibly be for real.

    Such lovely exotic ( to me) trees and shrubs. Cashew?
    I take it you have been ill or wounded in garden battle?
    Hope you are fully recovered.

  2. We missed you Sunita! Glad to have you back and no pun intended :-)I suffer from time to time with a back problem so I am very careful what I lift (sometimes). That beetle looks like a type of ladybug?

  3. It has been quite sometime since I last saw a baby cashews. The lovely seed pods remain at the tip hanging down from the beginning to the end. ~bangchik

  4. Hey Sunita, Welcome Back...

    Garden is always full of pleasant little surprises. Nice Blog. The teeny tiny Mangoes sure do look tempting. Lovi Lovi??? What fruit is that?? Looks like a cherry in red....:):) Ah! The Exotic Beetle looks good too.

  5. Please be careful and don't over do it! You only get one back!

  6. Welcome back! there is a lot happening in your garden. You have a whole rich ecosystem thriving there - the gorgeous fruit bearing plants along with the stunning blue Beetle and the staring Grasshopper...the setting seems perfect for a cute little kid story.
    Love the phrase,'Summer in a baby pod!'

  7. Hi Sunita,
    Wonderful post & welcome back! The colours of the buds are so beautiful and the blue bug is so cute. ~Rebecca

  8. I really like your saying "Summer in a baby pod" Thats a good one! I have never seen such a vibrant blue on a beetle but it sure does look as though it is a shell of a once beetle. How interesting...

  9. Welcome back, Sunita. So nice to see you - and your lovely garden photos - again. I have never seen baby cashews or mangos before: they are wonderful shapes and colors.

  10. Joco-serious, I swear on my new Cymbidiums that it's no prank. That beetle wing was photographed as Nature left it. But I really wish I could've seen it alive, though. It had to make its appearance during the few weeks that I was confined to bed (doctor's orders for a recurring slipped disc problem)! Murphy's Law No.14?
    If you scroll back through my posts you'll find more photos of the cashew tree and fruits. Enjoy!
    BTW, where do you garden?

  11. Hi Helen! I've missed you too. I never realised how much I enjoy blogging and my blog-friends.
    Is a wonky back a gardener's occupational hazard then? My doctor was very stern and forbade me from travelling by autorickshaws (my preferred mode of transport in Mumbai). Thank God I didn't tell him that I garden whenever I get a free moment and especially when I don't!
    The markings do make it look like a ladybug, doesn't it? But I've never seen or heard of a blue one before.

    Bangchik, they do look so cute don't they? In a few weeks they'll fill up and my garden will be filled with parrots come to raid them!

    Hi Evergreen Tree! Do try to get hold of some lovi-lovi and taste one. It brings back a lot of childhood memories of mobbing the vendors who appear outside every school tempting kids into buying tamarind and carambolas. The lovi-lovi is just as tart and is fantastic dipped in a bit of salt. It is as small as a cherry and turns from green to ever-deeper shades of red as it ripens. Try it!

  12. Thanks, Lisa :) I'll have to make that my new mantra.

    Hi Green Thumb ! What a great idea... I must try spinning a story soon. I've had people suggesting this about some of my other posts. Maybe the creatures in my garden are more dramatic than usual? ;)

    Thanks, Rebecca. I wish I could've captured those colours better. They are a most delicious peach tint in real life

    Thanks, Skeeter! :) That blue really stopped me in my tracks. I wish I knew where I could find more of them.

    Hi Stephanie! It's really great to be back among my friends again. I hope I'll have more photos for you soon.

  13. Hi Sunita, So good to see you back. I'm a lower back sufferer too. I know what you mean about back pain and rickshaws. I asked my host for a word that I might use to get the rickshaw driver to give me a gentler transport, I said what's the Hindi word for "Slow", they said "Slow".

  14. Hi Sunita,
    I discovered your lovely blog through a post you made on hoe and shovel. I am in tropical Australia so have a lot of the same plants that you seem to. Love your photos, so will definitley be following along. Take care of your back!

  15. Your garden looks full of lovely fruit and flowers to welcome you back! That wild Ipomea look lovely-now why cant I get something like that appearing in my garden?

  16. LOL! Barry that was funny! But after about 200 years of colonisation, almost everyone knows a smattering of English in India. And, especially in the cities and bigger towns, our daily speech is a very quaint fusion of English words / phrases blending with the local language.
    But one word of advice ... no matter what don't ever try to travel in a rickshaw which has a music system blasting away if you are back-pain sufferer. Even if you say you're dying, within seconds after starting, the driver's going to keep pace with the music and to hell with anything else! :D

  17. Hi Gillian! That's fantastic. Its always so good to meet garden-bloggers who struggle with the same conditions that you do ;)
    Thanks for deciding to follow The Urban Gardener. I did take a very quick glance at your site. Its lovely! I want to go back and revisit when I have more time to savour it. Some of those posts you did about the Botanical Gardens look so interesting.

  18. Hi Nicole! Yes it is really putting on quite a show now :)
    Maybe it took my absence from the garden to encourage the Ipomoea to show up ;)

  19. Its lovely to see all the young promising fruits taking shape in your garden, those delicious fruits - yummy...

    That exotic shell could also serve in your hall of fame - where a battle may be fought and a bettle may had lost his sheild..
    perhaps.. that is if he is not de-shelling for a new one.
    Or maybe one of your visiting birds may had a snack and cough this one out?

  20. Good to know that you are back :-)
    Mangoes, Cashews in your yard in Mumbai - I sure do envy you.
    And that electric blue shell is awesome! Is it for real?

  21. Hey..lovely pics!

    Its a pleasure to notice and savour the little changes in plants/trees..
    Though i'm not a gardener myself... i'm fascinated by plants, flowers especially..
    Thanks for sharing such lovely stories from your garden!
    And loved 'summer in a baby pod'...i'm all eyes for flowers on mango trees.. can already imagine the yummy mangoes.. :)

  22. James, that is one possibility that I had not considered. I wonder which bird would've taken a fancy to electric blue bugs?

    Hi Bindhu! Yeah, its so good to be back among friends :)
    And yes, that beetle wing is the real thing ... absolutely no tampering there. Isn't it incredible?

  23. Hi Priya! Maybe you dont garden but if you like plants and flowers, you already have a gardener's soul :)
    Isn't this season great. So much to look forward to with all the fruit trees bearing flowers in readiness for the goodies in store.

  24. Good to see you posting again and with such eye candy! I'll echo the others in saying take care of yourself. It's such a treat to see flowers and color, particularly that unreal beetle. Right now my garden is still a uniform white. That has its own beauty but it's getting old at this point in the year.

  25. Hi Sunita,

    Welcome back. such a lovely garden you have!! gr8 pics of bettle(ladybug). Can you tell me how you watermark your pics ?


  26. Nice to see you and your enchanted garden back!
    And looking at myself in the mirror, I'd say yes, plump is the trend of the season!!

  27. Thanks Raja.
    About the watermark, I use the Text tool on Photoshop to type in the words and then adjust the opacity to 20% or 30% depending on what looks better in that particular picture. The lighter the better so it doesn't interfere with the image too much.

    LOL! Kamini, I think that's more of a no-option lifestyle statement for most of us. But think of the advantages ... if you fall, there's so much padding to break your fall. What a life-saver! ;D

  28. As usual your
    blog goes beyond
    the beauty surface
    dominating most.

    The whole is pertinent
    as the parts. Not many
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  29. Antigonum Cajan, you do have the knack of saying the nicest things. Thank you so much! :)

  30. Hi Sunita, glad to see you back in full swing, beetles and all even if it's just a beautiful wing... Mango season gone here, we had a great crop. Interesting to see the cashews.
    You are right a few weeks away from the garden and it goes wild! My friend Nupur is back and she showed me on video the orphanage. Nupur said to thank you for your suggestions of plants. She fixed the teeth of the children.The surgery is supported by the Australians. It is in a village outside of Kolkata. The garden comes along well, they build an oven outside, made a line to hang up the laundry, they were drying it on the ground. Bought colourful mats for the children to sit on and bought curtain material for the windows.
    The children got small presents.
    Just a little makes such a big difference.

  31. Hi Trudi! Its great seeing you here again :)
    Tell me, which mangoes are popular in Australia? Here its the Alphonso mangoes which seem to be king.
    Wonderful to hear about the good work being done at the orphanage. I'm sure that all these 'little' things didn't seem so to the kids there. I can just imagine what a huge difference it made to their lives! I really appreciate what Nupur is doing.

  32. Hi Sunita,
    We call that fruit lovi, and I liked it a lot when I was a kid. I too am looking forward to the mango season....good times to come.

    I hope there was a lot of celebrations after Sachin's 200. What an innings!

  33. Sunita, What lovely and exotic blooms... to see cashews ... and baby mangos! That blue beetle ? is an amazing color... It almost looks like those wild fingernails some of the kids wear these days. I love the last shot too ... lovely green and yellow. ;>)

  34. Hi Amila! I was wondering where you had disappeared to. I missed your posts.
    You're right, the lovi-lovi (or loovi as we called it) was a definite childhood favourite. Still is, actually :)
    Sachin's innings was incredible! What a sportsman! What I found even more amazing was the fact that he's managed it at this age.

  35. Thanks, Lakshmi! :)

    Carol, until I turned the wing over I did wonder whether it was a fake fingernail too.
    I'm waiting even more eagerly to see the adult version of those fruits. Mango season in India is the only saving grace of our hotter than hot summers!

  36. Sunita, so lovely to hear from you and glad to see you're up and about again. Back problems may very well be a gardener's occupational hazard. I've had my share of them too and must be very careful. I can greatly sympathize..there's no pain quite like back pain!
    You found some fascinating things in your garden. Love the orchid!!
    That brightly colored beetle shell is amazing!
    Lucky you to have your own mangos and cashews...although I remember you telling us how hard it is to eat those cashews!
    Joco, BTW, lives and gardens in England. She is an amazing photographer and gardener.
    Take care of yourself! Garden gently :)

  37. Sunita, it is good to have you back blogging. Many of us do miss you. Your garden is having some promisiong harvests now. How wonderful!

  38. How terrible, Kerri! Maybe all those beginners gardening books should carry a statutory warning " caution: back ache ahead!" :P
    Still, seeing a garden in full bloom makes it all worth it, doesn't it?
    Yes, the mangoes and cashewnuts are great but I can think of several of your common fruits that I'd love to have growing in my garden. I wish climate zones didn't exist!
    Is Joco on Blotanical? I must look up her blog. Thanks for the tip :)

    Thank you so much, Autumn Belle :) That's such a sweet thing to say. I hope I can be more regular with my blogging now.

  39. That's a flamboyant beetle!! A red and black lady bug fell on a friend's hand this February and she went and left it on a plant, I thought that was great, but here you have a treasure of little creatures :) including some unknown ones :)

  40. The last picture and the caption is absolutely adorable!! This so reminds me of my dog listening when he hears a biscuit tin open anywhere in the house.

  41. IHM, tell your friend to treasure that ladybug! It's one of the most beneficial insects a garden can have... a natural predator of pests like aphids.
    Oh! I know exactly what you mean about The Look that dogs have when there's the slightest chance of food. In my home we see it when the pressure cooker whistle goes off or when the front door latch is pulled down or when ... :D
    I wonder whether that little bug was hoping I would hand out some goodies?

  42. If I;m not mistaken, that there is a jewel bug...but I've only seen green versions!

  43. Excellent! That's a start anyway. Thanks, Flowergirl.


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