Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moss and snails and maidenhair ferns ... that's what monsoons are made of

It's Maidenhair Fern season again!
Every inch of wall space is cloaked in black-ribbed fern green, waving in glee with every cool breeze that hint at a touch of rain. Maidenhair Monsoon is what it should be named in my garden!
It makes no difference whether it is stone or brick or mud, wall or just a happy incline, smooth surfaces or jagged cracks ... the Maidenhair ferns are partying everywhere!

And another Monsoon visitor, the wild Safed Musli, has woken up too. These are true Mumbai natives and don't need to be pampered like the exotics do.
There is a white-and-green carpet of these pretty flowers everywhere I look. It's almost impossible to avoid stepping on them and I wince everytime I see my dogs carelessly trampling them. But there seem to be at least 10 popping up to replace every damaged bloom-spike, so maybe I should just sit back and enjoy the moment.
And don't you just love that mossy rock look?

The rains haven't stopped the bananas from bearing fruit. This one has such a huge inflorescence that it almost looks as if it is on steroids!

And this is definitely one visitor I can do without! But come Monsoon, and sad to say, the snails and slugs are making their presence felt. This one was looking for a way out of one orchid pot to the next, before I sent it packing to The Great Big Garden in the Sky.
Gardening does make one so vicious sometimes!
If you don't believe me, ask these ants. I think they were trying to pull open the bracts on this heliconia and posting danger signs to anyone daring to come close.
Or were they trying to staple it closed?


  1. You one of the better lover of nature. Keep going. Best Wishes And yes, Thanks for sharing.

  2. Loved the pictures and your description. You brought alive the moisture and rain drops from Bombay for me, in a hot, dry, dusty Delhi :)

    Sad about the snails... are they native to the place too? Andaman Islands have huge numbers of these, and really large ones too - it seems (I have only heard, not sure) they were introduced by the Japanese (1930-40s?) and now they don't allow any gardens to bloom there. And they are everywhere, on the roads, insides the homes, on trees - many kinds of them - including small, beautiful, fluorescent green, snails.

    Nothing can beat the beauty of the blooms that are native to a place, I love safed musli!
    And the maiden hair fern is gorgeous!!

  3. What lovely pictures, and smart comments to go with them. I love the heliconia and the safed musli.

  4. Thanks, Hobo! That's such a nice thing to say.

    IHM, I hope you get your share of the rains soon. Till then you can always drop by here ;)
    I think the snails are native too. I'm not really sure, though. They could've easily hitch-hiked on any of the hundreds of plants I've bought from every place I go :P
    Fluorescent snails? That must make it easy to pick them at night!
    I agree totally about the beauty of native plants! I'm working at introducing more of them to my garden.

    Thank you, Raji! And as always, your comments make me feel so good :)

  5. It's a pleasure to see your garden and the critters visiting it. 'Nanas are the best!

  6. Very lovely pics and a nice description!!!

  7. Oh, those ferns are delicious looking. And the safed musli is a wonderful native flower - it seems to thrive on mistreatment.

    Snails in your orchids? Oh, no! I would get vicious, too.

  8. beautiful - I love maidenhair ferns - I have one that I have been trying to grow in my garden but it's slow growing here - very pretty though!

  9. Sunita girl those were wonderful pictures ! I love the one of the snail especially : )
    Do you know I have managed to send two Maidenhair ferns to fern heaven .. put them in too dry an area and prctically forgot them until it was too late .. but yours is gorgeous so now you have reminded me that I NEED to have them in my garden .. I haven't seen them offered in town this year .. hopefully next year for sure .. it is going on my 2011 LIST !! LOL
    Joy : )

  10. Thank you, Shilpa :)

    Hi Chandramouli! Good to see you here again :)
    Yes, lots of garden creatures now, especially mosquitoes :P
    I wish we didnt have those!

    Hi Aaron! That plant is related to the common Spider plant but is way prettier, don't you think?
    You're lucky if your orchids are not troubled too much by snails. I have to tip up the pots and search for more hiding inside the medium.

  11. Stephanie, I agree! And do you know is so deliciously lovely? The fact that every year there are even more ferns popping up all over :)
    Somehow native plants have that fantastic quality, don't they? They can take almost anything!
    Yes, those nasty snails are all over my orchids AND my anthuriums! Maybe the eggshell treatment will work on the anthuriums.

    Hi Stevie ... great to see you here!
    These ferns are short-term guests. They are indigenous here and only appear during the monsoon season and then they're gone till the coming year. Still that's a good 3-4 months so its not so bad.

    Joy, I wish they would remain as only pictures!
    I still cant figure out how to get my maidenhair to stick around post-monsoon. I have no problem with my other ferns so this is really annoying!

  12. The snail pic has come out quite well. So did you decide to buy a new camera?

  13. Wow! Love the maiden hair fern. The pic is gorgeous... green and fresh :)
    Lovely pics and the safed musli does look lovely amidst all the green.

    P.S: You've been tagged to do the 'Sins against gender stereotype' tag. Hope you'll like to do it.

  14. Thanks, Mridula. Oh yes, the decision to get a better camera was made ages ago; it's just the going out and getting one that's been a problem ;D
    But, soon ... very, very soon!

    Priya, go and get one for yourself. Maidenhair ferns really add to the light and airy look of an indoor space. And yes, I love how the safed musli looks too Very dainty. Such a pity that it's so shortlived.
    Can I take a raincheck on the tag? I'm terrible at posting on tagged themes. Ask Rajee, Dorte, Bindhu, .... there's a long, long line of my very patient blog-friends who tagged me and are still waiting. (I'm so, so sorry, ladies!)

  15. However ugly they look and how much disaster they cause to gardens, snails to a certain point is a confirmation of such rich biodiversity of that area. But of course we get mad because they are after the very plants we care and love so much.... ~bangchik

  16. You've been tagged! :D

  17. Bangchik, it is only after I started creating my own garden that my attitude to snails changed. When I was a child, I was brainwashed by pictures in storybooks of fairies, pixies and magical folk riding on snails. Then as I grew older I was fascinated by the structure of their shell and its design and aesthetics. Then came my garden and the story changed!

    Blabberblah, its so good to see you here again. Even if its to be tagged! But as for that, can I ask you to read my reply to Priya (2 comments up)? I'm sorry ... please let me take a raincheck on this, okay? But thank you for thinking of me.

  18. Lovely images Sunita, the banana does indeed look as if it has been on steroids.

    Yuck - I really hate ants - but the picture of them on the heliconia is very good - it almost leaves me imagining that I can feel them crawling up my arm


  19. Beautiful post Sunita! Your colours are always so vibrant and tropical. I share your dislike of snails/slugs, in fact I have a little sign to that effect in my garden. I don't think they can read, however.

  20. Beautiful pics sunitha, i loved the moss n fern pics a lot:)

  21. I know exactly what you mean, Karen. I don't exactly hate ants but I can't help looking out for mealybugs every time I see them! See what gardening does to us ;D

    Thank you, Rebecca :)
    Oh, the picture of snails stopping by to read your sign really made me smile!
    Guess what I hate even more than snails and slugs? Mosquitoes! They're all over the place now.

    Meera, thank you so much! :)

  22. As soon as I opened this page, I felt the leaves moving, in the 'maiden hair' picture, Sunita. It looks so natural.

    'This one has such a huge inflorescence that it almost looks as if it is on steroids!' we are obsessed with steroids, now. Every vegetable in the market is huge!

    We see leeches here, during rainy season and machcharrrr!

  23. That's the fun part of Maidenhair ferns, isn't it? They're so mobile unlike most other plants.
    Leeches! Definitely not my favourite creature. Sandhya, you've really been dealt a double-whammy with both leeches and mosquitoes troubling you.

  24. You may not like the snail but it looks really photogenic in your blog.
    The ants sure look menacing.
    Safed Musli plant is looking so beautiful. No wonder that monsoons have such an important role in igniting passions - call it Musli Power;-)

  25. That snail just missed a great modelling career, GT!:D
    I have no problem with snails clearing up the fallen, dead leaves under the cashew trees but not in my orchid pots ... no way! I know they play their role in Nature's cycle but I wish they would take their dramatics far away from my most prized plants.
    The Safed Musli seems to be setting records this year. I've never seen them bloom so much ever before.

  26. I would choose the monsoon rain over the heat that we have over here in Malaysia. During rainy season, I find my plants flourished very well. Rain, rain come again...!

  27. The other day, while browsing I saw the most amazing pink banana flower. When I saw the picture here, I was reminded of it. It appears they are grown in Malaysia.

  28. I totally agree, J.C. I'm a great fan of the monsoons too.

  29. Perhaps you're referring to the ornamental musa flower, Radha? I agree, they're absolutely beautiful!


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