Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monsoons ... the agony and the ecstasy

Mystical, magical monsoon in Mumbai makes me go "mmmmmm.....!"

Okay, I was just dying to say that. If it's one mmm too many, blame it on the season. The rain does that to me. Beautiful cooling rain after months of broiling in the heat and dust of summer. So very deliciously divine!

And, I love the plants and blooms it heralds. Wildly beautiful Curcumas popping up all over my garden, driving the bees mad with golden pathways to paradise. Safed musli with its spikes of white blooms. And the luxuriant green curtains of maidenhair fern waving from every wall and stone. All growing wild, but as welcome as any expensive plant swooped on from a nursery.

And I love the way the monsoon washes the city roads, transforming the lucky ones into tree-enclosed, vine-smothered jungle trails. (The others, horrifyingly, become mini-lakes but let's not go there now, okay? I'm still in ecstasy mode. )
The dust is gone, leaves washed clean and the dirt is entombed in a soft green sheath.
Green. Every shade and hue imaginable. So very energising.... and so very soothing.

The passionfruit vines are smothered in blooms, filling the evening air with its heady fragrance and dreams of delicious flavours to come. Anticipation is such a bittersweet thing!

My dendrobium orchids are in ecstasy mode too now. The monsoons trigger a heady season of riotous blooming unlike anything else I've seen.

And with every blooming season a mascot (or mascots) makes its presence felt. The vincas are awash with butterflies. This Skipper (Tricoloured Flat, if I'm not mistaken?) was the only one that would sit still for me. The others insisted on eating on the run.
A Common Mormon was visiting the Vinca rosea too, flapping its red-and-black dramatic wings.
Those regular, common-place Vincas seen in every abandoned plot of land all over the place are real butterfly magnets. But guess what ... none of those butterflies would even land on the hybrid vincas which I had planted in the same bed for a splash of colour.
Hmmm .... so much for glamour!

The passionflower has its share of hungry visitors too. I was really amused to see these bees picnicking. This once they didn't have to delve deep into a flower to get at the goodies. How very accomodating of the passionflower.
I just wish it would choose to bloom during the day so I could get a better shot, though.

Clicking photos on overcast days comes with its own set of agonies. I wish I could capture the mood and ambience of that beautiful time when we're envelopped in dark rain clouds promising to spill over any minute ( no! we tropical folk are not so enamoured of the sun ). My whole garden takes on a slightly magical look in this light but my Old Faithful, a Canon Ixus which has been with me throughout my blogging journey, has turned temperamental and is on its last legs. I suspect a lens problem and have been advised to get myself a new camera. I know I should but I'll miss this one so much.

Just as I'll miss all those unfortunate plants that have decided to join that great big garden in the sky. The monsoon season can be hell on plants too. Especially when it rains non-stop for days on end.
Which is worse, losing them to death by drowning in the torrential rain or by slow rot or by being blown away by the squalling winds? Or by having a big, strong tree topple over , carrying with it all the little plants that grew in its shelter? Or by being chewed alive by creatures that can't even walk? And those that can?
My orchids, especially, are susceptible to these silent killers which makes them so very squish-worthy.. I may (sometimes, if I'm feeling lazy) turn a blind eye to snails in summer but never ever in the monsoon season! They're Enemy No.1 then.

No, I take that back. They share that spot with another dreaded enemy ... the mosquito. You can't avoid them completely in the tropics but in the monsoon season, they become a ravenous, blanketing force driving me indoors as nothing else can. Which makes me so very grateful for two little garden creatures who are Mosquito Hunters Extraordinare :


Always welcome in my garden. And always a pleasure to watch.
Sometimes agony does give way to ecstasy too, right?