Monday, February 6, 2017

Top 10 blogposts : memories of garden days past

It's a Top 10 post this time, and for some really good reasons. 
First, it's a new year and that just calls out for another look at some of the posts that were  published all these years ago. 

Second, 2017 is the 9th year since The Urban Gardener blog has been posting about everything green and garden-ly. And not just the plants, but also the birds, bees, bugs, butterflies and creatures in them. Any gardener would know that a garden is about much more than just plants, right?
 And there are some travel-stories for the garden-happy thrown in too, for good measure.

It may also help to keep in mind that I'm talking about more than one garden in these posts. Yes, I have 2 gardens (and help garden-souls to create more. It's officially called 'consulting' but it's pure fun for me!). One is more urban than the other, being in an apartment on a busy road (I know that makes me soul-sister to so many of my readers here!) .
The other one is
 where we do our farming but still qualifies as an urban garden because yes, it's in the city.
Just thought I'd remind all my new readers of this because you're going to be very confused otherwise with me talking about growing orchids on window-sills in one post and then talking about growing them tied to trees in the next! 

And finally ... but not the least importantly ... guess who made it to Toolversed's list of  Top 10 Gardening Bloggers!
Yesss! So exciting, right?! 
Isn't that an absolutely fabulous way to start the new year? 
2017, you're looking so good already!!!

So here goes, in no particular order, ... my favourite blog-posts picked from over 150 published here on The Urban Gardener. They may not be everyone's favourite choice, I know, but you have no idea how tough it was to pick them! Somewhat like asking a mother to pick her favourite child ...
And when you read them, do keep in mind that some of the old posts have photos which were clicked when I was an absolute raw beginner trying to figure out a point-and-shoot camera. 

I'm gradually replacing them with better pictures clicked with the DSLR that I'm much more comfortable using now (just one more unexpected bonus from blogging. I started photographing my garden in earnest only when I started blogging. And today, people are actually buying some of my photos. I love blogging! ). 
But, replacing all the old photos takes time. So not all the pictures are as good as I would like them to be and I cringe a bit over them, but I am still adding them here, hoping you will enjoy the posts and ignore the quality of those ancient photos. 

The Pink Cassia has to be one (just one of them!) of my favourite trees. Not just because it's so pretty but also because it's part of my Summer Sherbet collection. Some of the gorgeous summer-flowering trees of Mumbai on one of my most visited posts. I guess my readers can make out when I really love the topic. 

                              Read : Summer sherbet: Mumbai's flowering trees 

Summer is surprisingly one of the most bountiful times in the tropical garden. 'Surprising' because as roasting-hot as it gets in the coastal tropics, one would almost expect it to be the time when Nature pulls itself in and shuts the door. Instead, it's overflowing with flowers and fruits and the garden is an explosion of colour! Much like these heliconias.

                                                Read : Summer in the garden

This Black Kite (aka Pariah Kite) is the resident guardian of my garden. Since he moved in with nest, spouse and fledgeling in tow, the garden has seen a marked decrease in pests of the 4-legged and slithering variety! 
But what is it that drew them to nest in my garden. The tall coconut and teak trees? No ... it must be the bird-bath, I think. Just as the promise of water draws so many more to visit every day.

                                      Read: Once upon a bird-bath

and I just have to add this one! A friend asked me to post about birds and once I started adding the photos to the post, I was a bit surprised to see how many birds we are still lucky to have in our urban environment. They can definitely do with some help to retain a strong foothold in the city, though.

                                    Read : Mumbai's feathered citizens 

One of the most busiest times in the vegetable garden has to be during the Monsoon. If you've been a regular reader of The Urban Gardener, you must know how much I love the monsoons! And it's not only because how well the garden flourishes then.
This is also the season when we plant so many vegetables that we're in danger of overdoing it! So we have gourds and cucumbers and okra, beans and so much more growing and yielding like there's no tomorrow! 
                                             Read: Monsoon vegetables in Mumbai 

The slightly quirky and rather weird plants catch my attention all the time! They're just so much more interesting, don't you think? Like this awesome flower of the Canonball tree. Did those wriggly-looking staminoides catch your attention too?

                                    Read : The Weird and the Wonderful 

Every once in a while, we are charmed by something totally unexpected!
A butterfly, that creature of the great outdoors, ventures into our urban home. Possibly lured by the presence of indoor plants and the promise of nectar, or perhaps looking for a safe home to raise her babies. When this happens the magic is triple-fold. Flowers, butterfly, baby butterflies.

I was lucky enough to become a butterfly farmer, sheltering butterflies from the egg to adult butterfly stage, more than once and this was one of my favourite posts about it.
                                          Read: The butterfly farmer

Have you ever seen a teak tree? It has to be one of the most impressive trees that we have. Tall, strong and looking as if it will be here forever. Its leaves are as massive as the body of a small child. Yet it can still throw up a few surprises.

                                              Read: Forest giants in urban gardens

And for all those who believe that you need a greenhouse and all kinds of complicated techniques to grow orchids in the city... not if you live in the tropics! As you can see by those ugly window-grills in the background in this picture, this is one of them. Proof that orchids do thrive ... and bloom ... in the city. Mumbai city, at least.

                                                 Read: Growing orchids in the city

And, my favourite season in the whole long year ... the Monsoon! It makes my soul sing to see the garden so green and happy. No wonder that I have so many posts about it! 

                                             Read : Transitions and deja-vu 

So there you have them ... my pick of the posts that are just a bit more interesting to me for one reason or the other. Oh, there are more. If I were going for Top 15, I would have definitely included Garden Tea-Party ... butterflies invited ' and 'November Lullaby' and, of course, 'Growing food for my table' . Oh, and I would just have to have 'Remembering Butterfly Season' . But let's stick to Top 10, okay?

And now, in anticipation of Spring 2017 and a whole new year of garden adventures, here's one last post for you.

                                          Read: A Sense of Spring

Now, what about you? Do you have a favourite here? I'd love to know!