01 May 2011

Moved to wordpress

I've moved my blog to wordpress because I've been having problems with the comments section in Blogger and because wordpress allows interactive comments. Here's the link:


26 April 2011


My father passed away on 6 April and, while we bade him farewell at the time, it is now time to bid farewell to the house in which he and my mother lived for the past 23 years. It is a farmhous in rural Andhra Pradesh and, knowing my mother couldn't live there alone, he left it to the Little Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy requesting that they use it as a home for the poor. The Sisters will take it over on 30 April. We were all for this because it gave him a lot of peace to know that the house he built would be of help to poor people for generations to come.

This post is dedicated to the farmhouse garden. We spent many hours there and I will remember the early morning walks among the lime and mango trees; the early evening hours on the lawn listening to the calls of the beecatchers, crow pheasant, kingfishers, egrets and other birds as they visited the pond, shrubs and trees; and the late evening walks along the drive way, inhaling the fragrance of frangipani.

04 April 2011

Plant rescue

For various reasons, I haven't made much headway with populating my balconies with plants. Right now the more urgent task is resucitating plants brought over from the other flat.

Without me there to supervise him, Nagaraj is doing even less than before, if that's possible. On a recent tour of the garden, I found a monstera in a terrible condition, hidden away in a corner among other plants. I've brought it to Norris Road and am now going to stabilise it, and then feed and nurture it back to health.

It looks almost a goner but on the top right there's a tiny, almost completely white leaf, curled onto itself so it looks even smaller. This augurs well for resucitation. Auguries for Nagaraj are not so good.

The tomato plant I brought over earlier had started flowering, but the flowers died without turning into fruit. I think the problem was irregular watering in some really hot weather. April is the hottest month in Bangalore. I'm now watering regularly and misting the plant (and all the others too) twice a day with just water.  There are some healthy looking flowers now; keeping my fingers crossed. Sorry about the out-of-focus photos.

I've also got some cherry tomato and brinjal seedlings from geekgardener and will post about them when they're transplanted. It was wonderful to see gg's terrace garden. Among the delights were strawberry plants, with jewel-red strawberries pushing free from the leaves, a bhut jolakia in full form with lots of red and some green chilis, and a bird's eye chili plant, dotted with hundreds of tiny red chilis--a real treat for the eyes. gg is also nurturing pink giant and maroon tomatoes into seedlings; can't wait to get my hands on some.

28 February 2011

The gods must be laughing

The weather gods must be laughing at me. Soon after I brought the tomato plant to the Norris Road flat, we had days of cloudy weather (not to mention heavy rain one evening that knocked out the power till 9 a.m. the next day). Perhaps because of being moved and then not getting enough sun, the tomato plant has 'frozen'. No new growth as far as I can see and no flowers, despite feeding with NPK (after letting the plant recover from its move for a few days). I'm not giving up hope though; the single tomato on the plant has turned a lovely red . . .

. . .and I will continue to nurture the plant until it does as well as the siblings it was torn away from.

Yes, as well as those previously languishing siblings! The sun has returned to the balcony of the Lavelle Road flat and after a single feeding with NPK, the two plants there have started bearing in plenty. I'm going to leave them there since they are doing so much better than their separated sister.

Another sign that things have really picked up on the Lavelle Road balcony is that the poi saag vine is flowering. I remember Arathi mentioning that her poi saag vine had flowered too. I wonder what it means? Arathi, if you're reading this, did you harvest seeds from the flowers? Perhaps I should ask Raj Panda, the 'father' of our poi saag vines.

The new momentum at Lavelle Road has inspired me to start planting in Norris Road; I've been letting too many things get in the way of fresh planting. I'm going to start some tomatoes, chilis and radish from seed. I'm also going to try something new: details in the next post.

14 February 2011

The lone tomato

Today I brought just one tomato plant from the old apartment to the new one. It has only one tomato, since it was getting barely any sun in its old spot. In the new one, it will get 6-7 hours of strong sunlight. I can't wait to see how the plant responds, especially after I feed it.

I will bring over the rest of the tomato plants -- I think there are two more -- and a chili plant on the coming weekend. My husband, A, has promised to help me move the potted plants I want to the new flat.  In return he's getting the orchid, which gets neglected over the weekend when I'm at the other flat, and is showing it. There's always someone at the other flat to give the orchid its daily spray and I give it its weekly feed on the weekend anyway.

09 February 2011

Goa gaiety

We went to Goa for the wedding of a friend's daughter and had a wonderful time. One of the highlights was the blooms in the hotel garden -- nothing special, just bougainvillea, hibiscus, ixora and lantana, but everything looked so beautiful and gay in the sun.

I love the look of the bougainvillea in round pots; will try one or two on my balcony. My next post will be about the beginnings of my new balcony gardens; there won't be anything very interesting to see for a while but I do mean to record things from the start up to (finger's crossed) blooms and/or vegetables.

01 February 2011

The tardy and the hardy

I can't believe it's been three months since I've updated my blog. A lot has been happening and I've also been waiting for something to happen -- the weather to improve.

This has been a dismal winter for the plants in my garden. With barely any sun for months on end, they are in bad shape. Only a few hardy plants are managing to bloom, the violets and the mandarin orange. The mandarin is  remarkable -- the plant has barely any leaves but continues to put out flowers and fruit. It looks as scruffy as it does in the picture but produces oranges valiantly. There are lots of green ones that can't be seen in the picture.

There's not much I can do in this garden until the weather warms up and the garden gets more sun. But the good news is that I don't have to wait for this to re-start my gardening attempts. I have  moved to another flat close to my old one, as part of a larger plan to sell the old flat and buy a place with space for a garden, or at least a terrace garden, on the outskirts of the city. The new flat will then be our place in the city.

My new flat offers only two balconies for gardening but one gets strong sun throughout the morning, which is a wonderful development for me. I'm going to grow as many vegetables as I can there and at least one rose. I yearn to grow roses and for the first time have the right conditions to do so. But the balcony is small so I will have to restrain myself.

Here is a picture of the front balcony, which is a good size but is shaded by a large jamun tree. I will have to grow partial shade plants here but don't grudge this since the tree is a beautiful sight.

Jamun tree

 I have had trellises put up on both balconies, which are awaiting vines. Meanwhile, an orchid is occupying one on the front balcony.

I have a few potted plants, some bought, some gifts. These will soon be complemented with plants I grow myself from seed or seedling. The weather is improving rapidly and in my new flat it's already sunny and warm enough to start some tomatoes and capsicum, and maybe eggplant (will check on geekgardener's forum).

Curry leaf and poinsettia on the sunny balcony, which is enclosed in netting to keep the monkeys out when the veg arrive

Spider plant, geranium and syngonium; the last is a cutting taken from a friend's garden and needs  repotting

I live in an old neighbourhood of Bangalore that still has many of its original bungalows. Here is a view of a neighbouring house from a bedroom window.

Looking forward to renewed gardening attempts and blogging about them.