Quisqualis indica – Radha Manoharam (Telugu), Madhumalti (Hindi), Rangoon Creeper
We had Radha Manoharam growing up in Nandyala and I wished one for my Houston home garden too. Luckily I found a small seedling this March at Fort Bend Master Gardeners’ Sale. I planted it in the backyard, near the patio column, hoping it would cover the column and eventually make a nice arbor between the columns. It thrived in that spot and draped the entire column in just five months with vigorous growth. It started blooming in late August. Right now, the whole vine is adorned with hundreds of pretty flowers.
The flower buds open in the evening in pale white color. On the following day the bloom changes to pink and then gradually darkens to red and deep magenta by the third day. The clusters of blooms usually open few flowers at a time, so in blooming season multiple colors – white, pink and red are always visible on the plant making it visually very appealing. The flowers also seem to stay fresh at least for a week on the plant. I have noticed that during the day, pink and red flowers are visited by a wide range of visitors like bees and hummingbirds for the flower honey, and in the evenings freshly opened white blooms are visited by moths. The flowers have a pleasant fragrance that scents the air we breathe. So beautiful and divine, no wonder the plant is named in Telugu after the celestial romantic pair Radha and Krishna.
Another must have for fragrant flower lovers, heavenly Radha manoharam is my autumn garden goddess.
Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s Indian Party Menus. In the hope that you would find this new series helpful when planning your party food menu.
From a beginning of handful of people last year, my community women’s group, Sindoor Sangham, has grown to 30 member strength now. For sharing ideas and activities, and for keeping the communication open we also have a private website. These days I spend considerable amount of time and energy in developing and maintaining the burgeoning Sindoor Sangham. We plan and do different activities throughout the year. For this year’s Navarathri, we had Sri Lalitha Devi Bhajana sessions on each day of 9 days at a sindoor’s residence. At my place the bhajan session was followed by bhojanam. Had to put an extra effort for preparations, but it was worth sharing and celebrating the festival and the feast with Sindoor members.
Here is the menu for the Devi Navarathri bhajana bhojanam.
Devi Navarathri Bhajan – Bhojanam.
Theme: Dasara Luncheon
Guest number: 25 Sindoors
Time: for Lunch
Bhajana Bhojanam Menu:
Buttermilk from homemade yogurt
Brown Chickpea Guggullu (soaked, boiled, lightly salted)
Potato Kura with fresh coconut seasoning
Bise bele bath
Daddhojanam (yogurt rice)
Dahi Mirchi (majjiga mirapa)
Moong dal – poppy seed payasam (pesara payasam)
Haldi and Kumkum
Apple and banana
Mysore Pak and Murukulu
The birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and seeds are sprouting. Spring is in the air. What a joy to experience the seasons in the sun again! It feels good to be alive.
We had couple of day-long rain showers in February. Houston needed that soaking rain after last year’s drought like conditions. Thanks to the rain and pleasant weather, my garden space is coming alive with plenty of new growth. Here are some garden goddesses that are in smiling bloom.
About to bloom ~ A Red Rose Bud
Pretty in Pink ~ An Azalea (Autumn Carnation)
Golden Beauty ~ The Chrysanthemum
Petal Perfection ~ The Red Camellia
A New Addition to The Garden ~ Tulip Magnolia (Jane)
Homemade Clay Diwali Diyas
Sindoor Sangham, our neighborhood mahila sangham had a Diwali Party this week. One of the activities we did was make clay diyas. I made those two and jeweled them for that festive Diwali feel. It was a nice thing to do with family and friends.
Indus Ladies, the popular women web forum has compiled a Diwali Sweets and Desserts e-Book. Recipes are contributed by food bloggers around the world. You can find my recipe “Almond Burfi” in page 65. It’s a free e-book and you can download from: http://www.indusladies.com/100diwalisweet.
Dear family and friends – Happy Dasara.
Meenakshi Kalyanam ~ Navaratri Alankarana at Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Bommala Koluvu for Dasara ~ Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Bala Ganapathi with His Favorite Flowers and Fruits
A Virtual Flower and Fruit Prasadam to All Our Family and Friends,
Vinayaka Chavithi Shubhakankshalu!
Vijay had to go to El Paso on his work for a project he has been working on. He said he wanted to drive to El Paso from here (Sugar Land, TX) if I would accompany him. It was going to be a very long drive in the peak hot weather of Texas summer. But we decided to do it. This was unlike any other road trip we did before. En route to El Paso, we stayed in San Antonio for the night. The next morning, we started from San Antonio and rather than taking the popular I-10 all the way to El Paso, we went on rural Highway 90 passing through west Texas – Uvalde, Del Rio, Amistad lake and Pecos river. Got back onto I-10 at Fort Stockton. Hot and dry summer weather, empty highways, deserts, mountains, canyons, rivers and lakes – it’s Texas at its primitive form. Surprisingly scenic and pleasantly silent, we had great time driving through West Texas.
1750 miles round trip driving distance and about 22 hours on the road. Here are some photos from the West Texas trip.
The Car for the Trip, Typical to Texas ~ The Mercury Grand Marquis
Oasis in West Texas Desert ~ Lake Amistad
Pecos River Near Rio Grande
Transmountain Road through Franklin Mountains
Transmountain Road through Franklin Mountains
Border City ~ El Paso, TX
Button Zinnia ~ A bright and beautiful shade of red and an elegant arrangement of harmony!
Zinnia ~ Multi colored and multi faceted: A beautiful sprinkle of color
Translucent petals through transforming light
Althea, The Rose of Sharon in Bloom from My Garden