Translucent petals through transforming light
Althea, The Rose of Sharon in Bloom from My Garden
A shower in the morning, the emerging light on the east and refraction through droplets on the petals – The goddess Nityamalli had never looked prettier!
Like the sindhuram that brightens up a mature face, the palm-sized, five petal swamp hibiscus flower in bold crimson color lightens up a landscape. This cheerful goddess is a sun worshiper, showing up with sun, smiling broadly as sun does his afternoon stroll and shying away with sunken sun.
Swamp hibiscus plant dies to the ground in freezing winter but comes back from roots in spring in Houston weather. A reliable, low maintenance plant with beautiful vigorous blooms, it’s another must have for a hibiscus collector.
Honeysuckles are fragrant flowers that exude sweet nectar. Picking a fresh honeysuckle flower and sucking the small bits of honey out of it used to be a joy of my childhood summer outings. This sweet goddess is the nourisher of bees and hummingbirds, a beneficial herbal medicine for summer heat and a must have for fragrant flower fans.
A little youthful exuberance, layers of calming elegance and wide-eyed with innocence. A whiff of its heady scent, the passion swells. This lovely seven-layered jasmine has to be one of the most beautiful jasmines out there in garden world. She is the goddess of day dreams, fantasy and romance.
I am very fond of Desert Rose flower, another goddess of my garden, because the flowers resemble the gorgeous frangipani of India.
I have desert rose plant for the last two years. It was a tiny seedling then, with four to five young leaves. I planted it in a container and placed it in an east facing spot. The plant thrives in sunshine, it doesn’t need much water but needs protection from winter cold. Desert rose comes to life during summer with flowers in beautiful shades of rosy pink. It truly is a collector’s plant.
Flowers are the goddesses of the garden, I believe. Like thousands of deities, there are thousands of flowers in nature. Nodding gently in the wind with delicate fragrance and with serene beauty, flowers are as enchanting and spiritual as the deities they adorn. It’s well-known that flowers posses healing properties, the essential oils from flower fragrance can influence the mind and the body. Stop for a moment and observe a flower, the colors and the scents, it’s easy to reach relaxation and clarity. The colors, the aroma and the beauty would appeal to different senses of the brain to create a calming and happy feeling to the mind and body – an effect one would generally get from meditation.
In June, I will be publishing flowers from my small space that create the serene environment for me. To be in that moment of flowering beauty is pure bliss. I hope you too share that feeling and joy.
Methi Seed Pods
Tomatoes (Celebrity, Better Boy, Cherry)
Brinjals (huge & long varieties)
Spinach, swiss chard, methi plus cilantro and dill are growing so much, they are getting big and out of control in my garden. So, I plucked all the excesses and with that garden greens bounty, prepared sag paneer for lunch today. The following recipe is a tad different from the classic recipe blogged here in 2005. Instead of cashew powder, I’ve added carrot pulp to thicken the sag gravy and to add some sweetness to the greens. With carrot and paneer, garden greens never tasted this shiny-sweet before. It’s a good recipe if you have greens’ surplus.
1. In a wide pan, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the greens and green chillies. Saute until the leaves collapse and chillies soften. Turn off the heat and let the greens cool. Once they reach room temperature, take the sauteed greens and chillies in a food processor. Add a pinch of salt and pulse to coarse puree. Remove the mix to a bowl. In the same food processor, add carrot pieces and make super fine puree, adding water when necessary.
2. Wipe the pan clean and add another tablespoon of peanut oil. When oil is hot, add a pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the onion and tomato pieces. Saute until they soften , then stir in the garden greens and carrot puree. Add ginger-garlic paste, cumin-coriander powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well. Add the paneer cubes. Cover the pan and on medium heat, let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve the sag paneer warm with rice or roti. Tastes good on its own as well.