As summer comes to an end, the Monarch butterflies migrate through Texas to Mexico following their age-old survival clock. This year, we had the pleasure and privilege of providing nourishment to Monarch butterflies in our garden while they took a brief break on their southward journey. We would see almost 20 to 25 butterflies in different colors and sizes, fluttering and feasting in our garden every day for the past two weeks. They seem to delight on passion flower, Tithonia (Mexican sunflower), milkweed and Rangoon creeper. Their favorite seems to be the plentiful zinnias in the backyard. The butterflies are so beautiful to look at as they pass through the garden. It’s truly is a joy to watch them. Not only for us but also for our gentle cat, Kittaya, who sits behind the porch door and meows at the moving rainbow of monarchs.
Here are some Monarchs captured through our camera.
Dinnerplate Sized Dahlia ~ Dining Table Decoration
I remember the dahlias in India from my childhood days and their fantastic bloom power. So, here in my Houston home, I make sure I have at least two or three variety dahlia by summer season. I plant the dahlia tubers in Febraury and by May the buds begin to bloom. The variety photographed above is called dinnerplate dahlia. A single flower is almost 10-inches across, that bold, hence the name. In addition to yellow, I have one more dahlia in classy coral red color. They sure make my summer garden vibrant.
If you are new to dahlias, consider giving them a chance. They need basic attention. Like annuals, they bloom almost continually, at least until August in Houston weather. And like perennials, you can keep them alive to grow or replant for the next season. Plus, there are so many colors to choose from.
Rosa ~The Fairy
Rose, ‘The Fairy’ produces clusters of lovely pink flowers that are dainty and delicate looking. The plant is hardy and grows into a small bush. I bought mine as a bare root from a local nursery. It is now three years old and thriving beautifully. One of my favorite mini roses.
Royal Purple Bougainvillea in a Pot ~ Coloring the Frontyard Garage Space
A brilliant performer, bougainvillea does well in hot Houston summer. Passionately colorful, passionately vibrant, passionately floriferous – they remind me of bright, eye-catching, gorgeously swirling Rajastani dresses of Bharath.
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.*****
I invited my friends and neighbours for Dasara Satsang. Meditation through Sanskrit shlokas, that’s how I perceive the satsang experience. Bhakthi is followed by bhukthi. Lot of effort, but it was worth sharing and celebrating the festival and the feast with friends .
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
We had neighbourhood 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.