Archive for October, 2009


Back to my poor li’l garden

If I could hear my plants speak, they would probably be yelling at me to pull out those weeds that were engulfing them, draining away their nutrition and cutting out sunlight! Yes, I returned to my garden in Japan last week; my flowering plants engulfed by tall grasses, some of my herbs missing and a tomato plant surprisingly peeping out from my hostas!

But amidst the gloom, there’s sunshine. Take a look at my first harvest of peanuts.


Bunch of peanuts

I had put in just four of these plants before I left for India, and was thrilled to see them come up good and healthy.

Washed and ready

Peanuts washed and ready for boiling with salt

I wasted no time and had boiled them almost immediately. I never expected to harvest them so easily. This will be a permanent feature every summer.

Another pleasant surprise was sweet potato. The plants had made their way to various parts of the small plot of land and had to be chopped up. A trial dig gave me some healthy looking sweet potatoes.


Just dug-up and washed sweet potato

I am encourage to grow these again next year. The only point you need to consider is the space – these plants creep all over your garden and take up space.

Another delightful surprise was morning glory. A few of them still adorned my fences and made my day!


Morning glory – still going strong!

The photo above shows two of these flowers engulfed by Japanese anemone leaves. Not surprisingly, I could not find any seeds; this plant was a hybrid variety that I had purchased from the local nursery. I was happy however, to find lots of seeds in other MG plants that I had raised from seed.

A long sasanqua plant with a single flower greeted my return to the garden.



The ginger lily plants had also shot up in my absence; the toad lily was in full bloom.

Ginger and toad lilies

Ginger lily and toad lily on either side of the solar lamp

Toad lily

Larger view of the toad lily


Scented geranium

The cutting of the scented geranium has grown into a healthy plant! My cup runneth over; I am glad to be back to my garden in Japan.

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PS: My camera fell and the date setting became confused in some of the photos.


Visit to Sagar Upavan in Mumbai

On the last day of my two-month stay in Mumbai, I decided to visit a park in Mumbai. Internet searches pointed to the Bombay Port Trust Garden, called Sagar Upavan in Colaba. I hired a taxi and invited my elderly mother and sister for a drive and a stroll among trees to which they promptly agreed.

At the gate, two young boys either busy on the mobile phone or playing game on a PC (I couldn’t judge since they were looking down under the ledge), tersely said “two rupees.”  There’s one thing about the service class in Mumbai – they assume with two words they have communicated all there is to say. I presumed that we had to pay two rupees per head as admission charges, paid for all of us, and he waved us in cursorily.  We had taken no more than ten paces when another person asked me for the admission tickets. I retraced my steps to the two boys still focusing on something under the table, and asked for the tickets. One of them looked up and gave me three tickets wordlessly. Welcome to Mumbai!

The park was full of tall trees that looked down on shady curving paths.

Winding lane

A winding lane in Sagar Upavan

Several elderly ladies energetically doing their rounds – one of them looking irritated when I stepped into her path and stood looking up admiringly at a palm tree. I found a bench overlooking the sea for my mother and sister and took off with my camera.

View of the Arabian Sea

The Arabian Sea

A glass house in the garden enclosed numerous cactus plants. A pity it was closed and I couldn’t enter it – although I managed to get a shot.


Cacti in a glass house

During my stroll, I came across some furry friends. The mother stayed put as I patted her but the little one made off.


At home in the garden!

The mother stayed put as I patted her but the little one took off looking a little scared. I shuffled off quietly and was happy to see the little one return to his mother.

Although the garden had a wide variety of flowering plants, not too many were in bloom. I was told that most of the plants and trees  in the garden put on flowers just before and during the rainy season (May to July). I managed to shoot some but could only recognize the Gulmohar (local name) that Wikipedia gives as Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant.



I’m counting on you to come up with the names of the other flowers shown below.

Flower-01 Flower-01A
Flower-02 Flower-02A

Top row – Flower 1; Bottom row – Flower 2 Guess the flowers, ladies and gentlemen


Turnera Turnera-A
Lily Lantana

Top row – Turnera Ulmifolia (according to the board in Hindi and English)

Bottom row – Lily (I guess, looking a little tired!) and Lantana (my favorite)

Here are some trees for you tree lovers (I know you are out there).

Banyan-1 Banyan-2

Banyan Tree

Tree-1 Tree-2

Tree-1                                                                           Tree-2

Tree 1 looks kind of like the “matsubokuri” tree that you see in Japan with hard black seeds (see photo). Tree 2 has a huge hard fruit as shown.

Finally, I give you what looks like an Aster (tell me if I’m wrong).



Have a great day!

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Updates from Mumbai

I’m still in Mumbai and in my absence, my friend Utiyama-san has sent me photos of the cuttings that Coleus_Cuttingshe’s looking after for me. I’m thrilled to find that all of them have grown rapidly, some with flowers already! Thank you so much, Utiyama-san.

Here’s a photo showing Coleus cuttings that have grown up wonderfully well. These are probably the easiest to propagate. Just cut off a branch with a few leaves from a fully grown Coleus plant and plunk it into a pot with potting mix. It starts rooting immediately and you have a new plant.

My wife and daughter too seem to have been paying heed to my instructions to water the plants.  They have sent some photos to me, and I’m happy to see that most of the plants and cuttings that I had placed in pots are growing well. Can’t say much about the weeds though that have seem to have taken over most of my small garden, but hey, I have learned to be happy with what I get! 🙂


Coleus from cuttings

Here’s a photo of Gold Crest that have rooted from cuttings – they seem to Gold Crest be alive and well although growth seems to be quite slow. I presume that they’ll grow faster next spring.  When fully grown they assume a Christmas-tree shape and I intend to plant them  at the entrance of the house welcoming visitors. I planted these cuttings last spring – they certainly take their time to grow!

I’m thrilled to see rose cuttings develop into plants. I had taken these cuttings from roses presented to my daughter by a friend and also by Utiyama-san to me. Click here to see the photo:  Roses.  So we have no idea about the color of the rose that will appear; makes the surprise all the more delightful. The same with the Rose of Sharon cuttings: there are are two varieties – a pure pink and a crimson at center with white variety. Utiyama-san wants the latter; but the rooted cuttings have similar leaves. I guess he’ll have to wait until they appear!                                                                                 Gold Crest from cuttings


Rose of Sharon, Rose and Abutilon

Propagating plants are really a lot of fun; it is a wonderful feeling to grow these from scratch rather than buy them from the nursery.

Here’s a different photo of cuttings that look like either peach or hydrangea. The tag that I had inserted seems to be missing unfortunately. The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant also seems to have grown – this plant will add to the fragrance in my garden from next spring onward!



Peach or hydrangea, rose, Yesterday, today and tomorrow, blueberry, abutilon – all rooted from cuttings

Here are some verdant scenes from my garden in Japan:


Okhra in the foreground, red geranium in a separate bed in the back


2002_01_01_00_00_00 (13)

 Lush growth of sweet potato at center (the surf boards in the back belong to neighbor)

While in Mumbai, I am enjoying the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that I don’t find in Japan (they are mostly frozen fruits except during a small period of time in summer in Kisarazu). The papayas and the sapotas fresh from the market are delicious and I have these with many other fruits every day!

Whole_Papaya Half_Papaya

  Papaya – costs about 25 rupees (50 yen/0.5 us$)       Cut into two halves – about 3-4 seeds



Papaya peeled and diced along with Sapota – deeeelicious!

I think I could live on fresh fruits and vegetables only while in India!


To end this post, here is a photo of geraniums propagated from cuttings together with Plumeria that are presently being cared for by Utiyama-san.


From left to right – Red and white geraniums, Plumeria, Pink geraniums

Until the next post, happy gardening!


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October 2009