Archive for June, 2011


Yoga, fragrant flowers and squirrels

The title just about sums up my trip to India (off the working hours). My deputation to India this time was for a period of 18 days in New Delhi. Although New Delhi was steaming at a staggering 42 degrees Celsius when I landed there on June 5, I set off every morning at 6 am to a heavenly park about 5 minutes away from my hotel . Here is an early morning scene on the way to the park:


Early morning scene from hotel to park in New Delhi

The park was situated in a quiet and rich residential area and it seemed to be in an altogether different world in the midst of bustling New Delhi. Huge palatial houses surrounded by verdant trees and flowers and guarded by watchmen. No noise except for the sweet calls of koels, and sometimes from a protesting call from a peacock.


Joggers walking to the park (on the left)

Kids playing badminton, youngsters walking around the path in the park, middle-aged persons with bulging tummies and spritely old men forming a “Laughter Club” and several others practicing Yoga – you could find them all in this lovely park early morning.


Neat pathways and trees and flowers in abundance in the park

The pathway led to some wonderful fragrant spots thanks to a bunch of plumeria trees.

Plumeria in Maharani Bag

Fragrant Plumeria flowers

Each time you passed by these trees,  a sweet fragrant smell would make you happy. I felt like walking faster so that I would reach the same spot again and smell the flowers.


Closeup of the Plumeria (called “Champa” in New Delhi)

I found these flowers all over New Delhi. I have a plant at my house in Japan too. I grow it in a planter; in winter, it is too cold and the plant sheds all its leaves and goes to sleep. In spring I water it and the leaves come up . Growth is rather slow and I have yet to see flowers in my Plumeria in Japan.


Another view of the park showing some elderly people in the Laughter Club and another person in a Yoga posture

It is in this park that I plonked myself on the grass every morning and went through my Yoga ritual for about 30 minutes. The moment I closed my eyes to perform deep breathing exercises, I could hear nothing but birds. What a wonderful feeling in the midst of a metropolis!

I also came upon various flowers and birds – and was lucky to get two hornbills in my camera.


A  pair of hornbills high up in a tree

I was also lucky to shoot a photo of pigeons, squirrels and parrots all partaking the early morning meal of grains dispersed by a kind soul.


Parrots, squirrels and pigeons sharing a meal


Parrots and squirrels coexisting peacefully

Made me happy to see various creatures coexisting in peace and harmony. Wish humans would too!

In addition to Plumeria, I found various other flowers within and outside the park such as bougainvillea, laburnum, jasmine, and so on.

Here are some that I clicked in and outside the park:

DSCF0227 DSCF0234
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Assorted flowers in and around the park

All told, I think I performed my work in New Delhi more efficiently, thanks to the daily dose of Yoga amid fragrant flowers, birds and squirrels and a wonderful environment!

Until the next post, happy gardening!


Harvests and cuttings

I’m off to India tomorrow on official work. One of gardening friends mentioned that does one really de-stress while gardening or gets stressed thinking about whether all plants have been watered, fertilized or not. I have decided to place my trust my friend Utiyama-san/my landlord to take care of my office garden and and my wife to take care of my home garden. In the meanwhile, I have been busy harvesting veggies already!

CIMG0018 First potatoes from one plant this year

I was delighted with the 8 or so potatoes from my first plant – I took them home immediately. The funny thing about these freshly harvested potatoes is that you rub against the skin while washing them and  the skin peels off! Wonderful taste – just pop a few in the microwave oven after washing them, cut half way and deftly insert thin slices of butter, a sprinkling of salt and some chat masala and eat them immediately. These were the best potatoes I have ever tasted.


                         Second day’s harvest and rose cuttings

On the second day, I harvested some broccoli and beans. And, as the title of this post indicates, I received some cuttings of a fragrant rose variety and some cuttings of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and immediately planted them in deep pots applying rooting hormone at the cut ends before inserting them in special mix. Next year promises to be a rosy one (pun intended)!



Cosmos and Balsam

In the meanwhile, I found small Cosmos plant and Balsam plants scattered all over the field; these were probably from the scattering of seeds from last year. I promptly picked up a few and placed them in a pot. As the flowers bloom, I can present it to some non-gardening friend and see his delighted face!


My cauliflowers and broccoli have turned out quite all right.


Cauliflower                                                                      Broccoli

One or two of the cauliflowers showed a purple tinge in the stems. I wonder why. Any ideas?


View of the cauliflower and broccoli plants

(Left corner shows three gladiolus bulbs that I planted to add some color. Not sure whether flowers will bloom this year)


View of potatoes, edamame and corn

Corns seem to be doing well too. I learned that I had to periodically check the plastic bands that I had used to secure the corn plant to the stay. As the corn grows, the plastic bites into the stem; luckily I unloosened the bands allowing the corn to grow freely. The yellow flowers at the far end corner are marigolds.




The tomatoes have come up fast. Initially thought of setting the stays in teepee shape, but have now set the poles erect and have led two stems from each plant up each pole. I should be harvesting large tomatoes from four and mini tomatoes from four plants in another week or so.

The rest of the plot looks a bit barren thanks to a few pests in the soil that calmly ate up the roots of my Okra and Moroheiya plants!




While eggplants (left row) are growing with gay abandon,  the pepper and cucumber plants have been ravaged by that round fat little worm that gnaws away at the roots and kills the plants. I’m looking to the day when I can round up all these pests and treat them to a gigantic spoon of chilli powder – and I won’t give them any water to drink.




White and pink varieties of the African Daisy (I think)

I’m happy with the blooms of these two flowers at my office garden. They continue to spread too – I cut off the baby plant from its parent and it starts growing independently yielding more flowers. Isn’t nature wonderful?


In the meanwhile, I received rose cuttings again from a friend of my daughter. These are yellow roses; I had the audacity to ask my daughter to go and request cuttings from the neighbor. The good soul sent more than ten of them. It is really not too difficult to propagate roses. Here are the tools and the cuttings:


Rose cuttings and the tools

I guess the photo is self explanatory. The rose cuttings on the right are trimmed to remove flowers and trim off the leaves too. Make a clean cut just below a node, dip the cut surface in a rooting hormone and insert it in prepared soil (which is light and contains vermiculite, etc.). Stick the cutting deep inside so that it doesn’t budge.



Rose cuttings planted

And the results are as you see above.

Until the next post, happy gardening!


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June 2011