Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) are regular visitors to my garden. They land on my Caesalpinia plant (Peacock flower plant) in small groups or in pairs to feast on the seeds. They are definitely a noisy lot!
We can easily identify the male and female birds. Males have a black-red neck band and females don’t. They have long tail feathers and very pleasing green plumage. In fact, it has given rise to the phrase ‘parrot-green’ to refer to that particular shade of green.
Rose-ringed parakeets are least threatened and have adapted well to changing habitats. I believe they can be trained to talk when caged and kept as a pet!
Here is a pair of lovely rose-ringed parakeets captured in my garden; the pictures were captured in a continuous series.
Heliconia, derived from the Greek word Helikṓnios, is a genus of flowering plants that are native to the tropical forests. All have bold leaves and showy flowers. Several species are widely cultivated as ornamentals and are known by common names like lobster-claws, wild plantains or parrot flowers.
Large, brightly hued bracts that cluster up a stem have inconsequential tiny flowers in their axils. Flower bracts are arranged in terminal racemes, which may be held erect or pendulant.
The plants grow and propagate from underground rhizomes, which can be broken apart and used to start a new plant.
The heliconia family, Heliconiaceae, is most closely related to the gingers and bananas.
It may not seem like grasses are flowering plants to a layman as the grass flowers don’t look quite like the showy colorful parts most people recognize as flowers. Grasses are definitely flowering plants.
The flowers or inflorescence is called a “spike” or sometimes a “panicle.” Though individual flowers are not attractive, the inflorescence is very much noticeable and some of the ornamental grasses have pretty spikes.
Grasses belong to a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as Poaceae or Gramineae. This includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and cultivated lawns and pastures.
Sage (genus Salvia) has about 900 species of herbaceous and woody plants that belong to the mint family. They are generally perennial and aromatic. The name Salvia (“salviya”) derives from the Latin ‘Salvere’ meaning “to feel well and healthy”, referring to the herb’s healing properties.
Some are important as sources of flavouring and many are grown as garden ornamentals. The flowers are usually tubular with two lips and only two stamens and are borne in terminal inflorescences. They generally produce a showy display with flower colours ranging from blue to red, with white and a variety of shades of these colours.
S. divinorum is a hallucinogenic plant native to Mexico.
Let us meet friends from my garden once again. This time I will introduce Lynx spiders.
Most species of lynx spiders do not use webs and they spend time hiding under leaves and waiting to ambush the prey. Most of them have large spiny bristles on their legs that may assist in confining the prey in their grasp.
Lynx spiders are very agile and have a small body of barely 1cm, with long legs. They have very good eyesight with 8 eyes! Generally they run away from predators. Though they rarely bite human beings, a bite can cause swellings on the body part.
You may be surprised to learn that there are more than two hundred species of geraniums that range in size, shape and colour. The common geranium comes in shades of white, red and pink with many striking bi-colours, too! Its a gardener’s delight!
The genus name is derived from the Greek word géranos meaning ‘crane’. Its common English name ‘cranesbill’ comes from the shape of the fruit capsule.
Geranium, as a housewarming gift, represents friendship or wishes for good health. Americans view the geranium flower as a symbol of happiness and positive emotions. They are often presented at special occasions such as promotions and retirements.
Geranium oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for its many health benefits. Geranium tea is a soothing aromatic drink.