Sunsets are romantic! Whether you are a nature lover or a technocrat, the beauty of sunsets is undeniable. I’m sure there is no one who hasn’t said “wow” after watching the glorious sundown. The magical view of the setting sun and changing colours of the sky never get old! Here is a series of sunset pictures captured at Santa Cruz, California. Watched the sunset along with roosting pelicans and cormorants. I was surprised to notice a peculiar feature- after the initial stages, there was no golden reflection on the water!! I have no explanation…
When we think of friends in our garden, Potter wasp is not likely to be on the list. However, potter wasps are beneficial insects that provide natural control of many types of caterpillars that are pests of our vegetable garden. The name ‘potter wasp’ derives from the shape of the mud nests built by the female to lay eggs and these nests are known as brood nests. These are built in a variety of places, like on tree trunks and twigs as well as exterior surfaces of buildings. The nest interestingly looks like a miniature pot or jug, complete with cover when it is sealed! The female wasp hunts caterpillars, stores them in the nest after paralyzing them by her sting. The developing wasp larva feeds on these caterpillars and comes out as an adult. I found this lovely potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) hovering in my garden, feeding on Leucas aspera (Thumba) flowers and then having a drink in the birdbath. You can see the nest that is built on a plant twig. The seal of the nest has two tiny holes to let in air for the larva inside!
‘Thusharagiri’ literally means ‘misty mountain’, a name given due to the snowy spray of water droplets of the waterfalls that surround the mountains like a misty blanket. Thusharagiri Falls is a scenic waterfall located in Kozhikode district, in my native state of Kerala, India. This is among the well-known tourist places of Wayanad and can be visited throughout the year, monsoon season being the best time. Surrounding the waterfalls are the evergreen forests of Western Ghats. The gurgling streams add to the pristine beauty of the place and the place is known as the ‘trekker’s paradise’. Thusharagiri falls is formed by the cascading Chalippuzha river.
Friends, you may be remembering my earlier post of the painted leaves of Caladium. If not, please check out HERE! This is another variety of the Caladium that grows in my garden. Caladiums can instantly add colour to home gardens. Their bright colours and unique patterns are simply fascinating and delightful. Some of the ornamental Caladiums generally have large heart-shaped leaves, sometimes growing to more than a foot long. These tropical plants are easy to grow in home gardens.
Beans are among the most versatile and commonly eaten vegetables throughout the world. Many varieties are grown by farmers and people in their home gardens. Edible beans are nutrient-rich vegetables and they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, in addition to protein, fibre, a moderate amount of calories and other nutrients.
I have four varieties growing in my garden, as you can see in these pictures. Notice that the structure of the flowers is different from other flowers. A bit of Botany here 🙂 The heart-shaped big petal is called the ‘standard petal’ and attracts pollinators such as bees. Next two petals are named ‘wing petals’ and the last pair that grows fused is called ‘keel petal’. All essential parts are enclosed within the keel petals.
Bean blossoms with the above configuration are said to be ‘papilionaceous’, meaning butterfly-like.
Today I have three orb-weaver spiders from my garden. Orb-weaver spiders build spiral wheel-shaped webs that are very common in gardens and places with a lot of plant growth.
Opadometa fastigata, the pear-shaped Leucauge, is a species of spider in the family of long-jawed orb weavers. It is found in India and East Asian countries. This species can be identified by its pear-shaped abdomen and the fourth pair of legs with a thick brush of spines. Side view shows a hump formed by the pear-shaped abdomen overhanging the cephalothorax (the structure formed by head and thorax). Gasteracantha geminata is a species of spider, found in India and Sri Lanka. It is known as the Oriental spiny orb-weaver or Spiny-backed orb-weaver, due to the prominent spines on either side of the abdomen. Argiope pulchella, another species of the orb-weavers is seen in India and other Asian countries. The species can be often seen near human habitats. Like other species of this genus, it is a “signature spider”; it builds the web with a zig-zag ‘stabilimentum’ resembling a signature! These spiders build their web close to the ground in order to catch low flying insects.
Grand Canyon, located in the state of Arizona, USA, is often considered one of the Wonders of the World with visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colourful landscape. The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is a deep gorge carved by the Colorado River through millions of years. We can see a unique combination of geological colours and erosional forms of landscape. These layered bands of red rock reveal millions of years of geological history. The Grand Canyon is a World Heritage Site. These photographs were taken from the South Rim of the Canyon.
Ferns are shade-loving ornamental plants. Though they thrive in tropical forests, ferns have adapted to temperate weather as well.
As is visible, this fern frond is bearing fruit bodies or Sporangia on its ventral side. They produce spores.
The fern symbolizes eternal youth. To the Maori tribe of New Zealand, the fern represented new beginnings. To the Japanese, the fern symbolizes family and the hope for future generations. According to Victorians, the fern symbolized humility and sincerity.
Aren’t sunsets beautiful? A glorious moment of the day!! It is delightful for photographers to get that perfect moment, when they are capturing the glory of a setting sun. Sunsets are among the most beautiful things we’re lucky to see almost every day. That beautiful mix of colors lighting up the sky is just breathtaking!! Enjoy these sunset scenes captured at Point Reyes National park beach, California. “Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.” Wishing all a Happy and Healthy New Year!!
Good to be here after a long gap…. I might have missed many of your posts. Here I am bringing a little cheer for all 🙂 Each one of these flowers has an exquisite structure and are gorgeous. They are quite big and showy.
Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) with it’s flaming petals can never be missed, though it is generally not grown as a garden plant. The plant is poisonous and can cause fatalities, if consumed. Night-blooming cereus is a member of the cactus family. As the name suggests, the flowers bloom at night and are gone by daybreak! The plant has flat ribbon-like stem and well adapted for tropical climate. Scarlet passionflower (Passiflora coccinea) is an ornamental, woody climber and does not produce fruits like the commercially cultivated variety. At least, I haven’t seen fruits on this plant, growing in my garden. Water lily prefers a freshwater habitat. There are more than fifty species of water lilies. According to Indian mythology, lotus is the better half of sun while water lily is of moon. Water lilies symbolize innocence, purity, pleasure, celebration, rebirth, wellness and peace.