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Friday, June 24, 2011

Slow the motion-Show the motion

The June 2011 Picture this photo contest is all about motion and a longer exposure to capture the feeling of movement.

The moment I saw the topic I remembered our lovely camping trip to Utah in the summer of 2009. We played around with our flashlights and lighted Frisbee disc and captured one of a kind memories. The Z, I and N were spelled out using our headlamps. For the O we used an illuminated Frisbee.

Spelling out the National park we camped in...

This is one where we set up the long exposure and the two Frisbee addicts were actually throwing the Frisbee around.

Frisbee trails

We also took a very typical picture in Antelope Canyon where the long exposure captures the suns rays that come in through the small crevices.

The Sand and light show - Antelope canyon

The one that everyone is familiar with is the look of a waterfall or other moving water source left exposed for enough time to blend the coursing water into a pleasing “mist”, the result of a divine brush stroke!

Now, I was not sure if the picture had to be in the garden theme, so here is my submission.

From the summer of 2010, the friendly Hummingbird that lives in our backyard. The attempt was to freeze its constantly darting head but leave the wings blurred.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Go Green !

Spotted at the local USPS post office

Love and support the idea, loved the caricatures and the expression. Just wondering if these will be used. Are people going to start writing letters now?

The Siding project

The south side of our yard was filled with an array of shed like structures that you see in this picture.

We took out these termite infested structures when we did the pool demo. The part of the exterior wall never ended up getting its vinyl facelift for over two years.

We finally got around to fixing the sore spot

And here is the finished project

Drumstick update

In the summer of 2010 I set out on this ambitious experiment of trying to grow Drumsticks in California (and from seed may I add). Read about that here.

Of the 7 seeds I grew only 3 made it to the end of the season. I kept them in these big blue buckets all through the growing season last year and they were moved under a covered porch area (It just has a roof overhang and no protection from the sides.

They survived the winter without any additional protection and looked like this when they were set out this spring.

They are now in the ground in the south side of the house. This place has very poor soil (which works perfectly for the Drumstick), and gets abundant sunlight too. We just need to remember to cover it up with burlap this winter.

In the month or so they have been in the ground, the plants have begun to settle in very well. Hopefully I get some nice juicy Drumsticks this summer.

On another note, I bought yet another packet of Drumstick seeds and have 3 lovely plants growing in small pots.

National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai

Kauai is not called the Garden Island without reason.

And how can a trip to Kauai be complete without a trip to at least one of the famous botanical gardens. We chose to visit the McBryde Garden (purely because it was a cheaper alternative at $20 a person compared to the $40 for the Allerton Gardens)

This is the view that greets you as you approach the garden on a tram that drives you there.

They also have a lovely stream that runs across the garden

and a bed of pink Hibiscus

Some of the plants/ trees brought back colorful memories of growing up in India.

A colorful Eucalyptus

The Delonix Regia (known fondly in my childhood as Flame of the Forest)

The Ixora that was the most commonly used landscaping plant in the parks around where I grew up.

The Papaya that brought back memories of the one that grew right outside my bedroom window.

And the Sapodilla that was massive in size and was extremely difficult to resist the temptation to pluck them off the tree. (We found later that it might be an inedible variety, that explains why it was pristine and not even touched by the birds)

The Noni fruit that my dad has been raving about and I had not seen until now

I also saw the "Nagalinga Poo"(Tamil name), known commonly as the Cannonball tree. The flower has a unique structure and an even more intoxicating scent that is up there with another Hawai'i staple, the plumeria.

We also saw the Cacao tree that I have vague memories of seeing in a tropical garden somewhere in the outskirts of Coimbatore when I was in school.

We also learnt quite a bit of garden trivia,

...........the fact that the Plumeria is not native to Hawaii

Here are some colorful pictures. I don't know their names, but they provide solace to sore eyes.

Candlestick Ginger


One of the many palm varieties

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good times to come

Baby Peas

Little Tomatoes

And the very first Zucchini

The well

We picked up these lovely green tinged, even sized pieces of concrete for our recycled retaining wall project (read here and here)
But then we went overboard or guesstimated badly and ended up with a lot more concrete pieces than what we would need.

There is no dearth for ideas, and off we went....building our well. A dry well like structure around our Magnolia tree. I had always envisioned a small seating area around the tree, probably made of wood. But concrete would work too.

And the full picture

And the birds eye view of the new well and the retaining wall

Concrete retaining wall

Completed pictures of our second concrete retaining wall....the bigger and better one.

It took a person one whole day to fill it up with a mixture of soil and compost.

We still need to hook up irrigation i.e the soaker hoses. The white T that you see is the water pipe that we put in

All that is left is to pressure wash it one time to bring out that lovely green color the old concrete was stained in.

The Curry leaf plant update

We had babied our Curry leaf plant in a pot all these years. Keeping it in a pot makes it easy to move it inside during winter to protect it from the settling dew and overnight frost.

This is a picture from early spring when we brought the plants out from their winter retreat.

We found a spot that gets a good amount of sunlight and put it in.

It has been over a month now, and it looks like the plant is settling in nicely. It is now sporting a bunch of flowers. I can't wait to get hold of the ripe fruits and see if I can grow some plants from the seed.