Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our coconut tree sweeps us off

Our coconut tree on the terrace was planted 10 years ago on the terrace, when we were totally inexperienced about farming activities. One of our staff members from the kitchen brought this sapling from his native village and so this tree established itself in these grey surroundings.It has been a sight of wonder and joy as people discovered it;s presence. Many wondered how the roots did not affect the slab, how the weight of the tree did not cause cracks etc...Although this tree has not yet given us any coconuts, it is a source of great joy. It is said that 1 coconut tree can sustain 1 family. I am not surprised.

Today I was thrilled when our gardener showed me three brooms he had made from the leaves of the coconut tree. I fell in love with the brooms and felt like hanging them on my walls...... : )

The thick jute cloth like pieces on the bark were cut to be used for lining the aerated drums!

What more can an urban farmers want? Just waiting for the coconuts!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Harvests

Guava a plenty

Amba Haldi

Madhavi Lata

This season the Madhavi Lata is in full bloom. Its wonderful fragrance has filled the surroundings as well as our hearts.

I found some amazing information about this flower seen rarely these days....

Madhavi lata, native from India to the Philippines, is a vine like plant that is often cultivated in the tropics for its attractive and fragrant flowers. A woody climbing shrub with clusters of pink to white and yellow fragrant flowers and 3-winged, helicopter-like fruits. Flowers have very interesting shape and look like a decorative accessory, with fluffy-toothed edges. The fragrance is very strong and pleasant, resembles fruity perfume. Leaves are narrow and drooping. This plant can be trimmed as a bush, and can be crown in container, too. Used medicinally in India. Make sure to provide lots of light for profuse blooming. The genus name, Hiptage, is derived from the Greek hiptamai, which means "to fly" and refers its unique three-winged fruit known as "samara". The fruit is carried by wind because of its papery wings.
Medicinal uses: The bark, leaves and flowers are aromatic, bitter, acrid, astringent, refrigerant, vulnerary, expectorant, cardiotonic, anti-inflammatory and insecticidal. They are useful in burning sensation, wounds, ulcers, cough, asthma.


This tree also has a importance in mythological stories.....

In stories of Krishna, Madhavi-lata is found every where in Vrindavan, and creates a wonderful atmosphere with its fragrance and the three-colored flowers:

"This forest has Atimukta-trees, therefore the chariot makers resort to it (chariots are made of the wood), the makers of Madhavi-garlands like it (Atimukta means Madhavi flower) and those who desire liberation come here (to Vrindavana; (Atimukta means completely liberated).