When Nature is the Weatherman

Its monsoon delayed and weakened by a cyclonic  storm and the El Nino, India is bracing for tough days ahead. PHOTO: Madhyamam

Its monsoon delayed and weakened by a cyclonic storm and the El Nino, India is bracing for tough days ahead. PHOTO: Madhyamam

All through the last weeks of May and the first days of June, most Indians have been looking to the skies. For answers and signs of the monsoon rains. With India being a predominantly agrarian country, the rains decide whether the country grows enough to feed its 1.25 billion people or relies on imports to satiate hunger and demand. And last evening, we saw the first signs of a healthy monsoon, amid fears of the rains being a poor show this year.

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From the Flora-Files, Part 4

This little gem can be found along the path to the art studio.

And so the flora-files march on (see past posts, starting from the most recent here). Continuing these posts has become a way for me to reflect on the wonderful opportunities I had at Xandari and around Costa Rica to come into contact with a lot of fascinating and beautiful flora and fauna. As I peruse my photo catalogs and look for pictures to post, I feel like I’m back there, even briefly. Continue reading

From the Flora-Files, Part 1

Right of the reception

Although, as I detailed in my last post, my internship at Xandari is over, I still have a great backlog of images that I never had a chance to upload while there. (My computer broke.) I’d like to share the better of those photos with everyone here. I’ve named this post “flora-files” because I think the title sort of punny: “files” in the sense of records on Xandari’s flora; and “file” in the sense of the Greek φίλoς (philos), “love,” the same one that shows up in “Philadelphia” or “audiophile.” Look out for more from the flora-files… I’ll detail where I find these flowers around Xandari in the caption, so that if you’re lucky enough to be here while they’re in bloom, you can go seek them out.

Garden paths

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The Seasonality of Flowers

These flowers are called “fósforos” in Spanish, meaning “matches.” (Guess why!) They’re much beloved by Steely-vented Hummingbirds.

Xandari’s guests often remark on how difficult it is not to take dozens, even hundreds, of photos around the resort–one reason for that is the abundant flora. Even though I know I probably shouldn’t do another post on flowers (see my others here and here), I will use a similar excuse and say that I have a very hard time walking by the amazing blooms and not pulling out my camera to snap a quick picture. Flowers only bloom for a short time before dropping their petals and waiting in repose for the next season–this small window of loveliness is one of the reasons why they are so compelling. Continue reading

Where would we be without bees?

Bee on a flower

Recent posts on flowers at Xandari (here and here) have gotten me thinking about all of the work that goes into making such beauty possible. Mostly I had in mind Xandari’s head gardener, José Luis, and his excellent team. Snapping the above photo, however, I was reminded of nature’s great contribution in the process. Continue reading

Lalbagh Flower Show 2014 – Bangalore, Karnataka

Photo credits : Dileep Kumar

Photo credits: Dileep Kumar

The flower shows at Bangalore’s famous Lalbagh Botanical Gardens are annual events that add another reason to attract visitors to the beautiful gardens. More than 175 varieties of flowers and vegetables are on display. The showcase also features huge floral structures in the shape of mangoes, mushrooms, coconuts and more. Continue reading

India and Flowers

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Flowers are an integral part of Indian festivals; people use them on a daily basis for offerings to their gods and goddesses at home.  In India, people come door-to-door, similar to the way milk men make deliveries, and provide fresh flowers to every household — the large demand for floral offerings is catered to by the flower markets prominent in almost every major city in India. Continue reading


Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

The first day of the Onam celebrations starts on Atham day during the Malayalam month of Chingam, which this year falls today, 7th September 2013. The date is ten days before Thiruvonam. The creation of Athapookalam is an important part of every Onam festival. This special, circular arrangement of flowers  is one of the most iconic Onam traditions. Continue reading

Indian Lotus Flower

Photo Credits:Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo Credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Lotus, the national flower of India, symbolizes beauty, majesty, spirituality, purity, wealth, serenity and knowledge. It is an aquatic plant that belongs to the Nelumbonaceae species with broad floating leaves and bright aromatic flowers that grows in shallow waters. Its seeds, leaves, flowers and roots are all edible and used in a variety of medicines. Lotus is also a sacred flower for Hindus and Buddhists. Continue reading