Sunday, April 12, 2015

Grand Trunk

The season of storms is here again. A biggie hit us last Saturday night. I was in the verandah trying to make a phone call when a huge gust of wind blew everything out, including the lights . We could barely stand against the force of the gale, but I tried to save pot plants and the odd unstable table here and there. Branches snapped unseen above us and came flying about at top speed. I retired from rescue operations and went indoors, much to the chowkidar's relief.
We woke on Easter Sunday to see the lawn littered with branches, twigs and leaves.  The bungalow has five magnificent mahogany trees, and everything that the wind blew down was from these trees. They are the most striking feature of the bungalow and when seen from certain points they seem to frame and define the house. They're old trees, and I'm glad to think they will probably be around for a long time.

All through the cold weather, my chair was placed under the mahoganies. When the leaves began to fall, I was told that seed pods would fall too, and it wouldn't be wise to sit there any more. I saw little cone like pods high up in the branches. Soon falling leaves covered the entire compound. The lily beds underneath the trees were like a forest floor. With leaves fell the hard outer segments of the pods. They looked like extra large dried orange peel. Our bungalow boys said they made excellent fuel for fires. The inner segments of the pods were beautiful and we scooped up handfuls to fill up our pot pourri bowls.

The branches were bare in the space of a week, and within another week, buds formed and new leaves began to appear. It is amazing how leaf fall, bud break and the appearance of new foliage are all compacted into such a short span of time. With new leaves, new birds came into our garden. 

The bottle brush above the lily pond attracted a kingfisher that dazzled our eyes everytime it swooped and dipped into the water. A barbet, almost the exact colour of the new mahogany leaves, sat pecking at the trunk of one of the trees. 
The seed pods remained hidden until the storm blew them down.

 We marvelled at the design. How effectively the seeds are contained, and how well protected they are until they mature! Mohan has collected and distributed a good number for propagation.
I'm waiting now to see the flowers. The trees have put out buds and so have all the orchid plants growing along the trunks.



Beautifully written and illustrated - and so informative!

Flowergirl said...

How lovely that you have so many of these grand trees!

I loved this post, and looking forward to more!

Viji said...

What an enchanting read Gowri ...thank you for sharing :)

Kalyani Dutta said...

The Sisham in my garden also charms me every year with the way it changes ,from leaf fall, to bare branches, reappearance of the leaves a soft green fur on the branches,growing fast into light translucent green round leaves which will soon grow darker. Then the seedpods appear, Silky green tassels dry into hard ochre pods. Then another shower of these rustle. In between there is a flowering stage with faint spicy scent floating. Such a wonder.During storms and rains it is a drama to watch.
But Sisham has grown one floor taller than the house. It has a hidden threatening side - its massive roots are running under the foundations of the house. BOTH CRADLING & IMPRISONING.

Kamini said...

Lovely! Yet again, Gowri, you brought the place alive before our eyes. Thank you!