or rather, Pocket sized propagation of plants in Bhutan .
This post is all about the ingenious ways we saw plants being grown on a small scale in Bhutan . It was not so much about formal fancy gardens , but more about reusing what you could find as a container , thus reducing waste and promoting recycling and creating your mini garden around your house or appartment.
Gardening for decorativeness is not high on the agenda of many Bhutanese who let it be said ,are more concerned with the greater importance of living day to day and eking out a living from either their small shops , businesses , plots and fields clinging to vertiginous slopes and the ever so demanding landscape.
So it was with a strange fascination that I started to photograph the many ingenious and curious ways in which flowering plants were nurtured and obviously enjoyed by the Bhutanese around their homes.
A popular vessel was the ever rubbery car tyre .. A staple and popular plant pot around prayer wheels.. often cunningly embellished with a painted design but tin cans ,oil containers,plastic bottles also proved useful and were all stripped down and made into pots for plants. Geraniums did feature highly on the list of favoured house plants with many still flowering gamely at incredible altitudes and in all sorts of dusty corners.
There was obviously always someone with a soft spot somewhere keen to prettify their space or home with flowers and foliage. I rather liked their reckless and fanciful combinations too and a spare corner or space could prove useful for that prize cobbled together collection .Here is a group of plants at the village prayer wheel . This plant hoarder even risks having his collection being knocked off by an over exuberant prayer wheel turner !
Posted in Bhutan, Garden, Plant pots, Plants, potted history | Tagged apartment, Bhutan, bookshelf, Car tyres, collection, containers, flowers, geranium, house, plant pot, plants, prayer wheel, recycle, recycled, Reuse, Window ledge | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Bhutan, Plant Hunting, Plants, Seeds, Sussex Prairie Garden | Tagged cheese, collecting, collectors, descriptions, Druk beer, envelope, peril, plant hunters, plants, scree, seeds, yak | Leave a Comment »
Holidays are meant to revive , revitalise and rejuvenate .. but I come back and I’m tired , so very tired… tired of hearing dogs bark night by night .. their terrible cries serenading another night of wakefulness and disruption.
Those dogs that you see meandering about during the day, desultory , and napping on the road become fearful baying hounds of horror at night… packs proliferate and create storms of protest , yelping,war cries of canine careering.
And of course in a tent (we are in Nilgiri, a tented camp,Assam ) they sound so much nearer, so much more feral and fearful, especially ,when after another night of teeth and claw ,we wake to find the actual ringleader happily ensconced in our tent itself giving it it’s all with a surprising range between terrier tenor and airedale alto.
It’s a dog’s life this travelling lark….bark ….
Posted in Assam, Dog, Dogs | Tagged airedale, alto, camp, Dog, feral, hound, tent, terrier, tired, wakefulness | Leave a Comment »
Small front gardens in Assam , northeast India :This is colourful bungalow land.. A low rise legacy of low level living.
We very much enjoy this road side feast of colour and pretty pastels. Imagine turquoise,pink and green painted bungalows and many front gardens reaching beyond just the necessity of vegetable production and seemingly gardening in colour with plants for beauty’s sake.We even see some topiary !
Or maybe it is just the exuberant growth of the Assam climate that gives us this voluptuous array of flowers.Certainly it seemed very out of the ordinary for the typical Indian garden which has more to do with vegetable and fruit production, animal husbandry – pigs, chickens , cows roaming in happy abandon and still the washing gets hung out to dry …..
for practicality’s sake tin roofs of course are still the norm but that rusty patina has a certain charm….and are of course the perfect drying place for those oh so hot chillis.
It is a step beyond the normal indian garden for sure .. where has all the rubbish gone ? Assam is pristine and glorious and quite the little eden to revisit in the future….
Posted in Assam, Flowers, Front garden, Garden, India Diaries | Tagged Assam, beauty, bungalow, chillis, colour, flowers, front garden, garden, Indian, low level, tin, topiary, vegetable, washing | Leave a Comment »
Bottom barers beware there are plants out there who are out to get you ..big time in Bhutan!
In this case we are Talking about Girardiana diversifolia – the Bhutanese equivalent of our common stinging nettle only this one is giant sized with a lethal sting which both Paul and I encountered on a bush loo stop on the switchback road from Samdrup Jongkar to Trashiyangtse.
You see there is little choice in a pee stop perfect place…either brave the positively virtiginous slopes plummeting down the impenetrable wooded seventy degree pitches or skulk into the roadside under the crumbling cliff faces (rockfalls very much an added option)…sites which often bear the imprint of human use previously…with papery abandon…
And of course then there are the thundering trucks blustering by from time to time with a squeal of brakes and leering truck drivers …..
Whilst scrabbling in for a roadside relief we both brushed our face and hands against our deadly foe ..a bristly monster of a nettle bearing pale yellow flowers and looking in all innocence alike another roadside rambler but indeed it was more cunning in its sting and came out all guns blazing..no Bhutan Dock plants nearby to assuage its sting either.(although we were to find this plant at a later date)
Posted in Bhutan, Plants, Toilet | 3 Comments »
not any old poo .. dog poo .
It is a rare garden that happily invites dogs and their owners into the garden together to share the space and an afternoon. I know this because I have a dog too. Vigo. Here he is above with our nephew ,Alastair.
And it is tricky to find attractions taking dogs and happy to do so. These gardens are rare because there are those that are creating wars and those that have to fight them. I am talking about Poo Wars and the victims are revolting.
There are a few issues involved in having a garden that welcomes dogs and does all it can to make this a good experience for one and all .And when we thought about doing this, I thought -hold on- let’s provide dog waste bins for owners to dispose of the poop and for once, lets also provide the bags in which the aforementioned waste can be collected.Simples ! which is exactly what we did.
It wasn’t difficult to do and now we have five bins spaced around the garden at suitable points allowing at any point in time for (a) a big dollop of poo to be picked up in a bag (supplied by us ) and (b) the squidgy package of poo to be deposited in the bin (c) jobby sorted. And you can simply walk away – with your dog !
So one would think that all our responsible dog owners would be able to cope with this . Sadly this seems not to be the case. Now … lets look at the facts ..
1. We ask for dogs to be kept on a short lead. You surely cannot miss your dog having a smelly moment near you -unless you are in a world apart, enjoying the view , talking about particle physics ,very short sighted or an idiot ,so what is so difficult about picking the shit up ?
2. it got me thinking .. why is it difficult to do this ? well it’s not the happiest of tasks of course .. picking up someone else’s shit is not the best thing in the world , smelly – yes,disgusting – could be – depends on the consistency of course.But it is YOUR dog and by implication YOUR shit
3.. if you were in your own garden would you leave all the shit around for someone to stand in ? yes ? love the odour of fresh dog poo on the parquet ? crisp dog poo on the doormat ? killer shit on the kelim ? so why do it here ?
Come on folks ! shit happens so please deal with it !
Posted in Autumn, Dog, Dogs, Garden, poo, shit, Summer, Sussex, Sussex Prairie Garden | Tagged Dog, dog owners, doormat, garden, jobby, poo, poo wars, poop, shit, war, waste | 1 Comment »
Big is definitely more beautiful – of course it is .. especially when the big grasses are part of the picture. In our Sussex Prairies garden only twenty five percent of the garden is grasses but at this time of year the grasses definitely take front of stage with their impressive stature, dominating presence and architectural splendour.
Is it the metallic sheen on the grass flower heads that gives that ethereal quality to the whole, or is it the heady wispiness and romance of the flowers that creates such a spectacle ? is it the arching fronds that brush and tickle you as you pass by ?or is it the firey flashes of brilliance in the leaves or seedheads ? it is all of that and more and set in dream partnerships with the later perennials they are crackers !
High Five !
Here at our top five grasses for this year-
1. Miscanthus Malepartus
big bold and dark purple flowers .. towers in at a heady 8 ft tall
2. Miscanthus Zwerg Elefant (dwarf elephant)
flowers unfurl like a curled elefants trunk and then emerge like crinkle cut chips
3. Sporobolis heterolepsis
grass with presence and fragrance .. imagine freshly cut coriander on a summers day
4. Panicum Frosted Explosion
a real firework of an annual grass but misty and moving at the same time.. a perfect grass as a dream partner in the garden
5. Miscanthus Ghana
feels like a bonfire burning…with all the the firey colours of autumn and the zest and zing of gunpowder.
Posted in Autumn, grasses, prairie, Prairie garden, Sussex, Sussex Prairie Garden | Tagged Autumn, colour, grass, gunpowder, miscanthus ghana, miscanthus malepartus, miscanthus zwerg elefant, panicum frosted explosion, sporobolis heterolepsis | Leave a Comment »