Tag Archives: plants

The Garden

“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there” ~ Thomas Fuller

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“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself” ~ May Sarton

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“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful” ~ Abram L. Urban

In the depths of my garden

I’ve seen and heard of the Banyan tree – “the tree that walks”.

It did not quite look like the tree that is “walking” very suspiciously in my back garden.

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I’m not sure if it’s a Banyan but hopefully some knowledgeable person will let us know.

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The tree in my garden has a “friend” in my neighbour’s garden – it has grown into and around a fish pond pump. My neighbour had to partially remove his “Banyan”.

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My well-behaved “Banyan” has only grown right through some loose fencing, but it is moving with stealth towards other objects.

Whatever it type of tree it is, I feel blessed by its presence.

Wikipedia states:

“A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges).

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“Banyan” often refers specifically to the Indian banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the national tree of India,[1] though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma.[2]

Like other fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, which may envelop part of the host tree or building structure, giving banyans the casual name of “strangler fig”.

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In Hinduism, the leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the God Krishna.

In the Bhagavat Gita Krishna said “There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.” (Bg 15.1)

Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. We have experience of a tree whose roots are upward: if one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward.

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Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there is substance and reality.

The “strangling” growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus, that compete for light.[3][4][5] Any Ficus species showing this habit may be termed a strangler fig.

The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.[6]

Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core.

Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.”

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Krantzkloof Nature Reserve

Inland of Durban, on the coastal escarpment between Pinetown and Hillcrest, is the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.

It is the spectacular meeting place of two river gorges, the Molweni and Nkutu.

Situated only 4 kilometres from the centre of Kloof, this reserve was established by the Natal Parks Board in 1950 and is now managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

We recently walked one of the trails and I took the photos below.

I was not impressed with the results and should have read “7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod” before leaving home that day.

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The Buddhist Retreat Centre & Pathways in Life

In or around 2005 I first encountered the teachings of Buddha and attended regular teachings for the next two years.

I left that particular path or tradition and it was during May 2007, over a certain weekend, that I “somehow” found myself  “involved” at another tradition: Buddhist Retreat Centre (BRC) in Ixopo, South Africa.

On the Saturday evening of that weekend, sitting alone next to a glowing fireplace, I read a short biography of Mother Theresa and it really touched my heart.

The photos below were taken that weekend using a Canon Ixus.

A few years later I sat in silence a few metres from Mother Teresa’s tomb in Kolkata, India and visited her home for the sick and dying.

There are no “some-hows” – only pathways; cause and effect (Karma) in action.

None of the happenings above were “random”. They all came about through paths I had taken and numerous causes that had arisen.

Buddha gave advice on the The Noble Eight-fold Path listed below:

1. Right view
2. Right intention
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

There seem to be lots of paths in and around the BRC now that I study the photos nearly six years later

Below there are approximately Eight Paths and some other views of interest.

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Botanic Gardens, Durban 2007

This is a “travel” post because if you are ever in Durban, South Africa, you don’t want to miss visiting this cosy yet vibrant “secret”.

Yesterday my dear lady and I visited Durban Botanic Gardens for a short while.

Entry is free and, within easy walking distance, one can find a lake, tea room with fresh scones cream or waffles, benches to sit on, luscious grass slopes to fall asleep on, wild birds, an assortment of plants (including cycads) and trees, an orchid house plus lots more.

On weekends one often finds a wedding photo-shoot taking place (traditional Indian wedding usually).

It is a gem of a place; a hideaway to go and gather one’s thoughts if need be or just contemplate.

Further links to be found here for the Gardens and tea room.

Before I can show my photos from yesterday, I need to post some photos taken in July and December 2007 using my Canon Powershot S5iS. That camera got stolen a couple years back and I now have a 550D (Canon of course).

This post will be followed shortly by Botanic Gardens, Durban 2012.

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Mom’s Garden revisited 1

Some of my “older” blogging friends may recall one of my previous posts Mom’s Garden.

I recently returned to Mom’s garden to take some more snaps.

She has not been well recently and has not been able to give the garden any attention, but I still think her garden is an interesting and stunning hideaway; a gem!

Photo 3 below is my absolute fairy-tale favourite. Do you have a favourite and if so which one? Please let me know.