Rangoon creeper wins the vines war

Two creepers growing side by side in the neighbour’s garden, rangoon creeper and thunbergia,  naturally vied for space. The rangoon creeper lost out at first. I’ve already written about the thunbergia invading our garden, choking and almost destroying our palms, and generally playing havoc. On the neighbour’s side, it had overcome the rangoon creeper.

About 80 per cent of the thunbegia’s growth was on our side of the wall. When I had it removed, the neighbour’s cut down what was left of the thunbergia in their garden. This gave the rangoon creeper a new lease of life.

Subsequently, the thunbergia grew back and, being a fast grower, spread rapidly. But this time the rangoon creeper held its own, having taken advantage of the dormant period of the thunbergia. It  is now thriving in its corner and putting out a good showing of flowers. Quite a bit on of the creeper is on our side of the wall and is very welcome.

Rangoon creeper


Meanwhile, after being restricted, the thunbergia is starting to flower in drupes, which is its real beauty. Earlier, due to rampant foliage growth, the flowers appeared in ones and far apart.  Now it’s possible to enjoy the thunbergia, instead of resenting its rapacity.


I seem to have come up with a tongue-twister in this post’s title.

Minds of their own

Gardeners know only too well that plants have minds of their own. They will do their own thing regardless of your hopes and aspirations. In my garden, some plants appear wherever they want to, while others become dormant and reappear at will. This leads to some interesting combinations.

A sunset bells planted in a pot previously occupied by an oxalis was joined by the re-emerging oxalis. The result is seriously clashing colours. But because this is nature, it doesn’t look hideous. I’m content to let them grow together.


In another corner of the garden, a bleeding heart vine seemed to have died but resurrected itself this year. It’s growing horizontally. Later I will train it up the ugly pipe it was meant to cover. Right now I’m enjoying the pattern in which the blooms are appearing.  Next to the vine, a tomato plant has sprouted. To the right, a sunset bells has appeared and behind is a self-seeding penta.

I got rid of most of my tomato plants because they were etiolated and full of leaf-miner. This self-seeding tomato is also affected by leaf-miner. But my principle is that self-seeding plants deserve to survive. I will pick off the affected leaves and see what becomes of this plant.

Volunteer plants

A small bit of fittonia planted in a corner has covered the entire ground on that side of the garden. Now it’s invading the lawn. The combination of grass and fittonia looks quite good. So I’m going to let the fittonia spread as it likes.

Fittonia invading the lawn

New lease of life

Some time ago I had written about my thriving episcea plant that had died, seemingly overnight, due to over-watering.I had salvaged what bits I could and planted them in separate pots. But the transplanted shoots all died. I thought that was the  end of the story.

Then recently I found shoots emerging in pots that now had other plants in them. I love it when serendipitous things like this happen and always give such plants extra care. Their perseverance needs to be rewarded.

Separately, a sunset bells that had died out began to regrow, as sunset bells do. But the emerging plant looked so scruffy for such a long time that I thought of chucking it out. Just as well that I never got round to it. This summer it has taken off and is growing and flowering with all its might. This encourages me to believe that the new episcia, which look as scruffy as this sunset bells did at first, will grow as healthy and prolific.

Sunset bells revive

Jasmine just avoids uprooting

A jasmine creeper that Arun had planted, the only thing he’s added to the garden on his own, has grown for years without producing a single flower. Since it gets about 3 hours of sunlight, mainly in the summer, I thought it was never going to flower. But for Arun’s sake I let it keep growing. He hates it when a plant is removed or pruned, so we do it mainly behind his back.

This year I was looking at the creeper and pondering getting rid of it. Then, just as if it had read my mind, it flowered. This has happened with several other plants, to the extent that I’m wondering whether plants can actually read your mind.

Jasmine buds

Jasmine in flower

Indomitable Impatiens

A dark pink variety of impatiens grows all over Bangalore like a week. Any number of plants appear in our garden and I keep uprooting and throwing them away.

But one plant began to grow in a crack in the wall in our garden. I ignored it because it was too high to reach without a ladder and because I thought it wouldn’t survive in that inhopsitable spot. It not only did, it turned out to be a different rather nicer colour than the usual dark pink; it looks pink in the picture but actually is closer to red. The plant continues to thrive in its spot on the wall. I’m going to get it down and take cuttings to propagate it. This impatiens deserves to live on.

Impatiens in the wall

Elephants have long memories . . .

. . . and the elephant year plant has a long life. The plant below was a giant when we moved into this house 11 years ago. We cut it down because it was too large for that corner and I’m not particularly fond of this plant anyway. Its roots must have gone deep because it kept reappearing over the years. We kept cutting it down. I figured that it would eventually give up and die.

A little while ago I saw another leaf had appeared and just let it be. I was tired of trying to kill the plant. I’m in a dilemma now because it’s waxing large and will probably take over that corner again.

Elephant year

A lime tree in a pot is being overshadowed. I can move the pot, but the plants in the concrete beds behind are all low-growing ones, like the tradescantia peeping out on the right. I didn’t even want the aglonema there, flourishing around the elephant year; that’s Lakshmi’s doing when I was away. Do I move them or just let it all  be? Sometimes gardening requires too many decisions.

Arati’s gift of life

My daughter Arati gave me the American lemon tree below. When we got back in the car in which we moved it from her place to mine, we found a striking caterpillar had transferred itself from the plant to the car seat. The driver removed it with a dry leaf and threw the leaf on the road. Arati was watching and saw that the caterpillar had landed upside down. She jumped out of the car, carefully picked up the leaf and placed it near a small shrub by the road. The caterpillar had frozen by now and didn’t move at all. About two hours later, after we’d returned from our trip, Arati walked out to do some chore and checked on the caterpillar. She was happy to see that it was now clinging to the thick stem of the bush. She felt reassured that the caterpillar would live.

American lemon

She has always loved dogs and goes out of her way to help strays and anyone having a problem with a dog. Now I see that extends to insects!

Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the caterpillar.