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Dyeing and shopping

Today we traveled out of Jaipur to a dye shop to meet an award-winning master dyer and to dye some fabric ourselves. First they showed us beautiful examples of tie-dyed fabric with an explanation of how they do it, carefully rolling up the fabric and tying it tight.

The workspace was cluttered, but I’m sure they knew exactly where everything was.

The precision of their results is amazing.  Here’s the reveal of one of their scarves, and you can see how tightly it’s wrapped. 

Then it was our turn.  We climbed up steep marble stairs (no hand rail, of course!) to the rooftop where we spread out on blankets in the sunshine to fold, pleat and tie our dampened fabrics.  As you can see, you loop the fabric around your big toe, pull the fabric tight, and proceed to tie it.  There is a trick to tying tightly which I only sort of mastered, but they were there to help us. In fact, one of the men kindly took the fabric away from me and redid it correctly (that’s my useless toe in the corner of the shot.)

Here are the well-worn scissors we used to cut the string.

Then we went back downstairs to the dye pots for the first dip,

after which we air dried our pieces and then gave them a second dip.

Then the master showed us his antique textiles. Pink is a color only for royals, we learned. This gold embroidered piece was made by his mother, so probably about 100 years old.

The master showed us how to wrap a turban, and Sujata and Amy tried them on, to everyone’s delight.

Then it was time for the great reveal as we untied our knots and spread open the fabric. All were gorgeous!  Here are just a few:

We took the bus back to Jaipur for some shopping at the state-run handicrafts emporium. I picked up some lovely fabrics and sets of bangles for Cai and Sarah. After that, we walked along Mansagar Lake, a lovely body of water with the iconic Jal Mahal (water palace) at its center. The trees on the lake were busy with birds, I wish I knew which kinds.  We saw camelswaiting for tourists to ride them, also this painted elephant that Cathy paid a small fee to feed.  Back at the hotel, we picked up our tunics from the hotel shop, had drinks in the bar and then went on to dinner. Afterwards we were offered henna painting that was fun, and I love the outcome, even on my wrinkly hand. And so to bed for a good night’s sleep at last!

 

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August Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

July in Virginia is usually even hotter than August, but this year August might be winning.  A week of highs approaching and exceeding 100 degrees is giving way this week to high humidity and daily showers.  Better than drought, I guess?  Of course, the sunny garden is an absolute JUNGLE at this point, and it’s too wet to weed it.  Maybe next week.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa, a tall one that I should probably move.  It’s in the boxwood garden and doesn’t get quite enough sun, but isn’t it bold and lovely?

The less dramatic black-eyed Susan has decided to sow itself in the back, but here’s one small clump in the side garden by the raised bed.

An anonymous sunflower sowed in the big blue pot.  Again, not quite enough sun for the best show.

The silken flowers of the datura bloom early in the morning and fade like the twelve dancing princesses by mid-morning.

The native passionflower is a real problem.  It pops up everywhere and aggressively twines around everything it can find.  It even pops up in the lawn.  But then I see how the butterflies and bees love it, and I let it go wild.  I need to get a grip!

I imagine this bee got drunk on the nectar last night and is just beginning to wake up this morning.

I’ve moved the hummingbird feeder so that I can see it from the sewing room window.  The hummers love the feeder as well as the zinnias.  They  don’t  seem  to  mind  the  scruffiness  of  this  part  of  the  garden.

 

The Joe Pye weed is just coming into bloom, a bit shorter than usual since I gave it the Chelsea chop.  And the butterfly bush is still going strong.

This one is a bit of a mystery.  I think it’s Arisaema dracontium (Green dragon) that I got at the farmer’s market years ago.  I noticed the seedhead and then not long after these little seeds.   At first I thought they might be bugs!

 

The perennail pea from Mom is looking a bit worse for wear right now.

Looking forward to some better weather so that I can edit this wild landscape!

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July Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

Crape Myrtle, a bit less floriferous than last year, for some reason.

We are at the peak of hot, humid summertime in Virginia.  My rule is not to try to do any real gardening in July and August, but I do keep up with watering annuals when I can.  Otherwise, it’s HHH (hazy, hot and humid) and not fit out for man or beast.  Lots of purple in the garden, but other colors, too.

Echinacea purpurea, morning glories,  and  a few  Mexican  petunias, Ruellia simplex

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

butterfly bush  complete  with  butterfly

Mandevilla

achillea

zinnias  and   cosmos

dahlias

hostas

tiger lilies (Lilium ‘lancifolium’ or ‘African queen’)

Liatris (Gayfeather)

Verbena bonariensis

Mountain mint with just one of the hundreds of insects that buzz around it constantly

One lone poppy out of the seeds I planted too late this year.  Next February for sure! 

Fnally, the lovely Souvenir de Ste. Anne rose having a second flush

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Seeds and more

I have a box of seeds that has gotten out of control:  seeds from a few years ago, new seeds, empty seed packets in hopes that I will remember what I planted, etc.  A few days ago I took a fit and planted them all, mostly in the raised bed after harvesting the radishes.  I hope that some of them will come up, but I mostly wanted to give them a chance and then throw out the empty packets!

Lemon gem marigolds either brought back from Italy or from Seeds from Italy

Cosmos ‘Psyche White,’  ‘Gazebo Mix’ and ‘Sensation Mixed colors’

Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Purple’ and ‘Zinderella Red’ (these should clash ferociously)

Mexican Sunflower ‘Torch’ (Tithonia rotundifolia)

I still have some sunflowers and a Hyacinth Bean left over, plus some seeds for fall sowing and lots of vegetables.  Maybe I’ll just toss them all this fall.  Be brave!

Thanks to vendors for the images

Pretend it’s June

I forgot to post on the 15th of the month as we are supposed to, but at least I remembered to take pictures this time around.  Starting in the back, the peak of bloom under the oak tree is just past, but I can still see columbines, including this enormous one that tumped over from its weight

and this white one that I won’t cut back as I’ve done to all the plain blue ones this year, hoping that the more unusual colors will self-seed and bloom next year.

 

Two varieties of geranium macrorrhizum, one ‘Ingwersen’s variety’ and one something else, both beloved by the bees

Itea ‘Henry Garnet’ in bloom

Tradescantia that pops up here and there in various shades of blue; I think I first got this from Mom but now it’s gone to town.  And the remnants of the white bleeding heart.

The containers are doing well so far, one planted with Caladium ‘White Christmas,’  the small Hosta ‘Alan McConnell’ and Foam Flower ‘Sylvan Lace.’

The other has a Caladium, a white-spotted begonia from last year (‘My Special Angel’) and some white impatiens. 

It actually looks a litte sparse now that the alyssum has gone by.  It does need a spiller, doesn’t it?

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

It’s actually on the 15th of the month, but I’m a bit slow to catch up this time. In bloom in my zone 7 garden last Monday:
snowbells (just starting to bloom)
hellebores

species daffodils (my favorites)

winter aconite (just going by)

crocuses (I don’t remember planting these here, but okay)

squill

It’s been a cool spring, and things are late this year, judging by last year’s photos. The forsythia is not blooming yet, and the daffodils in the cutting garden have just started to open. Soon enough it will be on us like a runaway train!

Block printing, part one

India, and especially Rajasthan, is one of the places where block printing is a specialty, and the Anokhi Textile Museum not only displayed the results but showed us how it was done. 

We started out in the exhibit spaces. The fabrics are so lovely, and the patterns so beautiful and so reminiscent of quilt patterns, that I could not stop taking pictures. I especially liked the cloth game boards with their marching soldiers and geometric designs. The garments were lovely, too.

After such a big lunch and no nap, with the guide telling us things in a soothing singsong voice, I was nearly out cold as we made our way through the galleries, despite the beauty.  But the block carving demo was fascinating (and allowed me to stretch my aching back), both for the man’s skill and for his ability to sit in a full squat for hours on end!

Here is the man who carved the blocks, squatting on the floor and tapping skilfully at the wooden block to create the design.

Then we watched the man who prints the blocks quickly but with great accuracy, much more challenging a task than he made it look.

They showed us how to make a pretend block print on the inside of our wrists, which was oddly wonderful,

and several of us tried our hand at printing on paper.

A few more images from the workshop: carved blocks, and the trays of inks.

The gift shop offered many delights, including some little notebooks for the girls, and little purses for the nieces, plus a pack of 100 block printed squares for the quilters among us.

On the way out of the village we saw lots of kites in the air, plus monkeys shinnying up the wires and leaping from ledge to ledge.  Back at the Trident by 5:00 and dinner not till 7:00, time for a welcome rest after a busy day.

Food, glorious food

Today started with a walk through a produce market. It was hard not to photograph absolutely everything because of the colors, textures, and people. Unfortunately, I can’t identify all of these things, but aren’t they gorgeous?  

Here’s a very short video to show the sweep of items,

We were advised to ask people for permission before taking their picture. Dressed in a bright orange sari, this woman sat by her produce smoking a bidi, and I was happy to give her a tip in exchange for this photo.

And here we are threading our way between the stalls, most of which are simply on the ground, on trays or wrapped in cloth bundles.

The little metal pieces next to the carrots are weights used to weigh your produce.  You can see the scale at center top.

 

We had to skip the flower market because of street closures (Indira Gandhi’s grandson was in town), so we returned to the hotel for a quick break.  There’s a little shop where several of us went in and found fabric.  The tailor measured us for shirts, helped us select the fabric, and assured us that we would have the result tomorrow (and only $35!).

Back on the bus, we stopped at a Hindu temple built in the 17th century.   Several people were there praying in front of an altar that had two big figures in front of it, looking a bit like dolls but made of shredded tissue paper.  Everyone takes off their shoes before entering.

A flock of doves wheeled and flew above our heads.

Next door was a restaurant with a very friendly and jolly owner, along with several cooks and helpers.  For our lunch demo there were two stations set up with gas burners and prepared/chopped vegetables, manned by a man and his wife.  This spice box is found in most Indian kitchens.

Together with a helper who rushed over with the needed ingredient when called for, they demo’d several dishes to us:  cauliflower with turmeric and tomatoes, roasted eggplant in spices, okra, and more.

The cook worked so fast, her hands were just a blur. Then we went outside to gloriously colorful tents set up on the lawn and were served the most delicious food.

Appetizers of delicate samosas and something fried served with two chutneys, then the most delicious tomato soup cooked with cinnamon, chapatis and another bread, and the dishes we had observed them cooking.  Plus a most delicious dish of chickpea dumplings in sauce.  But we were not yet done!  A small dish of butterscotch ice cream with pistachios and then peanut brittle and sesame candy, which I clearly ate too fast to get a photo.  Followed by mango lassi that was delicious.  Wow!

The chef explained the tomato soup prep to us – I’m not sure I could replicate it but I’d love to try.

This was a lovely interval, and we even got to see some leopard tracks (apparently they come down from the mountains from time to time)

and a pair of parrots.  A very good visit.

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Bulb Orders fall 2020

All bulbs have arrived, except for the B&B order, which annoyingly won’t be here for another ten days.  Tulip Maytime will go in the raised bed for cutting, and the crocuses will go around the maple tree.  I love the West Point tulips, so some will go in the raised bed and the rest will go in places where I will see them easily.

Mary’s Garden Patch

Tulip Lily Maytime 

McClure & Zimmerman

Budlight Lily-Flowered Tulip
Crocus Tommasinianus Roseus
West Point Lily-Flowered Tulip

White Flower Farm

Tulip ‘Tom Pouce’
Tulip ‘Queen of Night’
Tulip ‘White Triumphator

Brent and Becky’s

Narcissus – Topolino
Narcissus – Pink Charm
Narcissus – Sunlight Sensation
Narcissus – Baby Boomer
Tulipa – Happy Generation
Ipheion – uniflorum ‘Jessie’
Ipheion – uniflorum ‘Tessa’
Narcissus – Paperwhite ‘Ziva’

Palaces and pots

Today turned into a relaxed day, starting with the City Palace, so much better preserved than the previous palaces we’ve seen. Jaipur was a planned city, built in the early 18th century, and the palace dates from 1699.  Along with numerous buildings, courtyards, galleries and offices, it houses the royal family.

Here is a touristy shot of me at the palace with two of the royal guards.  Notice my beautiful scarf, a present from Sujata and Amy on our first evening.

Inside are gorgeous spaces, including these beautiful blue rooms.  You can see why this is also a wedding venue.

Other rooms featured mirrors and jewels. Here you can see the group taking pictures like mad, we couldn’t stop ourselves!

Another view

In this room (above) a guide turned out the lights and showed us what it would look like by candlelight.

In the courtyard are beautiful gates, each dedicated to a different season and each beautifully decorated. This is the green doorway dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

And this is the lotus gate.

The peacock gate is especially  intricate.

After lunch and a much-needed liedown we headed to a pottery center with a plan to watch a master potter at his craft. Unfortunately, he was away that day, much to Sujata’s disappointment, and we would not have a chance to paint the pots ourselves.  Nevertheless, we rallied enough to do some shopping and I bought a big vase that when carefully wrapped was big enough to fill half my suitcase.  I loved the colors and the shape…Sadly, the TSA unwrapped it and it arrived in pieces, but I did manage to bring home intact a floral tile and a small head of Durga.

On our way back we had another tourist opportunity, this time to get a picture of the Hawa Mahal or “The Palace of Winds” or “The Palace of Breeze,” built in 1699 and recently restored. Women in purdah could look out of one of the 953 small windows and watch the world go by unseen.

A day filled with colors, sights, shapes, beauty!