Delhi’s late blooms

Amaltas

Though the summer heat is in full melt in Delhi — and the monsoons are fast approaching — there are still beautiful blooms to be found if you know where to look.

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Bougainvillea in bloom

Spring (or Indian summer) has arrived and my favorite flowering plant — bougainvillea — continues to blossom more with each passing week. The above comes from early blooms on one of the balconies of our hotel room during a visit to the Rajasthani countryside in February.

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Plantas de la selva: Vol. 12

High, high above the forest

Palms in the Oriente are some of the most useful trees for the Shuar community.

Palms of varying types are used at different stages of their growth: Seeds are actually collected for planting as well as for jewelry and crafts. Leaves are used for covering and roofs. Palm heart — an incredibly tasty but not so sustainable produce — is collected from some trees for food. The roots harbor all manner of insects for eating. And the hardwood of a full-grown tree is precious and durable.

As volunteers, we spend several afternoons gathering their seeds and then dispersing them on to open fields.

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Plantas de la selva: Vol. 9

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Plantas de la selva: Vol. 6

Sunlit

Vivid colors, translucent leaves; one of my favorite jungle photos.

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Plantas de la selva: Vol. 5

Blue and yellow

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Primary forest, sustainable life cycle

Old growth

At Arutam, the Shuar community where I worked, the villagers are responsible for a couple thousand hectares of Amazon, allotted to them by the government. Their model, with the hands and dollars of ecotourists and paying volunteers (me), is to develop a small portion of the forest — cutting for banana plantations and fish ponds and whatnot — while keeping pressure off the remaining primary forest.

The above photo shows a tree reaching into the upper jungle canopy. The tree, by the estimates of our guides, could be 200 years old. In the present model, it’s protected because of, not in spite of, the community clearing land nearer the road and their homes for agriculture and aquaculture.

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Sunset over tea

The sun dips behind the ridges of tea in Darjeeling

The Darjeeling series continues with this silhouette sunset.

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