CHENNAI: A friend recently wrote a beautiful post about her mother. How the mother was never satisfied with the daughter’s regular but very short, late night visits. How it struck her that her mother actually loved to show her the garden during the day, pointing to the ripening jackfruits in the tree, talking about new plants that had come in and the ones that had not made it. The mother just wanted to share the love she felt for gardening with someone close to her.
Not all of us can have a garden. Either we don’t have the space, or the time to tend it, or we’re born with really ‘un-green’ fingers. So what? There is nothing that stops us from admiring others’ gardens.’ A rose is beautiful whether it grows in your garden or in the neighbour’s garden! And if you want to get your hands dirty, you could volunteer at a friend’s garden. Some organic farming organisations do hire volunteers to help them in the farms.
Every year, around World Environment Day, there is a feverish campaign to plant more trees, ban most plastic and conserve water. While this is great for the environment, it is not that we all have to do something new to mark that day. How about not doing some things? Like not planting a sapling on the edge of a tarred road, but watering the sad-looking one already planted last year? How about not rushing to discard all plastic covers from the house and dumping it on the roadside, and instead just not buying anything unnecessarily covered in plastic for some days? How about not getting the kids to make posters about nature conservation and instead taking them out to a local park with a garden?
How about not plucking all the jasmines, hibiscus and roses in the apartment’s common areas? Leaving some for the butterflies and bees ensures you’re doing more good for environment than placing stolen flowers at the altar of the gods.
How about not doing anything heroic to save Mother Earth? Instead, how about just talking to friends and family in a natural setting like a park? Or a picnic in the wild?
Of course, you shouldn’t give in to temptation and uproot pretty plants from bio-sensitive areas in the hope of replanting them in your garden. I know, I know, it’s tempting… I haven’t been able to forget the flowers that I saw in Ooty thirty years back that I want to grow in Bengaluru.
Like carpooling, the time has come to pool in our resources to tend to gardens. If you can’t have a garden, make a deal with a neighbour who has. Look up ‘community gardens’ in your area and be a part of the team. There are many groups online that work on real community gardens. As soon as this article is done, I plan to go to a pretty garden of a family down the road and beg them to take me on as a volunteer mali.
This column aims to show the wonderful side of gardening.
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