As I walk along the roads of a residential locality in California Bay, Area my eyes feast on the vibrant colours of the lush flora spread on the landscape. Rose, hibiscus, lilies and oleander, amongst other colourful flowers are grown in the front yards or as hedges without a concern about the flowers getting pinched—a universal fear amongst garden growers back home. The reason nobody does so is that each home has a garden of its own.
My own daughter has lemon, oranges, persimmon, avocado and fig, along with vegetables like tomato, eggplant, beans, strawberry, not to forget the greens: mint, parsley, the popular curry leaf and cilantro, growing in her garden. It is a delight to watch this verdant scenery from the dining and kitchen windows, an experience straight from a book. The tap has a timer to spray water at a fixed time, and a team of gardeners regularly maintain the garden with implements that I’ve never seen back home. The caring owners do their bit too in tending to it.
My love for flora goes back to my childhood when I used to watch my mother tend to the big home garden, along with the maid. Early morning invariably I would get to see my mother plucking an errant withered leaf or nipping the overgrown shoots. I used to visit a shop and ambitiously select packets of seeds of tomato, hibiscus, other flowers and vegetables, and rush back with excitement.
It was a stupendous moment when I got to observe tiny shoots valiantly come up and later transform themselves into plants, buds and flowers. The few tomatoes that grew never saw their ripe stage as I would eat them raw. Even when some seeds failed to germinate, I remained persistent and bought more of them.
The passion continued and I managed to maintain a few potted plants at various places after marriage. When finally we moved into our own home, with a large space earmarked for the garden, my childhood was returned to me. My imagination took wings and I planned a curved tiled pathway between the patches of bare ground which hosted the big flowering trees, lawn and a few fruit trees. The old faithful pots continued to host the smaller plants.
The thick foliage gave the garden a forest-like look that I loved. Once a neighbour advised my husband to cut them as the facade of our house was not visible from a certain direction due to the swaying branches which to me were beautiful and natural; influenced by the neighbour the husband termed them wild and unruly. Whenever a branch was cut in my absence I would pat and talk to the tree, keep watering that spot and lo, it would soon sprout a new shoot! It was no less than a miracle to me.