The purple bloom of Periwinkles brings a smile to my face. These Sada Bahar flowers that bloom through the year are indeed my Nayantara (star of my eyes). The yellow and orange flowers, wild they may be, add happy colours to my days. As I wake up in the morning these little flowers and the green plants in my balcony garden cheer me up. To see them growing and blooming gives hope in these dreary times.
Some plants droop too, the leaves wilt, they revive again and new shoots come out. A flowering plant was infested with insects sometime back. Checking online for the right medicine (neem oil. I also used sanitiser initially) and keeping a close watch and the relief when the plant became insect free and new leaves started coming out. Google is my gardening teacher. I keep browsing for garden tips online. Whenever there’s some problem with a plant I check online for the possible reason and cure. It works sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t. For instance, the croton that I recently bought is drooping and wilting. I have tried everything but it’s just not responding. I have a feeling that I may be losing it, and that makes me sad.
It all started a few years back when I moved into my own apartment. In rented accommodation, when I needed to shift every other year, the only plant that I had was a Tulsi. My father who had come down to see my new apartment insisted that I should get some plants. So, I got a palm, some other indoor plants and a few succulents. I didn’t know much about gardening then and on the insistence of an overzealous maali, my plants would be fertilized every fortnight. Needless to say, most of them died from over-fertilization and I fired the maali.
I started gardening on my own then. I planted easy to grow non-fussy greens like jade, money plant, aloe-vera, periwinkle and palms. I got cuttings from my friends and neighbours, I picked up a few from the nursery. I fared much better this time. My plants seemed to be doing well. Though the crotons that I bought because they reminded me of Agartala didn’t survive the Delhi heat. I got a small 9 o’clock plant from the neighbour that multiplied and bloomed through the summer last year. A friend of mine once said looking at the jades and nine o’clock “Oh, these are besharam plants. They will growing keep growing and multiplying.” And I love them for their shameless arrogance. When we went into a lockdown last year the bright blooms of the nine o’clock kept my spirits up.
Working from home gave me more time to attend to my greens. I added many more plants in the last one year – peace lily, snake plants, ferns and so many beautiful plants whose name I know not. I spend an hour in the morning with my them and that feels like time well spent. With so much negativity around the soothing green keeps me positive, helps me deal with the moments when I feel low.
I match the décor of my house with my plants – a new rug, cushions that brighten the room add a spark to my day. I was recently asked why I am so particular about the way I keep my house in these semi-lockdown days when hardly anyone’s visiting. I do it because it makes me happy, helps me keep my sanity. For we need to keep our spirits up to beat all the darkness around.