I’ve been a plant parent for 12 years. I started with a sprig of ajwain stuck in a pot & it grew & grew. Some of you adopted its babies in little pots & they grow with proud fortitude in your homes.
Over the years, I added herbs (kadi-patta, pudina, basil). I had a brief stint with vegetables, producing a tiny brinjal. But like my relationship of that time, the journey was aborted. With no regrets & only gratitude now, I believe maybe my green family isn’t meant to be fruitful in that direction.
It was 4yrs ago that I considered flowers- the flirty, unapologetically loving end of the plant kingdom. I began with the unassuming hibiscus, then added the bigger drama queen, roses. And I began learning to let softness & joy back into my life.
Every day of my gardening life has been a lesson – letting go of the ego that one can ‘control’ a life. The best one can do is to offer one’s care & loving in the form of water & attention (to sunlight, heat, wind, pollution & predators) & feel gratitude for the opportunity to do so. The garden rewards me with sturdy stems, fresh leaves, occasionally a cheerful flower.
Through the pandemic, I struggled to stay afloat & keep the things that hold me up alive- my communities, need for order, writing & my plants. One more lesson on the transience of life & living things. And the need to replace the withered & dead with new things, sometimes with outside help. Every day, my green babies wear away another layer of my ego. I am so grateful.
This month I let go of my attempts to propagate existing plants & decided to let in new life. After last year’s lockdown, I brought gerbera, sunflower & new hibiscuses but they died instantly. Maybe it was not given to my world to have new life for long. Maybe we were given the gift of a few days of their lovely presence before they died.
Now I try again. Because that’s what you do with gardens and with life. These are unfamiliar plants & don’t feel as dramatic as the previous. I’m fearful of losing them. Perhaps they’re just as wary of how well I’ll be able to create a home for them. Let’s just say that’s what hope looks like.