Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I was sitting and chatting with a friend yesterday when the topic turned, naturally, to the madness that is sweeping over India. 'At times like this, you just want to dig a hole  and crawl inside it' she said. 'Sometimes, just digging is enough' I replied. Passionate gardener that she is, Mrs.L smiled agreement.

Gardening is hope. And forgiveness. And love. Reading gardening books and talking with my gardener friends tells me that there are some things that are common to all gardeners.

We look at our gardens with the eyes of love. Most of the time, we see things not as they are, but as they would have been in a state of perfection. And therefore the new advice is  to photograph your garden and look at it as if it is not yours. But most people I know do not do that. Why would you want to consciously seek out warts in the face you love?

And there is always a next time. No matter what you do, the garden does not hold  a grudge. The year rolls around, and you get a second chance.

And right now, I am plumb in the middle of  the season of Hope. The Monsoon.  That magical time when a broomstick stuck into the ground will put out shoots. Mian  bought me a jar of  rooting hormone powder (that most romantic of men- he knows what will get his wife weak-kneed!) and I have been going a little crazy. Lavender, rosemary, roses, hydrangeas- next year, my garden will be lush!

Here are photos:
Lavender and rosemary. For the south wall in the yard.
Hydrangea. I tried rooting cuttings for three seasons but they all rotted on me. This time, I filled the planting hole with sand for drainage. They are alive so far. What did  I say about forgiveness?
Doesn't look like much,but there are 14 plants of 5 different types in there!
Lily bulbils. Mrs.L gave me scores when she learnt I don't have any tiger lilies. In 3 years, my garden will be on fire!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Avian woes

As I write this, I am sitting on the porch with a spray can of water next to me. The can is both for protection and for assault. Protection against the rooster, who is programmed to attack anything other than his hens. And assault against a drongo.
I normally like these cheerful agile little birds. Their antics as they catch flying insects is fun to watch. But  this one is the smartest and laziest drongo ever. S/he has found a convenient perch just outside the beehive. All the bird has to do is sit there, beak agape, while bees offer themselves up. Well, not on my watch.
But bird troubles never end. I am driven to write this now because my nose nearly got taken away by an aggressive winged thug. I wish  I could name something like a falcon, but it was a dove. I was walking past the chicken coop, and it shot towards me, with murderous intent. I am so glad I ducked.
Not all the birds we have are malevolent. Some are ailing. One of our hens is lame, which  means she cannot hunt for her lone chick (all the others died). Besides which she does not allow me to inspect her.
And finally, one of the chicks in the other brood has a deformed beak. It is shaped like a hook, which is fine if one is an eagle, not so much fun to eat seeds with. So I need to be mindful about spreading seed on the grass for her where she can pick them up- she can't grasp seeds scattered over stone.
Who would have thought that adopting 4 birds would lead me to being obsessed with the innards, sex lives, and territorial drama of an 11-strong flock?