The garden was the more pleasant task to take upon myself, and so I have been digging, weeding, pruning, and repotting with much joy for the past two months, never mind the mosquito bites and undeserved attacks by the roses and bouganvilleas.
It's a medium-sized garden all the way around the building, so I've been tackling it a bit at a time. Here's some pictures from one corner that is more or less "done":
After clearing all the weeds (this is an on-going process, as I refused to use weed-killer, and obviously didn't get all the roots on the first round), and rescuing all the bulbs, I made little round plots for the bigger plants and invested in some ridiculously expensive fake plastic picket fencing and some delightful bright kalanchoe (kal-an-KO-hee). The crocus and lily bulbs were replanted in front of them.
The gentleman in the next picture is Mr. Arasu, my mom's gardener, without whom this garden would never have made it! We make a good team, and his knees are much better than mine, so he does all the digging and groundwork. He's ex-Lalbagh, and has years of experience (except with his pruning, which horrifies me), and gets very sad every time I ask him to uproot anything that clearly isn't a weed. Those are scented geranium (pelargonium) in his hands - they went upstairs to the terrace, to flank the benches there, where our senior citizens like to sit every evening.
The neighbours often asked what happened to the "lawn": I guess green weeds look nicer than plain brown earth - but with Bangalore's water problems there's no way I'm putting a lawn - weed or grass - back in. So this is what I did instead, and we all love it:
If you're wondering what's filling up the plot at the base of the jasmine, it's eucalyptus bark, which makes good mulch (unlike eucalyptus leaves, which have too much oil). We have two gorgeous eucalyptus trees growing outside our compound, so I get a regular supply dropped off daily: crunch it up and fill the plots with it - mulch that keeps the water in for longer, and also discourages insects and weeds.
But now the sun has peeped out - it's been a drizzly day - and I must take advantage of this to head back downstairs and do some potting!