Friday, 19 June 2015

Earth galore!

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging for a while, is my latest addiction:  gardening! After wasting a lot of time and energy looking for a new place to live, I decided to give the old place a second chance - and turned my attention to the common garden surrounding our flats. The building association does as little as it can, so the garden has been left to its own devices for the last few years, and the crazy cat lady whose home and clothes reek of eau de piss continues to live undisturbed (but that's another story)!

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":

Before .. 
While it looked nice and green, most of that was weeds. There were some crocuses and lilies struggling in a corner, two resilient but not very nurtured dracaena (that's druh-SEE-na, on the left, with reddish leaves), and a lovely jasmine creeper my mom had donated a while back.

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.

 I found some lovely monstera (the big green leaves) growing neglected in a broken pot, and shifted them here.  The jasmine creeper started blooming madly within a week of all the attention!

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:

I'm now keeping my eyes open for more discarded tiles, and also got my mind set on some lovely river pebbles I saw at a local nursery, so I can extend the pathway further down.

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!


Anonymous said...

Wow! You did an awesome job and I am so glad you shared on the Bangalore Garderners group so that I could hop over. Well done. It looks so beautiful. Thanks for sharing :)


Barb Schanel said...

There's no better place to heal a wounded soul than in a garden! I go to my little garden at work every day that I am here to keep myself sane!

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

So true, Barb! They say "gardening's cheaper than therapy - and you get strawberries!" I haven't seen any strawberries yet (possibly cos I haven't planted any!) but there's always a tomato plant or two miraculously appearing in the compost :-)

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

Thanks, Parul! I absolutely love the Bangalore Gardeners group - so great to find a bunch of kindred spirits, and I learn something new about nature every time I visit!

Veena said...

You've made your corner of the world calm and serene paid for all to enjoy! Kudos and keep on digging

sabine said...

That looks wonderful. Serene. Love the path.

Please update as you continue with your magic :-)