I have a plant-loving family. Gardening is something that held its roots firmly into the ground even after the pandemic lockdown become history. Let me tell you the story of how it all began! Before the pandemic, my love of plants was limited to clicking pictures.
Our college campus was surrounded by bewitching plants and flowers. The stunning curvy green vines and dazzling vibrant flowers kept distracting me. I just had to go, take a peek, click a picture to savor it later, and show it to my siblings to earn a ‘that’s a beautiful picture. I liked building my own gallery filled with these natural beauties.
My college friends often commented how I should have studied botany instead due to my annoying habit of clicking pictures of flowers and plants everywhere we go! Even when we used to visit relatives, I always made it a point to survey the pots and plants they owned! It gave me a sense of victory without doing any work haha!
And then came the pandemic, and suddenly everything became #stayathome #workfromhome, and #studyfromhome. So When everyone was picking up gardening as one of their ways of passing time I followed in the same footsteps.
My father during this time had also developed an interest in gardening. With Everyone at home with time on their hands, all of us experimented a lot. We talked about the progress in leaves and sprouts, YouTube tutorials were shared in the same room, stories were shared and suddenly the little unannounced competition of ‘my plant’ “my plant’ began in the family, From growing methi and coriander with the latest trend to planting roses on 1st May, it was a ride on the escalator with the speed of nature! Any plastic container from buckets, bottles or cups translated to pots for me to propagate anything. My mother hid all her plastic dabbas(tins) in fear that we might use it to grow something!
When the pandemic lockdowns ended and life started getting back to normal, gardening started taking a backseat in our lives. This is when Sundays were bliss. Each Sunday afternoon was a special gardening time. I and Pappa tended to the plants, prepared special places to keep our plants, and sometimes we painted the pots with Geru.
Each Sunday we made some changes in our garden, it was neither huge nor well organized but we always tried to make it better. Tending over the plants, we made the best conversations, it was refreshing to talk and take care of the plants as if the plants were breathing some of their liveliness into our Sundays. We added different soil mixtures for different plants, and pruned the plants together, together we shifted the plants from small pots to big ones and together we witnessed the death of some plants in spite of taking care of them like a baby.
Our plants gave me something to look forward to on Sundays. Often during the week, we would discuss the beauty of our plants with Papa and that would mold our plan for the coming weekend.
From a humbling beginning minimum of 5-6 plants, we collected varieties from everywhere. When we went out on the road, a halt on the nurseries became mandatory. Plant cuttings and pots become the best gifts to give and receive. Sometimes we’d place a plant near a window and then later decide that Nah, we need to think of something else! It was a continuous cycle and it delighted us to no end. By the end of the year, we were proud owners of around 60 -70 pots. We flaunted our green wealth and never missed any opportunity to gloat over our glowing green garden.
We even failed a lot with gardening, sometimes we propagated too big stems, sometimes we pruned our plants at the absolutely wrong timing, and sometimes we propagated without any favorable seasonal conditions, we watered too often, and sometimes forgot to water at all. We grew a lot of plants but are also guilty of killing some of them. Our plants were showered with love and water but also had to face the harsh neglect in hot summers.
It was a common sight to find me and Pappa talking our hearts out surrounded by pots, soil, and plants with some music playing in the background. Even during major family events, we made sure our plants were beautified and well protected. We never realized it became a ritual for us, and undoubtedly it became my favorite father-daughter activity. And those beautiful moments are closest to my heart. I often find myself reminiscing about those simple loving memories.
Now I live away from my home. All I could bring from home was one small pot with three varieties of cuttings almost crammed into one. One month passed and only two of them flourished with flowers while life ebbed away from one of them slowly. The worst part was the lament for the dead and the rejoice for the new growth both were silent and in solitude. When I video called home for the first time in forever and asked for dad, I was taken on a tour of my garden instead of having any conversation. My plants were doing well, my heart was fluttering in joy but was also felt unsettling envy. Everything was so green and flourishing -even in my absence.
When I visited home for the first time in 1 and a half months, I witnessed something I did not pay any attention to in the video call. There were at least six empty pots. For some strange reason, I could not remember at all what was planted in those pots. That evening, when my Pappa came back from the office, I wasted no time and enquired about the empty pots. To my surprise, he could not remember what plants were there in those pots either.
And again, we took a small tour of the garden which was once maintained by both of us. We talked all about the plants but somehow I could be only a spectator of all his gardening endeavors. Before leaving, I propagated a few new plants in those empty pots with the hope that they will help me leave my mark on the garden. After coming back, I miss my plants and I miss the time I spent with my Pappa even more. I have plants here but it will take time before they find any meaning for my heart and mind. For now, it just cuts a hole in my heart knowing that those blissful rejuvenating Sundays have now become a memory that will be hard to recreate.
So this was about me and my gardening memories. Tell me how did you like reading this post. Share your story related to gardens and plants in the comment section below. I would love to read your interesting tales and anecdotes!