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  • Writer's pictureNeha Joshi

Plants: My Best Companions

This morning when I was trying to tie a rope from one end of my balcony to the other, not for clothes but for one of my climbers, I felt the joy of giving a direction to its growth and the beauty it will add to that corner of my little #gallerygarden. Every time I shift positions of my plants and try to take some cues from them about their needs, I feel these silent conversations way more deep than any other verbal ones I do with humans.

The silent language of plants compels me to take a closer look at them, inspect deep enough and listen intently enough to understand well. All this makes me remain silent and listen more than I talk. The first step towards being meditative, to be more receptive.

It is said that after all, we are just a tiny spec of this earth. Aren't we? Well literally and figuratively, Yes! This is the reason we always feel so calm and at peace with ourselves when we are surrounded by nature. The food we eat, the water we drink that makes 70% of us and the air we breathe is all a part of nature.

When I started with my gardening somewhere 9-10 years ago with 5 small pots I was apprehensive as I wasn't sure it will work. I mean they are live creatures who respond to many things including the vibes of the persons around them along with water, sunlight and air. Slowly a few of them died. All the favourite ones from mogra, swastik, button rose and hibiscus. As heartbroken as I was, I still decided that I cannot give up. My desert rose, peace lily and a hybrid peach coloured double-hibiscus had decided to stay along.

There I was again tending to them and I even had a green leaf Syngonium that was a gift from friends. After making sure that these few stay afloat and bloom, I then decided to add a few greens to be safer. By this time I had given up on any hope that flowering ones would survive the day with me.

Slowly enough I had a team of 10 with me who were growing very well. Then a year later I added another lot of 5 plants and this time I was confident enough of adding few local varieties of flowers that were tough and could sustain medium sunlight and shady areas. although few seasonal flowering ones did still die away.

However, my confidence and relationship with these plants were strengthening. I enjoyed each bit of the gardening time I spent. Today I am confident enough to grow small creepers and climbers from seeds that I collect from friends and also to handle the fact that few plants might just not survive.

In these many years, I have understood that however much I try to wait for a flower or a leaf to grow, it will happen only when the time is right and the plant has received the right nutrition. That the flowers will bloom only when spring comes. That the plants will respond when the right care is given and you understand their needs well.

Plants have a language of their own and they give you many indications about their growth and problems. We need to listen and be vigilant enough. Every morning when I visit these plants just to feel them, I feel serene and joyous that I have done a good job after all. They have reciprocated to love and care.

The Peace Lily standing tall personifies that a single petal is sometimes enough to make a full flower. It lasts for a month, even if takes a month to bloom. Yet the hibiscus is a one day glory, even if it also takes a month to bloom. That one day it blooms in full glory without thinking that it won't last beyond the evening. The little start shaped morning glories do not even last beyond noon 1 pm, but they are the most delicate and beautiful flowers I have ever seen. It's like you have to be present at the right time at the right place to experience the beauty.

The slow-growing Brahma kamal plant that I planted with a leaf is a great teacher of patience as it takes a full year to grow into a plant and then finally give some royal blooms it has. Even these bloom at midnight and close before dawn. The stunner Krisha Kamal or passionflower is nature's miracle flower. It's unimaginable for me that how can so many beautiful elements be part of a single flower. They say it's Mahabharata in one flower. The topmost part being Krishna's chakra, below being the five Pandavas and then followed by the 100 Kauravas in the form of tiny thread-like parts. Below all these, are the beautiful blue petals.

Flowers if observed carefully enough are power-packed creations of nature. They house all the substances from beauty, fragrance, delicateness and the entire ammunition of procreation for a plant. A single Ganesh vel flower (morning glory) gives as many as 4 seeds each and a small climber gives you at least 30-40 flowers.

Seasons and their impact on plants is another phenomenon. When a few of my plants change their leaf colours as the season changes, they show me that it's all a survival game. Bend when the weather demands you so and then rise again when the sun shines. When a storm comes the winds blow them and rock them hard but the roots which we never really see hold them from falling apart. A few do last the seasons and few don't but they never insist on extending their stay when the time is over.

Then there are the ones who are my all-time companions who will bloom through all seasons. Few of them are just meant to be there come what may, rain, storm or sunshine. Isn't it?

Lessons of life are everywhere around us and more so in the silent miracles around us called plants and nature. Only if we listen intently enough. Dwell in them often, plant more and even if you don't plant them stay in their company. Happy planting to you!

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