Like cooking, I inherited gardening interest from my mother. I am really fortunate to have lived/living in houses with a back yard (one had a front yard too) that fostered my interest in gardening. Due to my dad’s work nature, we shifted places often but once I entered middle school we stay put in the house in Periyakulam.
I still can remember the trees and plants in the quarter’s house in Pannaipuram. (Yes, it’s the maestro’s native) I simply love that village under the lap of Western Ghats and here is where I started my Upper KG. It’s this house that had both front yard and back yard with gigantic neem tree, guava trees, coconut trees, papaya trees and lots of crotons and Mari gold (Samanthi poo). This village has amazing fertile soil and I and Amma started to plant colorful Dahlias and roses. After coming back from school, I and Amma water these plants and we sweep the yards every week. It was a tiring activity for Amma but for me, it was fun playing in the soil and looking at the insects, especially the thattan poochi or the dragon fly. It is quiet a sight to watch. Slowly but steadily my gardening interest grew.
When we moved back to Periyakulam to the typical Agraharam house, we had to maintain only the backyard. As per the agraharam backyard norms (Puzhakadai, jeez man using these words after years), we had 4+ coconut trees, hibiscus tree, henna tree, pavala malli, Iruvatchi or Kozhukattai mandarai and of course tulsi. Slowly the task of cleaning and maintaining the garden fell on me which I happily accepted. Amma helped me too. We successfully planted roses, green chilies, some spinach and also my mother’s favorite December poo. We had a white and purple color which decorated my hair almost until I completed my schooling.
Years passed and after my marriage, parents shifted to Chennai. Amma started balcony garden in the apartment and we had roses, sangu poo, betel leaves, Omavalli or karpooravalli. :-) Recently she has to let go of it due to her health condition. Every though she had to let go of the gardening, she inculcated the interest in my strongly. So, I continued the gardening saga in the US. I did balcony garden initially with roses (I and Amma love roses) and then tried mint, tomato, and chilies. When we moved to a house, I tried vegetable gardening. Even though I harvested a few veggies, I failed miserably in maintaining and I let the plants die.
As usual, I took the failure as a stepping stone and I was very sure about utilizing my backyard space for gardening. Last year, I took gardening little seriously and thanks to my colleagues who shared a lot of information. I had to do my gardening homework too. Here is what I did,
- First and foremost, I learnt about the climatic conditions.
- I studied what to plant and when to plant.
- Explored few gardening tools.
- Last but not the least, I analyzed and understood my very own backyard.
I am still in the learning process but I would like to share my understandings here. Please share your thoughts and ideas too. As this is going to be a series, will continue what I learnt and what I tried in my garden last year in my next post.
Let me share my spinach saplings before I leave. The featured image is my green beans saplings. I have a couple colder and rain spells. Hope my plants survive. :-)