Of all the things I thought I would inherit from my mother, I never imagined it would end up being her fondness of cultivating a garden.
Last year, in a fit of sentimentality, I got home a Tulsi plant (ocimum tenuiflorum or the holy basil) because I missed home. For as long as I can remember, my mother had always had a tulsi around. I kept that plant (barely) alive for a few months before I eventually completely forgot it existed. I remembered I had a plant when I was back in India for a vacation and my cat sitter sent me a picture of the patio. My long dead plants were covered in snow… oops?
I don’t remember why I even put this on my 30 before 30 list. I have never thought myself to be capable (or interested) enough to keep plants alive for an extended duration. But when summer 2017 finally rolled around and I looked around at my bare and boring patio, I was suddenly determined to give it a facelift… and what better way to do that but with plants?!
Because the cats like to laze in the sun for hours, I needed plants that were 100% cat-safe. I spent hours looking up a nontoxic plant list (this ASPCA list is particularly handy), but I knew right away that my first plant had to be catnip. 😛 I did not think it would last too long with the boys swatting and nibbling on it, but as it turned out, catnip flourishes to a point where it ends up resembling a weed. Mine grew in all directions and eventually had to be repotted! Well, as long as it wasn’t dying… I wasn’t complaining and clearly, neither were the boys.
Next I got myself a marigold. There is something about the smell of those ochre yellow marigold flowers that is just so quintessentially Indian. The smell of marigold flowers always brings back the fondest memories of Dasara, otherwise known as Vijaydashami or Dusshera, the last day of Navratri. I remember we got our first refrigerator on Dasara sometime in the late 90’s. It wasn’t fancy (it wasn’t even new), but for people who barely had anything, the fridge made us feel ridiculously rich. Things like that stay with you forever I suppose. 🙂
I watch my pretty marigold everyday. It’s become an obsession! I didn’t know the flowers bloomed in stages and I was delighted at how slowly the petals actually unfurled, looking pretty at all stages. I am sure I am going to be sad when the east coast cold finally claims it.
Eventually I decided my marigold was lonely and got two more plants – some white and purple petunias, and the Impatiens “Busy Lizzie” plant in a lovely shade of red. I wanted to put these up in flower boxes but couldn’t figure out a way to fix them to the railing. I ended up placing everything on the floor but I loved how everything came together on the patio nevertheless! 🙂
I thought I was done, but no.
I discovered succulents and right this second, I am officially obsessed. I got three tiny ones and planted them in dip bowls instead of pots. I love how no-fuss succulents really are, and how stunning they look. They even have quirky names! I love them. 🙂
Summer isn’t quite done yet, but I think I have kept my plants alive long enough to cross off my #30before30 list item. I already have plans for next summer… I might even grow these from seeds if I am feeling adventurous! 😉