January , February and March are the months of the flowers in India. We have a small garden but enough to have all the flowers that spring has to offer . I step out of my house ,onto the grass and lose my way among the beds and the trees. I kneel down to say hello to one of my favourites , the marigold, the non fussy,cheerful friendly ,generous soul. .It has been planted to form a border for the lawn and it so enthusiastically does its picket duties with smiling joyousness. The smaller ones lie low in their yellow-orange and golden-brass As I circle the garden , I look down and return their smiles and nod in agreement when they seem to tell me that planting the nasturtiums in corners was a good idea. The orange nasturtiums , so close to my heart , creep merrily and spill over on the grass . They have even climbed up the lampposts in the corners. I planted them around the mango and peepal ,daring them to encircle the huge trees. They took up the challenge and not only do I have an anklet of nasturtiums around the trunks,they have also managed to climb up ,winking at me to say if the money plant can climb up and grow so can we. The nasturtiums and marigold with their intermingling yellow and orange hues will last long. As cheerful as they are,they are also hardy ,revelling in the yellow sunshine.
I tear myself away from these generous flowers ,only to stumble on the calendulas. Yellow again, but then yellow is the colour of this season for me. Bright sunshine and so very Indian . Slightly taller than my "gendi ' or the marigold edging ,they have flowered in profusion .As I bend down, to caress them,I spot several varieties ,the simple to the double petalled. Suddenly I find a tickle on my nose and look upto see the Margarit,another yellow , laughing and beckoning me. Its tall ,thin stem bends down to reach to the other ones ,all the time its shapely pale yellow petals spread cheer. The flowers are similar to the calendula but the leaves are smaller and fine . Its difficult to come out of these yellow beds ,catching the sunshine and being one with the sun.
These are the flowers in profusion . I find my way out of this Golden delight to gaze upon the flamboyant Gazanias . They are showing off their bright colours . Bright yellow,creamish yellow,pink ,mauve,lilac all vying for attention and forcing me to look their way .They are some of the most beautiful and striking flowers,bold and brash , needing Good light for them to open out to the world. Evenings I can see them , petals folded fast asleep! Next to them is the Cineraria,no less eye catching. The larger ,ones this time are mostly purple but the smaller or the button sized ones are in many different hues.White,pink, purple ,they are just like a big cluster of small buttons ,near the ground ,looking up at me with a baby innocent look. After the unicoloured marigold,calendula and margarit,the other flowers are all in various hues bunched together.The multihued cover on the ground is breathtaking. I love the dog flower ,the colours not as bright as the Gazania or Cineraria,but the bell shape shape so unique ,each stalk having several small flowers on it. Lower down is the Dianthus,again in myriad colours mostly a deep pink with white zigzag edges ,some in a deep shade of red ,some lavender too ,but all with ends shaded a lighter colour .The dianthus looks dainty,lacelike ,and very fragile.A similar looking flower but on close observation very different is the iceplant. A hardy succulent,,in pink and white , this opens up in the sun and nods happily at the world ,short stalked barely lifting above the ground.
|Phlox and the guava tree|
How impossible it is to get out of this luxury .I lie on the grass ,looking hungrily all around,trying to save these images before the heat withers them and before the rites of passage make the flowers dry or become fruits. I am going to save the seeds for the next year . But there is more to come from this treasure spot.Near the walls are the Hollyhocks and the Dahlias.The hollyhocks blossom a little late,but I know they will continue till May .White ,soft pink and darker ones ,they form a lovely backdrop to the craziness of the smaller flowers.The Dahlias ,of course with their huge flowers ,the plants bending under their weight seem to look down on everything else in the garden.While the hollyhocks are ready to play with all others,the Dahlias maintain a stately, statesque stance,proud but charming.
While the trees are shedding their leaves in the spring,the flowers are all in bloom .Is it a wonder that I have stopped going inside my house ,but roam around in my garden like a lost wanderer,weaving in and out of the happy flowers, a caress here, a sigh there, a fragrance calling me from a corner , a nod from another. But I have company.Its the butterflies which I see ,delighted ,flitting from flower to flower.And the birds chirping ,singing,picking at seeds and having a party. The squirrels running on the grass trying to remember where they hid their nuts and I presume playing hide and seek .
Oh how the earth laughs in flowers.(Emerson)
I hope some day to meet God, because I want to thank Him for the flowers. ~Robert Brault