Thursday, 6 March 2014

I must have flowers, always, and always.(Claude Monet)

When I lost my way in my spring garden last year ,I hoped I would not find a way  out of it and the romance with flowers would spill over to the next spring too. But come October and the unseasonal rain dampened (pun intended) my spirits, the nurseries,the seeds and the dream of another brilliant flowering season . All the seeds I had so carefully preserved from last years bloom would not germinate and even if they did the saplings would  be destroyed by excess water. I was miserable .I visited the nurseries in the city .The private small nurseries charge exorbitantly and are undependable .The Goverment nursery is a paradise and very economical selling a hundred saplings of lovely flowers in not more than 60 rupees . .But this year their seeds had also met the same fate and they had only a few plants on offer .In fact the demand was so high that the gardener there had rationed his supply to all garden lovers .We bought seed packets and continued to plant them in sheltered spots and  in pots. So we had a late flower planting and then the rains again in January .Yet persistence has paid off and here is my spring 2014 garden with many flowers and some new ones too.
Petunias ,Cineraria,Salvia
The Cineraria  with its purple mauve flowers is lavish ,though it has been planted in a place which gets too much sun .I must remember to plant it in a more shady corner. But its flowers continue to burst forth .I learnt that each petal is in fact a flower. So what we call a flower is actually a collection of flowers !The irony of my garden was that initially we had very few saplings and I had to fill my garden  beds accordingly, though later we did manage to have quite a few but by then my flowery mural  had already been made. Anyways candy tuft was in abundance and so I planted them next to the Cineraria and also along with Salvia to get a red and white form. But Salvias were very few so I did not get the desired effect .But candy tuft the small white flowers have flowered profusely and though I was not very fond of them ,I fell in love with these delicate white blooms this year. I can imagine how good they will look if I can plant them in a rockery ,whites peeping from behind boulders.An idea I must use sometime . Next to them also in a reddish hue are the sweet Williams ,but the January rains has delayed their flowering . Their other cousins, the Dianthus , on the other hand has been a pink delight.It has a dark pink centre and the edges are of a lighter shade.  They started flowering early with their zigzag petals and are still a row of lovely daintiness. The other flowers in shades of pink is the Ice plant ,which is one of my favourites. I have made a ground cover of the ice plant and also planted them in a now defunct circular fountain . So with the sun shining bright, these small flowers open up  and are such a breathtaking sight. The new flowers this year are the antirrhinums ,the lupin the godetia ,the sweet sultans . All of these are upright flowers and have given pink blooms this time. Alongside the pink flowers are the shades of purple ,mauve and violet .The larkspur or the delphinium is a new entrant in my garden and I have planted it around my garden lamps. They look wispy and delicate their stalks bending an waving in the wind. And then their is the cornflower,also called the bahelors'  button......... the only blue flower amidst a bewildering variety of pinks and purples ,yellow and oranges.Yet it holds its own and as if to say I am one of you too ,gives pink blooms too. But the blue are really my favourite ,reminding me of glass beads .Its florets spread like a ray and interestingly I found out that if it is worn in a button by young men in love.If it faded quickly it was a sign that the man's love was not returned . I Guess that is why it is also known as the Bachelors buttons!Can one imagine it can be used to cure conjunctivitis !These are more than two feet and I have used them along the walls .
I had planned to plant Hollyhocks ,another one of my favourites nearest the wall and keep the shorter flowers progressively near the garden .But I miscalculated the height of cornflower and now I have a row of larkspur hidden between the hollyhocks and the cornflowers . Blunder in designing. Holly hocks grow tall ,even taller than us and give a column of flowers ,lasting well in to summers .I have them against the wall ,against a window ,anyplace where a tall vertical appeal is required. And the best thing about these plants are that the seeds fall and they sprout up again next year . These are yet to flower fully but I don't mind that because they will be the last flowers to be uprooted. I have them in pinks till now. I am hoping for some reds and yellows too !
When I think of long lasting flowers there is the petunia too. They are in full bloom now, prolific ,in shades of pink,white, purple  and growing larger and denser as the sun becomes stronger . Also flowering more with the sun is the marigold ,again forming a border of my garden . Alongwith the yellow marigold are my other yellow golden herblike  the calendula .They were the first plants to flower. I had a row of marguerite daisy  ,tall about 6 feet high ,followed by cosmos and then lower still the calendula . yellows and oranges ,they gave a bright sunshine look to my garden .The bright deep orange of the nasturtiums ,I call them the free spirit flowers, brings a richness to the spring .And they grow with no restraint,no holding back ,climbimg ,spreading and their deep orange is fiery . 
Poppy,Dahlia,Nasturtium ,marigold in heavenly paradise
If I have the exuberant nasturtiums ,I also have the tall merry dahlias .This time I planted the single flower  ones ,because of the pastel colours which gives a very very soft look ,so gentle nodding their heads in a very joyous  yet graceful manner . If the dahlias are very elegantly merry ,the pansies seem like small elves smiling naughtily as if winking with their velvet petals and monkey faces .
But the garden merriment is full of some other fillers too like the stock which has just started to lower, a couple of geraniums ,gazania which have not flowered as yet ,the dogflowers ,the aster ,the carpet of phlox ,verbena and the climbing sweet peas ,making a pretty  curtain on my mesh .
Oh well despite the October  rains ,the November rains, the January Rains and the freaky weather my garden has come out tops .......a paradise  for my feasting eyes, a riot of colours for the soul , a palette of incomparable exquisiteness for my mind !

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