My Happy Place, my garden…

Gardening is a passion that feeds more than just my soul.

It is the doorway to my home, the jungle for my three kitties and a veggie patch for myself, neighbours and anyone who needs fresh herbs.

Ideally, I wish I could have adopted the little park next to me. Sadly, yet another land grabbing investor has gotten his hands on the site to make way for ugly boxy looking houses. Gone is the spot where the children played soccer. Gone is the feeding grounds for the heron and gone is the grassy green patch that I hoped to plant my sweeping bougainvillea in.

I have had to restrict myself to my garden, a spot I can happily while away my precious time. For a small investment, the benefits are plentiful. I do not keep flowers in the house, I have only to look outside to have natural bouquets rush out to meet me, Not too pleased about the snails but I accept them.

Ideally I would like to go about planting fruits trees in the area. My kids cringe at the thought but in this day and age, that would be a legacy of healthy living, a home for the feathered friends and a good clean environment for all,


Profusion of colours

I got the little blooms from Uncle Shan at the local Palm Garden Nursery. Needless to say, I am a regular and have converted my husband into a grudging gardener.


Bougainvillea “lipstick” blooms

On my daily route to work, I used to admire the different bougainvilleas clumped together and vying for space. I used to stare at them until they were out of sight. Imagine my delight when I found an old gentleman parked next to his Mercedes, selling off his babies. I invested in one and this is my return. It fills my eyes and heart with pride and glee. My husband despairs of the neighbour’s fence falling, Thankfully, he is a gardener as well and does not mind the blooms from the bougainvillea or the brunfelsia tree.

brunfelsia tree

Brunfelsia Babies.

On a road trip to Dad’s family in Ladysmith, Dad once, snipped off a stem which he nurtured, planted and grew to magnificence in his garden. I did the same, snipped off and nurtured and here are my babies. They have saved my life as a mother. I saved oodles by sending bouquets to school with the kids for Arbour Day. The neighbor loves this tree and it stands sentinel over my Labrador Chelsea’s final resting place. Strangely, it is a place my kitties gravitate too as well and are often seen sprawling on the grass in the sunshine, content fat cats that they are. I know my Dad is here in spirit, I associate that tree with him, especially today as he would have turned 78, had he been here,

The bulbs here were given to me by neighbor Deon. It has ALWAYS just grown, despite several hair-raising mishaps by the locals who sometimes mow the lawn for me. I cringe when they cut off more than they are supposed to. I volunteer ice water or fresh juice and surreptitiously monitor their mowing prowess.

Come Spring, I want to almost sing out aloud when I see the Jacaranda blooms carpet my garden. We tiptoe through them to reach the main gate. The scent is heavenly and the sight, beauteous. The neighbors dislike that it grows so profusely and threaten to cut it down. Thankfully, they are old and some of them, lazy 馃檪


Natural bouquets


The bougainvillea dominates the multi-coloured evening flowers


Jacaranda blessings


When the garden takes over…Kittens spot


When the curry leaf tree competes with the mango tre

Mango season is anticipated by everyone, especially the one neighbor who values the green ones for pickling. Even the neighbor’s family members request in advance for the fruit. The immediate neighbor easily spots them from her property and knows that she will be receiving the fresh, ripe and luscious fruit. Sometimes, there is far too much. None are allowed to rot as I package them in see-through packages and direct Husband and Son to deliver them to the neighbours, a chore they have not balked against. Same goes for the pregnant pawpaw and banana trees, it is delivered and shared as dessert or for fresh juice.

The curry leaves are a treat especially in an Indian neighbourhood. Love that when I drive into the driveway, the aromas of freshly cooked curries wafts through. I KNOW my son has already given the neighbor these fragrant neem leaves for her pot.

Often I bring them into the office and leave them in the tumblers on the kitchen table for the staff to take home to their families, something they revel in doing.

Huge branches are cut off and taken to the market. I donate them over to the ladies who sit in the baking sun all day, trying to eke out a living with their meager vegetable earnings. It is an instant mutual connection, full of heartfelt gratitude and joy.

I remember when I did the markets to promote AMC Cookware. My centre piece used to be a bouquet of curry leaves. It allowed for easy communication as people touched the leaves and often went away with the centerpiece, bit by bit. Sometimes, I would package the leaves and share it with the traders. Amazing how this simple act brought people together and got them talking of olden days when they cooked food on an outside fire, their spices and herbs, laying on a table nearby.


Angly Angela’s gift


Anthuriums… for the office


Hen and Chick AND Pawpaw


Going Bananas over Bananas

It is almost rare to see a banana tree prosper in a garden, let alone THREE. The banana leaves are requested by the “once a year girl”. I call her that because she knows us but once a year and that is to secure an unbroken leaf for their prayer.


Tulsi tree, thank you Dad


The Mother Cactus


Double Beans Spread


Pumpkin patch

As with most Indian households, it is common to find outside the door and in the garden a “tulsi” plant. It is supposed to ward off evil. It also has amazing healing properties and gives off the most amazing scent which travels through the open doors into my lounge.

Somedays, when I need an added oomph to my day, I nick a few anthuriums for my vase in the office. It sits as a vivid splash on our rather rustic coffee table of pallets.

This year, we were ecstatic that we received butternuts from the garden. It was the religious “fasting” period and the vegetables had spiked in price. That’s where God stepped in and gave us fresh butternuts. The neighbours enthusiastically received their share. We kept the largest for my mother in law, who LOVES garden fresh produce.

Every year, she gifts us with butter avocadoes from her generous tree, bags of them. That too, is shared. I bring them to the office and sit them on the workspaces. It is a pleasure to witness my colleagues joy. They sell for a premium price at the local Veggie Warehouse where all the banters flock.

Almost all of my plants have special meanings, some of them, especially planted in remembrance of my lost loved ones. I never feel alone. Often out of the blue, a beautiful butterfly flutters past and I know, just know that something momentous or monumental is about to occur. Often it is a reassuring presence that I am not alone as I think myself to be.

I often make quick snacks for my hungry husband. From the garden, I carefully snip off the shallots and chillies and use them in my batter to make fresh chilli bites. The mint, curry leaves and thyme is used for breyani for the family. Daughter Jade favours the parsley for the roast chicken.

Not really an exercise person, I make gardening part of my exercise routine, killing two birds with one stone here! Even the littlest spot can be converted for a miniature garden. My window sill often holds babies as I wait for their roots to appear. Plants are shared and given away as gifts and tokens of remembrances. The bonsai comforts me at work and the other “silver ladies”, cacti and aloe is shared with the other colleagues.

Love, love, love that I can do this.

45 thoughts on “My Happy Place, my garden…

  1. Awesome pictures of your garden and to hear how much joy it brings to you.

    I personally have never been a gardener but it use to be a favorite hobby of people here in America. The people I know that still do gardening say it brings them joy like you wrote about here. Have a super wonderful day.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I loved your garden. Even i love gardening. Lovely pics !! I love Bougainvillea. I have white one at my home. Your post is inspiring. I am also planning for terrace garden. I will visit again your post for more inspiration!!
    Like you got this passion from your father, for me it’s my mother. She is also so passionate about it.
    And planting trees and trying to retain nature is a noble thing to do. Hats off to you for doing that in the neighbourhood and community. And i was surprised to see tulsi there.
    Though you are south african, i felt instant connection with you.
    Interesting to npte that SA is so similar to India. While looking at the pics i felt as if i m in India !!
    Thanks for sharing this post.
    I loved it!! 馃挄

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello again Dear Nalini. Thank you for the kind words. I have many remembrances in my garden of all my loved ones. On Sunday within 5 minutes, I espied 5 butterflies. I was really chuffed about that… And the kungum coloured bougainvillea smiles again for me. I’m glad you identified with my garden. No doubt yours too will bloom for you too. Just smile and talk to your plants, they will give you and Ashwin great pleasure.
      SA is a lot like India. Our markets, people and culture is like your Mumbai, a melting pot of all good. When you and Ashwin consider an overseas holiday, come here. You will have a friend and I promise you a warm kitchen and homemade soji or vermicelli… Whatever you prefer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We all have our happy places. I find mine in the library, in my prayers, when I’m playing music with others and when I am on the terrace of my flat just letting the wind hit me. It’s such a great feeling! 馃檪


      • Me too, I LOVE the library.
        I used to ask my boss for an hour off in the afternoons to go to the library, he knew exactly where I was headed off to. Your happy places sounds perfect. Enjoy and stay blessed. I send a warm hug from South Africa.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank your for the warm words.
      Yesterday as I drove into the road leading home, I saw that the workmen were marking the road and adjoining garden square.
      I am dreading that they will put the dreaded “flats” (apartments) there.
      I’m not happy about living in a concrete jungle.
      Most importantly, where will the children play?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Living next to an undeveloped area is always a risk isn’t it…hopefully whatever goes in will be pretty and have green spaces of its own. It is a shame the kids will lose a playing space though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You have such a beautiful garden/yard; I am quite envious. You also pair these images with such wonderful words and thoughts.

    I used to have a small garden at my house that was my pride and joy…. I miss gardening very much, though I am able to find joy in the few houseplants I still have, as well as vicariously through reading posts like this. 馃檪

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. I love my garden, it reminds me of my Dad. He would have found such pleasure with us and in the garden. I’m glad that you too found a measure of joy here. I was gifted a pink rose bush which remains potted. Marigolds are favoured by Dad and I so I put loads of them in. There is now a profusion of colors, oranges, gold, pinks and purples. Rounds of white baby breath flowers,/another kungum coloured bougain

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As I was saying bougainvilleas. The butterflies have come back and the kitties love loving around. If you were near to me, you could visit for tea. I’d love the company 馃檪


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