Nodes of nurture

Nodes of nurture

Garden Tales

My friends tell me that I have a green thumb. I must have inherited it from my father, among other things — his love for nature and science. I love the flowers, plants and trees. Years ago, the grand idea of starting a floriculture business entered my mind. I collected a large number of anthurium plants and put up a shade-net enclosure in the yard. The anthuriums are still there; the business idea did not take off. That is another story. I also bought some orchids to try out. Sadly, the snails ate them and I was sure I would not become an orchid grower. The flowers are too lovely to turn my back on; I admire them from a distance and have been collecting artificial ones for decorating my home.

But I did not expect that an orchid plant would come searching for me!

This plant, Dendrobium Pulchella, arrived one evening. It had travelled all the way from Manipur. Since the donor had problems keeping it, I was entrusted to look after it and maybe make it come alive. Yes, it was in a sorry state, withered and no roots at all. I planted it in coconut husk and sand, and then, off I went to check Youtube. A ton of information showed up on how I can get them to grow new roots before planting. So, I removed the plant from the sand and husk, put it in a transparent box with water, and made it stay just above the water so it would get enough moisture when the water evaporated.

They stayed for two weeks and I could see white roots sprouting from the bottom and small shoots above. On the third week, on one of the spikes that looked dry, there was a small shoot and roots coming into view. In a week’s time, it had bulged a bit and I knew it was a flower bud. I was so thrilled. I brought it into the house; in another week, I could see it bloom.

In the morning it had bloomed. It was such a pretty flower, creamy-white in colour, a slight tinge of purple at the edges, with a furry cup-like part in the middle, and inside, two maroon marks like two eyes, and a tongue! It did not have the normal purple colour of the flower in its native place, but it was beautiful.

Orchids are supposed to stay for long, but maybe because it was not getting nutrients, or since it was inside the room, it withered in three days’ time.

Well, now I have to place the flowers in a proper place so that they grow happily, and I know that I too can grow orchids, even though I will have to fight the snails and slugs.

The expectation of waiting for a plant to grow and bring forth its gorgeous flowers is the most exciting feeling for a plant lover, and I have gained a lot of confidence trying out new plants in my garden. Be it flowers/fruits/vegetables, or a little bit of bonsai.

Watching them grow gives immense satisfaction any time of the day. The best thing about gardening is the amount of patience you learn from the plants, and that is priceless.

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