Gardening is a creative activity. It absorbs a lover of gardening in the same way as poetry absorbs a poet or painting absorbs a painter. It is more concrete than poetry and painting and has a more universal appeal. Even children and the unlettered, who cannot enjoy poetry and painting without developing the skill of interpreting symbols represented by words or colours, derive immense aesthetic pleasure from the shape, colour and smell of plants, grass and flowers that abound in the well laid out garden.
Moreover, garden provides an inexhaustible source of poems and paintings all over the world. Gardening keeps the body fit while it refreshes the mind.
Garden is nature made to order. It is the box where sweets compacted lie there is no end to the refinement which can be brought about in a garden through the myriad shades of colour of plants and flowers and the fragrance associated with them. Keats has captured the excess of a garden's charm in his famous 'Ode to a nightingale'.
"I cannot see what flowers are at my feet
Or what soft incense hangs upon the boughs
But in embalmed darkness guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket and the fruit tree wild
White hawthorn and the pastoral egalantine
Fast fading violets covered up in leaves
And Mid-May's eldest child,
The coming muskrose, full of dewy wine
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves".
Garden is a home to many a species of butterflies which lend charm to the verdant looks of the garden. Some beautiful birds, too, make the garden a permanent or transitory home. Their heartening sounds distract us from the monotonous regimen of i our daily lives.
People have gardens of different sizes and contents to suit their pockets and interest. Thus in rural homes of the poor, canna and marigold grow without much effort or investment. The rich and aristocrat on the other hand have gardens spread in many acres with fountains and lotus ponds adding to the splendor of the residence.
Middle classes living in metropolitan cities and town have a compact enclosure where the seasonal flowers and evergreen plants on a verdant green grass keep pace with the changing seasons and bring about some variety in the mechanical routine of a city jeweler's life.
A garden lover tends every plant and shrub as his child. He gives fertilizer and water to it, prunes it and trims it, protects it from the hot sun and shelters it from intruding animals. He watches the plant grow with a throbbing heart and a loving look.
The first ray of the rising sun brings him to his garden to see the progress some I favourite plants of his has made during the night. Sometimes when he returns from tour at night, he takes a torch in his hands and goes for his daily round of the nature's class to satisfy him that all his pupils are safe and sound.
He does not mind spoiling his clothes and limbs while weeding out the enemies of the plants from the garden. I sometimes, holidays am exclusively devoted to gardening.
The approaching change of season brings in its wake many anxieties and expectations. The garden-lover must arrange the best seeds and seedlings for the next planting season. He must get the best variety.
He has to arrange trellis of appropriate height for giving support to the delicate stems of sweet peas. The rose-plants have to be shorn of foliage and grafting has to be undertaken for multiplication of the superior varieties.
Month of September and October in North India are very critical for the preparation of garden. As the intensity of summer season wanes and winter approaches, bulbs and seedlings of Chrysanthemum and Gladiole have to be kept in readiness for planting.
The seasonal flowers of winter are the richest fair a garden can offer. One should never be too early or too late in procuring and planting seedlings of aster, flox, pansies, antirrhinum, carnation, dianthus, hollyhock, marigold and nasturtium.
Shortage of water in winter occasions many an anxious moments for the keeper of kitchen garden, Municipal water supply dwindles. There is not enough water for washing and cooking.
The necessity of watering the garden can also not be ignored. Urgent requests are made for supply of water by Municipal (mobile) tanks of water. Water must be arranged even if it has to be purchased in buckets and a cut has to be I effected in other household expenses. There is no sight more depressing than see a; plant wither for want of irrigation. A garden lover will prevent such an eventuality at all costs.
Green grass, when properly maintained, impart great charm to a garden. One has to invest in a grass-mower to maintain the height of the grass at a desired level. Weeding of wild grass is a major and laborious operation. It is, however, unavoidable in monsoons if one has to prevent the garden from assuming the looks of a jungle.
Weill groomed lawns are the index of the excellence of a garden the resident will host number of garden parties throughout the year where his friends and colleagues are sure to appraise his gardening efforts. Compliments from connoisseurs will be a great morale booster for the resident. He is pleased that his efforts have been fruitful.
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