Nature To The Rescue

Thanksgiving always makes me pause to review the year, where I am in my intentions, what has been experienced and where I want to be. No matter how the twelve months since the previous Thanksgiving have been, I’m invariably left brimming with gratitude. It is my favorite holiday because it is all about appreciating our lives just as they are and for the gifts we’ve been given in the form of family and friends. Cultivating gratitude is the genesis of happiness.

This year is particularly poignant. There is currently so much strife, heartache and hate mongering in the world that even the simplest of blessings stands out in stark contrast.

While struggling to make sense of the many horrific happenings, I’ve been naturally gravitating to nature. Long walks amongst the fading autumnal vegetation have become mainstays. With the seasonal garden tasks all addressed, I’ve moved indoors to get amaryllis and paperwhites started. The Schlumbergera ( Thanksgiving/Christmas cactii) are beginning to bloom and have been placed to advantage. Nothing like a shot of fuchsia to liven up the days of low light. The orchids in bloom uplift my spirit by bringing up memories of joyous days with family in Singapore this past July. Flower power is a very real thing.

In the kitchen, meals rich in autumn’s bounty give comfort. Sweet and fragrant roasted root vegetables with thyme, carrot soup made silky with goat cheese, shaved Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and roast grapes, saffron risotto with wild mushrooms, fresh pasta with garlic sauce, arugula and walnuts. So much delicious choice!

All of this points to the obvious. Nature will heal our hearts and soothe our tempers if we will only let it. After all, horticulture therapy has demonstrated its efficacy in helping those battling physical or mental illnesses. Prisoners have been transformed when charged with gardening responsibilities. Adults and children wounded by life experiences have gained confidence and a sense of self from growing a garden. When a person grows the food that feeds him and his family, a profound sense of accomplishment is born. Plants have long been used medicinally and cosmetically. Products that improve our lives gently.

Those of us who have are gardeners have always known to escape into the garden to work out problems, get rid of negative emotions, find solace from trying situations, gain inspiration when creatively blocked. I’ve yet to be let down by a timely dose of Nature. And I challenge you to find anybody who regrets having spent time communing with the natural world. The fact is that if you’re busy in a garden, you learn to respect life and understand that we are each but a small part of a glorious whole. One’s own well-being depends on the well-being of all living matter. It is as simple and as complex as that. And so, if you’re busy in a garden, you have no time or energy to think or do anything horrid.

On my part, this season, I’m paying forward the joy I receive from plants. I’m forcing bulbs to give friends some holiday cheer, a promise of a young tree to be planted next spring to console a grieving neighbor – each year when it blooms will be cause to celebrate the departed loved one, a native plant seed starter kit for a young adult emerging from the fog of mental illness, batches of vegetable stew well seasoned with garden herbs to stock up the freezer of a dear one recovering from cardiac surgery and now on a salt free diet, divisions of choice plants from my garden for a novice gardener. Nature offers as many gifts as needed. Help yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! May it be filled with blessings and plenty of laughter.

Here is some flower power for you:






(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar


The New Perennial Movement

I’m quite taken with this style in garden design. It got the garden world’s attention a little over ten years ago but has become a ‘here to stay’ type of style in the US more recently. Having been a long time fan of the Dutch nurseryman and designer Piet Oudolf, I’ve followed the emergence of his concept very keenly. Piet is best known for using bold drifts of grasses and herbaceous perennials that are selected for both color and structure. Indeed, his hallmark has often been referred to as the New Dutch Perennial Movement.

The overall effect is one that looks and feels very natural. There is an easy-going, informal ambiance in these gardens. And while Piet is widely acknowledged as the father of this new movement, if one digs deeper, one finds that the ideas are really not so new but Piet perfected it, Between the North American Prairies and the German plantsman Karl Foerster style in the very early 1900’s, one can clearly see the principal influences of the current movement. It is plainly all about using rugged, hardworking perennials and grasses to create a modern, fresh look.

What I particularly like about this style is that not only does it look quite stunning and au courant, it utilizes common and largely native American perennials. The effect is harmonious and natural – which is in keeping with the move towards living more simply, organically and authentically. It is not fussy or overly structured. It feels right. Everyday plants such as Rudbeckias, Solidago, Verbena, Echinacea, Achillea, Eupotorium abound. The grasses being such a vast and diverse family, can be selected to suit taste and climate. Hence, to make such a garden is not only a matter of easily obtaining the plants but the cost can also be easy on the wallet.

The challenge lies in coming up with a planting scheme that appears to flow well and yet, bears some semblance of order. It is easy to go wrong and make it disheveled in appearance. My advice is to start simple and small. Work out the kinks and then expand the scheme. In Piet’s own garden, he brilliantly contrasts the deliberate and thoughtfully created informality with the very orderly and well trimmed green hedges that enclose the garden.

I’m moving slowly towards this style. Sort of dipping my toes in this tide. I’m beginning to feel that I’ll have to take the plunge soon. Over the years, I’ve been adding those aforementioned hardy natives. More grasses are needed – my hesitation is mostly because I’m not sure what will work for my garden and my preferences. I plan to do some major research in that area over the winter. The cool, ecologically sound factor of this type of garden beckons.

Check out Piet’s work at the NYBG and the High-Line in NYC.

I’m adding lots of photos to give a good idea of this type of design. Hope it will inspire and instruct:

In Piet’s garden in Hummelo, Netherlands:





Posing with Piet

Posing with Piet




Piet’s work at the NYBG:



His work at the High-Line:



(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar



This past week, I made a personal breakthrough. I got major help with the bulb planting. This might sound irrelevant or inconsequential to most but to me, this is huge. All of the years I’ve gardened, I have operated on my self-imposed credo – My garden, my work. This, in my mind meant that I ( and family) must do all the “real” garden work myself. I cannot recall ever reading or being told such a rule but somehow, it was branded in my head.

And for the most part, it has been more than fine. The early years were fraught with big projects. Making a garden from scratch required a great deal of time and energy. I went about it quite happily and it never occurred to me to do otherwise. Then, motherhood happened. That, naturally made me adjust to the new lifestyle but fitting my responsibilities into it was not really difficult. I weeded during nap time, occupied my child with play in the garden while I took care of daily chores and generally balanced it all reasonably well. The bonus was that I got to share my love of all things outdoors with my daughter. She observed and learned as children are wont to do. And then I got to give ( she’ll say forced) her some responsibilities in the ‘family’ garden. Ha!

However, in the course of those same years, my other interests and projects took off as well. Time was at a premium. Not willing to let any aspect of the garden give, I judiciously stayed super-organized and zealously stayed on top of all the chores. Actually, I did that with everything I had going on. I drove my family crazy on many occasions. However tired and over-committed I was, I pushed myself hard. I simply had to fulfill my own mandated list of ideas and jobs in the garden.

While I was forging ahead and succeeding in other endeavors, it was not only lack of time that lessened my gardening hours. The ugly head of Middle-Age reared. Aaaargh! Please tell me that you know what I’m talking about! The stiffness of the body on awaking each morning. The achy joints and muscles taking more time to heal. My knees and back are not what they used to be. Every task takes longer and some are downright painful. Yet, till this summer/fall, I persisted. Finally, the wisdom that comes with age (still middle-aged!) dawned. I needed help with the tasks.

First I had to reconcile myself to this notion. It was okay to have some assistance. Remember these lines from the song ‘Help’ by the Beatles:


When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone…. ?

Boy! Now I can truly relate!

I cannot imagine why I resisted so long. I think it felt that in getting someone else to do some chores in the garden, I was giving up autonomy or even saying I was not so capable. Yes, I realize now that it was all in my head and my thoughts were pure hogwash.

And thus, I got some good help with certain chores and got my 750 bulbs planted. I could not have got ready for 2 art shows and met some deadlines without that. There is no question that I’ll continue to work hard in the garden. It is after all my passion. But it is such a relief to share the work so I can focus on the other equally important areas of my life. Feels good to have finally wised up.

Don’t forget! The art exhibit at the Chappaqua Library is on till Jan 8. Do visit. A big thank you to those who came to the reception – I loved seeing you.

Given that it is bulb planting time, I thought I’d share images of bulbs in bloom to inspire. It is not too late to plant! –







(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar


Working It Out

After that sudden freeze we had a couple of weeks ago, we are currently experiencing September-like temperatures. Methinks Mother Nature is teasing. Or maybe she is testing us?

It is hard to be enthusiastic about chores in autumn. There is much to do and after all that work, we are faced with short, cold days and long, even colder nights. So while the weather is still balmy, it feels only right to soak in the warmth and revel in the beauty of the season. The way the colors glow without ever seeming gaudy inspires and confounds the artist in me. I am eternally humbled by Nature’s mastery.

Despite wanting to just sit outside, there really has been much activity in the garden. A great deal to tidy up, cut back, clean, prune and put away. The raking of leaves alone is a big task. It goes even slower when distracted by the richness of hues in the fallen leaves. The pots need to be emptied and cleaned; they get put away only when they’re truly dry lest some mold or bacterium settles in to taint next spring’s plantings. The very large pots, once cleaned, will be wrapped in plastic and then burlap so they can stay on site. Wisteria and fruit trees are pruned to a state of tidiness. Fall window boxes installed. The greenhouse is already harboring the tender plants – refilling the propane tanks used to keep the greenhouses heated becomes a weekly job from now till the spring thaw.
I have about 750 bulbs to plant and normally, I’d have got them into the ground by now. But with the soil still being so warm, I’ve postponed it till next week.

Yes, there is plenty happening in the garden. Putting it to bed is much more challenging than getting a 3-year old to sleep. More exhausting too. The only way to keep doing the hard work is to remind oneself of why we garden and what makes one a gardener.

Here is how I see it. To be given the chance to create a garden is a divine endowment. A calling even. It happens from within. Simply owning a piece of property does not a garden make. Look around – not every house has a true garden. Having the inner fire to make something of it is the first sign. And then, one surrenders to Nature. We make mistakes, fail repeatedly and still keep at it. We cannot distance ourselves from gardening. We are connected deeply. What a gardener gives, he gets in return. It is a beautiful, complex relationship – where each lets the other shine and thrive. It is built on forgiveness, constant nurturing, trust and love. Most importantly, there is room to grow individually. If you stop to think about this, you’ll see what I mean.

Now in the autumn, while the gardener is clearing and cleaning up so the garden can rest, the garden in turn, is instructing on accepting change, preparing for the future with grace and bringing a self-awareness so we can become more of who we want to be. As I get rid of the detritus and debris from the garden, I consciously go inside of myself. To peel back layers that I thought I needed and instead begin to feel comfortable with my exposed flaws and vulnerabilities. To accept who I really am and take joy in that.

The bones of the garden are now more visible. Without adornment of flower or foliage, it lies naked in repose. All is as it should be. I too welcome the winter to spend in introspection and gratitude. Together we will emerge next spring – renewed and ready.

Pssst! I’m starting some amaryllis today to cheer me on.

Note: If you live in my neck of the woods, please be sure to see the Northern Westchester Artists Guild exhibit at the Chappaqua Library. Nov 8 – Jan 4.

I have two paintings in this show and would love to see you at the reception on Nov 8, 3:00 – 6:00 pm.

Chappaqua Library,185, South Greeley Ave, Chappaqua, NY 10514.

Enjoy these images of fall taken today at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture ( :




(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar



Planting Bulbs With Henriette

On Friday, October 23, 2015, about 1,500 bulbs were planted in memory of Henriette Suhr. The weather was perfect for this project – sunny with a seasonal chill. In clear view of the hills blazing fall’s russet and ochre hues, about a dozen of us planted what will be a most splendid sight next spring. Hundreds of Chappaqua commuters will be treated to the show.
To keep it simple, a variety of daffodils, scillas, crocuses and snowdrops were chosen.

As we planted, we exchanged happy memories of Henriette. She brought together so many of us and it was only right that here too, in the midst of gardening, we were reconnecting and strengthening our friendships. It is funny how a daunting task can be made easy when many happy hearts and willing hands come together. And so the job got done.

As I planted, took photos and chatted, it occurred to me that here was a perfect lesson – Bulb Planting 101. If one was interested in putting down a bed of bulbs for the first time, this was the ideal demonstration. In creating her own gardens at Rocky Hills, Henriette taught so many. Educating on horticulture, the environment and good design, she led by example. Now, once again, she was providing yet another learning opportunity. On my part, it was only right that I spread her message that we must always care for the environment with sensitivity and grace.

So here goes the pictorial tutorial:

1. The selected site was just a typical grassy area. So, in preparation, the sod was removed and the area was dug to the depth required by the large daffodil bulbs. Remember, depth is three times the size of the bulb.

2. To create a natural, informal look, the different daffodils were mixed up and placed in no particular pattern in the trench. Kept about 5 to 8 inches apart, the bed will look thickly planted.



Scott Medbury, director of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens plants with volunteer and my dear friend Toni Kelly.

Scott Medbury, director of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens plants with volunteer and my dear friend Toni Kelly.

3. These large bulbs were then covered with soil. The depth was thus raised to be correct for the smaller bulbs.


4. Again, the minor bulbs were mixed and planted at random.


5. The remaining soil covered all the bulbs and filled up the bed.


Fred oversees the whole operation

Fred oversees the entire operation

6. The whole bed was mulched with shredded cedar.

7. Finally, an evergreen ground cover of vinca/creeping myrtle was planted. The vinca will mark the bed and provide year-round definition. Its mauve-blue flowers will add an additional splash in spring.



This rock, brought in from Rocky Hills, will bear a plaque dedicated to Henriette.

This rock, brought in from Rocky Hills, will bear a plaque dedicated to Henriette.

8. The bed will be kept watered till the weather turns really cold. That ought to allow the ground cover to settle in nicely before the winter.

Part of the planting team,

Part of the planting team,

I can’t wait for spring! This bed should look lovely. I do believe Henriette would approve. I felt her presence the whole time we planted – as though she was gently guiding us along.
Once again dear friend, I salute you. You are deeply missed.

(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar

Favoring Fall

Is it my imagination or is this fall a real winner? The colors are simply spectacular – I’ve been hard pressed to stop gazing and get down to the business of seasonal chores and other work demands. This past weekend, we had a taste of the frigid months to follow. It got very cold and the nights experienced hard frost. The saving grace was the sheer beauty of the foliage. Happily, temperatures are predicted to go up to the 70’s by mid-week. I hope the autumn lingers on much longer.

Because of my recent travels, the garden chores have not been attended to as they ought to have been. It has been a busy scramble to cut back and clean up. The former is done and the latter is in progress. Thankfully, I got the greenhouse cleaned and ready just in time to receive the vulnerable plants before the hard frost.

This has been an exceptional year for apples. My garden’s bounty concurs. I’m trying to brace myself for the hours in the kitchen – apple sauce, pies, baked apples, apple cakes ….
I’m sorry to see the last of the leafy green veggies. A steady diet of winter root vegetables can get tedious. So I’m arming myself with new and interesting recipes. The goal is to try and stick to seasonal produce as much as possible.

Apart from the grand task of planting my 700+ bulbs, there are two big projects I’d like to get done in the next few weeks. The first is that of dividing up the irises and replanting them – this needs doing every so many years and I’ve procrastinated for two years already. The guilt is getting to me.
The second job is that of replacing the wisteria covered gazebo. When I planted the pair of wisteria and directed them to climb up the structure, I knew full well that the gazebo was not going to stand up to the powerful twining nature of the climbers. My eagerness, okay my impatience, to get the native wisteria established and fuelled by the romantic vision of feasting with loved ones under the vine dripping with purple, pendulous racemes, got the better of me and I disregarded the obvious. Sure enough, the metal has been tortured and is now screaming for mercy. A strong, wooden replacement is in order.

As I write about these jobs, I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. Much to do in the remaining few weeks before we’re once again in the deep freeze. So I’ll just have to get on with it.

But lets not get too obsessive about the work. It would be a shame to stop taking the time to appreciate the splendors of this season. I need these memories to get me through the more minimalistic palette of winter.

Appropriatly named Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Appropriately named Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

A portion of the apple harvest

A portion of the apple harvest

A reminder to pause every now and then

A reminder to pause every now and then


Fuelling up for long flight south

Fuelling up for the long flight south

Illuminating the road

Illuminating the road

(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar



I love surprises. Not the scare-me-out-of-my-skin sort of surprises but more like the sweet, unexpected, put a smile on the face kind. Applying a sense of humor tempered with ingenuity results in the best kind of unanticipated joy. It is as much fun to think up such surprises as they are to experience.

I remember one April Fool’s day when I had the best time coming up with surprise after-school snacks for my daughter and her friend. How about sushi and baked potato with sour cream? The mortified look my child gave me when presented with those foods was priceless. I could see her wondering how she could possibly explain the weird parent to her fellow first-grader. All turned to laughter when they discovered that the potato was chocolate mousse cake covered in cocoa-dusted marzipan to look like a baked potato topped with creme fraiche. And the sushi was gummy bears wrapped in rice krispies and then further rolled with green, seaweed looking fruit leather.

Similarly, the garden is a great place for clever amusement. They could be odd or unusual looking plants but more often, sculptures and other objects provide the better, longer lasting effects.
I won’t say any more. Instead, I’ll let the images below speak. Tell me what you think.


The above two images show how to play down formality and infuse some humor. The busts peeking from the greenery look like a game of Hide and Seek is underway.

The above two images show how to play down formality and infuse some humor. The busts peeking from the greenery look like a game of Hide and Seek is under way.

Check out those thorns on the leaves! Not great for surprises.

Check out those thorns on the leaves! Not great for surprises.

One can only see this sculpture if one comes around the corner of the pool house at the Bakwin garden. It is like a figure pausing for breath after a swim or game of tennis. I love that element of art situated so cunningly.

One can only see this sculpture if one comes around the corner of the pool house at the Bakwin garden. It is like a figure pausing for breath after a swim. I love that element of art situated so cunningly.

A giant rubber ducky! Also at the Bakwin garden - it is a laugh out loud sight amidst the very classy garden. Very fun.

A giant rubber ducky! Also at the Bakwin garden – it is a laugh out loud sight amidst the very classy garden. Very fun.

Books of stone in my garden. I had the titles engraved for a dose of fun and a bit of food for thought. This one says The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

Books of stone in my garden. I had the titles engraved for a dose of fun and a bit of food for thought. This one says On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.


The last two photos refer to my own books. Why the heck not? It is after all my garden!

The last two photos refer to my own books. Why the heck not? It is after all my garden!

(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar

David And Garden


On being confronted with anything profound or meaningful, I always ask myself what the takeaway lessons might be. So, when I was privileged to view Michelangelo’s David in Florence last week, the swirl of emotions and thoughts had me gazing and contemplating for quite a while. Unlike so much else that is overhyped, David lives up to his reputation. His creator’s genius is apparent and it got me wondering how this masterpiece could instruct me. In the garden in particular as that is of course one of my own passions.

Indulge me as I share my thoughts:

  1. The quality of the starting materials is crucial. Good, rich soil. Healthy plants. Clean tools and organic applications.
  2. Let the medium tell you how to proceed. The type of soil, amount of light and general climate should determine how and what sort of garden to create.
  3. Aesthetics matter. If David were not so handsome, we wouldn’t be caring so much. Likewise, a garden must be beautiful. Function is not enough.
  4. Understand the rules thoroughly and then break them. Just as Michelangelo knew his anatomy and proportions before deciding to enlarge the size of David’s hands, head and such so the viewer looking from below would perceive it as correct, a garden too can be made to appear much more than it is. Illusions are possible only through knowledge.
  5. Keep it simple or at least make it look simple.
  6. A well thought out small garden can hold its own against any of the grander sorts. Don’t let the big guys intimidate. Likewise, don’t be afraid to try something challenging or new.
  7. A beautifully designed garden needs no further embellishments. David looks perfect just as is!

For your own inspiration, I give you David in all his glory:

IMG_0541 (1)



This last image is a tribute to the original sculpture by a contemporary artist. What do you think of it?

(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar

Green Acres


No doubt with summer at an end, the garden is looking all too blah. I know mine is. It’d look even worse if the fall flowers were not doing their thing by throwing splashes of color to liven up the scene. We’ve grown so accustomed to planting for color that we’ve completely neglected that most dominant of horticultural colors. Yes, the ubiquitous green.

Green comes in so many hues and yet, we lump it as one humdrum ole’ pigment. Such a shame considering we are absolutely starving for it well before winter has called it quits. In spring, the different shades of green are all too apparent. Spring green, sap green, chartreuse green, olive green, blue-green, gray-green, pthallo green, the list goes on. And every single one of those shades is a welcome sight. So what happens as the year goes along? A lot of the plants that started out looking different seem to turn the same type of green.

It simply means one must select more carefully to create a diversity in greens. The choices are plenty. Variegated plants as well as the huge range of plants with foliage of different greens can infuse the garden with enough excitement. Toss in diverse textures and shapes and you have something truly fantastic. We know all of this but often fail to make the effort because we are too focused on other colors. Hence that humdrum look in late summer.

I got to think more on this matter these last couple of days. I’m enjoying a Tuscan vacation and the classical Italianate gardens are pretty much mostly green. And a uniform green at that. The effect is rather soothingly simple and elegant. Occasional spatters of color only serve to emphasize the minimalistic use of it. The gardens focus more on elements like pattern, perspective and positioning. The simplicity is most deceptive as much thought and skill is required to create these gardens. They are the opposite of cottage gardens where anything goes. It isn’t enough to know plants. A good knowledge of mathematics and architecture along with a heightened sense of aesthetics is required. A tall order for us average gardeners. No wonder that style is not so popular today.

But, I think we should revisit the idea that a garden must always have ‘color’. The more I visit the classical gardens in Tuscany, the more appealing they are becoming. There is something very restful and calm in them. For visual interest, think parterre or knot gardens. Not the highly stylized, hard to maintain sorts of beds but the basic patterns of squares and circles outlined in boxwood and a single shrub or tree in the middle. True, the box needs trimming but that would be just a couple of times a year. There’d be no staking or deadheading! The gravel on the paths and within the beds would make mowing and weeding an occasional necessity. The central trees/shrubs could bear flowers and/or fruit. Does this have any appeal to you?

The problem is, such gardens tend to be quite formal in appearance. A far cry from our more informal looking chateaux. But for the duration of my trip, I’m going to indulge in dreaming up an all green, super-simple, elegant garden.

The following images are of the famous Boboli gardens in Florence and one other private garden. While the low borders are of boxwood, the wall-like hedges are of bay laurel! So utterly fitting to this region – a tip of the hat to its Roman history.

I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs as I’m having some technical problems. Will post much nicer ones in future posts!

Bobo;i 1

Boboli 2

Boboli 3

Boboli 4

Villa la Vedetta

Villa la Vedetta

(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar


Weeding, Watering, Wandering

Hard to believe that September is coming to an end. The equinox today, officially declares the end of summer 2015. The weather has only just taken to hinting at autumn days ahead. The leaves, still mostly green, echo my own reluctance to let go of summer. And I’m seriously delinquent in the usual chores of the month.
My ‘Things To Do’ list for Seprember says:

1. Continue weeding.
2. Deadhead. Cut back anything that looks ragged or done for.
3. Mow the lawn less frequently.
4. Water judiciously.
5. Get leaf rakes, leaf bags and keep ready. Fall cometh!
6. Similarly, keep bulb planting stuff like dibbler, bulb food, trowel, spade, etc., handy.
7. Continue harvesting vegetables. Remove plants that have given their all and toss on the compost heap.
8. Stir compost thoroughly.
9. Plant in cool weather vegetables.
10. Check if fall blooming plants such as asters and chrysanthemums need staking.
11. Inspect garden for pests or disease. Take prompt action if detected.
12. As days get shorter, make it a point to enjoy the garden as much as possible.

Of those dozen action items, I’m only following through on #s 4 and 12 most judiciously.
All summer long we’ve bemoaned the lack of rain. Too dry too long. Not willing to see my precious garden perish from thirst, watering deliberately and daily has been de rigueur. Hence, there remains a semblance of verdancy but don’t be fooled. The plants are struggling. If this near drought situation continues, all our gardens will be in peril.

Weeding seems to be a distant memory. A heavily guilty one at that. It has been either too hot to bother or I’ve been traipsing around checking out gardens in other lands. The latter is a sound way to avoid that chore. Gives me an air of scholarly interest whilst shirking my duties. I’m hoping the weeds will simply go away. I know what you’re thinking and I agree – I’m delusional.

Coming back to # 12, I’m most certainly enjoying the garden: mine as well as several others. Doing very little has advantages. Wandering through foreign lands, admiring plants I cannot grow has renewed my appreciation of those that thrive in my neck of the woods. I’m also inspired to focus harder on supporting native plants and sustainable practices.
As for all those other to-do items, they must wait a tad longer. I have a bit more immediate wandering to do. Tuscany, here I come!

Here are some images from my summer wanderings:













(c) 2015 Shobha Vanchiswar