I’m getting ready for an onslaught of guests. They will be in residence for some months. Yes, months. And I’m super excited. I intend to get their quarters in tip-top shape. My aim is to make them so comfortable that they feel completely at home here. There is a Jewish proverb that says Hospitality Is One Form of Worship. Well then, I’m worshiping mighty zealously. Cleaning, washing, removing clutter, freshening, ensuring that every detail has been included. I can’t do enough. That’s how eager I am. As always, some guests have arrived ahead of time. Rather than get distressed, I’m using their presence to spur me on to work fast and create the best accommodations for my treasured company. It is going to be a joyous, no holds barred party.
You are now thinking I’ve taken leave of my senses. Who would want to entertain guests beyond a a couple of days? Yet, here I am preparing to welcome a plethora of visitors and then permitting them to stay for as long as possible. No, no! I’m quite sane. I’m getting the garden ready for season! All the plants are my personal, most cherished guests. In Turkey, there is a saying that guests bring good luck with them. I fully expect to enjoy that benefit in abundance!
Preparing the garden for the growing season is quite like getting the house ready for guests. There is the same excitement, anticipation and yes, even apprehension. There is the desire to provide a warm welcome, comfort, clean and adequate space, good food and drink, interesting company and a strengthening of bonds. One goes about it in a flurry of activity. The plants arrive like old friends – familiar and comforting. We are ready to enjoy each other. Every season also brings new arrivals and so the circle of friends expands.
Having been overseas this past week, I’ve returned home to find that spring has definitely arrived. A bit ahead of schedule but nevertheless a welcome sight. The hellebores that had started blooming some weeks ago are now joined by the snowdrops, scillas and crocuses. The sugar maple is heavy with red flowers. They contrast strikingly with the white flowers on the Abeliophyllum distichum near by. This has galvanized me into action. There is no time to waste. While I’d thought to get to my list of pre-spring chores in a few days after jet lag had worn off, I am now already in full gardening mode. Within hours of getting home and unpacking, the front lawn was addressed. With rain expected, it seemed an ideal time to do the reseeding. Done. Whew.
Pruning, cutting back, clearing deadwood, feeding the beds with compost, mulching, planting and sowing will commence as soon as possible. Urns and window-boxes will get potted up. Bird houses to clean and water-baths and fountain to restart are next. In creating a most wonderful, life affirming environment for the plants, I’m hoping to keep the plants utterly, giddily happy that they thrive and look spectacular. And that would make me reciprocally happy.
To be in service of my garden is indeed my own form of prayer and meditation. After all, to tend to the earth with thought, compassion, love and care is to connect to a higher power that provides and nurtures my very existence.
Note: While on the subject of visitors, the date for my garden’s Open Day has just been set. From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday May 07, 2016. Please come, I look forward to welcoming you! Mark your calender.
(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar