The Gift Of A Garden

The garden has been put to bed a while now. However, there are the odds and ends that keep me connected to it. For one thing, there’s the greenhouse which requires vigilance at all times. Is the heater running properly or has the propane tank run out? Depending on how cold it is, the heater can work hard and deplete the fuel quicker than usual. There is an electric heater that kicks in should that happen but we try not to let that go on for too long as that can get costly. And this year, we are all particularly aware of the cost of energy aren’t we. To that end, my odd job man aka my spouse, has built a heat exchanger to help lower heat loss. We will know its efficacy in due course but every bit helps.

The greenhouse also requires regular watering. This is actually one of those simple pleasures. It’s a fine way to commune with the plants – it really is a joy to be there when it is frigid and bare outside. At present, the lemons are ready for picking, some geraniums are flowering and so are the hibiscus standards. There’s always reason to enjoy the greenhouse and I’m truly grateful for it. As much as I enjoy the bulbs in bloom in the house, a visit to the greenhouse feels specially restorative.

The snowfall we received over the weekend was quite lovely. Highlighting the patterns and tracing the shapes, it gave me the delight of viewing the garden is a wholly different way. More artsy and less horticultural. Opportunities like this are valuable as it opens up new perspectives and possibilities.

Decorating for the holiday season with natural greens and foraged material takes on a particular purpose – an homage to Nature herself. All the forms of beauty that grace us through the seasons bring so much happiness. Every part of a plant – branches, leaves, seedpods, fruit and flowers are so utterly amazing. How fortunate am I to have this garden to serve my needs!

I see how the garden, in one form or other, keeps me company at all times. Soon, I’ll be making lemon marmalade to enjoy breakfasts of hot toast slathered with butter and accompanied with strong coffee by the fireside. A choice of pesto from homegrown basil, nasturtium or arugula for pasta dinners. Other herbs harvested and dried will flavor innumerable meals and, there is always fresh bay and rosemary on hand in the greenhouse. Bottles that grew pears within and now filled with brandy sit pretty and ready to offer up a smooth after-dinner drink.

Dried hydrangea and alliums are already decorating the house. As are the paperwhites and amaryllis. Soon, the various plants, lemons and such will be included in still-life set ups to be immortalized in my paintings.

Yes, there is always some element of the garden elevating my life. This is the gift that keeps on giving.

Note: I have 2 paintings at the Winter Exhibition “Flowers, Trees and Roots” at the View Center For Arts And Culture in Old Forge. New York. If you’re in the area, do stop by.

In the greenhouse

Lemon tree, very pretty

(c) 2022 Shobha Vanchiswar

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