Educated as a scientist, Shobha Vanchiswar is a poet, a garden columnist and an award-winning garden designer and prize-winning artist.
Quotes on her garden in Chappaqua include “a flamboyant parade of tulips, hyacinths, scillas, and more” and “an incredibly successful espaliered Belgian fence composed of apples and pears that now bear fruit in addition to establishing boundaries“. Her approach to gardening: “… cultivating plants is nothing less than plant psychoanalysis; she explores plants as individuals….”
Through the ages, in every civilization, gardens have held positions of importance and necessity. They fulfill our need for food, beauty, place for recreation, peace, celebration, meditation, escape and solitude. The garden teaches life lessons to all who tend it.
For me personally, gardening keeps me grounded and yet, encourages me to dream and soar. As the ultimate nexus of science and art, it permits me to indulge both sides of my brain. My garden is teacher, therapist, confessor and companion. It is laboratory and canvas and plays muse to my writing, poetry and painting. Time spent working in the garden unfailingly results in replenishing my spirit and soul. It is privy to all that goes on in my life.
For the past ten years, I have been writing about my gardening life first in the now defunct cyber-paper Newcastlenow.org and then here on my own website. With a growing readership and the universality of gardening it seemed natural to set up this website to connect to a wider audience.
By sharing about lessons learned and thoughts provoked, I invite others into my world. Over the years, it has served to strengthen my belief that we are all more alike than different. And the garden continues to help me make sense of this crazy, confusing, beautiful miracle we call life.
Along the lines of nurturing plants, I have been involved with the HIV/AIDS children at the orphanage at Mukta Jeevan in Shahpur, India. These children are given the care and necessary medications that offers them every reason to look forward to a long life. Hence a sound, basic education is necessary and following that the training required for jobs and future independence. I visit these children annually, speak at every opportunity to raise awareness and fund raise to support their cause. 15% of all profits from my art and related products (see Shop) goes to help these children. They too are my muse.
I look forward to gaining more insight from all of you who follow my blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. Together we can grow our gardens and our lives.