Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Mother's Garden

From a distance, my parents' backyard (foreground only) looks like
this. It's there where the tallest betel nut trees grow. Because
of the trees, no fence can be seen. Beyond my mother's garden is
my aunt's, and beyond that, is the public area.

This is my childhood garden, where guavas, mangoes and passion-
fruit ruled. Or according to the season, plums and peaches,
Indian blackberry, grapes, pears, pomegranates and pomelos.
Somehow, the sweet scent of summer fruits waft into my memory.
Endearing images of my siblings, all five of them as children,
are intricately linked to my many garden-associated memories.

The bottom of the garden has this spring water on its tireless
journey to the lake. As children we would follow its path right
from the hilltop where it gurgled and rushed on its downhill
journey. In winter it's just a trickle.

I've always loved this view at the bottom of the garden. Although
the pond isn't ours, in photographs, it looks as if it's part of
the garden. But in reality, it's across the small road and belongs
to a neighbour.

When you think about the most useful plant it's the bamboo which
comes to mind. In our parts it's indispensable.

Bananas and betel nuts seem to be everywhere.

Another view. The backyard is roughly about half an acre. The
area has undergone some changes. Some fruit trees have been cut
and some have been severely pruned as the lush growth impeded
the growth of smaller plants.

Caught this common yellow butterfly on a mustard bloom.

The bean vine goes on and on and on.

A few tomatoes are ready for the picking.

There are just a few flowers blooming now. These roses added a
splash of colour to a drab front-yard.

I hope you've enjoyed going through these photos. My love and
respect for plants started here. I've always felt that my mother's
connection to soil went beyond a gardener's relationship. And
in my small plot, I carry on this legacy of love, for garden soil.


Anonymous said...

I loved reading about and seeing your Mother's garden and your memories of all the aromas from her yard. It is such a thrill for me far away in Georgia to get to "visit" places with such a variety of fruits and plants. Thank you Kanak!

jodi said...

I'm even further away than Mildred, up in Nova Scotia, but I love reading posts like this that give me such a lovely look at a part of the world I'll likely never get to visit. Thank you for telling the story of your mother's garden.

Green thumb said...

You are fortunate to have been in such an intimate contact with nature right since childhood. Those pics are lovely, and more I see them more do I regret not having visited this part of the country till now.

Anonymous said...

Your childhood garden is a tropical paradise! How wonderful to have such lovely memories of watching & helping your mother garden.

HelenJ said...

It is so interesting to see gardens from other parts of the world. Thanks for showing!

Roses and stuff said...

Such a nice post! Your love for the garden of your childhood - and for your family - warms my heart. No wonder you're passionate about gardening!

tina said...

I've enjoyed it very very much. It shows your love and deep feelings for your mother's garden. I pretty much already knew that as you speak so often of it in such loving terms. The garden looks like you could spend hours upon hours of fun exploring it. Those tomatoes are looking might good!

Wendy said...

My mother too instilled a love of gardening in me. I loved your tour of your childhood garden and the memories you shared.
All that fresh summer fruit sounds heavenly.

Sue said...

I enjoyed seeing your mother's garden and reading your descriptions of the area. So many of those plants don't grow around here. The whole area looks quite lush. The love of the earth is a blessing for us. I hate wearing gloves when I garden.

Anonymous said...

Kanak, you seem to have the best of both worlds in fruit, temperate and tropical. Lucky you! Here, in Goa, we have mangoes, bananas, pineapple, betel nuts aplenty. But peaches, pears,plums....sigh. Your parents' backyard is so lush -- it should be teeming with wild life?:)

P.S. No,I don't have a blog,yet. Hence this anonymity;)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred, I feel exactly the same --about places I may never be able to visit. My most vivid school memories of Georgia are reading about Jimmy Carter and peanut farming. I'm so glad that through your blog I'm discovering so much more, and in such a fun way too!

Jodi, thank you so much for visiting. And for your kind comment. Nova Scotia, wow, that's so distant. I'll be at your blog soon...very happy to get this opportunity to know you.

Thanks Racquel. Yes,'s lovely to relive many of those memories.

Glad to, HelenJ. Thanks for stopping by.

Katarina, thanks. I think temperate gardens are beautifully kept and yours is one fine example. You must've noticed from the photos that ours is lush no doubt, but with aesthetics, we really don't have much sense.

Tina, loved reading your comment. You pretty much summed up exactly what I feel and would've said, or written.

Wendy, wish I had a daughter...! My sons have shown no inclination towards anything garden-related till now. Many fruits in the north-east are sour. The sweetness comes only when they're fully ripe. Included this because I don't think that's the case in cold climes.

True, Sue. And thanks---it's wonderful to be blessed by the love for gardening.

Shailaja, as I mentioned in my comment to Wendy, the fruits that you mentioned are'nt all that sweet. Unlike the ones available in Shillong, ours need to be almost over-ripe. But as children the fun was in having sour fruit with salt and chillies and maybe mint too. My mouth waters as I write this!! I forgot to mention pineapples, we had them too.

Wildlife? There were flocks of parrots and other birds, colourful lizards, snakes (mostly on the bean vine) and squirrels. As a child I didn't pay much attention to wildlife and visits now are for a short span of time. So I don't think I've mentioned all of them. Glad you asked.
So when'll you start your blog?!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Green Thumb, I hope I can tempt you with my photos. Yes, I think I'm lucky to have grown up amidst such beautiful surroundings. Please give it a thought, about visiting the north-east, I mean. Will be happy if you do so.

Titania said...

It is such a beautiful garden with its tall trees and a stream; a paradiese for children to grow up.
My childhood garden has disappeared under concrete roads and buildings. Adjacent to our house and garden was a big madow, which was a fantastic playground for us. All gone, it only lives on in my memories.

Linda Lunda said...

Just like Paradise!!!
It had to be wonderful to grow up like that!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh Kanak, you bring back all the lovely memories of our visit to Halflong a few months back-did not realise that the view was so lush from the backyard-Indrani

Kanak Hagjer said...

Trudi, it's sad that your childhood garden has disappeared. Who knows what it'll be like (for me) twenty years from now... I'm lucky that after more than 21 years of marriage and away from my hometown, I can actually wander about the same spots I'd loved so much as a child.

As with many towns and cities in India, Haflong has its fair share of haphazard construction. Many of the green slopes, our playgrounds, have vanished. The most scenic spots near the lake is inhabited now.

The meadow in Germany must've been very beautiful.

Linda, it was! My fondest memories of childhood are garden-related.

I hope you're there the next time Indrani. BTW, my current header photo is the view from the Circuit House. As you can see the tallest peaks remained hidden. Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kanak, I wanted to thank you for your kind comments and for remembering Nalley and me during this time of tests and dr. visits. So very nice to have made a new friend through blogging. Have a wonderful day.

easygardener said...

It looks a wonderful garden for children to explore. No wonder it remained memorable inspired in you a love of plants.

Susie said...

Oh Kanak I can only imagine the wonderful memories you have of living in such a beautiful place. All these pictures are lovely.

I like your new header picture too!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred, I only wish that things turn out right for you and Nalley. Your thoughts are very much on my mind...I'm happy to know you and learn about your life (and all its many aspects). Blogging is truly wonderful. My prayers are with you and Nalley. Take care.

Rightly said, Easygardener. I was just thinking about how different gardens around the world can be. Green here, and yours, covered in snow!

Susie, thanks. Glad to read your comment. The header picture was taken from a point where you see the valley, the river, sleepy hamlets and a tunnel. Or, depending on the time, a train chugging out of the tunnel and onto the bridge across the river.
All these cannot be clearly seen here because the day wasn't clear enough.For any visitor to my hometown this is a must-see. I'm so glad I've been able to share it with you.

joey said...

This has been the loveliest journey through the gardens of your heart. Often our love for gardening begins our mother .. mine did. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt tour and beautiful piece of earth.

Muddy Mary said...

Ah, now this is the garden of my dreams when I was a child. How fortunate you were that the fruit, the hills, and the pond were real!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Joey and Muddy Mary, thank you so much for visiting. And for leaving your lovely comments.

Sunita said...

Absolutely lovely post, Kanak. Its soaked in so much nostalgia that I can sense it here in Mumbai ! That sounds like a wonderful childhood that you had. Lucky you! Do your siblings (other than Molly) still live in Haflong? It must've been wonderful if you got to meet them too when you went there.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Sunita, thank you so much! One sister and brother are here. Of my two brothers, the younger one stays in Haflong with his wife and three children. The other brother's wife and two children also stay there. Transfer (she's a doctor) to spouse's place of posting is what dreams are made of!

Carla said...

What a tribute, and what beauty! Thank you for sharing your 'beginning'