The Grass is Greener

On my side of the fence! In fact, the other side of the fence doesn’t have any grass. And the grass on my side of the fence is really very green, lack of competition notwithstanding. We now have four little patches of grass – one in front to the left of the car park; one to the right of the car park; one in the basement garden, nicely hidden from view; and one at the back, which was planted just a couple of weeks ago but has come up quite lush and green already. Of course, I don’t claim any credit for that patch – I didn’t plant it and I haven’t even done much by way of watering it, blessed as we have been with good rain this year. Of the other three patches, the only one I really worked on was the one to the right of the car park and naturally, that’s the one that looks loveliest (at least, to me it does). Remember how I complained that I hadn’t been able to plant it “properly” in sapling format but had thrown it down in sod format and then sat on it for good measure? Well, it doesn’t seem to mind at all – sapling, sod, and being sat on all seems to have turned out well.

Right of car park:
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Left of car park:
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At the back.
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Also at the back. Don’t you love those yellow cannas? We can see them from the kitchen, it’s quite nice.
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And then those trees, the gulmohar and the jacaranda, which were all stripped of leaves by unknown hands, remember? And the java cassia, which was doing ok in my last gardening post, also shed all it’s leaves and began to look pretty much dead. Well, they’ve all recovered and got a lovely new set of leaves, even the Java Cassia. Again, no credit to me, it’s the marvelous persistence of life, and the benevolence of the rain gods. All I did was to spot a couple of hungry caterpillars and promptly throw them out.

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The one tree that turned out to be irretrievably dead, though, was the golden shower. Well, what to do? We went and got a bigger and better one, and put it in the same place and it seems to be doing ok so far. I have some misgivings about this tree, though. I didn’t somehow think its leaves should look like this. I just hope it is going to grow the kind of flowers I want it to have.

The hibiscus has still not thrived, though. After giving a few happy blooms in rapid succession, it grew sulky and started throwing large unopened buds to the ground. I believe this is not uncommon behavior for hibiscus, but the internet is not very helpful in terms of identifying the root cause. From what I’ve read, it could be either too much water, or too little; or too much fertilizer, or too little, or the wrong kind; or too much sun, or – you guessed it – too little; or… I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t like having geranium for company. The geranium doesn’t mind, though. It’s growing like a weed, filling the place with masses of leaves and a few bunches of bright red flowers. I don’t really like it much, but it’s hard not to smile when a bunch of bright red flowers shines out at you as you open the gate.

(That blurring is not because the flowers are out of focus. It’s artistic licence. Seriously!)
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Right now we have 10 trees (all saplings) scattered around the house, and 5 different types of vines/creepers/climbers, with multiple instances of each. Nothing much is flowering right now, but hopefully in another 2-20 years, they should all be in bloom.

Jasmine – growing like a weed. The other vines and creepers are taking it more slowly.
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But when it comes to gardening, it can’t all be good, not even during the monsoon. It should have all been good, though, but there’s always a but. And the but in our case is that large patch of lawn which, if it had existed, would have united all the broken up pieces of lawn. After much discussion, sweat, and soul-searching, we decided to dig up the large patch of lawn that wasn’t doing so well and give it the same treatment we’d given the front patch. Dig it up, throw out the rubble, bring in a couple of tonnes of compost and coco peat, bring in truckloads of fresh red earth, and bring in sacks of fresh Bermuda grass and get it all done in a week or so, so that it would have two or three good months of rain to settle in.

We didn’t intend to do all the hard work of digging and ferrying out and ferrying in and laying out all on our own. We expected to get people to do it for us. And that’s where things started to go haywire. One set of guys came, dug, ferried, and struck dirt. Another set of men came, dug and ferried some more and cleared out the dirt. Then all the men disappeared, leaving a couple of mountains of clean-ish mud piled up in the “lawn”. Then the rain – which had granted us a well-timed temporary hiatus – returned and… well…

At last, on Sunday, a couple of people came and leveled out the mountains. It’s not a garden yet, but at least there’s hope. If it rains, we can call it an Olympic-size swimming pool.

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