I started to like gardening only in my thirties. As a child, I took the plants in the garden for granted. When I was asked to water them, I had no idea that it was the roots that needed the water and directed the hose towards the leaves. Once they looked thoroughly wet and glistening with moisture, I figured I was done. It’s a good thing I was only assigned to do this occasionally, or the plants might not have survived.
I’m grateful that over the years, my gardening successes have been considerably more than my failures. I have learned that if I leave cuttings in water, in time they develop roots and I can then pot them or plant them in the ground. One horticulture lecturer told me that these water roots are different from normal roots, and that the only proper way to propagate certain plants is by sticking cuttings into soil. I haven’t checked whether there is a scientific basis for true roots and pseudo-roots, but there is a clematis that I have grown from water roots. It looks no different from any other normal clematis. It has even managed to produce buds and I am looking forward to seeing it bloom before the frosts set in.
Another minor success is a taro that I have grown from a corm I bought from the Asian food shop. It took quite a while till it put forth leaves but miraculously and thankfully, my taro plant has been with me now for over a year. I haven’t harvested any of the baby corms but once the plant goes into winter mode, I probably will. I said miraculously because no matter how long I have been gardening, the miracle of a living plant coming from seemingly inert seeds or a corm or tuber or cutting, is still a marvel to me, every single time that it happens. I am thankful to be able to witness life coming into being in this way.
It is this continuing wonder that keeps me gardening. And for the rewards of flowers, some of them not only ornamental but also edible. I am grateful that I have the space and the time to garden. Not to mention the strength. I am conscious of the fact that physical exertion is going to be ever more demanding as I age. One of my friends has said that I am happiest in a garden. That I am. It would never have occurred to me as a teenager that in my sixties I would be enjoying the same activities as my mother. Amazing!