Thursday, May 28, 2009
My garden is a constant reminder of friends far and near. My friends have 'adorned' my life, so too my garden. Often as I dig the soil and tend to my plants, fleeting moments rush back to the times spent together.
The sweet smell of the luxuriant climber, the passiflora, reminds me of my friend, Wanphen , in Surrey, UK. The passiflora used to adorn Wanphen's trellis near her swimming pool. Now it twists the grill fencing of my garden.
Wanphen was moving after 15 years in Kuala Lumpur and she wanted me to have the plant. She had a knack of getting one hooked to a certain plant. It's her keen observance of the 'persona' of the plant . And in a while, you already want to own one yourself! I remember loading the car with the huge pot and shoving its tangly, straggly vine into the back seat. Every bit was too precious to leave behind.
Just one bloom of the delicate tasselly flower is enough to waft its sweet smell across the garden into my patio. Somehow the flower reminds me of a lovely Malay ceremonial unbrella that shades a coy bride.
And there's Rosemarie who's somewhere in Greece. We've lost touch because she was on the move and the letters were too few. Nonetheless we had good times. I told her one day that I would like to have some of her psittacorums, my first introduction to heliconias for their colour and lushness. Her ready answer was, 'Take, take them . They're invading my living room !' Trust Rose Marie with her good humour. As I watched the psittacorum take root and grow, it was evident that there is a likelihood of them 'walking' into my patio too. So a good measure of pruning is keeping it in a thick cluster. No regrets, for year long, there's the bright yellow colour of the upright flowers to enjoy.
Shawne who's in New Jersey, USA parted with her catelyas before she left. The neighbourhood used to see Shawne quite regularly, dumb -bells in both hands and earphones plugged, striding briskly in her leg-warmers. Shawne was serious in her exercise regime. No half measures, not even in the voluntary work we used to do together.
I have to say, these friends are nature lovers and their gardens gave them so much pleasure. They shared and left a part of them behind for me to remember them. Many others have given me this and that - some have survived, some have not.
Standing just below the light shade of the red coral tree is a thriving cluster of pink ginger. At one of the Selangor and Federal Territory Gardening Soc. talks, Puan Sri Chong Hon Nyan, in her usual generous self, brought cuttings to give away. Lucky me, I got one or two to take home. Somehow, they struggled to establish. Not any more. They are looking pretty and a welcoming sight.
I daresay Puan Sri Chong is an icon among garden enthusiasts. If one has enough time to spare, she'll regale you with her vast knowledge of plants. No boring stuff, I assure you for when she speaks, Mother Nature smiles in unison. And if you linger longer when you are in her garden, chances are you'll return home a happy soul with her gardening wisdom and posibly some seeds, cuttings and even a plant in hand from the hospitable hostess.
I'm pretty sure many of us have many stories to tell - chockful of interwoven sentiments of friends and garden.
So, go ahead. Tell your stories - continue to bask in the glory of freindship.
Friends are like flowers. Gather them with love.