Thursday, January 19, 2017


When my mum first started growing herbs and vegetables in our garden some years back, her plants were scraggly and limp, and a lot of them succumbed to some sort of disease before they had the chance to bear any fruit. The soil in our garden wasn’t great, so my mum became a composting queen. She’d compost anything – my brother’s coffee grounds, my niece’s bunny’s droppings, my orange peel, whatever. Then she’d distribute different kinds of soil and composted matter in varying ratios into her pots in a grand experiment to see which one produced the healthiest plants.

I don’t think she actually knew what she was doing half the time and I don’t think she conducted her tests in a very scientific way because my mum tends just do things according to her gut (aka following no rhyme or reason.) She always worked in her garden in the mornings when it was cool, and would beckon me over to look at her ‘snail trap’ made out of clam shells, aluminum foil, and toothpicks. Eventually, she grew french beans, okra, blue pea flowers, basil, bitter gourds, ginger, mulberries, and all kinds of wonderful things because she kept at it.
'Snail Trap'
Winged beans and blue pea flower

Gardening is a slow and messy process that involves a lot of trial and error. Can you imagine sowing a seed and waiting a couple of weeks to find that you may or may not have a healthy sprout? This hobby did not appeal to me in the slightest. Having grown up in a world of instant gratification, the idea of doing something without reaping its benefits almost immediately seemed absurd. And then considering the fact that a healthy plant wasn’t guaranteed, gardening seemed like a thankless activity.

Anyway, my mum potted me a small plant for my desk at work and overtime my interest in plants grew. My plant did not, unfortunately. (I had to bring it home for my mum to nurse it back to health for me.) But the seed (hur hur) of interest had been planted (hur hur).
One man's journey to find the perfect houseplant in early July last year.
We made the rookie mistake of leaving our plant out on the balcony when we were in Sri Lanka. Sad times... In a desperate attempt to enrich our soil, we put some carrot peel (waste from cooking dinner) into the pot.

A few weeks later, we went to the garden center to get some good soil and an orchid for the loo.

Scott named our first plant Lazarus after the guy whose life Jesus restored in the Gospel of John. We just kept watering him and feeding him food scraps (lemon pulp, radish skin, grapefruit peel, etc) and now he's doing much better! Here he is posing with a bunch of other plants my mum gave us.

Larry the leech

Gardens have long been designed as sanctuaries and retreats from the stresses of life. If you feel technologically obsessed and nature deprived, I highly recommend picking gardening up as a hobby. More so if you're a millennial because of how it teaches patience and perseverance. Apparently it also reduce your blood pressure and research has shown that even just looking at a garden can give you a positive boost.

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