Gardening is what I do to keep myself engaged during the day since my retirement. I have not been much of a gardener before Jan this year. I must admit that it is not easy.
Shifting the career….
My wife had given up her professional career 10 years back because of my professional commitments and to meet our family needs. It is not easy to give up a way of life one has been used to for 20 years. Last year when it as my time to hang my army uniform for good I decided to take a clean break from professional life. Army officers retire relatively young hence nearly all of them take up an alternative career on retirement. I decided to be a ‘house husband’ and my wife restarted her professional career.
Most of my friends had predicted that I won’t last in my new job long. But it has been nine months and I am enjoying it. The house being well set now, children having grown up, the maids efficiently handling the housekeeping and the cooking there is not much for me to do. So, I have added the role of the gardener against my name.
Learning the nuances….
Gardening is much more than just preparing the garden beds or pits, sowing seeds and watering. I have learnt that more than a piece of land what one requires in gardening is a strong will. A will to try, to learn, to accept failures and keep going on. Gardening is a very creative hobby and very helpful in maintaining sanity at my age. Thus far I am enjoying it.
Plants have an attitude….
It is much more technical than I had thought. I had no idea that every plant has its own unique requirement. The soil got to be prepared differently for different variety. Some like soil which retains soil while some like to be in sandy soil with good drainage. While some need full sunlight some others cannot stand harsh sun light. I am just getting used to the different methods of seed germination. Even the water needs are different for different varieties.
There are plethora of diseases, worms and insects from which they have to be protected. I had thought that cow dung manure was the only organic manure needed by the plants. How wrong I was? There are varieties of manures available catering to the specific needs of different species.
My experience thus far….
As of now I am struggling to just understand the basics of gardening. I have decided to do what my experience in the army has taught me; to learn on the job. There is no better way of learning then through practical trials. I must admit so far, I am far below the expected standards. The failure rate is quite high. But I am learning and I am enjoying it.
I am fortunate that I have access to a small piece of land in my home and also have a sizeable terrace. I am more dependent on ‘grow bags’ to hone up my limited gardening skills.
Here are pictures of some plants which have survived despite my ignorance.
I recommend, irrespective of the size of the house/ flat everyone should dedicate a balcony/ corner to live plants. It will not just add beauty but keep you creatively engaged and may provide some green vegetables/ flowers.