Of coaxing plants to bloom!

‘It is so, very much’, said my aunt, when I looked surprised.

When the jasmine plant in her garden refused to flower even after a year of planting, she and my uncle, walked up and down the plant and made some threatening noises,’It’s time to cut her down, she is of no use’, they said a few times in the vicinity of the lady jasmine and went to sleep. My aunt avers that she was greeted in the wee hours of the next day with the fragrance of freshly in bloom jasmine that filled the entire neighborhood! And this is no joke….

Listening to my aunt narrating her experience, there were many others who shared the same view and have had a similar experience.

At the dinner yesterday, hosted by my aunt and my uncle in their quaint house filled with plants of all varieties including the rather elite ‘dragon fruit’ of  2 types and many more, my mom herself a lover of plants and trees and an avid gardener and my aunts and uncles shared stories of how they have cajoled and coaxed the plants and trees in their garden to flower with a little tease and often some threat!

I look for confirmation and my mother assures me that grandfather would walk up and down his land at Kopparambil conversing to the coconut trees and extracting promises of getting good fruits. Really!

I remember how workers climbing up each coconut tree and accumulate mounds and mounds of coconuts strewn around, with grand father or one of my uncles surveying the produce and keeping a count and agonizing over the falling price of coconut in the market.

The coconuts would be de-husked with skill and the coconut water collected in a huge vessel to be fed to the cattle and some of us who were interested and then a bullock cart would come to take the coconuts to the market. This must have been in early 1980s. There would be a lot of celebration as people moved up and down the place, some providing food and water to the workers, others carrying stuff out of the compound, the arrival of the cart, the hope of impending profit all  adding to the air of festivity.

Apparently, the art of coaxing plants to flower is much researched and discussed topic especially amid those blessed with green fingers!

Like my uncle said with an air of finality, ‘to the ignorant every plant is a weed, to the knowledgeable it is so much more!’

I should know that considering how every time I follow my mother on a garden trail, I am over whelmed by the knowledge of my own ignorance as my mother rattles of names, qualities, personality traits, benefits and other quirks of every grass, sorry, plant on the way.

Those who love the plants, live and die for them are a different breed altogether!

My uncle, concluded making a reference to one of his former colleagues who is also an horticulturalist, ‘when a plant is threatened that it will be eliminated before fulfilling its life’s purpose of flowering, it will pull out all its resources to achieve its dream goal’. Something akin to Paulo Coehlo’s much quoted statement,  “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Perhaps it is true for human beings too, the fear of being pushed to oblivion, to be eliminated or vanquished does sometimes bring out the best in that person.


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