The January issue was published early! To download it, click on the photo.
On December 29, Gopika and I visited Vrindavan Field. This garden was started many years ago. At that time it was a tulasi garden. Over time, the devotees added many other kinds of plants. Several years ago, they discovered that some of the trees on the site were rudraksha trees. The seed that is inside of the rudraksha fruit is sacred. Since then, gardens all over the ashram have been raising rudraksha tree seedlings. The photo above shows an area that contains a combination of coconut palm trees and rudraksha trees. The tree in the foreground on the left is a rudraksha tree.
One of the first plants I was drawn to on this visit was a banana palm sprout that was growing out of a nearly dead banana palm stalk that was lying on the ground. You can see a tiny bit of the sprout on the left side of the first photo below; most of the photo is of the stalk. The second photo shows the full sprout. Banana palms only give fruit once; then they die and new sprouts take their place.
(Click on any of the galleries to enlarge the photos.)
The gardens and farms in this field have had to deal with so many problems over the years. For example: lack of water, flooding, disease, and poor soil. The staff have experimented with so many processes to enrich the soil and to retain water. Their effort has definitely paid off, but challenges still come and go.
This year a lot of the tulasi plants died and the garden doesn’t seem as lush as it did last year. But there is still plenty of beauty and the site is producing a considerable amount of food. I saw bananas, coconuts, tapioca, many kinds of spinach, beans, eggplant, okra, basil and moringa growing. There were plants that I didn’t recognize and I suspect many of them are edible.
I didn’t see as many flowers as in the past, but there were some…
… and there were plenty of interesting plants.
As we were leaving, one of the staff offered to take us to see the rudraksha trees on the School of Ayurveda grounds. She said those trees were much smaller than the ones in Vrindavan Field. We gladly took her up on her offer and it was well worth it; the trees were beautiful.
To read the previous posts in this series click here.
Last summer, I purchased my first echinacea plants. I’ve particularly enjoyed watching this one grow. It gets more sun than the other two and the difference is remarkable. One attribute that I find fascinating is that it has blossoms in so many stages of development at the same time. I am also enjoying the fact that the plant has at least four times the number of flowers-in-the-making than it did last year.
None of these flowers are fully developed yet. I look forward to showing you what it becomes. I also am anticipating looking at the flowers under the microscope. The shots I took last year were spectacular.
Last week, I went to Amma’s programs in Chicago and Atlanta. I had been enjoying eating the strawberries from my garden for about two weeks beforehand. When I returned home, I was surprised to see there were still strawberries available, and ripe blueberries as well. In fact, there were more blueberries than there has ever been on that little bush. Together they made a perfect snack.
I’ve been so involved in the Greenbelt restoration work that I’ve given my front yard garden very little attention. I’m loving how Mother Nature filled in the gap and made it beautiful in her own way.
For the last few years I have planted five or six pansies in the garden. Occasionally one has come back after the winter. This year, though, pansies of all colors have sprung up throughout the garden. There are so many of them! It seems so strange since that has never happened before.
Many of the blooms are withering but the combination of colors are still beautiful.
I had an early bloom on one of the squash plants……..
…. but so far there isn’t any squash. The plants seem healthy but I haven’t seen both male and female blooms on any variety and I haven’t seen any bees. I will hand fertilize when that becomes possible.
The Lazy Susan plant and the Echinacea plants have buds. I look forward to seeing their flowers.
There is a seemingly endless supply of lemon balm and peppermint.
Thank you Mother Nature for all that you do for me, and for the world. You are a paragon of compassion and an artist that has no equal.