When the world is full with mostly human made disasters, vulgar ugliness and shame, only one aspect can be my area of peace- and that is my garden with flowers and plants. Which I can explain as follows:
A movement from one point to another,
start and end not known,
existence only in between
where life and death play the role.
No place to breath, no place to rest,
this is the world now.
People fight and hate each other
and try to make boundaries
Only one place to hold me right
is my nostalgia where memories
give me a boost,
in a garden with flowers and plants
the way I grew up in childhood
where roots and growth yet opposite
but made always one.
Flowers, trees, plants, without those
the world would be nothing but null.
A photo of my grandma is still in my memory while she was gardening. I never met her in my life or had the chance to visit her garden, so it stayed as a wonderland to me.
It was a very small (almost passport size) black & white photo where I could recognize the lashes of cosmos flowers, in the background a papaya plant and a silhouette of a tree. Maybe nothing special but it always had a great impact on me.
While I was a child, we had relatively big areas surrounding our own house in our plot in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
My mother liked to do gardening and so did I since I was just 8 years old. We had tropic fruit trees like coconuts, mango’s, different palms, jack-fruits, bananas, guava, pomegranate etc. And of course, lots of wonderful flowers with scents like, Shiuli, different types of jasmines, roses etc. Especially the belie, night jasmine, the memories of which always kept me bounded with my roots.
While I was in university, the house occupied most of the land so the garden became smaller and smaller. My mother and I never gave up gardening. Around the house we still had the coconuts, mango’s and the jack-fruits, but the flower-garden moved to the roof of the second floor. We scattered pots on the roof with various flowers to create a pleasant sitting area.
That space was actually in my control, more than other members in the family. My room was in the corner of the roof, which my father specially built for me to have enough space, just like an atelier to work for my architectural study.
Now, in 2018, except 2 coconut trees in front of the house, all other trees vanished because the house became bigger. My brothers have yet some plants on the roof on the third floor which my father tried to create in pots.
Time passed and since 1991 I moved to Belgium, where there is a complete different weather. Those trees and plants of my childhood are obscured in distance and stay only in my memories.
To know about the fauna and flora of this climate, I studied in detail, because without knowing about the plants, it is not possible to grow them. I came here as a student, so I lived in student rooms, later in apartments and changed addresses more frequently. There was always one thing in common and that were the plants and flowers that followed me.
I live more than 15 years in my recent address, a house with a small garden space.
When I first moved here, there was no green to be found on this street. I started to put flower boxes on the window near my front door. But people destroyed most of the plants in regular basis. It made me extremely sad and anxious but I did not give up, I kept filling the gaps with new plants. I never understood how people could do such things, especially against nature?
Time passed by and the vandalism became less and less. Now I think, people became used to my plants.
I always have flowers or plants at the window through the four seasons, which brings joy to myself and hopefully to the neighbours and the people who pass by the street.
My small back garden is not bigger that 8x10m but I was happy with it. My garden can be small but my dream is not.
When I moved-in in 2002, there was only grass. Then I started to build a garden;
The garden went through many phases: As my lifestyle is a very busy one as a single mother, time became precious and all my due work goes to my garden, so she sometimes becomes very wild.
In 2015, I could afford to buy the house. My first attempt was to renovate the roof with required isolation and my second attempt was to renovate my garden.
I temporary took all the existent plants out of my garden and renewed the ground completely with better soil.
Then I put my existent plants back and brought extra tropical looks with tropical plants according to my own design.
Photos of my garden:
A small pond with a fountain:
My flowers in my garden attract lots of bees and butterflies.
But it was more exciting to see how a small water-body can change the biodiversity of my garden.
There are lots of different creatures which enjoy the water including birds.
All kinds of flowers are beautiful to me but yet most flowers over here are without any scent.
I always miss the flowers from my childhood which smelled like heaven. I looked a long time for those plants on the internet and was able to get a few of them online. For example:
Jasminum molle of Indische jasmijn/ Jasminum molle or Indian jasmine:
Cestrum nocturnum / night jasmine (dame van de nacht):
Trachelospermum Star of Toscane or yellow star jasmine:
In the last summer of 2017, I could see and smell my night jasmine Cestrum nocturnum after 40 years, how wonderful is that?
Which plants can be in a small garden like mine? Not much but I don’t care. I try to make place in-between by making height differences. A wild look or jungle is very welcome to me.
I have 4 types of Palm trees, one Apple tree, 2 types of Magnolia, 7 types of Japanese Maples, and also Jacaranda mimosifolia, Lagerstroemia World’s Fair, Caesalpinia Gillesii- Bird of paradise bush, Albizia Julibrissin, Tetrapanax papyri era Steroidal Giant (rice paper tree.), Fatsia japonica Spiders Web, different Roses, different types of bananas, cannas, Colocasia esculenta, Cordyline australis red Star , Ginger, Bamboo, Blad Phormium tenax – Nieuw Zeelands, Strelitzia, Clerodendrum bungei, Lilies, Peonies, Crocosmia, Brugmansia (Datura), Oleanders, Gunnera manicata – Mammal leaf, water plants, different jasmine, Fucia, Lonicera, black eyed Susan, different Clematis, Wisteria, Campsis radicans, etc.
Exotic plants from the seeds:
I missed my mango tree for a long time, not for the fruits but for its wonderful leaves. I tried very hard to grow a plant from its seed but it didn’t work. But I kept trying anyway. Last summer a wonder happened, I have a plant at last and now it is growing in a pot.
Not only a mango but also a jackfruit and a papaya are growing in my living.
I bought lots of seeds of exotic plants online. A part of my refrigerator is full with seeds. In the last few days I was trying to grow lotus flowers. It took lots of passion. I am over the moon when I saw something was growing. It is a wonderful feeling which I cannot explain. Hopefully I can see a lotus flower in my garden very soon.