Last time when I visited my farm, which was last Saturday noon, I was in for a surprise as Mangal guided to the spot where months back we had planted some bulbs and forgotten them. “I thought they wouldn’t sprout, “ I exclaimed in amazement.
I had planted bulbs of tuberose, gladiola and lilly having paid a considerable amount for a dozen–impressed by the colourful bloom in display at the annual plant and flower show held at Byculla’s Jeejamata Udyan. All along I had thought it was a bad investment and had often cursed the seller for making me buy them.
Two years had passed since and now, thanks to the June’s intermittent showers I was face to face with green shoots. I was overjoyed and my belief in the saying that “Nothing in nature goes waste” was emboldened. What has been sown will sprout it’s just the question of time. I hope the pumpkin seeds, which I had brought from Cappdocia in Turkey; the stevia seeds that my friend in Benaras had couriered; and the shoe flower seeds gifted by a Kerala friend will become a sapling someday.
Nowadays I’m in Lilly mode. Ever since I came across the beautiful orange coloured Lilly at Himachal Pradesh Tourism’s hotel at Chindi I have fallen in love with them. I saw them again when I asked Amitav Ghosh to sign his latest book, River of Smoke, for me. As he autographed the book, his pen pouring the Bangla words (I wanted it that way) in green colour, I chanced upon a bunch of white and pink coloured Lillies on the low table.
Talking to my horticulturist friend and googling I have come to know that Lilly bulbs I had planted with multiply with each year. Lilly bulbs grow larger each year and multiply, producing up to 30 bulblets in a season and yielding 2 or 3 times more flowers for each year of growth. They can be divided to gradually fill your gardens with colour and perfume. Lillies can be either planted out in the garden or grown as pot plants, with the shorter varieties being best for pots as they are less likely to blow over. Good drainage is the one essential; lillies are tolerant of most other things.
In a week or two I hope to plant as many varieties of Lillies as I can lay my hands on. I have written to friends all over to get me as many coloured varieties as they can. Next time you visit my farm you’re likely to come across a burst of flowers and butterflies, I promise.