A Garden REborn amidst pandemic thorns

Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air—Georges Bernanos

Gardens, regardless of size & variety of plants always bring so much delight to both the gardener and the beholder. Big or small gardens make people from different walks of life busy/console/entertain themselves amidst this global pandemic.

Speaking of this global pandemic, we all have different take on it. Some find it as a crowning glory while others find it very thorny.

It is a debilitating sad truth that the pandemic has caused lives- yes, lives have already been taken away from loved ones as difficult situations eventually caused them to say “goodbye.”

This global crisis continues to pull down individuals, families & companies that are directly or indirectly affected. Countries & their respective governments are exhausting all means with diverse measures to uphold their valued constituents.

Undeniably though on a lighter note, folks from different ages in life have discovered a little diversion to address the felt encompassing fear & boredom—-their green thumb.

Gardens are sprouting everywhere. They come in different sizes and shapes and colors. The existing gardeners are enthusiastically encouraged to plant more, inspiring people, expanding & increasing, some for personal pleasure and others for business with leisure.

For me, it all REstarted with planting kangkong stalks on water. It was my sheer happiness as for the first time in my life, i saw the said stalks sprang with leaves after several days.

As they say, never despise humble beginnings however minute they may seem.

Humbling nothingness leads to somethingness. One moment after my nightly walk, I simply sat & quieted my mind in the bare front space of the house. Something was boiling within….why not transform this area into something profitable, beautiful & beneficial?

Recording time for my little talk for graduation rites weeks before the transformation of this front space

The night after that thought, three small flowers were given by our Moroccan neighbor that opened the door for more flowers to come.

Our princess was so happy posing with the said flowers.

More than happy to pose with the flowers given by Aunty Rakma

Time flies & things simply unfolded after 90 days in quarantine, I was more than grateful that my son-James granted my heart’s desire——to buy some plants.

Happy & excited on our way to plant shops in Mina

It was my first time with Tata Ne to visit Mina, a place where you can choose a variety of outdoor and indoor plants. Their indoor plants are mindfully placed in air-conditioned rooms.

We also bought seeds & soil during our first & second visits.

My walking buddy Tata Ne/Maryann

Yes, June 13, 2020 was such a memorable day of going out to buy live greens for beauty & energy. It also marked a great day for the family to plant…in remembering with much Gratitude a “fallen leaf “ that chose not to thrive on Planet Earth.

<3 Every life matters & counts <3

Unexpectedly, our evening walks of meditative gratitude & appreciation gave birth to this little humble & simple yet creative garden in the house I call—-Keo’s Lit’l Haven.

Scrap materials (I discovered during our walks) outside the villa ranging from tiles, bricks, bed straps were enthusiastically transferred by Tata Ne/Maryann (my walking partner then) and me to our place. We enjoyed such collaborative undertaking plus the stones & empty white shells (I cleaned and kept every after mealtime with shells in Dubai & Abu Dhabi) are beautiful added attraction in contrast with the greens.

The (everlasting/synthetic) five sunflowers served as an invite for such garden.

Recycling containers to help curtail & cut on plastic trash is part of the gardening to help save Mother Earth in a little way. It pleases my eyes to put to use empty plastic and glass containers.

From a bunch of a few stalks of kangkong, some bunches of saluyot stalks followed. Such a delight to see them grow on both water and soil.

Then came experiments on sibuyas, ginger, onion & malunggay. The tanglad/lemon grass (as insisted by the owner of the villa to be taken during one night of our walks) is wonderfully coming out with leaves already. The owner kept on telling us to just use whatever we can use within the compound. He even gave us some plants of our choice from their quite space-blessed garden.

First malunggay/moringa seeds I have planted

Then we bought some ornamentals— more for indoor & one for outdoor purposes.

Bricks & stones altogether forming a little pyramid to elevate this ornamental.

The temperature in Abu Dhabi at times isn’t that friendly even to outdoor plants. The gardener has to figure out from time to time the condition of such plants..

On the other hand, the indoor plants are thriving, serving as oxygen bombs to everyone in the house. They add life and beauty too, alongside its therapeutic benefit.

Our princess Kelsie always volunteers to shower them instead of just me doing it.

I love the three (I <3 U) succulents I got for myself. They remind me of the various succulents I received in the past— brought to me by my brother-in-law from Baguio.

Happy to secure them in another given items by Tata Gem2—candle-containers turned succulent-holders.

Besides, succulents remind us that there is BEAUTY in the midst of this “thorny” pandemic or on the brighter & higher note—REsetting of Planet Earth.

The three succulents matching well with a UAE glass flower

On an unplanned afternoon, I asked Moch’s mom (our neighbor) to let me go with them to a hardware as I was wanting to buy water-based paints for our two princesses’ consumption.

I was so pleased to find Peace Lilies in their plants section. On a spur of the moment, I bought two plants to be added to the ones i already got at home. Then I told Tata Ne of my need for 3 glass containers/pots.

Voila! To my surprise surprise, a salad set (-turned planter) was there…right before me.

Needless, to say, i got exactly what I want!

Another wonderful serendipity was during clearing time of toys. One part was supposed to be thrown but Tata Ghe knew that it can still be recycled. So i looked for a plant that perfectly fits it.

Indeed, such plant has been beautifully & perfectly elevated by a toy-turned-planter.

Keo’s Toy-turned Planter

The universe always delivers right things (and right people) at the right time!

What’s amazing & at times making me speechless is the seemingly never-ending coming of blessings in small packages: like this newly-emptied orange building-tool tin container (from another occupant) was handed to me by the watchman. When I asked what was it for, the watchman, said in his broken English, “I’d rather see it recycled in your beautiful garden than simply throwing it away.”

He enjoyed the transformation of our little front space.

Thanks to Sherryluz for her suggestion to turn it into a dish garden. It is now temporarily occupying the not-so-often-used barbecue area.

Opportunity after opportunity, plant after plant, container after container are simply coming my way without me asking for them.

On another time, I was utterly surprised when May, bought me a set of gardening tools. I received it with much joy & gratitude.

Am more than happy that our princess Keo together with her friend Mochi enjoyed talking to & giving showers to our plants in the early days of our little garden. They both loved doing it as it also became an avenue by which they can splash water on their faces & all over their bodies.

Such garden may have been quite affected by the summer heat even at night in UAE lately but it continues to remind that LIFE THRIVES when there is love & care.

Why garden REborn?

This little garden reminded me of the previous landscapes my late hubby & I collaborated on…years back when our sons were still young.

It took this pandemic to remind me of my natural affinity for plants.

This is true to many as we see & observe more & more female & male alike, even children, beginning to discover their love for plants. Planting & taking care of them are two inseparable things.

I know of a friend whose great consolation is taking care of her growing plants as she continues to mourn over the death of her kid.

It is not so much the bigness or the smallness of a garden or where it’s situated that counts.. It is the HAPPINESS, FULFILLMENT & PURE BLISS I & others feel upon seeing a single leaf or flower coming out every single day.

It is the CONNECTEDness of the gardener to her/his garden that truly matters.

Such an inexplicable, indescribable & ecstatic feeling of contentment as well.

Needless to say, if you already have a garden or a farm, I congratulate you. Enjoy it, continue cultivating it with yourself, with your family and workers/laborers & friends.

What you have may only be a dream for others.

Creativity begets creativity. My creative juices just flowed when I thought of a foot massager. Been missing my walking on barefoot back in my place of work.

The natural-stone foot massager is a great addition in the little garden. This stone creation of three colors (I painstakingly gathered) from the play area in the villa is worth all the muscle pains thereafter.

Our two princesses have learned to walk on the massager for free & natural energy.

So, this was how our Keo’s Lit’l Haven came to being. It continues to evolve with the changing of temperature. She calls her time here as “going to the outside world.”

If am not mistaken, most acres of gardens and farms started with a little single plant. So, for those who are considering to have one, why not give it a try. “A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a a single step.”

If I may say it, let’s allow the flowers and plants in our Garden to continue to blossom with much love & care amidst the scorching summer heat here or rain in your area. Whatever the season we may be in, there are always corresponding ways in tending our gardens.

From time to time, you may visit this garden…a place to refresh & relax, to reflect & retrospect.

TRUTH to tell, each one of us has that GARDEN WITHIN-our HIGHER/TRUE SELF, the DIVINE in us, waiting to be tapped, recognized, planted and above all else, to be taken care of.

MINDFULNESS of WHO WE TRULY ARE will turn & shift everything from ordinary to…something EXTRAORDINARY.

As we enjoy tending our external gardens, may we never forget the Garden WITHIN where we can grow either Flowers of Positivity OR Weeds of Negativity. Let us be reminded that every SEED WE PLANT grows, thrives & comes back in different forms.

We have so many things in mind on this pandemic but it’s always a choice to “complain that roses have thorns or REJOICE that thorns have ROSES.”

Happy GARDENing wherever my dear friends amidst pandemic thorns.

Love & Light to everyone.

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