Carol Klein’s book on plant personalities has given a new insight to look deeper into the plants’ feelings, their emotions, their happiness and their grief. The fact that plants respond to various happenings around them is not new. First proved by our very own Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose and then practiced all over the world, this knowledge has been rewarding in terms of returns. Remember the experiment conducted some years ago by Dorothy Retallack of Colorado? Plants leaned towards the soft soothing notes of classical and jazz music and flowered within two weeks. While those plants at the mercy of rock music clambered away and eventually died.
To make the long story short, yes, plants have ‘responsive’ personalities. And in my garden this summer, I have a complete party of them. There are the easy going marigolds which endure the gales, rain and scorching sun with equal ease. Marigolds also last throughout summer with their robust foliage and a constant crop of flowers. They make good borders as well as look good in hanging containers. Begonias are my ugly ducklings turning into swans. What starts as a thick fat tuber, becomes a glorious display of beautiful flowers and variegated foliage. They are also generous in behavior viz. the more you give them, the more they return with interest. Then there are the shy damsels like Justicia, blooming quickly and making a very early exit. The brief appearance is enchanting and enough to linger on our mind for a long time.
The suave, debonair dahlias are head turners in every sense. Such a star quality ! Every time there is a bloom, I am smitten by its perfect aestivation, color and grace. Like all suave debonairs who are aware of their charm, dahlias demand attention and need looking after. Californian poppies are like shooting stars. I do not have many, but when in flower they make an impact by adding a fleeting sparkle
The fuchsias are my page three stars. They have dressed up and graced every summer party in the last five years trying to outdo each other in terms of blooms, color and lasting power. Last but not the least, my Cestrum nigrum or ‘raat rani’ is my comfort zone, almost like my best friend. I look forward to her charm and company the most every summer. And she has not failed me ever. My evenings are filled with the divine fragrance of her flowers reminding me of my home.