Plant A Garden

It was with pleasure that I read:

Kamla: Plant flowers at home.
By Radhica Sookraj
Trinidad and Tobago's Guardian | 15 Jun 2010

"Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is urging all citizens to plant flowers at their homes, offices and communities.

Speaking to her constituents at the Penal Quinam Government School on Sunday, Persad-Bissessar said whenever she travelled she always marvelled at the cleanliness and beautiful surroundings of international countries. “Why can’t we all work together to make our country like that. We have to clean up and beautify our surroundings. Why can’t we all plant flowers everywhere and make our homes, villages and communities beautiful?” Persad-Bissessar asked." Read more...
I am in complete agreement with the Prime Minister and I expect that in time her administration will also demonstrate the urgent need for citizens to also maintain home gardens for food production.

Yes, flowers are wonderful for their aesthetic appeal and for the lifting of the spirits of beholders. The proven therapeutic effects of gardening in general will certainly do much to lessen stress levels. If we go even further and add food production to our gardening activities, this will supply the added bonuses of reduced food bills, the consumption of healthier food (if we are organic in our approach) and by this example, the cultivating in our children of a greater appreciation of and respect for our connection with the earth.

A while back I was inspired by Iwer George's wonderful song, "Plant A Garden,"to write about this subject. Have a listen and read as I remember all the flowering plants the mothers in my neighbourhood crammed into their little gardens: oleanders, pandora, golden shrimp, ixora, anthurriums, oxalis, Ladies of the night, tube roses, marigolds, hibiscus, african daisies, roses, orchids, pentas, garlic vine, portulaca, periwinkle, crown of thorns, kalanchoe, phlox, gerberas, impatiens, african violets, lady's slipper, bougainvillae, ginger lilies, Jacob's coat, irises, ferns, tube roses, cosmos...and all the others whose names I cannot remember now. I smile to remember that there was also some specialization of labour in our family. My father would have nothing to do with flowers and planted and maintained only the vegetable, herb and fruit bearing plants and trees.

Listen to the PM and Iwer George. They are both giving us very sound advice:

"If dey retrench and yuh lost yuh work
yuh go ha to eat breadfruit you know, so best yuh plant it one time.
Yuh could plant a lil head ah yam on de boundary,
a lil bodi and yuh good to go! Come on!"
---Plant A Garden, 1994.
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!