Trees in waiting

As we settle in to wait for the rains, the trees in my ‘nurseries’ wait too. In clay pots and plastic bags and troughs and coir pots and coconut shells, they await their tryst with the earth. Then (hopefully), like birds taking to the skies, they will spread their roots and revel in their element.

These are in my Bangalore garden, mostly native trees, both timber and fruit. Among others, there’s arjuna and sal and rosewood, desi badam, ramphal, lakkili and moringa (yes, more moringa). And some exotic species like a velvet apple, whatever that may be, an egg fruit (ditto), a tree tomato and an olive. Most of these are from the paradise I have been haunting for twenty years – Munivenkatappa Nursery in Sidhapura, Prop: the knowledgeable and friendly Mr. Jai Prakash.

These are on my terrace, mostly grown from seed, including several date plants (I hesitate to call them palms, they are so small and stunted), some chickoos, a lemon and a mahogany that has sprung up, like Brahma, of its own accord. There are even three suspected carobs lurking under the tomato plants, too precious to handle yet. And though it’s too soon to tell, I think the carob likes the tomato. When I planted carob seeds on their own, very few sprouted, and all of those died. I read somewhere later that their roots aren’t very assertive, so it might have been a mistake growing them in coir pots. The ones that have now appeared now were seeds I had given up on (in mud pots). I just let them be, and planted tomatoes over them. It just goes to show… something or the other!

And these are at the farm – some bought, some homegrown. The latter category includes teak, a shikakai, and our own grand-cashews. The ‘grand’ is to indicate, not size or quality, but relationship: they are grown from the seeds of our own cashew trees!

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