Gardening with a Brown Thumb


Last year was devoted to getting our front yard in order. We moved into our home two years ago, and while our house was slowly starting to feel like home, our yard (I am being generous here, it’s actually just a strip of land on the front and sides of our house) was still barren.

I pretty much have a brown thumb, any plant I take an interest in seems to get dry and dies. But K is interested in gardening and he’s taken the leadership in our efforts to get some greenery going. All I pretty much do is a little light watering when required, and some commentary when a plant dies or thrives .

We started off putting a lawn in front of our house to get some greenery going. Of course, doing this in the peak of summer was not the best idea, and what we got was a yellow poky dry grass.

Snubnose standing next to the first lawn we got going

Snubnose standing next to the first lawn we got going

We ended up having to wait for the monsoons for the grass to actually look like the green lawns of my dreams.

We also had terrible luck with our first lot of plants. All of them either died or were uprooted by Piglet who just couldn’t get it through his thick skull that they were not to be touched. Forgive me if I sound a little tetchy over this, I am still grieving the loss of my lovely mango and neem saplings that were coming along so well until Piglet got into action.

So our front lawn still looks a little bare, but the side of our house has come along quite nicely. This area gets the best of the morning sun, and Piglet doesn’t have much access, so I enjoy quite a nice green view from our dining and kitchen areas.

Here are some photos.

Our Drumstick and Silverpine Trees

Our Drumstick and Silverpine Trees

The drumstick tree has been growing like a weed, every time I turn around, it seems to have shot up a few feet more. It’s now almost reached up to the first level of our house. Our silver pine (in the background of the above photo) has been doing okay too, it had a growth spurt a few months ago, but now seems to be content at this height. I hope this summer it gets back to growing again.

The Bamboo Catching the Morning Sun

The Bamboo Catching the Morning Sun

We also planted a whole bunch of bamboo along our kitchen window to offer a little shade. After staying stagnant for a while that’s also started growing quite tall. I’m quite ambivalent about the bamboo though. To my eyes, they just seem messy and dense and I worry about snakes and rats hiding in the undergrowth.

The other plants that I am super-thrilled about are the Bougainvillea. We planted two of them, and both are growing tall. My beef with these plants for a long time was that while they were growing well, they weren’t throwing out flowers, so they looked like these random creepers on haunted houses. Thankfully, the blooms started sprouting a couple of weeks ago, and while they are still not as thick as I’d like them to be, they at least give a bit of color and are a nice foil to the green bamboos growing beside them.

Bougainvillea in bloom

Bougainvillea in bloom

The chikoo tree growing right at the back of the house is also doing well, surprisingly. Considering it’s right at the back in a rather dark corner, it gets very little attention, and half the time we don’t even notice it’s existence. But there you go, it’s actually started giving out fruit.

Our chikoo tree

Our chikoo tree

I’ve had little luck with the rest of our plants. The jasmine is growing well, but shows no signs of flowering. I am hopeful though that it will suddenly start to bloom like our Bougainvillea.

The basil plant that I had got going in a pot and whose leaves I used for my pesto sauce upped and died last month. What’s the life cycle like for potted plants such as these anyway? We had this plant for about 8 months only.

The aloe vera and citronella are growing well. They are useful plants but not particularly beautiful. The hibiscus throws out a bloom every now and then, but it hasn’t grown very tall.

Our hibiscus plant

Our hibiscus plant

Frankly, none of the plants in the front of our home are doing that well. Maybe it’s the quality of the soil there or the angle of the sun or the rains, but they are just not flourishing the way the plants on the side are.

It’s a shame because the front is the bigger area, whereas the plants on the side of our house are all planted close to each other and compete for light, water, and soil space. They are still doing well though!

Strange how things work out in such unexpected ways.

  • Wow.. Beautiful Gardening Tips. Great Thanks..

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  • Looks good! I think the basil could grow perpetually if it has enough soil?

    Pinned this to the #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup board (thanks for linking up!)

  • dreamzandclouds

    i love the plants you have put around your house 🙂

    • Nishita

      Thanks @dreamzandclouds All credit goes to my hubby though 🙂

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