I have been fascinated with gardening ever since my young age. Most of the things I learned, I learned on my own, by experimenting. Every year I tend to cultivate new and for me still unknown plants. Little by little, I managed to expand my garden space and conquer new land for my random plants. I will try to get you closer to it, by describing one isolated part of the garden and plants which grow there through the year.
As any other place, this small patch of land has its story. Before entering the gardening realm, the location was home to hens. Around 15-20 hens were living in a chicken coop on that spot. Eventually hens had to go, along side other animals from the yard that we had (after my grandparents stopped looking after the animals there was no one willing continue the work). But, what my family and I were willing, was to start growing thing there. What was waiting for us, was fertile land full of hen shit. We mixed it up with some soil we got from the banks of the Danube river and got some pretty nice base for the project. We used some stones, roof tiles and wooden beams to set up the place. Some 6 year later, I am taking care about most of the plants on the ‘chicken place’, apart from the ‘holy’ cucumbers and tomatoes, my father has to plant every year, as if Armageddon will struck if he doesn’t. A lot of different plants grow there through the year, and we will start with March 2014.
Ok, this does look like after a small Armageddon strike. Winters in Serbia can be quite harsh, in terms of cold and amount of snow. Usually, this all ends in March, and officially gardening season starts. With a little bit of work, the place gets prepared in no time.
This part of the garden is usally reserved for vegetables and herbs (plus 2 trees, an apricot and a tulip tree). But March is the only month when there are flowers there, along side some herbs that survived the winter. Last year it was only rosemary, lavender and parsley that made it through. So the first things that grows on the ‘hen place’ are tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.
I got daffodil (or officially called the Narcissus) when we first started reorganising the planting space. Ever since then they are among the first flowers to grow in the garden and visually announce the warmer weather. What is interesting for me, is the rich symbolism this plant carries. It is the national flower of Wales. In the Eastern culture, it is perceived as a symbol of wealth and good fortune. It is ever present in the Greek mythology, within the myth of the young Narcissus and the myth of Abduction of Phersephone (arguably one of my favorite myths) where Hades snatched her into underworld, while she was picking daffodils. And of course there is the famous poem by William Wordsworth, a member of the romantic movement in England, called ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud (daffodils)’.
These are wild hyacinth flowers (Hyacinthus orientalis) which are a bit different then the more domesticated relatives. It’s purple color looks incredibly nice paired up with yellow daffodils. It might not be so rich in cultural background as above mentioned flower, but still there is one interesting myth connected to it. In Greek mythology Hyacinth, was a young person, loved by two well know gods, Apollo and Zephyr.
Third prominent flower in the garden during March is the tulip. Even tough it lack in numbers, compared to the previous two, its light purple colour adds another vibrant note to the garden. Since this year there are two types of tulips in the ‘hen place’. Both bought in Netherlands, first brought as a present from my sister, some years ago, and second I purchased on a marketplace in little town of Uden, type called ‘Queen of the Night’. There is a novel named ‘The Black Tulip’, written by French writer Alexandre Dumas. The plot revolves around the competition, set in the city of Harlem, Netherlands, where it has been announced that anyone who grows a black tulip, will be handsomely reworded.