Cat-gardening Chronicles: will reading get a better salary for cat-gardeners?
We are always told that reading is the best choice for luring happiness in our lives. But then, if it is so great, how come it does not keep the vet away?!
Cat-gardening at least lures the sun to come down warmly on our backs, makes the hibiscus and the roses show off all the more, flaunting their petals and colours like models. We get to drink up the water from under the water lettuce, apparently inviting near death and disease, we are told sternly.
But as to reading, it took someone away from Netflix this week: the book was a mystery called A Murder on Malabar Hill: Perveen Mistry Investigates written by Sujatha Massey. The book is so gripping, that it took one gardener away from her duties so we had to tend to the ivies, the water lettuce, the ferns and the aloe vera. The rain also helped by pelting down to water all the plants. All we had to do was pretend to be industrious while we caught up with some urgently needed napping and dreaming.
The book draws you into the Bombay of 1921 in which a young lady named Perveen Mistry, one of the first women lawyers in India, pokes her nose into the mysterious lives of three Muslim women, recently widowed who might be in some trouble regarding the inheritance they should get from their husband.
First of all this book makes you fall in love with that far away, ancient Bombay when the British were ruling and everything was fresh, wondrous and intriguing! Parveen has had a troubled personal life which makes her more vulnerable and somehow more anxious about the fate of the three widows who live in severe seclusion! The mystery begins to slowly unfold like a creeping venomous snake in your own garden! Perveen is a very engaging lawyer and you follow her greedily to solve the puzzle! It is a must read for all who love an enticing tale of treachery and malice that weaves its spell around the magnificent towering glory of old Bombay!
The garden might get a little shabby or unkempt but one thing we know about plants is that they forgive you everything and keep putting out new shoots for you every single day!
And did you know that bicarbonate of soda can clean plastic garden furniture? Clean it with a wet sponge dipped in baking soda. Wipe using a circular motion, then rinse well. Commercial cleaners are too abrasive to use.
If you sprinkle handfuls of baking soda onto the concrete and sweep it into paving cracks it will keep weeds out of them.
Baking soda makes excellent plant food. Treat your alkaline-loving plants like clematis, delphiniums and dianthus, an occasional bath in a mild solution of one tablespoon baking soda in 2 litres water. You will get brighter, healthier blooms. (From: Reader’s Digest: Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things).
But if you too are feeling you need a break from Netflix or anything else jump into 1921 Bombay with Perveen Mistry and dig into the turmoil and terror that begin to follow her like the huge rat in our garden does every night!