16. Water and Flowers


The most beautiful and common expression of God as an artist, is seen in flowers. Today, Scott Kelly Commander of the International Space Station tweeted a photo of a yellow Zenia, outlined in red! Last year he grew lettuce in space!
Flowers and water have a symbiotic relationship. You need water and sun to grow flowers. Consider the rose All that is precious and rare must be protected. Like the rose. A rose will bloom only when it is cherished. When it receives the benediction of rain and sun. When it is wrapped in the love that guards it against pests and the harshness of the elements. It needs to be carefully and regularly watered. You cannot forget any more than you can forget to feed your gold fish.
If you do not want to lavish so much care on your garden, get yourself a gaudy patch of sun flowers which bloom with loud and careless gaiety. Happily insensitive to the most hostile conditions. But remember a rose can fill your days with a fragrance no sunflower can aspire to.
On the other hand there are other plants which will flower only when they are not watered. One is often reminded, especially by those who have never had firsthand experience, that hardship refines the soul. I found this difficult to believe until I started growing bougainvillea.

This hardy shrub flowers only when it is starved. In the midst of the hottest summer in April and May, it is not watered for a week. The leaves grow yellow and fall. The branches stand gaunt and ghostly in the pitiless sun. After these weeks of this stern discipline, it is watered twice a week.

One morning I noticed tiny buds blistering the tips of every stem. The I began to water them profusely.

Three weeks later the garden was a blazing dazzle of colour. Branches of multi-coloured flowers exploded on every branch in an incredible celebration.

Then, it rained. All the earth was green with rejoicing. But the flowers of the bougainvillea began to drop in great unsightly handfulls. Till not a single flower was left. Leaves covered very limb, but not a single flower appeared.

Somehow there is always something flabby in those who have never known the exhilaration of the struggle. There is a loss of the sharp – edged flash of brilliance that comes only with the conquest of unbeatable odds.

Achenyo Idachaitra, from Bayeku, a riverine community in Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria, has turned the deadly plant, the water hyacinth, into a thriving business. Living in a rural community, criss crossed by Nature’s bounty of running water, she watched God’s gift being destroyed. The fishing industry crippled chocked water ways and transport destroyed, by a devilishly beautiful plant, with gorgeous, showy lavender flowers, called the water hyacinth. The Igala language has given it an unforgettable name: ‘death to mother and child’ (Kp Iye Kporia). Others call it the Devil’s weed.
She took action:
a. She got into the waterways and harvested the water hyacinth
b. The stems were dried
c. She then contacted the Sabo community, who taught her to weave the stems into ropes.

Malam Yahaya, who spoke only Hausa, taught her. Today she has a flourishing business which makes, pens, table ware, purses and tissue boxes from the water hyacinth plant.
The same killer weed is now called ‘provider of food for mother and child’. Flowers and water are beautiful and create wealth.
Rekha Shetty
Water Warrior

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