Our cold weather garden has been nothing short of a celebration this year. I'm like that lucky hostess who does nothing but enjoy herself at her own party. Our malis are all novices and this is their first success. They are overjoyed at what they have achieved. For them, yes, this is a real garden party.
You know that feeling when you arrive at a celebration that every one has been looking forward to for ages. There's a sense of disappointment when things don't pick up. Well, that's what it was like at first. We had our share of stragglers and latecomers and we almost gave up waiting. Our marigolds took their own time. It was the same with our dianthus, sweet williams and antirrhinums. Once they arrived it was a riot, and everyone forgot how worried and disappointed we’d been. The party was in full swing once they all got into the act.
Then there was the flamboyant brigade - the dahlias and the gerberas. They were the stars from the beginning; all admiring eyes went towards them. The phlox were like those people who form groups with the like minded and chatter and sparkle among themselves. Phlox always look so happy, running riot in their chosen area, all bright and lively.
The gatecrashers at our party were made most welcome; last year's blue eyed daisies popped up unplanned and spread light and loveliness here and there. You'd actually think we'd placed them carefully. They are great at mingling, those friendly creatures. Ditto with the californian poppies.
Our garden has a little something for everybody. There are plenty of intoxicants, even though the party is drawing to a close. There are sights, sounds and smells that can transport you to another plane altogether. There is plenty of food too, if you are the kind of person who appreciates food for thought.
I must mention the special guests; they were driven here from my friend Jayati's bungalow one evening, all ready to go straight to the beds prepared for them here. Some muscians flew in from the North in all their finery. The one with brilliant red and black feathers stole the show. The musicians have departed, and our 'local talent' has started screeching raucously, practically monopolising the mike.
And now we have the debris that starts collecting at the end of festivities. You start seeing it out of the corner of your eye when the bash is in full swing. Dead leaves are gathering everywhere and the boys have their hands full sweeping them up. Soon we will be left with photographs, memories, and loads of cleaning to do. And after we've thanked and congratulated all the people who worked so hard, it will be time to plan our next party. One of the chief summer attractions is already in place: the solitary tokay lizard has returned to his tree. He announces his presence every evening with a few 'tokay's. We're relieved he is back; we thought poachers had got him at the beginning of the cold weather.