This week’s feature deviates from the norm, to introduce you to a hobby which now tutors me on some salient life lessons; gardening at G-Gardens.
Considering this week (Sunday 10th April – Saturday 16th April) as Holy week, where many believers recall the events that led up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I couldn’t help but take cognizance of two associated events which took place in gardens; the Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb where Nicodemus laid the body of the Lord Jesus.
There are four prominent gardens mentioned in the Bible: Eden, Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, and Paradise. G-Gardens, my creation, is a thematic garden based on life lessons.
Woodland (our world): Wood is associated with human nature in the Bible. It is considered a material that is corruptible and changeable, just as human nature is. Wood cut off from a tree dies, its bark splits and eventually peels off. Hardly any of the logs are straight! All these depict hurt and pain in the world.
Most of the colorful flowers are different types of orchids. At G-gardens the orchids represent the ‘fig leaves’ Adam and Eve used to cover their nudity after eating the forbidden fruit. The orchid roots consist of wiry filaments which wrap around the logs; illustrating shame. Woodland seems to thrive on deception because humanity cut off fellowship with her Maker.
All of us at some point in life will need to be broken; some more than others. There is value in brokenness. We seem to be more willing to listen to God when we acknowledge our flaws and humble ourselves to seek His help.
The reminder and a powerful symbol of the price paid for the redemption of humankind.
THE BACKYARD, THE BACKGROUND
How it all began: I was ten years old. I had no special knowledge of determining what to plant but I had turned the backyard into a lush garden, my first backyard garden.
Gardening had become my new hobby, having moved from an urban dwelling to the outskirts of a city, a new settlement, a community which was then developing. The family was used to living in houses with big compounds; typical of colonial bungalows which were set on spacious land plots, so this house was naturally modeled after it.
What must have motivated me to work the soil was the bushy surrounding. While my dad hired men to clear the frontage, the backyard was for me. I tilled the soil and was thrilled at the thought of harvesting huge tubers of cassava as I stuck cassava sticks in the holes I had dug using a hoe. We made staple foods of fufu (pounded cassava), gari (processed and dried fried cassava) and enukor (boiled cassava) all from the tubers and even extracted starch for tapioca and reserved some to finish the laundering of school uniforms!
During the rainy season, I added corn, and as the rains gradually thinned off, I introduced some peppers, okro and tomatoes. I often received teases for placing one too many corn seeds in the holes or having the holes too close to each other as the corn stalks shot up.
The backyard also had a big mango tree, several pawpaw trees, a lemon tree and an orange tree. Together, they formed a lush tropical garden and daddy was proud of me!
I had read about scarecrows; so among the corn plantings, I built one. Using a long stick to stand firmly in a hole I had dug myself, I crossed it with a much thinner and shorter stick, nearing the top, fastening it with a twine. I clad it with an old shirt with red as its dominant color. In my mind red meant danger. “It would have a double effect of scaring anything which attempts to steal my crops”, I thought, but it did not!
After a day’s work one cool afternoon, I stood under the mango tree to admire the baby fruits of mangoes. I noticed for the first time a huge hole at the foot of the mango tree. With my cutlass in hand, I stuck the cutlass into the hole only to feel a movement of the cutlass. I took a step back and looked inside that hole. There was the most colorful ‘fabric’ I had ever laid my eyes on! I run into the main house excited and shouting, “there is a cloth inside the hole under the mango tree!” It was as if I had found a treasure and it was going to be all mine!
This backyard was never of the typical backyard collecting junk; but it had become a sanctuary for a python.