Ellissa’s island life

November 15 - 21,2017

At long last my favourite season has arrived, the winter months being a time of growth, abundance and colour.

With the intense summer heat long gone and the arrival of cooler less arid conditions it’s time to ‘plan the planting’ so the garden can erupt into a rainbow of colours that should take it through to mid-April or longer.

It’s time to brighten up my days with potted colour and with the help of my fabulous gardener, Petunias and Geraniums have recently been potted, already offering a pop of colour after the dull summer tones - changing from barren land to green garden.

Recently at my book club, each member was given a Vietnamese Mint plant by the hostess, who has seriously green fingers. She had brought back the seeds from a trip to Australia and had lovingly brought them to life.

I have often thought that gifting a plant or herb as a unique but perfect gift to give to friends, knowing it has been planted, nurtured and grown especially for them.

My mother has a green thumb too, she can grow absolutely anything. Friends call her for advice or to nurse a dying plant back to robust health. Her vegetable garden gives her a bounty of fresh organic vegetables all summer long and with any excess going into the honesty box. 

I too have always enjoyed gardening and the weather means more when you have a garden, particularly here when seasonal difference and temperature are two major factors affecting what can and cannot be grown. So when things do grow here, it’s very rewarding.

I remember the expression the children wore when their seeds from their Eden Project summer trip sprouted in our Bahrain garden into the fascinating Sensitive Plant, a plant that can move – its leaves fold up when touched.

It’s always a joy to find a new developing flower bud or watch your green tomatoes ripen to red.

I can’t wait to cook, freeze or eat something that has grown in the garden this winter.

This year I am adding strawberries to my tomatoes and chili and I’m looking forward to giving some strawberries to friends, that’s if the children or birds don’t get to them first.

Alas, lavender, one of my favourite insect attracting, calming flowers eludes me and, as to date, I have only managed a little sprouting before death descends.

A gardener from the popular Budaiya garden centre is used to my regular visits and I have told him about my failings with the plant.  He explained to me he has been in Bahrain as a gardener for 28 years and he grows everything from seed. He has agreed to take on the challenge and told me to return in two weeks, watch this space …

More on Letters