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Members of Bahrain Garden Club who have been unable to stage their regular gatherings due to the Covid-19 outbreak have taken time to uncover a whole host of new skills writes Mai Al Khatib-Camille.
The green-fingered friends now hope to inspire others to stay connected and positive during these challenging times.
Landscape architect Nishrin Kothambawala, a club executive committee member who volunteers as the media and fundraising co-ordinator, said: “It’s a shame we are not able to meet up as normal.
“But knowing that our members have always been keen gardeners, they continue to remain motivated and reap the therapeutic benefits of working in their gardens.
“They’ve started practising their photography skills too and sharing the images.
“Everyone has been enjoying the beautiful displays of flowers, exotic plants, shrubs and trees, as well as discovering landscape ideas for their own projects.
“The collective photo album is producing a huge record for us and attracting new gardening enthusiasts through Instagram. We are also sharing videos on gardening topics.”
The club has also been conducting Zoom meetings, sharing their new ‘stay at home’ skills and renewing past interests. For example, club treasurer and artist Irina Averinos used her self-isolation time to complete a red-heart quilting project she started 10 years ago!
She has also made fabric postcards with appliqué work and machine embroidery. When her garden was in bloom during spring, she collected various flowers and leaves and tried two different types of eco-friendly fabric dying techniques with the garden collection. She intends to use these techniques for sewing fabric shopping bags to replace plastic ones.
Club programme co-ordinator Thuraya Al Mansoori started doll-making, quilting, paper origami and has created stunning handicrafts. She also completed a series of indoor plant propagations.
Nishrin, who completed gardening projects with her daughter, added: “Our aim for sharing our individual stories is to remind the world that the pandemic is not just about the suffering and tragedy, but also about resilience and positivity.
“We are making people aware about different coping mechanisms used by some strong and positive individuals. Consequently, we hope to inspire everyone to battle their inner fears and utilise their time and resources in the best possible way.
“Those feeling depressed might find solace by reading such simple stories of how challenges can be faced with optimism and a smile. Let’s stay positive, motivated and hopeful because eventually we will all get back to normal again.”
The Bahrain Garden Club was established in 1964 under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad. The non-profit organisation is supported by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King and is affiliated with the UK’s Royal Horticulture Society. The members also organise seasonal bazaars and competitions.
For more details, check out the club’s Instagram account @Bahrain.garden.club.