As a little boy, I wandered through seemingly endless wheat, millet, and corn fields, orchards of exotic fruits, and neatly laid out plots of vegetables of every description. Beautiful flowering annuals and extensive rose gardens filled the air with heady scents.
It was only later in life that I realized that this enchanted world was not just an expression of my father’s passion for gardening (he was one of the quixotic hybridizers of the perpetually elusive Black Rose!) but it was also a remarkable engineering feat to create this abundance on the harsh rocky edge of the Thar desert where my father’s slate mines of necessity had to be located.
An extensive perimeter wall had to be constructed to contain the soil that had to be trucked in by the ton. A 200+foot well was blasted through the rock to feed the elaborate system of tanks, pools, fish ponds, watering troughs for the livestock and flood irrigation canals that crisscrossed the whole property.
Because of the remote location of this homestead, we had to be self-sufficient in as much as there was no market or store within easy reach. All the meat, fish, dairy, grain or vegetables that we consumed had to be grown or raised by us.
This early fascination with “all things gardening” followed me through boarding school in the Himalayan foothills (Peter Bedi and I were Brother Masterson’s garden elves!), college (Prof.Amin’s award winning roses) and then on to what became my Life’s Work—planning, developing and building resort communities and homes in Florida.
Looking back I can see the early influences that led me to “build cities and viaducts”. Our organization developed and built over 5000 homes, several golf and resort facilities and all the infrastructure like water and sewer systems, cable television, high-speed internet and phone systems and an endless list of amenities all set off by our trademark landscaping, waterfalls, ponds, and fountains!
It was only in 2011, after five years of planning and design, did we build my first “from scratch”personal home on about two acres surrounded by giant centurion oaks that I had lived on in a renovated home since 1988.The house was demolished, the property was completely redesigned and landscaped and that, dear reader, is “the rest of the story”
Until the next time—happy gardening!!!!