What a joy my garden has been for me during this pandemic lockdown. I have really enjoyed getting to know each plant personally. They have become friends. I care for them, nurture them, appreciate them. I have 19 roses and this year they have been utterly stunning. Most of them have been given to me as presents. I have a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ rose which my daughter gave to me. This celebrates my great love of Jane Austen, and is a delicate apricot colour. It’s been set off beautifully in its terracotta pot by a profusion of pansies. We have a Silver Wedding rose, which is sturdy, white and tall, a deep red rose which our kids gave us for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, a Peace rose which embodies my devotion to yoga. It’s voluptuous, pink and lemon – just spellbinding. We have a Chinatown rose, which reminds me of when I worked in Soho! A particular favourite of mine is Delphine’s rose. It’s abundant, gives and gives, and is the most glorious fuschia pink. Delphine trained to be a yoga teacher with me and then emigrated to Australia. She gave me this rose before she left, and she always wore fuschia pink.
I have a red rose from another student, Stuart, a yellow one from Jeannette, a white one from Jill, and another white one from Rona, which is 20 years old. As I deadhead my roses, I remember these wonderful people who have gladdened my life. People who have touched my heart, people who have connected with my inner essence. We were, for a time, united. And I continue to celebrate that union as I tend these living souvenirs. Lockdown has given me the time to nurture and honour my garden. It has given me time to re-evaluate what is important to me and what no longer works.
I learnt a long time ago that focusing on something very small is really helpful for meditation. There are so many problems in our world and, while some folk are doing a remarkable job of addressing them all, many others are pulling in the opposite direction. I don’t always like people. I don’t like the people who leave litter on the beach. I don’t like the people who terrorise their own children. I don’t like racists. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like selfishness. I love mankind, but I don’t always like people. But I do always like my roses! I can focus on one small bloom and see all the beauty that Mother Earth wants to share with us. As Yogananda says, ‘be beautiful like a rose. Even when crushed, it smells fragrant.’
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti,