When I was a little girl, my father allowed me a patch in the garden to do with as I pleased. The patch was outside my bedroom window and nearby my mother’s patch, wherein she was allowed to plant flowers and other non-edible plants. My father always shook his head, mystified as to why my mother and I even bothered spending time in our useless patch of garden.
My patch was filled with an old-sink pond, from which I would scoop out and murder mosquito larvae, while eyeballing frogspawn to ascertain whether it was, indeed, frogspawn, or whether it was (more likely but horror of horrors) cane toad spawn. Ringing the “pond”, were a myriad of spider plants and bromeliads, easy to grow and fast proliferating plants. Then, as now, I was a somewhat impatient gardener.
Now my “pond” has been filled in with dirt and my patch of useless, purely decorative garden is filled with rau ram, also known as laksa leaf or Vietnamese mint. My father’s garden has such an abundance of herbs, it does not matter if some go to seed, like this one is doing. I like to think Ba has mellowed in his old age and enjoys a little decoration in his garden; though I suspect the truth is: he hasn’t noticed yet. I noticed and photographed, but I did not pluck the flowers off, like I know he will when he does notice.
Aren’t they lovely? Like miniature gladioli – my mother’s favourite flowers.
The spider plants are still there. My father probably can’t rid them entirely as they, like mint, have underground, tenacious runners. They’ll pop out randomly on the lawn and I can just imagine my father’s exasperation at seeing them. I hope they remind him of me.