Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Mother asked Narad to design the gardens

Mother asked Narad to design the gardens. This he was unable to do. “I couldn't catch the vision. Instead Mother gave me the opening to working with the soil and with plants.” During the 1970s, Narad and his helpers built up a unique collection of rare and beautiful plants. In the early 1980s he returned to the U.S. , but he continued to contact nurseries and friends around the world for special plants for Matrimandir. In recent years Narad has revisited Auroville annually for longer periods and at present he is fully engaged in the Matrimandir gardens.
His particular focus at the moment is to plant grass on all the petals by 21st February. “It's a big job. Every petal will have 1300 square feet of grass, but before it can be planted we have to prepare the compost and eliminate all the nut-grass, which is the bane of our work here in the tropics. I've even seen it grow through concrete!”
Grass is a whole world in itself. Narad reels off the names of some of the different varieties he is introducing at Matrimandir: Tif dwarf, Tifton 10, Tifton 419, Princess 77, St. Augustine , Centipede. “Many of the grasses come from the Agricultural Experimental Station at Tifton , Georgia , which is where they grow the finest golf course grass in the world. The qualities we are looking for include low-water tolerance, disease and insect-resistance, high-traffic tolerance and low-nutrient needs. But the first thing we look for is beauty. Each of these fine grasses has a different colour, texture and leaf shape. There's the bluish Tifton 10, the rich green Tifton 410, the emerald green Centipede...” Narad is using different varieties to create interesting variations.
What excites Narad most, however, is not the success he has had with the new grasses (of the 17 varieties he brought, 15 have succeeded), nor the successful cross-pollination of the 29 varieties of ‘Prayer' (Zephyrantes) which he has just brought from the U.S. avtoday/March_07

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