Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Not to us, not at this time please…
I was waiting for him. He took so long to turn up. But when he did, I could notice the sternness on his face. He was in his finest and intricately woven black gho. A glance at him had let my heart escape a beat. I could sense the depth of whirlpool of turmoil that he was plunged into and the current state of hopeless despair. 
Though it was unusual for him, he failed to hold the secretions from his tear gland this time.

I was rather confused but no more when my olfactory senses detected the intense and encircling smoke and the blazing fire a few distance away from us. We were amidst an area stretched with dry pasture and a way out of our final destination seemed impossible.

“But are we simply going to give up? Leave only the memory and story of a couple engulfed by fire? Let this natural catastrophe put an end to all our hopes and dreams? Please not to us god, not at this time”.

My innate behavior directed me to drag him along and run at the fastest velocity.  And so did I without even uttering a word. Had I raced with the same pace while in school, I would have made a good athlete.

My first mission was accomplished when I found a stream. On account of the stream being small, there were possibilities that the fire may spread easily on the other side. There was the need for a quick decision and an immediate alternative as we could feel the intense heat keeping in pace with us. The rapidity with which the fire was spreading was such that it seemed as if a biodiesel fuel has been sprinkled over.

Then we rented a momentary shelter under a fishery pond nearby. With its wooden structures above, it could not serve us the purpose either.

The next option was to run to a river. My empty stomach reminded the brain of its existence. Even my dehydrated body demanded for its immediate replenishment. My legs were not willing to move any further.  But more than anything else, we felt the necessity to find a safer zone. Somehow, we made it to the river and managed to cross it even.

Gulping several handful of water from the river could provide a momentary relaxation to our totally exhausted body. It fulfilled the requirements of our body to a certain extent though.

An old man accompanied us as we started to move to a little higher elevation. He led us to an abandoned house. We entered the house full of dusts and cobwebs that were woven so intimately and exquisitely over the years.

No sooner did my soul mate saunter out the house than the old cunning man played his witty trick. He came with a hammer and fixed the wooden door firmly with iron nails. After several attempts, I managed to pull the window. I took my right leg out only to be pulled back inside and I landed back with a THUD!

Elated and relieved was I when I was knocked out of my subconscious mind. It was just a nightmare. I was lying on my bed with beads of perspiration on my forehead and my heart bouncing with its fastest beats ever.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Introduction to Horticulture

The term 'Horticulture' is derived from the Latin word, 'Hortus' meaning garden and 'Cultura' which means cultivation. In simple terms, it can be defined as the art and science of smart gardening or plant production for both beauty and utility.

 It is also defined as the branch of agriculture which deals with the cultivation, production and utilization of horticultural crops like fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, ornamental and flowering plants, spices and condiments, plantation crops, medicinal and aromatic plants and avenue trees.

It is also an art, science, technology and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. Horticultural science encompasses all of the pure sciences- mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and biology. The main divisions of horticulture are:

1. Olericulture: the production, storage, processing and marketing of vegetables.

2. Pomology:   deals with the production technologies of fruit crops.

3. Floriculture:  the cultivation and management practices of cut flowers, flowering plants, foliage plants and their use in ornamental decoration.

4. Plant propagation/ Nursery crop culture: the propagation and production of seedlings, young trees, shrubs and vines as well as ground covers, turf, ornamental plants and other crops in nurseries for landscaping, interior plant scaping or out planting.
5. Organic Farming: the production system which excludes the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.
6. Plant breeding: It deals with the breeding techniques of various horticultural crops for yielding a crop with all the desirable characters like high yielding, disease resistance, tolerance to adverse climatic conditions, etc.
7. Landscape/ornamental horticulture: includes the study of designing, construction and care of landscapes taking into consideration the proper choice of plants and aesthetic effects for homes, business and public places.
8. Entomology: deals with the study of insect pests, the damage they pose to crops and he preventive and control measures to be taken.
9. Arboriculture: study of selection, planting, care and removal of individual trees, shrubs, vines and other perennial woody plants.
1o.Viticulture: deals with production and management of grapes.
11. Weed management: the study of nature of various types of noxious weeds inhabiting the agricultural fields and the management practices to keep their population at levels below those causing economic damage to crops.
12. Post Harvest management: concerned with maintaining the quality or shelf life of the horticultural produce after harvest.