“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Written more than a hundred years ago these words resonate in tune with our Malhar community. They ring true with the spine of its creation. The Flora and Fauna at GoodEarth Malhar are our portal to living in cadence with nature and the planet. They are the birds, bees, squirrels, snakes, beetles, flowers, plants and all the living things that unify us with the environment. Without them, these spaces would be empty.
As we saunter along on one of Malhar’s many pathways, we can find traces and baubles left behind by nature. A dried leaf, a dandelion floating in the air and a half nibbled fruit dangling from a tree. They all remind us that our best friends – the flora and fauna that surround us are just a whisper and touch away.
However, just empty expanses do not a nature welcoming vestibule make. At Malhar, we impressed space for nature into the design. What we observe around us at Malhar was not by chance, but by careful planning. The creation of spaces and spots where Flora and Fauna can flourish was an important cornerstone of the master planning. Having space for gardens is one thing, creating spaces where nature could congregate and bloom in a calm and unhurried manner contributed to this vision. It needs to possess the vision of creating a throbbing, humming ecosystem of life in its entirety.
The common garden areas where herbs and (vegetables) flourish, serve as much more than a fresh vegetable patch, they serve as a congregation space where adults and children get their hands dirty with actual planting, sowing and reaping. When you are laughing, playing, digging and engaging in communal activity, that is where nature and the human spirit get bound together, as one, unified and centred. There is something calming about the slow and deliberate motion that gardening makes for. You plant a seed today and watch it sprout a week later. You (or a neighbour if you are busy) water it, tend to it and a few days/weeks later you have a fresh, pure and healthy vegetable in your hands. It could be a bunch of beans or herbs, a pumpkin or carrot – whatever the output, it is from your hands yet, grown with the common hand of the community.
The Fauna that thrive, visit or flock to Malhar, are driven by the flora plan which was drawn from local species that thrive in their native conditions. The advantage with this approach is that native plant species generally require minimal maintenance and water. They are well suited for the local climes and offer the right balance of aesthetics and practicality. Their seeds spread easily and they are in perfect tune with the changing seasons. In fact, it is well known that non-native lawns and “green-scapes” need 3X to 4X more synthetic chemicals and pesticides to maintain. Native plants also provide a vital habitat for local fauna while providing nectar for pollinators – bees, butterflies, moths and bats. They also provide apt shelter for specific species while offering nuts, seeds and fruits as food to them. These spaces form the crux of a healthier place for the residents and community at large. This typical Flora plan has evolved, grown and thrived in tandem with the “timeline” of Malhar.
The Fauna at Malhar reveals all sorts of natural residents and visitors. As the plants and flowers grew and bloomed, so did the “circle of life ecosystem”. As the squirrels, birds, insects, snakes, bees, spiders and other species started thriving, so did the richness of Malhar. From migrating birds that drop in for a quick sip, to the occasional peacock, porcupine and myriad other small wildlife forms–they all find a comfortable home at Malhar. It is now a learning ground for the inquisitive child who skips along–what she may encounter in one run could be worth many days of other learning forms. And there is nothing like the tactile touch of an earthworm, pigeon, beetle or bug. We often see kids chasing butterflies for hours in the sun and prancing around with sprites of yellow, orange, and green flitting around them.
And yet all these are greater than the sum of their parts. The symbiotic glow that they cast on our lives is both parts dramatic and sublime in different measure. The simple act of sitting quietly on a bench under a tree and drinking in the sounds and sights around, while a cool breeze wafts by, can add years to one’s life. It is a union with nature of the highest kind.