Friday, 8 January 2010

Another update from Rahima Sayer in Sikkim

December and January news from the garden

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity and development in the garden. Normally winter months are the quietest but we have achieved an enormous amount these last few weeks.
A greenhouse shade and shelter has been erected of 100 ft. Constructed from local bamboo with the help of local labour to put it up, This will be invaluable for protecting the young seedlings in their developing year from hail and rain.

Also the installation of a new water tank in the near vicinity of the green house will ensure that water is easily accessible to the site.
We are so fortunate to have the help of Pema Namgyal, Rinpoche’s brother who has built and looked after the retreat during the last few years. His knowledge and expertise in all areas has made it possible to continue to develop the project. He organises all the buying of materials and brings it over himself. Also all the labour communication for the building of structures and installation of the water systems he organises. Without his assistance this project would be very difficult maybe impossible.
Until you live in the HImalayas it is impossible to understand the fragility of the whole environment. Everything we need has to be imported, except for the local bamboo!! Everything like nails, screen netting and plastic pipes come from the plains of India so journeys up the mountains to Gangtok and then over once again to the Rumtek mountain where we are situated. This of course makes everything very expensive, as also being off the road everything is then carried down to the site. One assumes that working in India will always be much cheaper than Europe but this is not the case for the Himalayas. All these things have to be taken into consideration when looking at the project as a whole.

Amy Jennings from Ireland visited the garden for three weeks during November and December. Amy is a conservation scientist and offered invaluable advice and expertise in the procedures of seed sowing and cultivation. She immediately started to sow seeds using the inside of bamboo pieces for seed trays. She has an ability to tune into the environment and use what is available; it was so helpful to have her presence. She brought great energy and enthusiasm into creating a new rose garden and ideas for the landscaping of the overall garden. We look forward to her return soon. and many more inspirational plans!
The next phase of the project will be to install a workable irrigation system.
The land structure of the garden will be formatted in such a way to facilitate the water run off during the monsoon period.

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