When you first arrive in Georgia, try to not arrive in winter. Nothing is in bloom, the only color in town and in the country is …grey! A devastatingly depressing grey.. As things start blooming, you start seeing things that you didn’t think would exist in a country where depression in people seems to be rampant. You see gardens! You see grape arbors being trimmed, you see cherry trees, apple trees, almond trees, and other all wonderful happenings spring up everywhere! It turns out that even in the darkest of situations, people are still wanting to till the soil, and see things grow. A simple apple blossom made my day. Things are also being planted. A park that was full of holes and armed steel cement pieces became a real park in a matter of days! The city is rejuvenating itself with plants! What a wonderful idea!
In the era of communism, people all worked. Maybe the gardens existed already, who knows? After the separation from the communist Russia, people took it upon themselves to build all kinds of structures, mainly on their buildings, such as enclosed balconies and other very unsightly things. They also managed to claim small pieces of land on the parkings and lands, simply encircled them with all kinds of accoutrements, corrugated steel and all, and called them “gardens”! If the result is not always happy, it however offers an oasis in the cement world. It is a little like the people of the country came to town, and started planting. You see little old women all in black tending the gardens with love, to be sure.
Daffodils bloom and violets are everywhere. Most gardens are covered with a steel frame, to be able to grow grapes, and provide a little summer shelter in a hot summer.
In the countryside, gardens can be planted in late March, and you can already see plots of cilantro and parsley come up. Next to them, the ever present walnut trees, the apple trees, the sour and sweet cherries, the fig and the pomegranate trees. The Georgians depend on their trees to bring them “muraba”, or fruit preserves, or canned fruit, for their sweetness in the gloom of winter. They will put the sour cherries in their cup of tea in January. They will munch on a preserved fig.
Parsley and cilantro are grown extensively, since parsley is used in most dishes and also served fresh on a plate. Cilantro is also a staple. As it is a favorite of the rabbits, the plots are covered with wire cages.