Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flitting Right Along

Continuing along on what is becoming some sort of plant + bird theme... 

We (meaning the me's) are off on a damp Sunday morning stroll to Eastern Market, minding our own business: La la la traipse traipse  HALT.

We espy something curious growing in the far corner of this little garden and it tickles our fancy, one might say, because one cannot resist a serious dose of silliness mixed in with the proper.

First we're struck by the multiple colors, unlikely to appear on the same plant.  

Creep a little closer, we say to ourselves...go on...are those what you think they are? Mmmm hmmmm yes! We blurt and punch a self in the shoulder in glee. But it's so subtly done that it might be something else, something that actually grows from a branch -- because the branch is real enough.  

Yes they are feathers- a little bedraggled (remember the damp) -- giving wing to a pocket of early spring boredom, filling in for flowers still weeks from bloom.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Oh Frabjous Day!

The pittosporum WILL soon be in bloom!

See? Buds!

Maybe you think this should not be cause for celebration and exclamation and so on but the flowering of this shrub has been a hit or miss affair since we trotted it back from a springtime trip to Savannah some five six seven or maybe eight years ago. Could have been ten.

They have a scent that smashes you over the head so mightily that even the prince, who is odor blind, noticed it. Like orange syrup. Like a Disney fantasy of Florida (albeit one tragically without Carl Hiaasen). Like heat and sun and endless summer. Wherever you stroll in Savannah the scent of pittosporum curls its scented fingers and lures your nose to hover.... MMMMMMMMMMPF, you inhale. FFFFFFFFFFFT you exhale. MMMMMMMMMMPF ... and so on, into delirium. And then you grow numb with it all and have to lie down for a good bit. Or at least I do.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There's a Signpost Up Ahead...

Now this is exciting. It's some kind of viney thing embracing a signpost emblazoned with gawdawful No Parking and this and that signs and it's apparently being trained to weep -- twisting up the sign-stem and unfurling into a fine umbrella of a ....thing.

Last year this very same sign post was draped in morning glory, which was pretty damn glorious and I immediately swore to emulate this bit of genius as soon as the heavenly wheel returned to Spring.

Which it now has.

So last week I got me some morning glory seed, these pretty cool royal purple bordered in white numbers. I expect this will look quite flirty on the signposts that flank the alley that runs alongside our house; playing off our deeply purple front door.

Since morning glories only occupy that much of the day, for delirium in the twilight zone I got some moonflowers, which are --as would be expected -- white. If you've never whiffed a moonflower you're missing something. They're honeyed like jasmine but without the undercurrent of decay that (depending on your age, health, and the side of the bed you got out on) can be a bit unsettling. 

I soaked the seeds, as was suggested (though I promptly forgot they were soaking and there is this outside chance they might just...rot) and poked them directly into the ground.

Now we wait and hope that if they do emerge the prince doesn't determine that they're weeds and pull them.

Only a Fish in a Ferny Cage

I have not decided if this concept is fabulous -- or fabulously tacky. It doesn't much matter because I must have it, or something like it. It many benefits, this cage with golden fish ornaments floating above a sea of fern. There's no bird dreck to clean, no half eaten dead fish to remove (little cannibals they are), and no fish or bird food to administer. Just stick the cage in a breezy corner (so the fish kinda swim see).  And it's SO GLITZY!!! WHEEEEEEEEE..............

It is tacky isn't it. Yeah, I thought so. Well... it's something to ponder for when the day comes that I remove my teeth and repair to a trailer in Weeki Wachee Springs.

Or somesuch.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blight of the Apricot, Blooming of the Cherry

A rather large mistake is in the making. Serves me right for being so damn impatient, I say.

Oh, it looks pretty enough, the kwanzan cherry the Prince and I planted  several years ago to replace the apricot that up and died. It was good riddence to that, even if it screened our yard from the blight of new townhouses that went up behind our place and obstructed a clear view of the sky.

See, the apricot had a habit of prettily flowering and then spurting forth fruit, bushels of fruit, which you might think was very exciting and pleasant and tasty but was instead utterly disgusting and grew increasingly vile with each passing year.

It was here when we bought the house, approaching 27-years-ago, and weren't we thrilled that the skinny little sapling would eventually yield our very own apricot crop.

As it happened, just the summer before we'd been to visit friends in California and spent afternoons sitting stoned (or at least one of us was) on a deck plucking peaches from the branches of a tree that hovered deliciously overhead, sweet juices dribbling down our chins.

Clearly, we had a vision going here -- and didn't that apricot waltz right into the picture (funny what makes you buy a house, isn't it? It's all in the romance).

So we bought the house and watched the tree grow, fertilizing and fretting year after year when no fruit appeared. It never would, the tree experts informed us, because there was no other apricot in the vicinity and cross-pollination (or was it fertilization?) would never occur.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Do not dwell on this picture, just glance by it. Imagine wandering down a little side street and coming upon this pocket garden glittering its fool head off in the sunshine, thanks to strewn Christmas balls in what-have-you colors that might have dropped from the sky in a recent rain, all higgledy piggledy plop.

It's just happy. And, we might add, cheap.

Consider a little later on in the summer when whatever you've bought and planted, that thing that was certain to bloom, instead fizzled in the heat while you were off sailing with Cucumber and Desmond and you can't plant a damn thing because of the heat wave (nevermind that there's scarcely anything left at the garden center). That's when you crawl up into the attic and dig around for the box helpfully marked Xmas Balls and dig about for the glitteriest specimans and cart them off to fill that bare patch.

Happy. Cheap. Done. Drink time!  

In an Apple Blossom Daze

The morning that Monica was born--just about 26 years ago--the pink magnolias were running riot in the Pennsylvania Avenue median strip. It was a most glorious day.

Not many years later the magnolias were fallen, axed down in full bloom, and the community ran riot in protest as I watched from my second floor office window. It was as if every first born child was slain, the wailing, the rending of garments...

As usual this was from lack of attention. Almost every magnolia was ailing and the few that were well enough were being removed to the arboretum. This everyone would have known, should have known, had they just read...

What I wrote.

But nah. As Usual.

So I skipped me downstairs and gathered arms-full of flowers, velvety deep pink fading to near white. And stuffed every possible container and sat drunk with their final flowering. 

Ugly Garden # 1: An Occasional Special Feature

I've selected this as my first ugly garden for no reason other than I was standing on the corner of 10th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE this morning, waiting for Maggie to grab her camera so we could go look at the virtual apple blossom festival that was happening in the middle of the street.

And as I was standing there I realized that my eyeballs were being assulted with a dirt patch that obviously, at some point, had been attended to and at some point later was not.

Notice the sad red tulip standing singularly in the far left corner. Follow the flagstone walk to where the daffodils, their foliage mingling with some valiant weeds,  have given up blooming. If you've ever raised daffodils you know that's nearly as impossible as eradicating dandilions (though why you'd want to eradicate the latter, I don't know. Cheery harbingers of Spring I say! And then they turn to that fuzzy fairy fluff that you make a wish and blow on. Wow. I suddenly realize, even dandilions don't want to live here).

And that white box thing hovering in the foreground sure is...white. Well dirty white. Such a tastefully subdued shade of white. Yes?

Meanwhile, the black rope coiling snakelike around the border appears to be a vestigial watering system. At least I hope it is. Turn it on and you'd be happy as a pig in shiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

There are lights installed should you wish to have a clear view at night.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Southern Comfort

If you squint you'll see the date on the cover of this issue of Southern Accents Magazine: July-August 1997. You'll also notice (if you squint even harder) the thumb tack holes and blackening in the margins where it has been alternately pinned and taped to walls and cork boards for nearly 13 years.

Throughout the day, the sight of it in the corner of my eye tantalizes. What's out there, I wonder, beyond the arches where the sun light  is so brilliant? It's a garden I think, deeply green, with a circular pool and a fountain. I can hear the gentle splashing from where I'm flopped on the settee, feet up on the flowered hassock with its deep turquoise fringe, eyelids drooping over a book--the only jarring note. It's probably something involving serial killers or clowns in sewers.

We don't want to get too sappy now, do we? An acid splash is always nice; it's like a touch of anchovy in the mozzarella en carozza.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Alpha and Omega Pay a Visit

The Plant Room/Conservatory/Greenhouse/WhatHaveYou....has a new name this week, The Aviary. Alpha and Omega, a pair of parakeets have spent Spring break here -- as their family has winged south to frolic with the manatees and such. The near ceaseless chatter is a welcome distraction from whatever else I'm supposed to be doing at my desk -- If they weren't so damn filthy, I'd get me my own pair.

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