caro thinks

that you should sort by topic


date 2001-04-25:14:45
now in bloom on my patio
I tried to murder the fuchsias. They're blooming so hard that I thought they might be getting hungry, and everything is overdue for fertilizer: last pelletted, slow-release application of Vigoro was December 25th. I thought I only gave them a little, and I didn't think it used to work that fast. But I think some of their roots must have been nearly bare--it's the only explanation. Next morning they all look fine, but at noon I glance up and they're wilting! A few leaves are already burnt. Emergency repairs: Everybody down from the pergola and into the shady depths on cool wet cement. I scrape off the fertilizer-balls along with the top layer of soil, add more moist soil, then water them deeply and spray the leaves. They definitely look better today, but I've lost a few branches. Even the robust "Jingle Bells" is a bit weepy and has a few fried tips. Luckily I had only put about 10 balls on "Baby Blue Eyes," the picky little darling who can't even stand a little bit of sun, and it seems to have escaped all damage. I'm so mad at myself. I could have lost the whole bunch if only an hour or two more had passed before I saw the trouble brewing. Southgate, Blue Eyes, Dollar Princess, Dusky Rose, Swing Time, Winston Churchill, and Silver Queen all are in bloom; Winston Churchill and Silver Queen took the fertilizer the hardest. Dark Eyes, Blue Satin, First Love, Voodoo, all in bud.

Martha Washington geranium "Morwenna" is in full bloom: luscious frilly marroon blossoms with black centers. Of all the plants, the aphids are holding this one most tenaciously: its dense masses of ruffly leaves make it hard to hose off the buggers. Since Morwenna works so hard and uses so much water, it at least doesn't mind being flooded during the daily aphid slaughter.

The boronia is still in bloom, though not quite as fragrant anymore. I think most of the buds are not opening, and maybe they won't.

The deep purple petunias are, as always, a winner. Experience has suggested that it is only the solid deep purple ones that supply the lovely clove-like fragrance, and that they do so reliably. All the rest of the colors smell like latext balloons to me. I got a little six-pack a couple of months ago, stuffed three into a white hanging pot, and the whole thing looks very sweet against the backdrop of the everblooming bougainvillea "San Diego Red" that circles the pergola. Two more went in with the pink winter stock, which usually dies on me at the end of the season; and Marsha got the sixth.

Gayle, the manager, gave me her easter present: a pot of exquisite mauve calla lilies. She's into sparseness these days; a few weeks ago she and Terry gave me a ton of ceramic pots, requesting as payment only that I repot her seddum. That was easy enough. What was tough was finding room for all that stuff. Some of the lest attractive pots I smashed to make drainage shards.

In a large strawberry urn that Terry had to wheel over here on a dolly, I planted the varigated calamondin, and in the 12 side-slots I put white alyssum and lobelia "Crystal Palace"; everything in the urn is in bloom now. I placed the huge thing on a wheeled pot stand, which is the only way to deal with such a big, unplanned acquisition with 360 degrees of plants that need their time in the sun.

In fact, at this point, the more wheels, the better.

Two bright orange, long-stemmed blossoms from the hybrid tea rose "Topicana" grace my table. After two weeks, they've lost their strong perfume, but they still look gorgeous. The flowers were conveniently located on the two lowest branches of the plant, and since I'm training it to be a tree, I cut them off as soon as the buds opened. The tree is now slightly taller than me, with the lowest branch coming out at about bicep-level. In the vase with the roses are sprigs of white solanum jasminoides; not only did the blossoms keep nicely, but the buds opened too--good to know, since I frequently have to remove stray ends and hate to waste the flowers.
on being a woman
Interview with neighbor Gail, an emergency room nurse, originally from New York City. We discuss her garden for a while, then move on to The Zone. Then I remember I'm collecting data and ask suddenly:

caro: Do you know any woman who married for money?

gail: No.

caro: Any woman who refused to date a man because he wasn't making enough money?

gail: No.

caro: No one at the hospital, the other nurses, your daughter, your mother....

gail: [responds 'Uhn-uhn' to each on the above list].

caro: Nobody?

gail: No. I was married twice. I divorced my kids' father, then remarried him for security.

caro: Security? You mean financial?

gail: No, just the whole thing. I couldn't stand him the second time either.

caro: How old are you? [thinking maybe early fifties]

gail: 61.

caro: WHAT? You are not!

gail: Yep. I got good skin.

caro: [staring] Wow.... I want to be just like you.

gail: And I'm sassy and I used to have a smart mouth.

caro: A smart mouth keeps you looking young?

gail: Oh, yeah. Burns a lot of calories too. Before I moved to California I used to go out dancing all night, til 3 in the morning. I was crazy. Then I got all quiet when I moved here and started to gain weight.

caro: A smart mouth and sassiness burn calories?

gail: Yep.

I explain to her why I'm asking the questions, thinking it might provoke her into rethinking her answers, but she's adamant.
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