Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer's Comin'

The weed has become a flower, although a short-lived and scruffy one.



It's hot at 6:30 in the morning as I'm watering the few new plants I installed in February.
My upgraded irrigation system is doing its part to keep things thriving, but I'm regretting stopping the project before I'd finished finding the line.  The ground is baked caked solid; the only softness is from the hollowing out of burrows by ground squirrels and others who use my front yard as a rooftop parking garage and observation post.  The small trowel is no longer up to the task, and using anything larger runs the risk of breaking the line while employing my massive strength to break through.  Precision work is hard to achieve while using a pickaxe.

We have had cloudless windy days just shy of triple digits this week.  Yesterday, the sun felt a lot stronger and the breeze was stirring up the pollen drooling off the palo verdes and the world's fattest bee was gorging on the blossoms before joining us in the pool for a post-prandial cocktail.  We were happy to share our bounty.  I've never owned this much water before; it seems selfish to keep to to myself.

I'm prepared to water my container plants every morning without fail.  But every year I miss the onset of the 6 week period when I must water them twice a day.  I know I've missed it when I wake up and see this

Those four or five sparkly purple blooms are all that are left of the basket which just the day before had been a riot of pink and white and shades of violet.  It's in need of a drastic make-over.

Then there's the pretty little hibiscus with the curvy shiny green leaves.  Or at least it used to be pretty and the foliage used to exist.  This morning, it looked like this;


I've fertilized and ?over?watered and moved it from a partly sunny to a covered location and it just gets worse.

My prickly pear transplant seems to be doing just fine, and the emu bush hasn't keeled over and then there is my amazing tomato plant:

That's one giant flowering and fruiting plant.  The Big Cuter sent me a variety of apparati with which to tame the savage tomato beast, and this ever expanding circular contraption seems to to do the trick.  There are some very very small tomatoes on the undersides of the lower leaves, but, after 3 years of failed attempts I think I may just have hit upon a combination of plant/irrigation/suspension/bird protection/ease of harvest which will provide me with more than my previous harvest's total:  12 cherry tomatoes.  There were damn good cherry tomatoes, but there were only 12.  (Flash to the apocryphal  unbelievably delicious home grown tomato which, after all the costs were figured in, cost $80)

It's time, I think to plant the summer hardy plants and admit to myself that I do, in fact, live in the desert where the growing things must survive in the triple digits under cloudless skies and atop reflective sandy surfaces.  It takes a special kind of something to succeed under those conditions and I'm learning that it's better to accept what works and smile.

The vinca is invasive in the ground but delightfully overflowing in a big ceramic container.  It's not that exciting a plant, but it works.

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