Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Flora

It rained last night, but it didn't really help.  Not only are the humans melting into lifeless puddles, but the flora are whimpering, too.  Take a look at what remains of a once vibrant container garden:


Honest, I only skipped one day of watering.  But the desert sun is unforgiving, and I've never lived anyplace where the right plant in the right place was a more important piece of advice.  

I'm not sure what died in there; Dr. deA gave me a bulb and that may be it.  There's a serious root structure underneath the parched soil; my plan involves cutting back the dead wood, fertilizing the palo verde volunteer which has taken root along the edge, and proceeding with the plan I should have followed in the first place - vincas in all my pots for the summer.


Vincas are periwinkle in English, especially when they are of the violet hue.  The ones I find here are variations on pink.  Target had this 1 gallon container on the sale rack.  For $2.99.  It was one of 6 or 7 very bedraggled specimens sitting on the shelf.  The rest of the garden center was filled with cacti, succulents and bags of soil.  No one gardens in Tucson in July.  No one but me, that is.  

I know that the vinca will forgive me if I forget about watering.  My hanging basket wilts and sags and sighs


but perks right up when I pour a bucket of water down its gullet.



The sun shifted and the lighting changed but I promise, it's the same plant an hour later.  TBG thought that I'd replanted the basket with white flowers.  But, no, it's just that the petals fold in on themselves when they are stressed, shielding the deep pink color and revealing their white undersides.  Why?  I do not know.  

Now my containers are filled with vinca, an invasive plant often considered a weed.  I rely on my mantra: a weed is a plant that is growing in the wrong place.  I try not to feel that I've taken the easy way out, that I am dodging the difficult aspects of gardening in the desert southwest.  Have I cheated?  Am I afraid to fail?  I don't think so.  I enter the season with high hopes and fresh plants and, year after year, I am left with dessicated stumps.  I think it's that I've learned my lesson.  Unless I can find more plants with color which actually thrive in the summer's heat, like this adenium

I'm sticking with the vinca.  

Weed or not.




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