Thursday, February 6, 2014

Random Thoughts - The February Gardening Edition

My fingers are covered in glochids. Tiny little pieces of cactus are burrowed beneath my tender flesh. They are invisible to the eye, poking me and stabbing me and then hiding as I search with my tweezers. I've tried scotch tape and duct tape and Gorilla tape and they are still there.  It may be time to get the epsom salts out for a good long hand soak.
TBG suggested that my gloves were not up to the task of protecting my digits.... after he chastised me for not wearing gloves at all.  How could anything penetrate a protective covering, he wondered.  I thought back to the cactus nursery workers, with their masking tape covered gloves, trying to safeguard their flesh.

They didn't have any better luck than I did.
I pruned the fan palms in the backyard this morning.  One is growing tall, the other is becoming wide. Both are very very happy in the amended soil bed, up against the pony wall.  With their roots sheltered from the direct rays of the sun, they never scorch.  With pavers on one side and the wall on the other, the roots are stymied and the branches flourish.  It's a bonus for the viewer and a problem for the pruner.  They can't be transplanted nor can the nodes be removed and used as starter plants; I've tried for five years and I am finished with the experiments.

The right plant in the right place .... that works until they get so happy that the right place becomes the too small place.  I fear that I am headed in that direction.
I've never lived in a house for as many years as I've lived in this one.  I've never seen a garden grow to maturity under my own tender ministrations.  I'm at the point of replacing rather than enhancing, of repairing rather than installing, of trimming instead of hoping for growth.

I think I like it.  I'm not sure.
I spent the morning admiring my trees and my agaves and removing the dead and dying paddle cacti. Was it too hot or too cold or too dry or just their time?  I don't know.  Neither did Ernie.  We chatted as we removed the mistletoe from the palo verdes, whole branches coming down because the infestation was too deep to prune away more gently.  There's something very satisfying about sawing off a branch and seeing healthy growth left behind.

How do I get the birds to stop pooping their mistletoe in my trees?  It's a mystery.
The bluebells are sprouting bigger and bigger foliage, preparing to send their flower shoots up to the sky.  I know they will blossom when we're in Chicago visiting the kids. Perhaps JannyLou will take a picture or two for me and send it along.
It used to be an effort to get down on the ground.  I couldn't squat for a quick second to grab an errant leaf or prune a recalcitrant branch.  Today, I found myself behind the fan palms, one hand braced on the wall, the other chopping off fronds, one foot planted on the patio pavers and one in the dirt.  I was rock steady, not wavering, not quivering, the only difficulty coming from the sharp leaves trying to blind me.

I had to stop and smile.  Progress is measured in different ways, at different times.  The best of these is when it smacks me in the head, reminding me out of the blue that I am getting better.

Now, if I could only keep the mistletoe out of the trees.........

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