14 June 2006


Out here on the frontier, you know it's summer when the sun disappears for days at a time and it starts to get cold. Excellent weather for gardening (though not, as we shall see, necessarily for the plants). Then, when the sun does come out, in the immortal words of The Jesus Lizard, it's a joyous occasion, baby. That is when you notice things, like the flowers forming on our happily leafing-out pomegranate.

Conversely, the bareroot redbud (Cercis occidentalis) still looks like the exact same stick we put in the ground back in Feb., a few weeks after we planted the pomegranate. Why?

Gardening spawns constant questions. The gardenia, soil dutifully acidified and chelated, appears just as chlorotic as ever. Why? Mr. Google knows: the soil needs to be 72 degrees. Now, the Gardenia nomenclature is fairly chaotic, but I'm pretty sure G. veitchii in 1938 = G. angusta var. veitchii today, which is close enough to whatever I have that I'm just going to assume my soil's too cold. Anyway, Sunset frowns on Gardenias in zone 17.

Some day I might have the fortitude to yank it. But I like it, unlike the purple bougainvillea we inherited, which must stay where it is because we will never get anything else to grow in its spot. I mean, we have a freaking Gardenia in our yard. You cannot underestimate what that means to someone who grew up in New England. Note that it's flowering just fine, however sad and/or hideous the leaves. And it would be a shame to punish a plant with such a valiant will to live.

It's time for coddling.


Anonymous kk said...

My only experience with gardenias is as a finicky houseplant, but in addition to acid fertilizer, she liked twice daily misting, even moisture (although soggy wasn't quite as deadly as dry) and the tempature consistently about 70. No drafts. I'd put a plastic bag around her for a sort of spa treatment when it was particularly dry. Just a thought.

6/15/2006 1:20 PM  

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