Now the title sounds terrible....I know. But for me, Mr. Gardnerman(El Jardinero), coming back from vacation is terrible!!! Sometimes I cry and sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief....and sometimes I go into emergency mode and stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning to revive everything from near death! I'll feel guilty and have a difficult time at night falling asleep knowing that it was my fault for abandoning my babies.
And they are babies....every year, a new group of plants go into the ground and if they can make it through a hot Tucson summer, then we are business. It is crucial they get the attention they need the first year. Some people have the attitude that "If it dies, it dies...plant something else." I agree with this attitude, but there are some plants that are special....like the fig tree or peach tree or the persimmons that have all been loved and nurtured faithfully. And one week can spell DOOM! for these beloved plants.
Last year at this time, I lost my beautiful Chinese Elm tree. I cried...I admit it...I cried. No matter what you do sometimes, you can't always save a plant. Of all my plants in this one garden, this tree was gorgeous....it grew fast and gave great shade....only 2 years old and cotton rot killed her. It was hard to let go......the birds were upset because this fast growing tree became home. So in her honor, I planted another chinese elm. I couldn't give up on this plant. It is 2 years old now and doing well, but not the same height of the other tree. My point here is that some plants are worth protecting and if you collect plants, it is important to pay special attention to their individual needs. "Well that's way too much work!", some may say.....but not if you love working in the garden. This year is the year of the fruit trees....and I have had great success with them in this heat....so I am hoping that when I come home, they will all be there to greet me:)
This week in the garden. I haven't been writing too much about the maintenance of the garden because it's just general sweeping, raking, and watering. However, some good news to report....the castor plants have begun to seed. Some of you say..."Weed....tropical weed!!" I know I know.....for those of you who live in the tropical areas, this is a real stinky pest, but here it adds a lot of punch and color to the garden. I collected a half bag of castor seeds from just 3 plants!!! They have already paid for themselves. In each pod, there are 3 seeds or beans. I put them in the ziploc bag and will plant a few when I get back. There are still many pods left on the plants.....but they are still pink....so there will be more pod breaking when I get back. Make sure that you use gloves when touching them....as they will irritate the skin....it is a toxic plant.
I have some great neighbors who will take care of the place while I am gone. I spent a morning going over directions and felt terrible with all the little details. However, she is a gardener and understands the needs of the plants:)
A couple of nights ago, I went out to the Arizona Inn Hotel for some drinks near the downtown of Tucson and took some pics of the landscape. They had some wonderful old growth near their swimming pool. The pics are below and show several clumps of bamboo and palm trees.
Finally, I found this music video dedicated to a mother who is an avid gardener. It is absolutely touching plus it inspires:)