[gardeners] The Perils of Pauline (Penny?)

Ron Hay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 06:53:32 -0700

Good morning, friends! As with George, I howled at the wonderful turns
which Penny's tale took! You should write sitcoms and be earning a
bundle, while sitting back, enjoying your garden, Penny. You and Jimmy
could live in the lap of luxury from your earnings!

Fall, such as it is in Southern California, continues to march on its
merry way, with 30-40 degree temperature swings during the course of the
day: 90 at 2 in the afternoon; 55 or 60 by 5:30 a.m., when our clock
radio goes off.

This makes for interesting gardening weather. It is often too hot in the
sun during the day to garden; yet, by the time it cools off, the sun has
gone down and you can't see a bloomin' thing (literally!).

We put in our Stella de Oros this weekend, before Vivian took off for a
trip to the East Coast, to visit the LA Times Washington Bureau (she
manages the resources of the LA Times' Editorial Library), friends in
Lumberton, N.C.; and then back to D.C. for an American Society for
Information Science Conference before heading home a week from this
coming Thursday. (They also serve who sit and wait:) )

We did not have time to put in all the scilla and ranunculus (scillae et
ranunculi?) as a community decision, so I will have to render executive
decisions this afternoon, while there is still enough light to work.

We cut back our roses a bit last week, as they had gotten past the 6'
stage, and are now a bit less "leggy." Time to feed them again for the
last time, before we cut them down to 12" in January.

I am enjoying the spectacle of our first pomagranates ripening to a
deep, brick red. Does anyone have a clue as to when they are acually
ripe? This is our first year growing them, and the fruits are small,
since the sapling does not yet have the root mass to sustain full-sized

Every morning, I enjoy picking up fresh, ripe limes from the ground,
along with green, but still ripe, passion fruit. The limes are ready for
gimlet duty at that point, but the passion fruit are sweetest if  you
leave them on the kitchen windowsill for a week until they are purple
and wrinkled.

Next week, I believe our fuyu persimmon will be ripe. They are always a
treat for me, right off the tree (they are not astringent like American
persimmons); but Vivian loves to let them get dead ripe. It's a young
tree, so we only expect about a dozen fruit this year (squirrels got a
couple before we put the "hairnet" on the tree).

Our birds of paradise (strelitzia nicolaii) are resplendent in the early
morning sun, with tangerine and cobalt hues, which the hummingbirds seem
so attracted to. This is the first time they have bloomed for us, since
we bought the house in '97. The previous owner had no interest in
gardening (odd for a Japanese lady), and had the landscaping
intelligence of a plastic soap dish (!) The first year here, we had to
undo all sorts of mistakes, remove perfectly good plants which had been
planted dead wrong in locations in which they could not possibly thrive,
resulting in misshapen, sad-looking things.

This week, it's out with the remaining tomatoes. We are about a week
behind in removing them. They grow tall and rank, but it is too cool for
them to set fruit, and they look just plain bedraggled. Out, too, will
go the zukes, which are struggling to produce their last few squash in
these ever-shortening days.

Well, it is time to turn this moth into a butterfly, before heading in
to my office. I wish you all glorious gardening, and a day full of
bright blossoms and sunshine.