by germinatrix | June 9th, 2009
I didn’t have much time to do the garden thing while in Texas – having a Grandmother spunky enough to turn 88 kept me very busy for 4 days. There were endless family drop-byes, brunches, lunches, dinners, afternoon naps, stories told, and advice given. There was even a six year old with a head full of velcro rollers under a hairdryer! Very Texas. I did take a walk down a street I know very well – a street I must have driven up and down thousands of time in my life, but have never walked. So while everyone else was cooling their heels under the ceiling fans, I pulled on my vans and wandered over to Honeysuckle Lane.
I’ve always loved this primeval front yard forest – the moss in the branches and the ivy-covered trunks are so evocative – spoooooky!
There is something about South Texas and trees. Oaks are everywhere, with beautifully shaped branches twisting, bending; reaching for the sky in an almost heartbreaking way. But even other trees – camphor trees, carrotwoods – they ALL look better than they do here in Los Angeles. Arborists are obviously well thought of in Texas.
It was a nice day – hot, but overcast, so it wasn’t torture. There was even a breeze every now and then. I saw a soft green shrubby perennial swaying in the wind – and it had the most remarkable pointed red flower buds. Could it be? I walked closer. Yes. It was – the unmistakable lipstick-tube buds of Hibiscus moscheutos, or Rose Mallow.
There were no open flowers, which might have been just as well because I know I’d have screamed. They are as big as serving platters! And even though I AM given to hyperbole, I am being totally straight here – the flowers are THAT big, and THAT gorgeous. But the bud was beautiful enough – I was happy to see it!
A black truck drove by and almost hit me. My fault – I was staring at a beautiful sweep of lantana, realizing that I was actually staring at a BEAUTIFUL sweep of LANTANA! Huh? Even though I promised myself years ago to stop having plant prejudices (there are no bad plants, only bad PLANTERS) I’m still not too keen on lantana… but check it out here! See, this just proves my previous parenthetical point.
Earlier in the day I’d noticed a drought tolerant garden I wanted to take a peek at. As I approached, I was welcomed by a beautiful opuntia, underplanted with hesperaloe parviflora, and a Pride of Barbados was preening in the background. Wow.
I was immediately jealous. I REALLY need more garden space! How am I going to find room for all of the BIG plants I want? Because I seem to always want the biggest plants; plants that tower and soar and intimidate and dominate. Well – I have no more garden space (okay, actually, I have a little more…) but I’m going to find a way to get a big opuntia like this anyway.
As I snapped a few photos of this island of sensible planting in a sea of lawns, my phone rang. I was being called back to the family … more Grandma-palooza was underway (my magical little sister Christina came up with the very appropriate title to the weekend’s events). So I had to cut my garden reprieve short and mosey on back up the road to the ole homestead. But before I did, a friendly sunflower waved goodbye, and in the process, attracted a vigorous pollinator.
Bye-bye flower. Bye-bye bee. Have yourselves a good time. I’ll give you some privacy!