Friday, July 26, 2013

Thought my gardening days were over

I have long enjoyed gardening. Perhaps it started with digging holes in the lawn when I was a teenager - 4 and 1/4 inch holes, which were the targets for my wiffle-ball golf course around (and sometimes over) the house.

I've had a large vegetable garden, including tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes grown in old tires, and even pumpkins one year when Alicia wanted to grow our own. Didn't realize that the vines ran everywhere, so I couldn't cut the grass in the 'back 40' until after Halloween.

More recently my focus has been flowers, shrubs, trees, and stone borders. Half-dead double-knockout roses that I rescued from Calloway's as they were clearing room for Christmas trees. Encore azaleas that required their own special bedding but bloomed prolificly in late spring, summer and fall. Crepe myrtles as a screen for the patio. Lovely wisteria that flowered only briefly but with vines that threatened the fence structure.

When I left Texas for Europe and a main domicile in an apartment bordering a narrow macadam street, I figured no more plants in my future.

I figured wrong.

In Argeles, my 'art gallery' office has a decent-size patio outside. The landlady already has a rubber tree, a climbing vine, and some small potted plants on the periphery. But there's also a narrow ledge which would be perfect for some spider plants or something with color.

And outside the door to D-L's studio, I'd love to plant a flowering vine or two that would climb up the building stone, maybe across some of the electrical wires, and add to the color that the neighbors have established - and earned Rue Vermeille designation as the prettiest street in the village.

Then there's J's house in Geneva, where I started by attacking the weeds around the edge of the driveway and garage, but now we're talking about what we can do around the large yard. Today we went to a garden centre and picked up a 2nd large planter, some potting soil and peat moss. We looked at various plants and flowers but could not decide. (I need to get a Neil Sperry-type book on what grows best in Switzerland.)

Regardless, in both places, the plants have to be pretty much self-sufficient. We go back and forth between the two locations, and travel elsewhere with some regularity, so there are long stretches where plants will be neglected. And they have to tolerate extremes of cold and occasional heat. So the choices are somewhat limited.

Always liked a challenge. When the result is pleasant to look at (and sometimes eat), I'm up for that.

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