The blooming rain

aloe vera

THE INTERMINABLE rain should begin winding down in about a month. It started in June, as it almost always does and should, and it’s continued daily till now and onward. It’s a blessing.

But in September, one starts to think: Enough already.

Every year the yard plants increase in size, which is not good most of the time, especially since I’ve grown weary of controlling them. Take this aloe vera, for instance. When we moved here in 2003, I snipped a twig from an aloe vera in the yard of the rental where we lived before.

I stuck that twig in the soil next to the downstairs veranda. It grew. How nice, I thought, so I yanked off some pieces and stuck one against the property wall between us and the neighbors, not the sex motel, the other way where the grumpy people live with their nasty kids.

Another piece went into the ground next to the bedroom. That’s the “twig” in this photo. Just around the corner, out of the photo, is where I planted the fourth twig. It is the smallest of the quartet. But growing.

Well, here’s what happened: The one next to the veranda had to be removed last year due to its monster size, which reminds me now of what my second ex-wife, an avid gardener, often mentioned. When you plant something in a spot, think about its eventual size.

Neglect this step, and you may be sorry in time.

The one against the property wall grows daily, but it’s still smaller than this baby in the photo. I chop off a limb or two each year in part just to show it who’s boss, that it’s my bitch, not the other way around.

In the 1990s, I planted a little aloe vera next to my house in Houston. It never did a dang thing, just sat there like a wart on a log. I also planted a nopal cactus in a whisky barrel. Never did much either, and my then-wife removed it after she kicked me out because it was unfavorable feng shui, which is not something you want to mess with, she said.

Here at the Hacienda some years back, I planted a little piece of nopal. It’s now about 18 bristling feet high. I know squat about its feng shui, but it is not something you want to mess with either. Wish I had not planted it.

But the rain will end next month, which is the introduction to our most glorious period: November, which kicks off with a long night in the cemetery with candles, marigolds and memories of dead relatives.

21 thoughts on “The blooming rain

  1. Gorgeous photo! I forgot the name of the purple one in the background. But it is a beauty.

    Yesterday was the first time we had a much needed rain. We were soon to be under drought conditions. Sometimes that means watering plants on alternate days, and if it’s severe no grass watering. So my plants this year don’t look as big nor as healthy as yours. But my dahlias are still blooming although a much smaller flower than last year. The temperatures have been great for a summer here in the NY area so I am not complaining. I usually do that in the winter.

    Meanwhile, parts of Florida have been getting some nasty rains almost everyday. And it’s not the rainy season there.


    1. Andean: I was thinking about you just yesterday. Thought you had run off and left me. My occasional political polemics have that effect on some people.

      That purple thing back there is a bougainvillea, another error, at least to the extent that I let it get out of control. I have three others that I sit on, so to speak. I have learned my lesson. I keep them far smaller and calmer. The one in the photo is beyond hope. I need to get someone here to trim it back a bit before it collapses totally. It’s a bush, not a tree, though it does not grasp that. It’s held up there by just two steel chains I installed years ago, but their reach is limited.

      Yes, I have heard that temps in the northeast have been fairly mild this year. Lucky you. Of course, here (ahem!), it’s ever lovely.


  2. I don’t get scared off that easy…

    I just had a chance to browse through the Satellite Moon. I really like what you did with all the pictures. And I am enjoying watching the videos. I haven’t had a chance to read your essays but soon. I recommend to your faithful readers a walk over to that site. Next best thing to being in your lovely part of Mexico.
    Keep those videos coming!


    1. Andean: Thanks for the kind words. The Satellite Moon doesn’t seem to get much attention in spite of my hyping it significantly when I started it. Probably due to not much being there at first, folks took a peek, said “nah” and never returned. And thus began a vicious circle. On seeing it got few visits, I began to pay it less mind.

      But I put things there now and then and I keep it mild, no politics, for instance.

      As for the videos, I’ll let you in on a secret if you tell no one, the videos from the Hacienda have long been on my YouTube page. There’s a link to that too, here, there, everywhere. It’s called Cine Zapatesque.


  3. Another great, colorful photo, Felipe! Did you take this picture with your new camera or your Kodak?

    How big was your aloe vera before it produced those pretty orange-ish flowers?


    1. Thanks, Jeff. I took the shot with the old Kodak. The two cameras have the same megapixels, 16. The only significant difference between the two (for me) is that the Kodak has a zoom of 3, and the Canon will note a pimple on an ant’s keister half a mile away. But everything comes with a price to pay. The Canon is lots heavier than the Kodak. It’s something of a pain to lug around.

      Cannot answer your question about when or how big the aloe vera was before it started sending out those blooms. Been too long, years, and I have the memory of a tree stump. It sends those flowers out in profusion, usually starting in August, but it got started in September this year for some reason. And the flowers last for many weeks. I like ’em.


      1. Do you cut the beautiful red aloe vera flowers and put them in a vase? With a few bougainvillea it would be a beautiful display.


        1. Andean: For some reason I’ve never done that, either with the aloe vera blooms or the bougainvillea. Actually, bougainvillea does not lend itself to that very well. I do cut roses and put them in a vase on the dining room table. It’s quite nice.


  4. The yard that ate Felipe. My husband groans about all the potted plants we have outside. It’s an ongoing push and pull with our water situation around these parts so he rarely gets the break of having sky juice instead of hose water. We keep them looking healthy for the neighbors’ sake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carole: I wish all my plants were potted. That would mean there would be no grass at all. I think that later this year I’m going to have more of the lawn replaced with rock and cement. Good place then to put potted plants.


  5. It is a nice picture of the monster-size aloe vera. I think the red plant is bottle brush, is it not? In the New Orleans area, aloe vera grows to a more manageable size, not anemic like your Houston experience. As you know, if one neglects a yard in the New Orleans area, in a matter of weeks the vegetation will take over yard and residence, living them unrecognizable and subject to trapping you and your loved ones within their vine-like embraces. It’s been rumored that vacation-goers who don’t leave a guard behind to watch those nefarious plants cannot find their abode upon return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie: By “red plant,” you mean that in the background? No, it’s a big ole bougainvillea. If you click on the photo, you can then magnify it, and it becomes more obvious. But we do have a bottle-brush tree, a small one that’s growing rather slowly. It’s elsewhere in the yard.


  6. We’ve been a little rain-light here in Boston this summer. But every time I start worrying about a drought, it rains. Though I love my yard, I definitely do not like taking care of it, and it’s a bit much (~1/4 acre) for one guy to manage. I think the only saving grace is that about four or five months per year (winter), it completely dies back and requires nothing. Though snow shoveling then takes up the time freed from gardening.

    Meanwhile, I’m fantasizing about a penthouse apartment in DF with a roof garden, with highly manageable plants in containers.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where the weeds grow with a breathtaking vigor.


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