The garden tales

I FIND IT useless when people post photos of flowers. You can find zillions of flower photos online. No matter. Here I go.

Some readers may recall that last spring I butchered the monster bougainvillea that had lived in the yard for many years. Here is how it looked before the bloodletting. My child bride poses for the purpose of perspective. Both are beauties.

The before shot.

And here just below is how it look skinned.

The after shot.

And here just below again is how it looks today.

The today shot.

It’s about four feet high. The only reason it’s not bigger is that I maintain stern discipline. When the Hacienda was under construction over 17 years ago I foolishly planted five or six little bougainvilleas along the far wall. A couple died, a few did not.

Hearty survivors.

These are two of the survivors from 2002. They too are subjected to a heavy hand. The near one began to creep over the wall into the neighbors’ yard about five years ago, but I cut it back, and began applying discipline. Without discipline, a bougainvillea will make you his bitch. It can get quite ugly.

Oddly, of the original bougainvilleas from 2002, one is a different strain. It was unintentional. It looks different and does not want to rule the world. I like it.

A rare, polite bougainvillea.

That’s it behind the frog. It appears to be growing out of the frog, but it’s not. It’s planted in the ground. This bougainvillea is the only well-behaved one of the cursed bunch.

Speaking of curses, remember the monster nopal I removed back in October 2018? The neighbors planted at least two of those nasty babies right up against my wall — the property wall is mine, not theirs — some spell back, and now they’re topping the wall and likely will start creating problems before long, throwing their spiky fruits with red stain onto my grass. Here below you see the cursed things.

Mine grew about 30 feet high before I slashed it down.

A new development, alas.

Maybe some dark night, I should toss some plant killer over there.

Why can’t people be good neighbors? Perhaps you are thinking, Why don’t you speak with the neighbors? Because I know full well it would be useless. They are sullen.

The bougainvillea shot


IT’S THAT TIME of year again, the time for the annual bougainvillea shot.

I include my child bride for the sake of perspective. And, as in all years, the monster plant has been trimmed back. Abel the Deadpan Yardman did that about two months ago in winter. Yes, this is the trimmed-back look.

My child bride is dressed for the gym, by the way, an every-Monday occurrence, along with each Wednesday and Friday.

Now that I have removed the behemoth nopal, the too-tall, trash-tossing pear, another smaller pear and the trash-tossing peach tree, this beefed-up bougainvillea is the lone, remaining yard annoyance. Perhaps one day I’ll have it removed too.

It is rather attractive, however, and it does not toss rotten fruit, just dead blooms.

When I walked toward the kitchen this morning not long after dawn, I noticed this light play on the wall of the living room, so I photographed it.

It’s a colorful world.


Flowers and giants


WALKING AROUND a corner yesterday, I paused to take this photo. This is the intersection of two of the streets that have been renovated here over the past couple of years, street renovation that included the rectangle around the main plaza, work that is on the verge of being completed.

After gussying up the streets and sidewalks, huge planters have been placed in some areas. Some of them have been broken by vandals, but most are intact, often with bougainvilleas like this one.

Bougainvilleas are not fond of living in planters, so we’ll see how it plays out over the long haul. This one seems happy enough.

Later yesterday, I shot the photo below. Our main plaza is full of Yule decorations, huge ones. These figures are likely ten feet tall.

The plaza has lots of such stuff. Elephants, camels, sheep and other beasts and characters, all larger than life. It’s a major tourist attraction. I don’t know what the figures below have to do with Christmas, but it doesn’t matter. They are impressive.

Santa’s trek is just days away and, about two weeks later, the Three Kings come calling and leave gifts for our Mexican kids. Santa ignores Mexican kids, but the Three Kings do not, which is why we love them so.

Their names are Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior, and they are reputed to be very Wise Men.


Getting rid of the chicken

Caramba, mi amor! Caramba, mi amor! sang someone on FM 106.5 as I drove the Honda home in the dark of early evening.

Twenty minutes earlier, I had been walking in cool twilight across the beautiful, downtown plaza, clutching a brown paper bag containing two sugar donuts, and thinking of my chicken.

Our neighbors have chickens that roost overnight in an apple tree that abuts our property wall. Now and then, an adventuresome soul will make the leap and walk about in our yard for a spell. Then she’ll head home, back over the wall, in a flap of feathers because chickens don’t fly well. They have a low-max altitude.

This has been going on for years, and we didn’t mind much because the nasty things always went back where they came from. Till a week ago.

One came over and decided to stay. She sticks mostly to the side of the wall that abuts where her kin live, and she lurks beneath aloe vera and bougainvillea. Sometimes, she stands in the big, center semicircle of grass to taunt me.

I’ve tried to catch her, but I’m not as agile as I once was. My child bride assists on occasion, but so far the fowl has eluded our grasp.

New ImageOn Monday, a couple of guys come to lay talavera tile in the downstairs terraza. They’ll be out there for quite a few hours. They say the work will take two days, maybe three.

Here’s my plan: The first day, I’ll offer 50 pesos to whomever catches the chicken and tosses her into the street. If she’s still there on Day Two, I’ll offer 100 pesos, and that should inspire them enough.

I don’t want to eat her, and I don’t want her tossed back over the wall into the neighbors’ yard because this chicken has wanderlust and might revisit. That’s far less likely if she’s out in the street with multiple options for adventure.

The walk across the twilight plaza would have been more enjoyable had I not been thinking about the cursed chicken.

I would have focused fondly on those sugar donuts.

* * * *

(Update! My yardman came Saturday morning and had the bird in his clutches within a minute. Incredible. Mexicans can do anything.)