PLANTS THAT have sat dormant through dusty springtime are coming to their senses. Blame the rain. There are good and bad aspects to this transformation.
Among the good are that our rose bushes make roses and — mostly good but not entirely — the golden datura creates its reportedly hallucinogenic blooms. Alas, after a couple of days, they shrivel up and drop to the ground where I have to pick them up.
But the datura is mostly a positive thing here. See this brief video.
One definite downside to June and the upcoming months is that the grass wakes up which requires me to hire our neighbor the Deadpan Yardman to mow the lawn every Saturday. Weedeat too. I wish we had no grass at all. That’s my dream.
I’ve been on a successful plant-removal campaign the last year or so. The only trash-tossing plant left is the loquat, and I’m working up to that one. My child bride will be a hindrance. I’d also like to replace more grass with stone and concrete, but not this year.
Oddly, in spite of my wife’s opposition to my plant murders, she wants to zap the monster aloe vera. It tosses no trash. She just doesn’t like the look of it. We have two about this size. It does need to be trimmed back. I’ll give it that.
In late summer, the aloe vera puts out big, lovely flowers that last for weeks.
And, of course, if you get a burn, it’s there to provide solace. Tons of it.
Typically for this date, we have lots of flowers and good smells, which attracts hummingbirds. They occasionally get so excited they bump into windows. I’ve never seen one dead or stunned on the ground so they must possess hard heads.
Here again are shots of our golden datura, the one that sits just outside the bedroom window. When the window is open, which it is when it’s not too cold, the datura aroma enters the bedroom. This is a sweet way to sleep.
In three or four months, the first overnight freeze will deliver a withering blow to this bush, and I’ll cut it back to a nub of a trunk. But not to worry! It’ll rejuvenate itself next Spring. The cycle of life.
WHAT ARE WE waiting for? The rainy season when everything gets cooler around here till about October or so.
It rained early last month. Quite a bit, and some people — maybe even me for a brief spell — thought the rainy season had made a very premature debut. But it was not the rainy season. It was an aberration.
It stopped, and now we’re in a normal place for the first week of June: dry.
But last month’s early nuttiness caused the grass to grow, and it inspired the golden datura. I had to hire Abel the Deadpan Yardman to cut the grass, which took off like a rocket ship but then went back to sleep. We have two datura trees, which I whack back to high stumps every winter.
Last night just before the two of us, a couple of fans blowing in the room, reclined for a night of slumber, I took this photo. It’s not a very good photo, but it shows that the datura have recovered for 2018. They’re right there outside the window, sending in sweet smells.
SCANT GRINGOS live in my hardscrabble neighborhood on the outskirts of town. Plenty — too many — live in other barrios, but few within shouting distance of the Hacienda.
Almost since we built our home in 2002-03, there have been three Gringo residences in our ´hood. There were three back then, and there remain three today.
The other two have seen turnover. Even before we built the Hacienda, there was an old American woman living about four blocks away. She was Judith Deim, an artist of some renown and reportedly an ex-lover of John Steinbeck.
During a recent stop in the Gringo-infested town of San Miguel de Allende, we spotted Deim’s work in a fancy gallery there.
Not really to my taste.
She was 92 when we moved into the Hacienda, and she died three years later, old as the proverbial hills.
Her home became the property of relatives who sometimes were there, sometimes not, I think, but last year a Gringa who’s lived hereabouts a number of years bought Deim’s home and is remodeling it. She gave us a tour a couple of weeks ago.
It was the first time I’d been in the place. Though Deim and I occasionally sat near one another at my sister-in-law’s downtown coffee house on the main plaza, we never exchanged a word. I doubt she knew I was her neighbor.
She was ancient, eccentric and wore no eyeglasses. I, on the other hand, was far less ancient, eccentric and I did sport specs.
The other Gringo house in the neighborhood was constructed not long after we moved into the Hacienda. It is about three blocks away, and the owner was a gay book-seller who came from somewhere in New England.
He was in his 50s, quite friendly and dissipated-looking. I liked him. Unlike most who move here, he lacked independent income, so he tried to scrounge a living by selling books he bought down from above the Rio Bravo. It did not work.
He sold his place to a Gringo family, and moved back to the United States. He died a couple of years later, a heart attack.
The new Gringos were a family who published children’s books, something you can do long-distance. They significantly remodeled their place, and now it’s spectacular.
The couple came with an adopted son in his early 20s. The young man was colossally ill-behaved, and would ride a small bike around the local plaza ogling teen girls. His behavior, it appears, eventually got him into serious trouble.
So the family hightailed it to Uruguay.
Soon after, the now elegant home was purchased by more Gringos, an elderly retired couple. They’ve been here a number of years, and everything seems to be going well for them.
What has this to do with Golden Datura in the photos?
The first Gringo, the bookseller, gave me a cutting from his lawn, and my two datura trees are the result. Every winter, I whack the plants back to the trunk nubs, and every summer they resurrect with a vengeance of green and gold.
The one shown is outside our bedroom window. In summer the aroma of datura sails into the bedroom, and we can hear bumblebees buzzing the blooms.
The top photos were taken this week. The video below was shot way back in 2011.