The work of winter

Sprightly and happy in the summer.

This is how the golden datura looks in the summertime, but when winter freezes descend, it gets knocked for a dreadful loop, turns brown and ugly, and that’s when I whack it back, the same every year. The datura does not care. It bides its time till spring.

Bare bones in the winter. Datura wood is very soft, easy to cut.

Between first breakfast at 8:30 and second breakfast at 11, I grabbed the proper tools, and attacked the drooping, brown datura, or what was left of it, and returned it to basics.

The last three nights have brought freezes, and here’s how the cold left the sole remaining stand of banana trees. We once had three. Now we have just one, one too many.

Isn’t this just delightful? Photographed this morning.

Lying in bed before dawn today, I got to thinking. Every year I am faced with this problem. At that moment, a lightbulb lit over my head. Do what I’ve done to most all the bothersome plants in the last few years. Whack it down! The decision was made.

Right there lying in bed.

And that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t whack it down personally, of course. Too old and shiftless. That’s why God made workmen. I will hire it out. I have guys. They will remove the banana trees and then cover the area with concrete and stone, which is the only way to guarantee the banana trees will not return.

The buggers have underground runners.

Visible in the bottom photo, between the bananas and the back of the Honda, against the orange wall, is a raised area of concrete and rock. That’s where one of the other stands of banana was removed a few years ago. Now a pot containing nopal sits there.

Long ago, when I planted the first stand of bananas, a Gringo friend here who hailed from Florida warned me against it. I ignored him, which I now regret. One should always pay attention to Floridians who warn against banana trees.

Surprisingly, when I told my child bride of the impending banana removal, she did not moan, a happy surprise because she almost always opposes plant removal. She opposes plant removal because she never works in the yard. The yard is my headache alone.

I don’t know why she’s on board with this plan. Maybe because the banana trees are so butt-ugly this morning. I wish the freezes would stop, but winter is young.

The awakening yard

New Image
Miniature roses and golden datura abut the Alamo Wall.

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.

The aloe vera does have a wicked look. Reminds me of me.

Cool, golden nights of waning summer

Outside, of course. Yesterday.

JUST TODAY and tomorrow remain of summer.

Autumn starts Saturday.

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.

It’s good to live this way.

From inside the bedroom. Also yesterday.

The waiting game

Last night’s view out the bedroom window.

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.