Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday morning

My container tomatoes are doing nicely; my container lettuces are growing well; my Spanish Lavender is wild and crazy. But my yellow mini-roses have shriveled and died. The red mini-roses are not doing so well either. I think I might have to go to native California plants for those two containers -- Jade plant, another succulent -- because roses are too hard. I don't think peonies would do well in containers, too bad. The Fat Lady Sings had an amazing post about her peonies a few days ago which reminded me of the ones I grew up with.

My father loved to garden. He was so proud of his garden, and we had some amazing things in our yard in Chicago. We had a peach tree that bore the hardest, most un-ripened peaches you could ever imagine. I mean those suckers never got sweet. We had an apple tree that produced green apples that made the best applesauce and the best apple pie, but god forbid you should eat them off the tree lest your mouth invert from how sour they were. We had a wild plum tree that grew wee little plums that were so sweet and tasty, but drew all kinds of birds who got most of them.

And we had peonies. Those were amazing. They were so fragrent, and gorgeous. He grew white ones, red ones, pink ones. There were about a dozen in our front yard, more along the sides of the house and more in the back yard. They were his pride and joy. My mother would cut them, leave bunches on the porch until the ants crawled away and then bring the open blooms into the house.

We had lilacs. Bushes of lilacs. I miss lilacs and peonies intensely. We had gorgeous yellow forsythia -- gorgeous.

But we never had a vegetable garden growing up. My mother thought that wasn't very modern. She was big into canned and frozen veggies. It's a wonder we survived her cooking, to tell the truth. She used to make this thing that I called "grey meat" which was really brisket. Oh, my god. Not quite as bad as Aunt Della's second day spagetti, but I digress.

We also had a paperbark birch tree in our front yard which grew from a small thing to a towering tree. These are midwest memories, but in California, in a condo with a balcony, I do my best to have my own little garden and it makes me happy.

Happy even if the roses fail. I can still get my hands in the dirt, and I can still make my attempts. It's all about the effort, sometimes.


Alicia said...

Yay for you and your plants. I have a black thumb, and since we currently have dirt in our yard instead of grass, I've left the gardening thing alone for a while. But since we refi-ed we may have a little dought o put into a yard,, and I will be asking for gardening advice from my blog friends who garden, like you and Fat Lady Sings.

I don't think those mini-roses really grow for anyone.

DivaJood said...

Alicia, I think you're right about the mini-roses. Sigh. But if my tomatoes actually produce fruit, you are welcome to have some.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

Honey, gardening is less about the plant and more about the planting of the plant - if you catch my drift. It's a rare garden where everything works right the first time; besides - where would be the fun in that? So don't fret over the roses. I'm with Alicia on this. Those things never really seem to grow anywhere other than a nursery with optimal conditions. So go with the jade plant. It's very pretty, and a hell of a lot more forgiving!

DivaJood said...

TFLS, planting certain things is sort of like trying to push the river, you know? Anyway, I've surrendered my need to have roses. I'm going with the jade plant for sure. And maybe an ornamental citrus.

Helen Wheels said...

I totally miss lilacs, too. The alleyways in Chicago were always laden with them. And nothing beats that smell... except, in my humble opinion, orange and lemon blossoms. And maybe night-blooming jasmine. But I miss lilacs all the same. We picked 'em all the time, since most bushes would hang wayyy over folks' back fences.

My sister has tried to grow a lilac bush here but all she got was one small sprig of flowers. We decided to try to substitute Wisteria instead. It's sort of similar.

I believe lilacs need the ground to freeze part of the year in order to thrive, or somesuch.

Oh and unless you try VERY hard, you cannot kill a jade! They almost never need water and they tell you if they do!

Helen Wheels said...

Oh and I had mini-roses a few years ago and they died too. I think Alicia's right.

DivaJood said...

Helen, night blooming jasmine is another incredible scent! I love that one too.

Everyone's right about the mini-roses. It's a jade plant for me, and I think I might get a small lemon tree. I've seen them in containers.