So after the third night below freezing, a small plastic pipe that carries water to a faucet on my deck (so I can water plants up there) burst - I didn't know this for much of Friday, or at least until I turned into the drive and heard the sound of water - you know, sort of like how it feels as you walk up to Niagra Falls - the rush of water is such a soothing sound, isn't it?
Pablo Neruda always seems to get it right. Water. Sex. Fundamental stuff.
Sexual Water by Pablo Neruda
Rolling down in big and distinct drops,
in drops like teeth,
in heavy drops like marmalade and blood.
rolling down in big drops, the water
like a sword made of drops,
like a river of glass that tears things,
it is falling, biting,
beating on the axle of symmetry, knocking on
the seams of the soul,
breaking abandoned things, soaking
It is nothing but a breath, more full of
moisture than crying,
a liquid, a sweat, an oil that has no name,
a sharp motion,
taking shape, making itself thick,
the water is falling
in slow drops
toward the sea, toward its dry ocean,
toward its wave without water.
I look at the wide summer, and a loud
noise coming from a barn,
sleeping with hands over their hearts.
dreaming of pirates, of conflagarations,
I look at ships,
I look at trees of bone marrow
bristling like mad cats,
I look at blood, daggers and women's stockings,
and men's hair,
I look at beds, I look at corridors
where a virgin is sobbing,
I look at blankets and organs and hotels.
I look at secretive dreams,
I let the straggling days come in,
and the beginnings also, and memories also,
like an eyelid held open hideously
I am watching.
And then this sound comes:
a red noise of bones,
a sticking together of flesh
and legs yellow as wheatheads meeting.
I am listening among the explosions
of the kisses,
I am listening, shaken among breathings
I am here, watching, listening,
with half of my soul at sea and
half of my soul on land,
and with both halves of my soul I watch the world.
And even if I close my eyes and cover my
heart over entirely,
I see the monotonous water falling
in big monotonous drops.
It is like a hurricane of gelatin,
like a waterfall of sperm and sea anenomes.
I see a clouded rainbow hurrying.
I see its water moving over my bones.
So, since repairing the pipe seemed like something I could do - I went to a local hardware store and got a 'cap'. My plan was to just cut the pipe off near where it branches off to take water to the decks and cap it. So I found a cap that fit pretty snuggly over the end of the pipe (which I cut off with my trusty Felcos) -- and I turned the water back on (at the main, by the road) and it blew that tight-fitting cap right off the end of the pipe. Ahhhh...the joy of good water pressure. So next I tried to add just about every caulking/sealant compound that I could find to the cap and the pipe, hoping to find something that would secure the cap on the end of the pipe.
It's all 'curing'. I had forgotten about all of my boat supplies - from the days when I had the 22' fiberglass sailboat. Fast Cure 5200...wonderful stuff. But I just sort of mixed them all, came up with a 'super goo' that hopefully will work.
I want to take a shower. A really warm shower.
Wouldn't it make more sense to use some kind of plug, and plug up the pipe, rather than to use a cap? Do caps ever work?
So last night, after I a day when I learned that my new house was coming in over-budget (a budget that I really need to stay in line with) - and after a day when I made two trips to the hardware store (and that's right, I still don't have water) - I did what any reasonable person would do (and no, it wasn't to make a double scotch-on-the-rocks): I looked at the Plant Delights Nursery catalogue and made a wish list.
- I have really fallen for Farfugium sp. I got three of them in the early summer from Pete's Herbs - and they never faltered during the dry summer and fall (and let's face it, winter) and they didn't care at all about the 20 degree nights we just had. I can't wait to see what the Farfugium japonicum 'Giganteum' (shown on the right) does this summer - the leaves can get up to 15" across. And these babies like shade. But boy does Farfugium japonica 'Kalmon Dake' look dreamy. It's a zone 7-10, and the leaves emerge white with a speckled green pattern in the center of the leaves (leaves age to a solid green - so the plant ends up being quite robust).
- I love all of their wild indigos (Baptisia sp.). Their 'redneck lupine' series look great to me (especially those that go up to a zone 9): B. australis (Wild Blue Redneck Lupine), B. 'Carolina Moonlight' (Carolina Moonlight Redneck Lupine), and B. 'Purple Smoke' (Purple Smoke Redneck Lupine). The later looks just wonderful - 'charcoal-green stems' and flowers of 'dusty purple'.
- Is this Black Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum 'Black Jack') just gorgeous or what? I've never tried any of the Arisaema spp. in my own garden, but I've always admired them. Perhaps this is the year to give them a try?
- I'm a bit fascinated by their voodoo lilies - especially Amorphophallus bulbifer 'Racing Stripes'. Look at that stalk! Exquisite.
- Okay, it's time for me to get an aster. I have no idea why I never have - I had them up north, I just tend to not think 'aster' and 'southern garden'. But I am dreadfully wrong. Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' looks perfect to me, and it's for zones 3-9.
- I don't think that I'll be able to resist their hardy orchids (Calanthe spp.). They look so sweet - and oddly formidable. C. kawakamiense looks amazing - imagine 3' tall spikes of those yellow flowers! (It's zone 7b-9).
- I want all of their crinums. All of them. But I'm really eyeing Crinum 'White Queen'. Lovely.
- (And I've been envious for awhile of the Amarcrinum's that those Austinites always write about. Here's one: Amarcrinum 'Fred Howard').
- Okay - this winter blooming Algerian iris (Iris ungulcularis) might be irresistible. It's suppose to bloom in October-November, in zones 7-9.
- I have a weakness for salvias. All of them. Salvia 'California Sunset' looks fun. As does Salvia 'Eveline' PP 14,905.
- Spiranthes cernua var. odorata (Nodding Ladies' Tresses). I don't know anything about this one, but I like it.
- Okay, I have to stop. I keep finding more things as I go through the catalogue again. Ah, there's that plant greed, rearing it's wonderful head!
My pipes weren't the only thing that exploded after those cold nights. Is this strange, or what? This is (was) a stalk of Salvia mexicana -- prior to the hard freeze, it still had some green foliage, and it was beginning to get new growth at the bottom, along the thick, woody stalks. In the morning after the freeze, the woody stalks had 'exploded' - and what looked more like cotton candy than ice had oozed out of each stalk. It looked like spun fibers - and if I had to guess, there was a decent concentration of sugars involved.
So this is what happens to camellia flowers after a hard freeze: they all turn brown. The buds don't get damaged - so all (or at least most) of the new flowers should be just fine - but right now my camellias bushes are covered with these beautiful golden brown flowers...
All of the citrus did fine. My method of protecting them seemed to have worked, and I'm pretty pleased about that. So...I may not have water, but I do have two Meyer's lemons and one satsuma that are still hanging in there! It's that hold 'cup half full' thing I suppose.
Plant therapy is a fine kind of therapy, isn't it? I guess it'll have to do (plus, those other two are far more elusive, aren't they?).