Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Going Home

Aloha Maui No Ka Oi

Aloha Tropical Embellishments

To a North Carolina mountaintop
You will find me there.
Just Outside Clyde.

Life Moves on a Long

If you were hoping for some great final essay from Maui you will be disappointed. I had planned to write something. I wanted to. The art of procrastination is reserving it for a cold snowy day when I am trapped indoors and can reminisce. From a distance things will always be blue and green.

Progress continues to happen. My slice of the sky has always been cropped to remove the less attractive features. I zoomed you in through the middle. The real thing had two big Plumeria trees in the way on the left hand side.

After sixteen years in this house, five days before I move, the Plumerias were cut to the ground and the stumps removed, my view just got bigger. My neighbor below is putting up a wall. They make for even better neighbors than regular fences.

On the same day another two lives were extinguished. They wait under the eaves of the house instead of in the yard because of a passing shower.

Aloha Greyman and Darkie. You were very fine companions.

Some things are ephemeral and they change with time. New replaces the old.

Some things may look like they have the capacity to be eternal.

Some things for all intents and purposes are eternal.

Aloha from Maui.

Last Minute Impulse

Half-breed Samoan

The picture is straight.
I have always leaned slightly askew.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Early This Morning

Before I loaded the truck with plants to take down to the nursery in town, drove to the other side to look inside my air freight Big Box and see the actual interior dimensions and to buy real boxes and cardboard to pack my paintings, instead of dumpster diving for boxes, I looked out the window and the delicate flower of the Variegated Shell Ginger smiled back at me.

The flowers are quite nice, but short lived for a ginger. This plant is grown more for its green and yellow bold striped foliage.

Once I was outside with the camera in hand I took a morning stroll. The calathea insignis is in full full bloom. This is the small plant of the two in the garden.

The Zephyranthes grandiflora seems much less dependent on rain and blooms intermittently while it waits for rain to put on a really big show.

I know there are many more Daylilies in my future.

A large drift of the tetraploids sits at the entrance to my future driveway and needs to be saved before or when the bulldozers arrive. My mother can't bear the thought of their demise despite the fact that they have millions more. I will not be surprised if they are waiting for me, safely off to one side and needing to be tucked back into the ground, if only in a temporary home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Papaya Skies

It was another moist like day with the sky contemplating rain and offering up only minor sprinkles. I was inside most of the time packing my life into a corner. A test space for my big box that is being sent air freight. Everything must fit in a 48 inch by 40 inch by 58 inch tall, rigid shipping box.

I would guess this Papaya is about 25 feet tall. It will not fit in the Big Box.

The top of the Heiau/Pyramid. This is much bigger than the Big Box and significantly over the vague 500 pound weight limit I may have heard mentioned.

Heliconia imprisoned. This is one of the Big Boys, Heliconia jacquinii with the flowers six to eight feet in the air. The plant tops out at about eighteen feet.

Closer to earth is the yellow form of the Caesalpinia pulcherrima. Left to assume their natural shape they will make nice small trees.

A cute native Hawaiian Hibiscus, Hibiscus kokio or Koki'o 'ula'ula. I like how the sepals form a distinct cup at the base from which the petals emerge.

Another day is done.

In the land of Papaya Skies.

Tropical Porn

Heliconia bihai in the flesh, raw and unedited.

Apparently there may be some genre of porn of which I am not aware. When I did the post on Ms. Derviss' new blog Garden Porn, I kept getting hits to my blog from the search words Tropical Porn.

This post should keep the blog active while I drive cross country.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Inside Outside

A new policy has been instituted. If it goes outside to get sold, it is not allowed back inside. The result is the house is pretty much emptied and actual packing has commenced. The carport is surprisingly tidy considering how much stuff it now contains.

I rarely dropped the blinds in the bedroom unless I was trying to take a late afternoon nap. Who would want to hide This View from My Window.

I know you can't really tell from this picture, but we are having an afternoon mauka shower. It is raining and it has rained quite nicely thank you.

The process of designing and building my cozy little cottage in North Carolina has already begun. By the time I get there a gravel road/driveway will be in and the pad for the future house and cabin will be cleared.

I am going to have to make all kinds of decisions about what my new house will feel like. I have never done this before. Green paint I can pick. Now we are talking every little detail. I'll think about it more on the drive over.

This nice little down pour could mean a special treat before I go. The thousands of potted Zephyr Lily bulbs that I still have, Lord help me, could bloom en masse.

The computer and Tropical Embellishments is being unplugged Wednesday night however. Will the Zephyr Lilies bloom in time?

The jungle outside my window takes on a new presence when the walls are bare and the room is stripped clean except for the boxes on the floor.

See it really did rain. Manila Palms channel the rain water right down their trunks. When it rains hard, there is a river of water running down the palm. Brilliant survival strategy don't you think?

Will the Zephyr Lilies bloom in time for the last image from Maui?
Stay tuned.

Back to packing.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good to the Last Flower

Another long day has ended. More stuff and more plants have left the premises.

The Buttercup Tree keeps on keeping on. It is spitting out flowers on some of the water sprout branches forming on its beheaded major limbs. Such radical pruning of trees generally causes the opposite of the intended effect and makes the tree grow taller much faster. It's next pruning may be even more radical, like to the ground.

My patch of the Blue Louisiana Iris is putting on its first flowers. Some plant shoppers spotted them before me and it helped spur the sale of quite a few of them.

The Torch Ginger didn't even seem to take a rest this past winter and now are blooming up a storm as I dig up starts to sell from around the edge of the patch. The common light blue Agapanthus have a few early blooms next door. I want to dig these up too before I go.

The strange gardener in paradise, me, growing Juniperus procumbens. To most people it is so not the image of tropical Hawaii. People would actually recoil when seeing it and dismiss it with disdain. When they would give you the list of requirements they want in a groundcover, short, low water, full sun, no maintenance, year round interest, keeps out weeds and of course, that would bloom 365 days a year, except for the flowers, this Juniper fit all the other criteria. Sadly for many people every plant in the garden must have a bloom. The idea of placing another blooming type of plant next to this as a groudcover would not compute. This Juniper was not tropical. It did not fulfill the fantasy.

Its much more common use in Hawaii is as a fake Bonsai.

Some of my plants look much better in the neighbors yard. The White Shrimp plant mixes with A'ali'i, Dodonaea viscosa. I collected both of these as cuttings and seed respectively in the wild during my explorations on Maui. One is now a desired native plant and the other is a very pretty slightly invasive weed.

I think it is safe to say my neighbors were never bored when they looked into my garden.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Letting Go

If my blogger Icon, Darkie, the traumatized baby kitty, who was a cantankerous cat most of his life, but learned how to love and be loved before it was all over, survives the night I will be surprised.

His time has come to let go of the bonds to this earthly plane. After dinner he wandered out on the lawn in circles confused. Much more confused. I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the lawn with him. He kept circling back to be scratched behind the ear and get a few rubs, then he circled off again. This is The Circle.

At dusk I brought him inside and he kept getting stuck in corners. He may have gone blind.

I sat with him again inside on the living room floor next to the rolled up futon mattress he has been sleeping on for the last few days. His head cupped in my palm, I managed to get him to go to sleep, to be still. In the hour he spent circling I got the feeling that he knew when he laid down he was not going to get up again. I told him it was ok to let go.

His "appointment" is next week. I don't know if I can watch this for another six days. I hope he passes tonight in his sleep or I may have to move his "appointment" up.

The universe has been making this whole transition flow with an incredible sense of ease. Every sign points in a new direction. The path is constantly cleared of all obstacles.

It is time to let go.

But there are another six days before Tropical Embellishments is unplugged and many a day before I come to rest Outside Clyde.

Walk Around the House

When you stand back a bit, the hundreds of tropical flowers I have been showing you all this past year fade into the jungle green. Standing at the bottom of the drive next to the carport, a generous river of grass beckons you down into the garden.

My garden is not going to win any design awards. It was always a collectors garden of experimentation. How will this plant do in this climate and under these conditions? I wanted to see which plants were tough and which ones were a pain.

This garden's plan was about flow, the ability to wander slowly and with ease through a space. I wanted to be able to see all the plants clearly, not all bunched up and with easy access to them for maintenance and propagation. That is how I planted it. The jungle has it's own mind and can change things.

Reaching the bottom of the lawn we turn right.

The narrow, compared to the beds, river of grass runs the length of the house and right up to it. All the plants on this side were away from the house. A huge Confederate Jasmine Vine was the sole plant ruler of the deck railings for a very long time.

This lawn has widened quite a bit in the last six months as the front row of shorter perennial flowers were removed. A stand of Yellow Ginger and a new row of Ti leaf behind them at the neighbor's fence will be all that remains, if I don't run out of time.

An Anole hangs upside down on a sprinkler riser at the next corner in the garden. I turned him sideways so you wouldn't strain your necks.

Turning right again into the large side yard, another row of ancient stones begins to emerge from under a thinning back yard tropical plant nursery. Perhaps the stones will be silent sentinels on a lawn once more.

The shelves are starting to get bare.

The back wall of my garden's big open air living room with the western sunset view. The Crape Myrtle is quickly approaching full bloom. Before the Avocado tree swallowed it whole and a nursery moved in, a bench rested in the left corner at the edge of the lawn for evening beverages and meditations. Actually the bench still is under the Avocado tree slowly decomposing. I suppose I should haul it away when I start making trips to the dump.

To the right and behind the living room wall of the Crape Myrtle the first half of a plant nursery begins. I noticed the other day that this Big Bromeliad was sitting in a huge clay pot and then found three orchids in old style Maui white cement pots. I am still finding pots out in the jungle.

The Queen Tileafa collection is gathering itself for an instant desert to garden makeover. Got water?

Amaryllis on a plastic stem with nozzle. Who should get this beauty?

At the top of the nursery looking back down towards the Buttercup Tree in the background and the Crape Myrtle to its right.

Another special Bromeliad that I am sending to a specific good home where I know it will be fruitful and multiply. The flower looks like a medieval spiked fighting club in bright red. Very sharp and very firm.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Winding Down

Not every sunset is spectacular. Sometimes the sun just fades into grey. My cleaning and digging frenzy has sent so much dust and debris into the air that the normal Trade Winds high pressure system has moved and we are having a strange summer Kona Wind. The air is humid, hazy and thick. It reminds me of Florida in the summer time. Not pleasant. We are at least fortunate that it is only 85 degrees, not 95 like it would be there.

The plants are pouring out of the nursery, so much so that some of them are actually jumping out of the ground in the hopes that they will survive in new homes. I don't want to be judgmental or too negative, but after sixteen years of observation of the real owners of what will be the remains of my garden I don't hold much hope for this place once I am gone.

With out a gardener there is no garden.

I am more than pleased to cash out on all my hard work and efforts. Cha-ching.

The household rubbish only trickles away. I am not sure I recommend putting your old used things in the full sun out on the drive. They looked so nice, arranged and tidy inside, quite tasteful. In the glaring sun their defects are revealed. One dolla only please.

The ancient (1992) stone monument that once graced an oval shaped variegated St. Augustine lawn has begun to re-emerge as the nursery withers away.

Two long intersecting lines of heavy stones marched upright across the lawn and into the beds, pointing to something. They make you wonder. What?

Amidst the toil and destruction, cheerful reminders, new weeds I hope, sparkle and smile at me, making the work a time of gratitude.

More ominous days lie ahead. The tree that saved itself is all that remains on and under the deck, the only shade to be had there. Once I sever its main root, if it does not have a new home, it may die. I let it live until the last moment.

Two ancient felines also live until the last bit of time is gone. Euthanasia delivered is $250 a pop. I have decided they deserve the honor for love freely given. Their last moments will be napping in their garden domain and not a scary ride in a car.

By then more open ground will be exposed as the nursery's weed cloth comes up. A new bed of tough perennial flowers would be easy to put in to mark a spot and once again frame the shape of a lawn.

The other weeds, some even pretty ones that I have long let run and hop through the garden, wait for the Terracotta Army of Maui to fade into history and claim their space. There are no more reinforcements. I think. I hope. They, like the plants, have been marching up the driveway looking for new homes.

A new garden of weeds and the tough Lily of de Nile. Top it off with plenty Rain Lilies, some Papyrus from the River of de Nile and several ancient stone monuments and it's a theme. I think I like that.

For the most part this has been a very wonderful experience. The people coming down my drive to fondle my things have been very pleasant and kind.

There have been a few of course where I just felt like saying.....

That is not what I will remember the most though.