Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Leaving My Beach Garden in Chacala

My beach camp is about
at the top of the palm frond in the middle of the page
This is my last day at my Chacala beach camp. I have been here six months, and in the morning I will being moving up to the house where I have spent the past two (six-month) summers.

Earlier today I was lying in my hammock, looking at what's left of my little garden here. I just gave my landlady, Esparanza, and her daughter-in-law, Henia, all my plants (with buckets and dirt) except two Desert Roses and some succulents. I will start over in a few days at my summer house.

This morning a friend of my picked me up on the beach road. I was carrying some empty pots and garden tools up to the new place. She offered me a ride up and back, and I took it.

On the way back to the beach, we stopped Aurora's, my first landlady in Chacala. I noticed how lovely the plants she and I planted two years ago are looking. They look so pretty. Especially the bougainvilleas. She has done a great job and adds more plants all the time. We give each other plants and flowers for various occasions. For Mother's Day I got her a Bird of Paradise. She was really excited. I was excited too, because it's so cool you can grow Bird of Paradise plants outside all year long in Chacala. Kind of expensive though, 60pesos (5.40USD).

It's funny how you don't really notice how much plants have grown when you see them every couple of days. I guess it's like kids getting taller without you even noticing it.

When we arrived at Esparanza’s, my friend mentioned how nice E’s place looks. She and I have been working on keeping the junk and trash from being piled up in front of her flower garden She is the only woman living in her house, and she is totalled out-numbered. Her sons' and husband's have very well developed junk-collection habits and they seem to prefer to dump things right in front off, or on, her plants.

She's added a whole bunch of plants lately, and I have shared some with her. The gardens look really nice and healthy. She is a great gardener. She has three areas of plants now, and there are lots of blossoms.

The favorite, special plants with gardeners in Chacala seem to be roses. Which I would never even bother with in this climate, but they seem to do okay for awhile. E. even has some blossoming hydrangeas, which seems kind of amazing to me. The plant lady who sells plants from a truck around Chacala gets her plants in Tepic, which is in the mountains. Tepic has no saltwater laden-air, and is cooler climate without much humidity. So roses and hydrangeas do okay up there, but they don’t seem to last long in Chacala. Look nice for awhile though.

E. keeps most of her plants between her house and the dirt road. As opposed to between her house and the ocean, which is about 30 feet from her house. The dust is a problem but she hoses the plants off pretty often.

She and the other gardeners here are always encouraging me to keep my plants out of the direct sun. At first I thought it was strange, but I started looking closely, and very few healthy plants around here get more than 3 hours of direct sun a day, if that. I guess the sun must be stronger at 21N degrees latitude. So I am making more of an effort to keep the plants protected and shaded. Seems to be working.