Saturday, July 01, 2006

Plants Delivered to Your House in Chacala

My morning walk at sunrise on Playa Chacala
Yesterday afternoon I walked down to the road from my house, to check to see if the man who takes orders for the big Coke truck had come by yet.... Anyway, this is about gardening, not Cokes.

As I walked down the driveway my neighbor lady, Maria Pelila (sort of like Granny Maria) came running up the driveway, talking rapidly and loudly. She's tiny and looks really old (no teeth), but she's only in her 50's. Anyway, it took a minute for me to understand she was saying that the vivero (nursery) truck was here. That's a truck that comes around to really small towns like Chacala selling plants. They are more expensive than the plants at the nurseries, but cheaper than if you have to take the bus and taxi to the nursery.

Anyway, I ran back up to the house for some money and to change out of the very thin tee-shirt I wear when it's this hot. Then we trotted over to the Maria's, where the nursery truck was parked under a tree. It was very hot and humid and everyone standing around the truck was dripping with sweat. Prespiration.

At first it looked like the usual selection of plants: lately it's been hydrangeas, roses, plain geraniums, vinca, and some kind of greenery plants. Like for decorating offices.

But this time she also had five succulent plants that I think of as portulaca, but I don't think that's their real name. These ones had kind of pointy ends on the little segments, and all different colors of blossoms. Very nice. 10 pesos, 90 cents each. And a big stonecrop for the same, and then two Desert Roses (adenium obesum), which I always buy when I see them.

They are a big favorite around here. They are new to most of the ladies in town, and anytime someone wants one, I offer a cutting/start or a plant. So I am always wanting more. This time she has two big ones, very big, for 30 pesos, maybe 2.70USD each. I am planning to leave one big and take cuttings off the other one. I just love that plant.

Maria and I seem to have silently, without discussion, struck a deal. If the plant truck comes down the street she runs up to the house and tells me. Otherwise I probaby wouldn't see the truck because it turns around before it gets to this end of town. It's about a block between our houses, and it's hot, and I feel as though she does me a big favor. And sometimes, when I'm not home, it's a wasted trip for her. Then, in return, I buy her a plant, of her choice, sort of.

I used to give her 20 pesos or so for helping me, but now we kind of pick out a plant for her together. But this time it got a little more expensive. The last time Maria was at my place she fell in love with this beautiful vine. It's got large coral blossoms. The same vine with yellow flowerrs is called Flora de Oro around here , but I know that's not the real name. I am going to start looking at on the photos at Garden Web and try to identify some of these plants. Anyway, Maria fell in the love with the red/coral blossoms and took a bunch of cuttings, which did not do well. So when she saw that same vine in the plant truck she was practically drooling. It's a beautiful plants, blossoms constantly, and grows like crazy.

But it was 60 pesos (maybe 5.40USD) which is more than I wanted to pay. Maria looked so disappointed, I couldn't stand it. So I went ahead and got it for her. Then all us plant-loving ladies in the neighborhood stood around under the tree for a few minutes, admiring other peoples' new plants.

The husband of the plant lady, who is also the truck driver, insisted on carrying my plants home, over my objections. When we got up to the house I realized there were two extra little plants, a mint and malva (which is what they call what we used to call geraniums).
So I walked back down to the truck with him, intending to give back the plants, assuming it was a mistake.

And the lady did the nicest thing. She said, "No, those are for you because you get all those plants for Maria". It made me feel really good and sort of embarrassed. Also, I understood her Spanish, mas or menos, and that always feels good.
Chacala sunset

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