Saturday, July 29, 2006

Succulents from the Tianguis (street market)

I don't recognize this plant.
I think this photo was taken here in Chacala
Someone suggested this is a poinsettia.
When I enlarged the photo
the stems and leaves didn't look like Poinsettia,
but who knows.
Yesterday I was wide-awake before dawn, and ready to go. I had in mind going to the little Friday morning street market (tianguis) in Las Varas, the nearest "real" town. I lucked out with a collectivo coming by the end of driveway just as I got to the road. The combi was jammed packed, more hopping on as we drove through Chacala. During the ride into LV I got to hold 16 month old Guadalupe, a delicious little chubby armful with a wonderful smile. And a perky litte ponytail. She was my little flower for the day.

Did some errands and headed for the market. My neighbor, Jesus, was manning his wife's booth, where they sell used kid's clothing from the US. Nice affordable stuff. The plant lady waws set up was right across the way. And she had some plants I liked. And I liked the price too. One was a big plant with a yellow yellow margin on tall, deep green, smooth but textured- looking leaves (Sansierviera?). There were actually three plants in the plastic bag/pot A big one and two smaller ones. 30 pesos (2.70US). And then she has a little scrungy looking pot with a jade plant (which I never see in nursery here), and two other succulents. Pretty good sized plants for 10 pesos. Total. Plus I got five more buckets for pots. 10 pesos each.

This has been such a good week for my plant addiction. Two trips to the nursery, one to the tianguis, and one visit from the plant truck. The plant truck is coming again today, according to Maria Palila, but I have spent my plant and divertito (fun) pesos already for this month.

When I got home with my treasures the electrical contractors were at the house, hand digging eight foot deep holes for the huge cement power poles. It was very, very, hot and humid. The workers took numerous breaks, having Cokes and ice water on the front patio, and cooling off with the "town water" hose. Still, it was a back-breaking job.

Four workers dug 2 holes while the CFE (Federal Electric Commission electricans) sat on the patio and watched them. I watered plants, and pruned back the bouganvillea from where the new meter will go. The workers helped me get ride of some wasp nests in the ceiling. The wasps have been working hard to establish themsevles up there this year. I have to stand on a chair and sweep the new little nests down every morning. And I found some more baby vinca's and transplanted them closer to the steps. I am going to put some bouganvillea cuttings next to the new pole near the house. The good thing about hand-dug holes is they didn't make any mess at all. You can hardly tell the pole is new.

I made holes in the bottom of my new bucket-planters and filled the buckets with dirt. It's sort of fun to be an (old) women in Mexico. The machismo here means they think woman are too dumb and weak to fill buckets with dirt. So I got to watch while the electricans filled the buckets. Works for me. The conversation always turns to the questions of "Where is your husband?", "Do you live here alone?", "Who takes care of you?", etc etc etc. Sometimes I tell them I can drive big trucks and repairs cars and stuff like that. I can tell they don't believe me. I also tell them that in the US big companies hire women drivers because they are better drivers than men. It's not exactly truth, but I like to see the looks on their faces when I say that.

The electric guys finally left for lunch at 2pm, and when they came back they were working down at the road, so I could focus on my veranda garden. I have been reading my new plant book, and looking up plants on the various horticulture websites. And most of them say what the local lady gardeners have been telling me all along: that partial shade is best for almost every plant that grows here. So I am re-arranging my pots with that in mind. The veranda faces west, overlooking the locean. It's about 15 x 30feet, and the half closest to the house is covered. The sun doesn't get around to the west side until about 2pm, so the plants are getting afternoon sun, which isn't optimal, but I think it's okay.

I have been re-reading the sections on propagating succulents, and am reminded to let the wounds dry out. I am starting to understand that better. The new cut is an open wound, oozing fluids and attracting whatever. Slowly, slowly, I am learning about how to garden here.

It is a great veranda. The hammock is under the roof, so I can enjoy the shade, and the mosquites can enjoy me. Lately the mosquitoes are out in morning and evening. Ugh.
Right now the plants are loosely arranged into succulent and non-succulent. But I think evenutally they will be in order of sun requirements, with the bigger plants shading the little ones.

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