Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mi Maestras de Oleanders

On the beach, right beyond where I camped all last winter.
I don'thave an oleander snapshot, so here are some more Chacala photos.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and there was a very large oleander plant at my Mom's house. When I first moved to Chacala I was amazed to see so many oleander plants. Mostly white flowers, or a deep pink color. I am finally getting around to trying to starting some plants from cuttings. I have been learning a number of different starting methods. I know they are poisoness. However, people here burn the leaves, and think I am peculiar when I stay away from the smoke, which is also toxic.

Yesterday Lupe offered me a couple of cuttings from a white oleander. She said to just trim off the leaves from a six inch green branch, leave a couple at the top and stick the plant in a jar of water.

Then today, I was walking by Tina's (short for Clementina), a woman a little younger than me. She has four lovely grandchildren. Every time I see her "Oh My Darling, Oh My Darling, Oh My Darling Clementine" runs thru my head. They don't know that song in Chacala, I guess. At least no one recognizes my off-key rendition.

Anyway, Tina was raking up leaf debris from the plants and trees in front of her house. Her yard is fenced in by barbed wire, and the look is "bare dirt". When I first moved to Chacala, I thought the popular "bare dirt" look around people's houses was really ugly. But now I appreciate being able to see exactly what is on the ground around me. Same thing with barking dogs. I still don't like them barking, but I really appreciate the early warning system. Warnings of "person approaching", " rat entering", "dog/cat/tejone/ alert!!" are very comforting now. No sneaking up on me.

Tina knows I like the color of the blossoms on her oleander. It's a big shrub on the corner across from the primary school basketball court. The red/pink color is really nice.
I asked Tina if I could have a start, and when she said "Yes". But when I started to break a new, green piece off , she stopped me. She showed me how to break a branch off at the place where the new branch emerged from an older branch. She said to trim off the torn part, and trim the branch to about six or eight inches. No leaves. And then put it in water until it has serious roots.

And yesterday Maria showed that I should just trim off the top four inches of nice new growth and stick in the ground. I guess this is a little experiment in starting oleanders. So we'll see what method works best. Maybe they'll all work. Most of the plants around here seem to do okay with the cut in off and stick in the dirt method. Like the fence posts around here almost always turn into trees. Very handy.
Sitting at one of the beach restaurants,
watching the sun go down

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