And then I read La Gringa's blog about gardening in Honduras. She's my new internet gardening friend who is trying to garden in a similar climate and culture. It's makes me laugh when I read some of the thing she writes, because often it sounds just like gardening in Chacala.
I can totally relate to her last post. The only thing that's very different for us is I am lucky enough to live in a poor little village, next to a poor neighborhood, so people share a lot. Plants too. There is a constant flow of plants in and out of this house.
But when she wrote about how hard it is to identify plants here, I can really relate. Even the nursery people offer you informal names, like "snake plant" or "sunny days". And all roses are just roses, by color. Sometimes I will ask a neighbor what a plant is called, and they tell me some local name. But when I say something like, "Oh, in my old town they called in an "oleander" or whatever, many times they will shrug and say a similar name, with a Spanish twist. It's frustrating but I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as people can tell me sun/shade, water needs, and how to grow babies from seeds, cuttings, whatever.
The uneducated and careless use of herbicides and pesticides in Mexico seems pretty dangerous to me. Of course, the US has poisoned many many water sources, on a very large scale, with the indiscriminate use of all kinds of toxic chemicals. What's worse? I don't know.
Labels and instructions on the packages are often non-existent, in English, or unreadable. Nobody reads directions in small towns in Mexico. Partly because only a few people read well, and partly because they are of the poor and useless labeling. People have no idea but the dangers of these toxic chemicals. Severe kidney and liver disease is common here, but no one understands that all these chemical hurt your body. BlahBlah Blah.
It just scares me to see people using backpack sprays with no gloves or masks. And they don't read the labels. They just dump the powder in and stir it with their hands. I have seen a lady wash her little boy in a bucket she just finished using to mix ant spray. I convinced her to rinse him off and wait five minutes so I could run home and get her a new bucket, just for washing the baby. She thought I was nuts. Luckily she was too polite to go against my wishes, and she waited to use new bucket. But probably just that once.
The other thing La Gringa wrote about was missing her gardening friends from her old life. Me too. I am making a big effort to meet other English speaking gardeners in the area, but haven't had much luck. But reading gardening blogs and emailing is lots of fun and very educational.
And besides, with my gardening friends here there's no one-up-manship stuff. Like who has the most exotic plants or the most expensive garden or whatever. Or who just came back from a garden tour of South Africa, or Provence. At least, if there is, I don't know about it. People just seem to like pretty flowers and nice plants. And sharing.
Oh, for the good old, bad old, days. But not really. I'd still rather be in Mexico. "Mexico es mejor". Mexico is best, at least for me, now.