Thursday, May 07, 2009

Patio Gardening

It is HOT! This is the hottest time of the year here in San Miguel. The one place that is usually cool during the day is our patio. It is an interior patio shaded by a huge, ancient lugustrum tree. You may think that lugustrum is only a hedge but I can assure you that they can also be trees. This old tree reminds me of the wild hackberry tree we had that was just inside the property line when we built our last house in Houston. It was kind of twisted and ugly but sculptural. I loved it. The builder wanted to take it out. I said "no." The landscape guy wanted to take it out. I said "no." So far as I know the new owners have not taken it out either.

At any rate when we moved into this house in early May, I was just sure that the lugustrum tree was dying. Every morning the patio was covered in leaves. Now I know. It is the cycle for this tree. For the next month or two the tree will be dropping leaves all over the patio, every day, all day. I don't worry now. I just look at the tips of the branches for tiny bright green growth. The new leaves, they are on their way. If we want to have drinks on the patio with friends, we wait until the last minute to sweep up the leaves because if you do it in the morning, it looks like you have not done it for days when the guests arrive.


We had Enrique, the gardener, in a couple of weeks ago to trim up the tree and the bougainvillea, change out some pots, carry bags of dirt to the terrace......some of the stuff that neither Ned or I can do or want to do anymore. The big planter on the patio need some attention. When we planted it, the landscape guy suggested cannas for the back of the bed because we wanted a different leaf shape and we wanted something that would get tall and still be slender. I wasn't sure about the cannas because I didn't think they would get enough sun and they can look so ragged. But I didn't know what else might work so in went the cannas. My fears were justified. They look ragged. I don't like them.

While I'm trying to think what might go there, my Garden Design magazine arrives with the perfect solution......sansevierias or snake plant. I had them in the garden in Houston in a place that had bright shade and they did great. So while the gardener was here I showed him the magazine and a picture of the plants and asked if he knew if any of the nurseries currently had sansevierias. He didn't think they did but I should tell them that I wanted some and then go every week when the supply trucks come in because it is most likely that they would not remember to call me before they were all gone. I really wanted to try a tall sanseviera at the back of that bed so I was planning to try to get the Primavera Viverio to order some for me....even if it meant I would have to try to go there every week just after the supply truck arrived.

Lo and Behold, the next day the doorbell rang and there was Enrique with two kinds of sanseviera. It seems he was cleaning out a garden and so had some extras and he brought them to me. I asked if he would perhaps have five or six more clumps from that garden. He assured me that he would bring me more the next day. That was two weeks ago and we haven't seen Enrique again. He may show up one day with more of the sanseveria or maybe not. But I've got time. The one clump that I do have will multiply and next Spring, we can separate the shoots and spread them out and probably in another couple of years I'll have my tall slender row of sanseviera across the back of the planter.

13 comments:

Islagringo said...

I wish I had known you wanted sanservia. We just threw pots of them into the garbage since nobody wanted them.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I believe the euphemism that applies is "easy to propagate". Don't worry soon you will have many, they are called lengua de vaca here. I have heard them called mother-in-laws tongue in English. I have them in my hen planter.
regards,
Theresa

Billie said...

Theresa, yes, I also called them mother-in-law's tongue in the States. I think they will spread quickly and I really like the color of this variety, kind of a blue-green stripe. It looks good with the wall. The Garden Design magazine had a number of varieties that I had not seen before. Now I'll have to be on the lookout for one of the shorter varieties. I think I have just the place for it.
Wayne, sorry you had to dump them. Wish I would have known.

Tom and Debi said...

Oh and there are so many lovely color and size variations. Tall ones, short ones, flat ones, round ones, bent ones,... And they really do do well in just about any situation, and are nearly indestructible!
Debi

Billie said...

Debi, I have seen the one that I have and also the one with the yellow border...both of them the tall variety but that is about the extent of my choices in SMA. In the magazine they had a short wide leaf with a tiny red border around the leaf. It was adorable. I'd love to have it.

glorv1 said...

That's a great patio garden. Low maintenance and that's good for sure. Have a great weekend. Happy Mother's Day too.

La belle Aurore said...

Yes, it is hot here also, and I have been moving plants around as well. I need to ask my gardener to bring me discarded plants from others, I call it : mexican recycle... why not...

How is your SoFoBoMo coming?

Jonna said...

I have several over in Akumal that are doing well inside, but the one I have here in Mérida has looked on the verge of croaking for a month. Not sure what the difference is, maybe not enough water.

I like the colors of that one against the wall and the pattern is great.

Billie said...

La Belle, I'm just about ready to start SOFOBOMO. Probably will begin in about a week. And you? When will you begin?

Jonna, Could the one in Merida be getting too much sun? I like my new plant too. Hope it will be happy.

Jonna said...

No, but maybe too little sun. It's on a covered terrace with no direct sun. The leaves look shriveled even when I water it. It is putting up a new leaf however, but it looks as curled up as the old ones. I'll take a pic of it.

Billie said...

Jonna, that is strange because they make good house plants. Send a picture. Maybe someone will have some ideas about what is wrong.

Jonna said...

Here's a pic as it was. When I went up to take the picture I realized I had never actually planted it in the pot, the plastic pot was just sitting in it.

http://www.baddog.com/images/sansevieria936.jpgSo, I planted it and found that the soil was dry and hard around the roots. I gave it potting mix and watered it well and we shall see. Here it is now, I moved it for brighter light but still no direct sun. The lava rock I have to put in all my potted plants or Tita thinks they are a litterbox.

http://www.baddog.com/images/sansevieria939.jpg Perhaps it is the type, you can see that the leaves are almost folded in half.

La belle Aurore said...

Billie,

For SoFoBoMo, my starting date is : May 15.

Cannot wait to start this one!

Take care,