A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I wonder how the fabulous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world, were tended. Why do I wonder this? Because my garden is so fucking steep, it's a miracle I'm still alive today. I've ripped muscles and tendons in my shoulders, back, and neck, from hanging on to trees, bushes, rocks, posts, and plants in an effort to weed, or plant, or unplant. Incidentally, Dietes vegeta has incredible earth-gripping power - although if it's a young plant, the leaves might come off in your hand. Which is not too bad, if you're trying to unplant the incivil little fucker because it spreads by underground roots as well as seeds, making it a royal pain in the tuchus to eradicate, once established.

I plan to give it another bash later today. But first, the painkillers. I once lost my grip on a high part of the hill, and rolled all the way down to the road, saved only by the fact that the neighbours had filled their "green trash" can with an enormous, soft pile of various plant remains, on which I landed. On my arse. If I'd landed on my head, my neck would have snapped. As it is, I escaped unscathed, except for losing a pair of glasses, which I haven't found yet, despite scouring the garden regularly. The garden could certainly stand a more aggressive scouring, but there's a limit to what I can do these days.

The weather's unseasonably strange. Two weeks ago, temperatures were in the 90s and as soon as you watered the soil was a-thirsting again. Much of the native speedwell (veronica) simply crumbled like dried herbs, dropping seeds here and there, and the shasta daisies turned brown almost at the point of bloom. Even the calendula and rudbeckia were doing poorly, the flowers and foliage looking dry and burned, sometimes apetalous - just a dark heart, with a fringe of yellow, or a single spear. The only things that didn't mind the heat were the lantana and bougainvillea. The bougainvillea's going crazy. 18-foot spikes, reaching up two levels and creeping under the deck. I must attempt to prune it without losing my life or skin in the process. It's blooming, though, which is pretty.

Last week it was so fucking cold, I was wearing sweaters to work. Forget gardening! It was gray and dreary, and although I did go down and sit on the hill for form's sake, the flowers looked drab and unlovely against the cheerless sky. This week, we started out in the 60s, and today the temperature is expected to rise into the 80s.

The Cecile Brunner bloomed way too early - normally it starts in late May and stays till early July, but it bloomed in April, when we were still getting rain, so much of the bloom was bruised or beaten down, and now it's mostly gone because of the heat.

Meanwhile, the white-flowered oleander is requiring more water to bloom than it ever did before. I wonder why?

The bees are so few in number this year! We seem to have an abundance of spiders, damselflies, skippers, and moths. Not so many butterflies, although an anise swallowtail has clearly laid eggs. And birds we have aplenty. The buddleia is setting buds, which is good. I must clip back the invasive blackberry and nettle and try to strip off the dead anise from the very top of the hill (I really need mountainclimbing gear to do this!).

I'll try to take pleasure in the still-blooming blue flax (most of the scarlet variety died), the calendula, rudbeckia, yellow cosmos, Shasta daisies, corn poppy, bougainvillea, toadflax, and the glorious, glorious California poppies!

I come, Grimalkin! I mean, garden!


Stumble It!


At 10:31 AM, Blogger Sandy-LA 90034 said...

I'm assuming the picture of the beautiful blue shutters and bougainvillea is not your garden? I love the European (French?) custom of painting shutters such glorious colors.

Also, you worry about getting exercise (above)? It sounds like you get it in spades (no pun intended) whenever you garden up and down your hillside. I don't think you have to worry -- you have a built-in motivator to get you out and moving.

I so admire your industry and activities such as cooking and gardening. I have a mental health issue that stalls motivation and keeps me from accomplishing many of the things I envision. I appreciate and enjoy blogs like yours that show how people can activate and achieve so much in their lives. I have discovered one of the solutions for me is to gather friends together to "hold the space" for each other so we can motivate each other to achieve things we couldn't do on our own.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Actually, although those are not my blue shutters, my windows are painted a French blue, rather like the color pictured. Gardening, while I love it dearly, is not helping me to lose the weight that I've accumulated since I injured my knee. I need to lose some weight before the next surgery. I also need to improve my muscle tone. I confess, I too have issues (depression) - which have not been helped by the horrendous events of the past six years. I think of myself as a bit of a slacker, but looking at me through your eyes makes me feel downright positive about myself! You're such a pleasure to know. Thanks for your good words.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Sandy-LA 90034 said...

Political Cat -- no slacker are you, believe me!

Depression is one of the issues I have been dealing with and medication has helped immensely. Also ADHD and a more complicated issue where UCLA brain scan studies have shown there is an area of the brain that doesn't have as much activity for those diagnosed with this -- the area that has to do with motivation, memory, problem solving, activation and decision-making. Don't get me wrong. I worked very hard for 35 years as an admin. asst. for a Big Oil Co. and handled their political action committee filings and donations for 10 years. But it was the only thing going on in my life and was very stressful and challenging. I worked 2/3rds of my weekends and had no personal life. Since "falling apart" in 2000, I've been getting a better diagnosis and have been making friends with people with similar diagnoses. I'm on SSDI and have less stress now. Today a number of us gathered for a picnic at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. Gorgeous weather, scrabble, bbq, snoozing, my friends brought their two bunnies, to the delight of the little kids around us. Life has become very satisfying, although I'm making $20,000 instead of $50,000 a year as I used to. But we all share treks to Costco to save money and help each other out in many ways. I have about 1000 books I've accumulated over the years -- but have discovered the joys of the library. Penny pinching ways help, although I may have to give up my car soon because of the costs of gas and repairs, etc. The upside to that is I need more exercise. There's usually an upside, if you search.

Thanks for YOUR good words. I truly enjoy your creative mind and all the interests you have that you share with us.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

What a delightful thing, to picnic with bunnies! I love Scrabble, it's the one game that I continue to play, though I confess when I was last in London I did buy a Monopoly set, because the American ones didn't make any sense to me. Don't play that very often though - I don't like being competitive. I think you're right - there's always an upside, and besides, most people are way too attached to material things and unable to take joy in the beauty all around. I'm off to fall in love with my garden now - the phlox is blooming all magenta, and there's still some blossom on the rose, and now the hummingbird sage is showing bloom and the Santa Cruz (blue) hibiscus! Very pretty! Hope your day is filled with joy and beauty.


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