Did several hours gardening today: a corner of the front yard in front of Rod’s room, it faces north, cops a punishing amount of heat and light all day, all summer. The flower bed follows the brick of bedroom & porch, and is planted with 5 rose bushes. I’m currently re-reading (for the nth time) Pat Gale’s Facing the Tank, which has a hilarious scene where the gay interior designer discovers the rose bushes planted over his lover’s grave have been mysteriously uprooted.
Looking up the ref in Wiki I found that the prolific Mr Gale has written another novel: A Perfectly Good Man. Had to ebay that from NZ. Hoping this one, although it sounds a heavyweight, may have improved after the last two: Notes from an Exhibition was such a druggie picture of the mind of a visual artist, that I was unable to finish reading it; then its successor The Whole Day Through was so choc-light I read it but failed miserably to appreciate the intensely-wrought relationship of a couple that turns out to be a temporary abberation when the bloke, (older bro of a mildly Down syndrome gay man) returns to his wife. As Ellen said mid-show a day ago: You heterosexuals! Yes, I know Gale is gay, but he has his faithful audience to pander to, while gays only occasionally read his books on the beach.
I flashed back to the scene in FTT pruning the roses, settling them in with some seaweed emulsion, removing the neighbouring tradescantia flumenensis, and found to my glee that a pink-flowering crepe myrtle had sent up another shoot from some remaining underground root system that continues to thrive. A couple of months ago it shot up in the same place, I attempted to repot it but was unsuccessful. R & I decided to let it grow taller then attempt the transplantation later. Its current location is merely a foot from the brick wall of the house and should be moved to a spot 3 feet from the front fence. It pleases me that the crepe myrtle continues to thrive. There’s a lovely local Irish working class idiom about a gay bloke being a bit of a myrtle, although the white haired grannie who told me earnestly reassured me that I was butcher than myrtle, as was Rod!
Three plants survived from the original garden, apart from the thickest blanket of buffalo weed, coiled mounds a foot deep! The first and only current survivor is a tall tree-fern whose fronds now unfold over the roof. The crepe myrtle was another original; we tried to trim it to manageable size but its prolific fall of bark, leaf and the gayest pink flower scattered over the psycho homophobe neighbour’s front yard. It was such a vigorous grower, flowering abundantly during Mardi Gras, then suddenly one year it became deciduous and died. The only possible explanation was that the psycho applied weedkiller, may his crimes return to harass him threefold.
The third was a peace rose; I loved its delicate dialogue of gold & pink; but as we were ensconced in a terrible war with the strange neighbour, I’m sure the rose felt unable to flourish in this complex atmosphere. I have yet to replace it. Slowly, slowly, the landscaping scenario is to surround the juliet balcony, that wraps, while it connects, both front bedrooms, with a range of roses, we have planted 7 so far. At my bedroom window is a gold rose; next to it, a mixed salad rose of slivers of pinks and reds is settling in. My garden bed has an exquisite orange mini gladiolus, welcoming gift from my lovely Tongan friend, a gold isopogon, various bulbs, now sprouting, and a mini carnation, whose fretted petals appear on many Slovenian folk textiles. Also a deep red lily flourishes, despite the feeding habits of local snails.
All this quiet gardening is so restorative. At one point in my pruning I squatted quite still; a small skink decided that I was an interesting landmark and began to approach, but my eye movements and a slight rocking were sufficient deterrents. Lilith, my weekend SMH astrologer, bemoaned the effect of storms of solar flares currently afflicting our celestial countenance. I have headaches these days that seem to last all night and half the day; I began to think them a flasback cleansing of the party substances from my youth.
Or childhood. I must have done something good, thank you Barbara. I love WB Yeats’ late poems that strive to resolve the bitter complexities of his past. Another Gemini, he. In the serene last years he saw his image: a smiling public man, settled into an ordered household and estate, a house and garden. There is no need of wall to wall Biedemier, order and serenity suffice, with floribundance outside. Forgive ourselves the lot. Something about the rag & bone shop of the heart.