Baby beans

They're like the June Taylor dancers or Olympic synchronized swimming emerging from the soil sequentially.

A bit late. But who cares?

The line of beans continues to the left in another pot.

And so on to another pot. A trench is formed in each pot with seeds in the trenches and with bulbs or whatever planted in front of them. 

These trenches are over-planted terribly. Nobody sensible plants so many so close together. There are actually three species in each trench and the entire trench is sprinkled with seeds. There is none of this, 'two inches apart' crap. I need to curate them so much as possible up the balcony railing.

The left half of the balcony has Morning Glory seeds all the way across with very long Chinese brown beans. 

The right half of the balcony has pots with trenches filled with another type of beans and a another type of Morning Glory. 

Cucumbers sporadically both sides, mostly the middle.

Three types of seeds in each trench for things that climb. I forget what else I put in there. 

The Chinese long beans form a wall of foliage then they produce pods that grow an inch each day so that at the end of the season the fading wall of leaves is draped with extraordinarily long beans just hanging there pendently, oddly somewhat sexually. They received the most interesting responses from women, "May I touch one?" 

Small beans in long pods. I suppose you eat the whole pod. These beans were all grown last year. 

The other bean is a large white casserole type that is pickier about germination. A few did grow last year, but very late, and they were planted three times. They're from France. Haricot Tarbais. This year they have not germinated yet. I did not pre-soak the beans. But boy, are they ever being soaked now. 

2020 summer Caladium preparation

We're behind schedule but that is okay.

Apparently the reaction to pandemic caused a bit of UPS delay but not too badly. There were two shipments of caladium bulbs and both shipments were delayed.

The first order was for all of us. A patio-worth of bulbs for six different people. Four here where I live and two outside this apartment. 1/6 of the shipment was addressed to my new general practician. I gave him a bunch of bulbs last year but none of them worked. I gave bulbs to his office workers and those all failed too. His office is bad news for caladium bulbs.

But that's how we learn about plants. By killing them. We are serial plant killers.

So try again this year except with more bulbs.

So the first shipment was divided into two, 1/6 to the doctor and 5/6 to me to divide out. So I saved boxes for this.

But the caladium place in Florida sent all of the bulbs to the doctor. He left a message on my phone a bit confused saying that he doesn't know what to do with them, but hey, thank you. And my phone had died so I did not get the message until I had a new phone that was working and that took over a week.

It was quiet around here.

Now the doctor has way more caladium bulbs sent to his clinic than he knows what to do with.

He is a smart man. He'll figure it out.

But he'll do the wrong thing.

I cannot fix it. I cannot go in and say, "Oh, you got all of our bulbs. That was a mistake." He has already accepted the whole thing as his, my response was non-existent. Here is what he should do:

1) Keep what he wants
2) Give a portion to his office assistants.
3) Give some to the clinic lawn-care guys to incorporate into the landscaping.

That's what should happen, but it wont be. He'll probably keep some for next year and kill them. He'll goof on planting them. He'll keep the whole box without even thinking about his help or his clinic. Most will die. Some will live and they will be spectacular.

But I must re-order the redirected 5/6.

And this really pushes us back into the season. I did this before, planted late and then planted sequentially, and they all worked wonderfully. I even planted them, saw the result, and thought, "Oh man, I need a lot more of these." Ordered more after the first had already settled and then shot up. The second was greatly delayed but they were still gorgeous late into the season when the first round was dying back. So these will be like those.

There are two men that live here inside our floors of apartments stacked like horseshoes. One is a cop and the other a retired vet. They both have a lot of message type things around their front doors, plaques signaling good citizenship and Christian values. The cop had imitated my balcony style to an extent. The vet likes to grow a lot of things. Everyone else is too busy for this kind of stuff. The other resident's efforts are half-hearted.

I see the cop's balcony door opened but nothing happening over there. Planters are empty. I see junk on the vet's balcony but nothing growing. These two guys are out of it. They are shut down for the season. Their balconies show this. Their pandemic reaction has shut them down. The ladies in the office are closed off. We don't even know if they're in there. There are no sounds, no activity, no communication.

My outside doctor is confused about plants and in possession of everyone else's original order.

My friend is unresponsive.

I must burst into this.

I must face rejection. I must accept this can be a massive failure. I already bought everyone's bulbs twice. All signals are bad. Here goes.

The box is heavy as h-e-double pallet jack blades. I couldn't even pick it up.

Something is not right. There is no white. I made a point to choose from red and from pink and from white.

Eh, what the heck. I don't care.

The ladies in the office and a gentleman, whoever is in there, each have modest approaches. Their box equals a full balcony-worth to fill with bulbs but they must break it down however they wish. I left index cards in their drop box explaining myself and I left the carton outside on their impeccably spotless furniture. They'll have to read the cards and they'll have to do something with their box if only to return it. I have no idea what they will do. They could even give them to the building guys to plant in our own giant pots. They could give them to their favorite residents. I think they will divide them out and take them home. And I think that later this year I will hear how beautiful they are. 

The cop was home. He answered his door cautiously. Once the door was opened and he was facing me he was incredibly gracious. 

What did he say that got me? I must recall this.

It was something about looking down onto my balcony.

I told him to gouge out their eyes like a potato. This freaks out the bulb like they're being attacked by an animal and it causes them over-produce the growth hormone that you just now gouged out. Even if it is already growing. Gouge it out and make it start over. Plus it shows which direction to plant them. And that will result in much fuller foliage. Then you can sit back and watch its exploding beauty. 

Then he said something remarkably slick.

He said, "I sit back and appreciate the beauty of your balcony. I've been waiting for you. When are you going to plant yours?"

A cop said that to me.


I must say, he accepted graciously. 

So did the vet. The vet seemed happy to see me, pleased to get up and talk to me without a mask. Pleased to accept the box of bulbs. He assured me he'd plant them. He was extremely pleased and gracious and eager even though I jolted him from slumber.

That's it for the two residents and the two or three people in the office. Now for the long-term friend. 

He lives a straight shot east but I must go through Cheesman Park.

He had not been responding to my emails. So I behaved as if he had. I left three email messages indicating my intention, then finally indicating the time. It will be a hit and run. I'll park in front, plant them, water them, and leave. 

When I arrived he was sitting on his steps. 

I had to park at some distance. I pushed my little cart past the font doors of the stately townhouses. 


The whole row of condominiums has taken on an intensified classical look. Apartment after apartment, the fronts had all been terraced with marble dividing the layers. Each door has individually chosen heavy framed placards with classical content. Large vases arranged on the steps. Flowers pouring over the steps. Everything tasteful. Everything just so. 

A bit pissy.

My friend's concrete walkway is now marble. The yards in the front are divided ridiculously. They overlap the next person's apartment. His yard is everything to the right of his walkway and steps to the next walkway. 

 It took me awhile to park. He disappeared in the time that it took me. I started work to the left of his sidewalk and became immediately discouraged with the state of the soil. It's terrible. There is some landscaping with failed sections with the surface coated with periwinkle. Underneath is pure hard gray clay with no trace of worms. I would need an ice-axe. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to plant one bulb.

My friend appeared again. He told me I'm on the wrong side. His side is all much better dirt. Covered with bark bits. He failed to mention the fronts had all been terraced. He failed to mention two other men had already helped him plant a front garden. I am the third person applying my hand to his little front garden. 

I said, "F'k'n-a, man, this whole place is a lot more classical." 

He laughed. It's a thing with them. He told me that he put rows of lights on his steps and the housing organization told him to turn them off. Then he changed them to blue and they told him to turn them off again. So he has a plan to work them back on slowly. 

I said, "Each condominium makes it look like Unsinkable Molly Brown's house." 

He roared laughing. I hadn't seen him laugh that hard. It's not that funny, but for him it hit the nail on the head.  Her mansion is just a few blocks away, and the whole place looks like a wreck with mixed classical plaques and vases and statues that combine Greek and Roman and Egyptian cultures all over the place. Good Lord, it makes you edgy just walking past it much more so walking into it.

The original plan was shot. The whole idea now is different. I assessed the work that was already done on three layers, the blending of tall and short, the distribution of plants, and I interspersed the bulbs among them. I saw where the original began to run out of plants. I tried to anticipate possible failures within the garden and planted bulbs to fill sparse areas and future sparse areas. Another layer I planted bulbs in line tight among low-level plants. It took an hour. I departed. 

Each person with whom I had contact was pleasant and gracious and eager to participate. The opposite of what I had thought. 

We'll see how this goes. 

Since I could do his garden in one hour then I can do mine that quickly too. All that is left for me is to plant my own bulbs. My garden is even more convenient than his.

And I have the best of all dirts.

Oh! I just now got a message. As I am writing this my new phone notified me. It's the guy who did not respond to emails but who was sitting on the steps when I arrived. 
Thank you so much for your work today. It was nice to say hi. I'll be watching for the first growth for sure. I'm excited already.


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