It’s August and I’m craving a summer camp experience. Unfortunately, the summer camp bus left 40 years ago. So up there is my designated summer camp 2013.
I admit accommodations are rustic and no-frills, but a short trip up the ladder rungs turns an ordinary August day into something
wildly mildy adventurous. When home I probably climb the ladder loaded with armfuls of stuff to read, with or without pistachios, several times a day. It’s this summer’s preferred punctuation to extended sentences of work and errands. Often I drop the book or magazine I’m reading mid-paragraph to sit back and revel in the lofty view. At the birds cutting diagonally through the garden like it was Beggar’s Canyon. At the truly abysmal flying skills of Japanese fig beetles. At my neighbor’s peach tree, its branches loaded with fruit, some of it hanging over my side of the fence. At the cypresses in the distance, some dying, interspersed with palms lining the street south of mine. Why are the cypresses dying? I always wonder. Yesterday the clouds were arrayed in that elaborate feathering known as “fish scales” making it a “mackerel sky,” one of my very favorite skies.
Down below, behind the sliding doors is the laundry shed; up above, bliss.
Often there’s already a camp buddy or two up there waiting.
The breezes are freshest up here, and the views are godlike, gazing over rooftops or looking down on my little creation. Yesterday I fell asleep up here for 20 minutes or so. Hard asleep.
What got me so dozy late yesterday afternoon was undoubtedly the sensory overload of a bromeliad show and then some nursery hopping. A large lime green pot almost became the water garden I vowed to make this summer, but I kicked that can down the road again and instead brought home Beschorneria albiflora and Colocasia ‘Blue Hawaii,’ pictured above. Managing the ecosystem of a water garden, however small, just seems too complicated for August. That’s a pretty nifty dodge I highly recommend: think up a complicated, expensive proposition, consider it carefully from all angles, wisely decide to postpone the final decision, and then reward yourself for such judicious self-control.
The bromeliad show and sale was sponsored by South Bay Bromeliad Associates. I should have posted advance notice of the show but found out about it rather late. Shows like this are the most affordable way to acquire offsets of some very cool plants.
Though there will always be the unattainable. Alcanterea ‘Volcano Mist’ ($150)
An aechmea agave-like in substance and subtle coloring
Aechmea ‘Loies Pride’
Plenty of not-so-subtle too
I loved the dark reds streaked with chartreuse, like the dark-thorned Aechmea nudicaulis in the center
I really gravitated to the bruised, purply bromeliads like this Hohenbergia ‘Leopoldo Hortstii,’ but prices can get scary.
Similar coloration in Bilbergia ‘Violetta’ for $10. Deal.
A Neoregelia concentrica hybrid
Most of the broms are sizing up on the east side of the camp, where there’s half-day morning sun. I think Peewee the parakeet, who’s camped out in the bath house, approves of this location for them too.
Now excuse me while I pack a few more things for summer camp. (And since I’ve technically never been to a real summer camp, let me know if you have any good camp stories.)
Ugh! If that was the PV bromeliad show, I had it on my own calendar. Did I look at my calendar this weekend? No! It looks as though you made the best of it. Next time, I’ll have to set a reminder notice.
Your summer camp looks wonderful. Your fellow campers also look to be very companionable. Enjoy your ruminations – and your naps.
Kris, I nearly forgot too. I try to get these sales up under “Dates to Remember” but obviously fell down on the job.
I don’t think the beetles you are seeing in your garden in Long Beach are Japanese beetles (or at least I sure hope they aren’t). I think they are probably fig beetles which are also green but are giant and loud. I think Japanese beetles aren’t established anywhere on the west coast yet.
Thanks, Christine, that’s a good distinction to make. Since the back wall is covered in creeping fig, they are undoubtedly fig beetles (Cotinis mutabilis). I know they’re laying eggs in the compost pile. It’s true the real J beetles are the scourge of roses among other plants in parts of the U.S. — but thankfully not here!
A restful perch WITH kitties…count me in!
You look to be having a lovely summer, with that perch, and those companions animal and vegetable. Sorry I missed yet another show, it looks like it was great!
Scott, I’ve always had a thing for heights, but not too high. I was always up on the roof as a kid. Go figure!
Hoov, Intercity is coming up late August. And we need to get an itinerary for the San Diego nurseries going. I’ll make some phone calls.
Your summer camp is truly enviable..I seem to remember you getting it set up a few years back..maybe even several years back ? My lone summer camp experience involved nuns, dormitories instead of cabins, and the one and only time I fainted at Mass.It was at a convent/boarding school in a rural area of the San Gabriel Valley (rural in the 50’s) There was horseback riding though. It wasn’t horrible, but I never went back.
Ok, so I spotted your old ‘water garden’ with the glass float stashed by the laundry room. You need to fire that thing up !
Kathy, yes, the “biv” as we call it (for bivouac) has been up in various iterations for decades. When the boys played up here it had a safety rail. The old office futon was sheizen-canned recently so I grabbed the cushions, and now it’s a whole new level of comfort. Always amazed how your Catholic school experiences rival mine — nay, even surpass mine! True, I’ve got water and floaty things but I want water plants!
I love your summer camp and the view of your garden from your lofty position! I didn’t go to real summer camp either! Great bromeliads!
Hi, Peter — it’s never too late for camp!
This is wonderful, I love your summer camp idea! What better way to enjoy your garden 🙂
I couldn’t take my eyes of photos 2, the sweet kitty and 3, the pathway with plants. A few weeks ago we tore our our rotting deck and will be replacing it with a concrete patio. I’m excited to design the plantings surrounding it. Photo number 3 gives me a lot of inspiration. Outstanding!
I hope you’re enjoying your summer, Denise. I could use a little summer camp myself but, like you the bus left 40 years ago. 🙂