DIY therapy

One of my boys is experiencing some painful romantic complications, which is frustrating for both of us because in grappling with the problem I necessarily have to accept the fact that my boys are now men. But he hurts, therefore I hurt, which in my case involves wanting to fix it, talk us through it and out of it, when what’s needed is for me to back the hell off. Backing off is such a difficult maneuver to master. To practice backing off, and still being fairly new at it, all I could think of was there needed to be some plants involved. Am I right? But it’s 7 o’clock at night. The only plants not locked up for the night would be found at the local big box store. That’ll do. Because of the late hour, there’s nobody else in the nursery department. Perfect. I slowly browse the aisles, marveling at the big banner declaring “Palms are drought tolerant! (when established).” That’s exactly the clear kind of communication that’s needed in the drought. And then I inspect the palms, hoping to discover a variegated Caryota mitis perhaps. No such luck tonight. Yucca ‘Bright Star’ in gallon sizes? Dream on. Still not ready to go home, I head into the building supplies section and meander my way over to the lighting. There it is on the shelf, still $15, a price I had previously deemed a little high for an experiment with a very uncertain outcome. I hovered, hand outstretched then snatched back a couple times, until in one quick move I made the grab for the light shade, paid for it, and headed home.

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Before heading off to work this morning, Marty helped me rig the chain. This squid agave pup needed to be repotted anyway, so I found a black plastic pot that looked roughly the right size and slipped it in. If only all our troubles could be fixed this easily. I may need to go back and get another one or two before things quiet down.

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And while we’re at the pergola, I might as well take a portrait of the cool plant lurking just outside the brick patio while it’s still alive. Dustin Gimbel brought Strobilanthes gossypinus back from a visit to Windcliff. It’s got an unusual copper overlay to its furry, silvery leaves. So far it’s weathering the 90+ degree temps beautifully, knock wood, with some shade from the hottest afternoon sun. Like bamboo, it’s a “mast” plant, which basically means they are on timers set to flower and die out simultaneously wherever they exist in the world.

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More cheerful stuff, found at The Style-Files.

Now I’m out of cheerful. Oh, wait! This is totally digressing, but it made me laugh, so I’ll share. Maybe because of the heat, Ein threw up this morning, poor pup. I know that’s not funny, just hear me out. Marty immediately recited “Headache, fever, upset stomach, diarrhea,” and I laughed, as he knew I would. Let me explain. We both knew that was the tersely worded contents of the sick-day note his mom routinely sent whenever he missed a day of school. Absences that were usually the result of sheer orneriness, not sickness. His mom liked to cover all the bases. I’ve no doubt the school was wise to the situation, but who would dare argue with those symptoms? What Marty remembers about his mom truly scares me sometimes. I can’t imagine what stories mine will tell about me. I suspect there will be plants involved, though.

Have a great weekend. May I suggest some DIY therapy perhaps?

This entry was posted in agaves, woody lilies, design, pots and containers, succulents and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to DIY therapy

  1. Kris P says:

    I love the squid agave’s new hanging planter. I suffer from the desire (need?) to fix things when people I care about are hurting too and I’ve banged my head into walls attempting just that on more occasions than I can count so I sympathize. Distraction is key. Pruning and pulling weeds is always good therapy, although not perhaps in this heat.

  2. Denise says:

    Kris, hope you can find a cool spot up on the hill this weekend. We didn’t head indoors until after 10 o’clock last night. Such a beautiful night, plus we here hoping to catch some of the Perseid meteor shower. Too much light pollution, of course.

  3. I’ve bookmarked your post because I’m sure I’ll need to go back to it in the not-so-distant future. No romantic complications for our girls yet but it’s just a question of when, not if. Any remedy involving plants is a good one, in my book!

    I think the light shade you bought is awesome, especially in combination with that agave pup. But it looks lonely. It needs a few more friends that look just like it 🙂

  4. Alison says:

    That is a brilliant use for the light shade, and $15 seems cheap for such a cool, modernistic planter. My son is in his 30s, and I still wish I could fix his life when it breaks. It’s hard to remember that it’s not my job any more, and he resents my advice and my interference anyway. All by way of saying, I hear ya.

  5. I agree with Gerhard, more of the same…a trio perhaps. I do love it…a perfect combination. I needed some plant therapy myself today, luckily a stop at my local nursery was just the thing (post on Monday, probably)…then I came home to mail order plants on the doorstep with a free bonus plant tucked in…good times.

    I hope the romantic complications heal quickly. Not having kids the closest I’ve came is my sweet dear nephew suffering heart break. I wanted to go beat her up and tell her what a fool she was. Man it’s a good thing I’m not a mom.

  6. Nell says:

    :: Like bamboo, it’s a “mast” plant, which basically means they are on timers set to flower and die out simultaneously wherever they exist in the world. ::

    Will a cutting taken now (or at some point before flowering begins) be on the same clock? That’s eerie, and new to me.

  7. Denise says:

    @Gerhard, I’ve always been surrounded by boys, two brothers, two sons, so can’t imagine anything else. With a dad like you, I know the girls are going to be fine. Your family seems full of curiosity and interest in so many things, which gives them a huge advantage.
    @Alison, plants are the way to go — they don’t mind all the hovering and fawning!
    @Loree, I’d probably stagger the heights if I got more. I had a mail order delivery Friday too. Max Parker sent some passion vines, including ‘Sunshine.’ What a guy!
    @Nell, that is a strange concept to grab hold of, but cuttings too are on the timer, as I understand it. The whole species starts again from seed, and the timer starts ticking. Mature stands of some kinds of bamboo, nice privacy screens, are wiped out. I need to do more research on this too.

  8. hoov says:

    The Strobilanthes–won’t that heal everything? Oh, swoon! Nice lampshade conversion, too.

    Best wishes to Mr. Son for the best results possible, whatever they may be. My dear nephew is having his own terrible struggle with algebra–something more manageable.

  9. Denise says:

    Hoov, yes, the strobilanthes is a great healer! Oh, the algebra struggles, BTDT.

  10. MB Maher says:

    I am sitting alone in the back room laughing like a maniac at this final portion about sick-day notes — if the neighbors didn’t wonder about me before — all the windows are open and all fans running full throttle in this heat wave — what a great way to end the evening. There’s so much “therapy” clogging the shelving of this house, it’s not even funny. All of this is going to turn out fine. We just might end up with more chotchkies than we wanted.

  11. Denise says:

    MB, you’d heard about those sick notes before, right? I swear, with grandma, it’s like the Monty Python version of “Angela’s Ashes.”

  12. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Sorry to hear that your son is hurting and that you can’t really do anything about it but listen. DIY/retail therapy always makes things better. I got a Strobilanthes gossypinus at Windcliff last summer – what a cool plant. I didn’t know that it was a “mast” plant but hopefully, like bamboo, the timer doesn’t go off very often!

  13. Pam/Digging says:

    I’d say you got off easy in your retail therapy outing. That improvised hanging planter is great. Good luck with the backing off — not easy at all.

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