clippings January 5, 2021

the castor beans are as high as the 8′ back fence

Happy New Year news: We’re waitlisted for a corgi puppy with an Oregon breeder! The arrangement seems nebulous at best, but it’s the closest we’ve come to envisioning life with another dog since Ein shared his life with us, our Cowboy Beeboppin’ friend, so I count that as progress. We’re already trying out names, and Max is at the top of the list, which works for both Maxine and Maxwell…

Oregon in December, somewhere on Highway 22 to the coast, over a holiday road trip to visit family. Yes, we were lockdown escapees but never relaxed vigilance, never ventured out maskless. My biggest fear was a car accident would lead to hospitalization with no ICU beds available, but once we got out of LA County that fear lessened.

How is everyone? 2020 was one of those rare great leveler years, where no one escaped unscathed, and yet individual experiences and tolerances varied tremendously — from bereft to bankrupt. And despite a long-standing aversion to sharing too many personal details here, 2020 has convinced me that it’s important to make a record of how we all coped. I think Marty and I had it relatively easy with 2020’s isolation, because we needed the quiet to heal, so it didn’t feel like a deprivation. Those of you who have had family in nursing homes and were unable to visit and ease their last months have both our sympathy and heart-sore empathy. The circumstances of a loss like that cut very deep, and it’s taken us a while to process. And then the strangeness of having emergency surgery during a pandemic and seeing firsthand how hospitals are under siege, and this was in May! (TMI warning: weeks after the stitches should have been removed, I had to call and ask the overworked, deeply apologetic staff, Isn’t it time these came out? Due to pandemic pandemonium, I was “lost to followup” — face-to-face visits were not easy to arrange even then, in May. A minor quibble considering their life-saving services, and I mention this only to affirm that pushing hospitals to their breaking point is a very bad idea — and currently in LA we’re past the breaking point.)

on the first road trip since 2018, early morning frost was a dazzling sight

But what I do miss is…conversation. Off-screen, rambling, riffing, free-form, grabbing-a-shoulder-in-emphasis conversation.

Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

Back in Los Angeles, aloes are throwing blooms — including in my garden ‘Moonglow,’ ‘Tangerine,’ ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’

nursery flats discourage raccoons from digging up newly planted lily bulbs under Sonchus palmensis
More albuca are on their way via the Huntington’s Winter Wonder Bundle — not that I’m collecting them or anything! Already in the garden is the giant Albuca maxima, photo below, blooming in April, plus these two potted above, Albuca spiralis and namaquensis, back left, foreground right respectively

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Just above Mangave ‘Silver Fox,’ one of five Carex ‘Everillo’ added in amongst bromeliads and succulents under Grevillea ‘Moonlight.’ Peachy rosette is Ursulaea tuitensis, lemon yellow on the right possibly Aechmea blanchetiana — what can I say? I needed some color this winter

Plantings continue to be tweaked, raccoons continue their nocturnal digging, and daylight slowly lengthens again. Wishing you the most dazzling gardens in 2021 and endlessly rambunctious, face-to-face, side-splitting conversation!

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7 Responses to clippings January 5, 2021

  1. Elaine says:

    Happy New Year to you and Marty. Good-bye to a difficult year. Always optimistic at this time of year as to hoped for wonderful unfoldings of the gardening season. Even though I have connected virtually with people throughout the year I too miss the casual in person get togethers. Let’s hope this social isolation quickly comes to an end.

  2. ks says:

    A relatively easy go here too Denise. Working from home and general isolation was not a bad thing, and virtually no travel beefed up the home improvement budget. I’m optimistically planning a road trip to Oregon in late summer , but I know it may not happen. This year has taught me not to assume anything in life will go as planned. I am ready to cast off melancholy, but I think it’s grip won’t loosen for a time.

  3. Kris P says:

    I allowed myself to get more emotionally tied up in the ugly political scene in 2020 than was healthy but, for the majority of the year, my husband and I’ve counted ourselves lucky. However, the year ended on a particularly tragic note with the sudden death of my nephew’s 29 year old fiancee from a virulent form of cancer that was diagnosed less than a month earlier, followed by an ugly scene with her family over money collected via an online campaign to support her treatment. All along, I’ve looked to my garden for comfort and solace but I’ll admit to feeling more trapped by the current stay-at-home order than the first one.

    I’m hoping that, once January is behind us, the world will seem a brighter and more positive place. Best wishes to you and Marty!

  4. I miss getting together with people in person. Zoom has been a godsend, but it’s still not the same as the “real” thing. I have high hopes for 2021.

    Switching to plants, what’s your secret to getting your sonchus look so lush?

  5. Max!!! I love that name, fingers crossed for you.

    Ya, 2020. Wow. Indeed everyone has their own take on it don’t they? I can’t complain too loudly, we haven’t lost anyone in our circles and Andrew’s job is humming right along. I do hate that I’ve lost an entire year of my parents lives…my dad’s 80th birthday. Small and large celebrations together.

  6. Alicia says:

    I’m a hermit anyway so the pandemic hasn’t affected me that much personally, but my husband is a family physician and medical director of the office he works in and the pandemic has affected his work life hugely. He’s about to lose his mind, but at least he got the first dose of the vaccine last week. I’m really relieved because he conducts COVID testing on patients.

  7. Denise says:

    @Elaine wishing you the very best this year! Thanks for all your comments, they mean a lot to me!
    @Kathy, I hope melancholy doesn’t hold you for long! Looking forward to meeting up with you sometime this year — yes, we can!
    @Kris, I read way too much political news, trying to stay with mostly reporting and not opinion writing. It’s been an incredible maelstrom of a year — looking forward to seeing you in 2021.
    @Gerhard, sonchus just loves socal winters. The trick is not to mind how crappy they look in summer! I think in the past I’ve tossed sonchus that looked so bad in summer I thought they were goners. This one I just moved to the back of the garden, and it’s flourishing again.
    @Loree, we had one job loss in the family, now employed again but underemployed. We could just adopt a local pup but Marty insists on another corgi. I’ll let you know how it goes…
    @Alicia, so glad to hear your husband has been vaccinated! What a relief that must be for both of you. Please give him my respect and warm thanks for his work.

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