Friday Favorites 7/11/2014
I was talking to a friend last night at my Thursday Night Men’s Meeting. He’s about my age, and like mine, his career has taken an upturn at an age when many are retiring. Our circumstances are different but we are both happy to be working. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, Business is going really well but I’m tired a lot. And there it is … that seventy-something fatigue that nearly all males my age seem to deal with. It’s particularly frustrating because my mind is as active as ever, if not more so, but my body can’t quite keep up with my brain’s machinations. My brain says, We should finish up this months financial report, to which my body replies, I need a nap. My brain says, Let’s clean my office so we can get started on that new project. Nah. Let’s go sit in the park, my body replies. Yeah, I know. Vitamins. More sleep. Low T. Blah, blah, blah. Part of getting old(er) gracefully is adjusting to being old(er).
One of the adjustments I’ve made is in the garden. Working in the yard has always been a way for me to slow down and be mindful. In this crazy, technology driven world, I think it’s important to get my hands dirty creating some beauty with God’s medium, plants and flowers. There was a time that I did all of our yard work but these days, the gardener does the big stuff. My contribution consists of filling the bird feeders, making sure there’s water in the birdbath and gardening in an assortment of containers around the yard. In each container I can create a mini-garden using palette of foliage and flowers from our local nursery … without leaving myself too tired to work on the income-producing tasks in my life.
Perhaps my favorite container plants, though, are our Plumeria, most of which were grown from cuttings from a friend’s place on Maui. On Maui, most Plumeria take the form of small to medium sized trees but cuttings do well in containers, adapting in size to the space allotted. The plant produces a five-petaled flower, the most common color being a white blossom with a bright yellow center, but numerous colors exist, ranging from pinks and violets to deep reds.
The blossom produce a very sweet odor, particularly at night, in order to draw sphinx moths to pollinate them. They are frauds, however … they produce no nectar, so the moths inadvertently work for free. Because of their beauty and fragrance, Plumeria are frequently used in the leis given as a sign of affection in Hawaii (and, of course, to arriving tourists). In Polynesian culture, wearing a Plumeria blossom behind the right ear indicates the wearer is seeking a relationship, while the left ear indicates taken. Here in California, the plants lose all foliage in the winter but when spring comes, large green leaves appear followed by the first blooms which appear about now. The plants are fussy about sunlight and watering … the soil need to be allowed to become nearly dry before watering, so if the plant is exposed to less sun, it needs to be watered less. Last year, I killed off a somewhat rare red Plumeria by over-watering so I’m starting again with one purchased from Home Depot. Hopefully by the end of summer I’ll have some red blossoms to show you.