Thursday, November 11, 2010

I like my Pelargoniums; they're pretty. Look, one even has fall color

You get an idea ingrained in your head and it's difficult to see past it. Pelargoniums love heat; they must! They're an iconic element in hot sunny annual plantings. In my mind's eye I see them baking on windowsills, and balconies poignantly offering single flower heads. In retrospect, maybe that ought to have been a clue. Truth be told though, they seem to come into their own in the cool days of fall. Leaves don't yellow, flowers last longer and there are at least twice as many of them. I don't know. It could be that they're only responding to a faint genetic memory of the southern hemisphere. Summer's coming now to their homeland, South Africa. I think though, that, like me, they''re just a bit happier when the temperatures are not so hot.

I've been buying them here and there for the past few years, growing them in clay pots on the deck rails, and wintering them inside in a south window. The deck rails are studded with nails driven halfway into the top boards upon which I impale clay pots through their drain holes. It keeps them, the pots, from being jostled loose or being blown over the rails.

There's no denying it; I'm slipping into my dotage. The only question is, what's the more incontrovertible sign. Is it the fact that I now collect hybrid Pelargoniums at all, I have half a dozen, or, is it the fact that I can't stop talking, or posting, about them? I see myself a few years down the road babbling praise of phantom virtues or even buttonholing strangers on the street to show them pictures....I mustn't let that happen.

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