We arrived in mid-May. The fear of frost is well behind us, now the fear of heat is in order. I think last year was the hottest year on record and they say this one will be a little warmer, oh boy. We are still getting a decent amount of rain and the plants are really jumping now. This would be the perfect time to apply a slow-release fertilizer to your lawn and all of your plants. Fertilizers will support the growth spurt that is currently occurring.
The magnolias are in full bloom and when they are done showing off they will have a noticeable flush of fresh leaves. I think all the plants that got a little winter burn made a full recovery and the plants that we were wondering if they were going to come back or not came back or convinced us that the dust was bitten.
The knockout roses, drifting roses and sunny ligustrums around town this year really put on a great show. We cannot get these plants to our garden center fast enough. People see them while driving and want to taste them in their own backyards. The good news about these plants is that the show must go on. They will continue like this until mid-November, when the days will get shorter and darker. When the roses’ current bloom starts to fade, I’ll prune them back about a third of the width and height, fertilize them, and wait 45 days for another bloom like the first. It looks like this color is at its peak now, so I’ll be pruning them around the last week of May, so I should see the first bursts of color from the second color around July 15th. I should be able to squeeze four major flower puffs out of my roses at this rate.
Mimi keeps our dead geraniums on a fairly regular basis which keeps them looking fresh all summer long, especially since she has repotted them in giant pots so they have plenty of soil around their roots during the cooler months. hotter. She will make them spend the summer and until the fall she is the mistress of the geraniums.
When I started this article, I didn’t even intend to talk about gardening, but here I am sitting staring out the window at home, I couldn’t help it. Earlier this week I was rummaging through files looking for an important piece of paper and came across something that made me laugh. I guess I’m talking about me. I wrote things in my youth that I had forgotten.
The first one I encountered was a throwback to when I was returning from the Deville Cinema, the only place to watch movies for Jacksonians at the time. People here will remember our one-screen cinema. The theater that has played The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night at midnight for countless years. My brother and I used this one so many times to break our normal 11pm curfew so many times that I lost track of how many times we would call our parents asking for a few extra hours so we can watch this movie “one more time.” I would have seen this movie 30 something times if we had actually been to see the movie when we said we were. I’ve probably seen it three times in real life but making my parents fall in love was part of the game. I think they knew all along that we wouldn’t really go to the cult classic that many times, but they never hinted, as they say, “pick your battles”.
Their battle was probably more about getting some sleep so they could function the next day. They reminded us that we had to go home right after the movie was over and know that we would be going to church the next morning, come hell or high water.
In 1980, Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields was released at the Deville Cinema. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with Brooke Shields and went home and immediately wrote Brooke a letter. In the letter, I asked her to come to Mississippi so I could show her our state and maybe the beaches of Alabama (she looked pretty good on the beaches in the movie) and New Orleans. I told her she would love to be here, that I would even help pay for the plane ticket. When I folded the letter and put it in an envelope, I realized the madness. I didn’t know her address so I sent her to Brooke Shields, Hollywood, California, USA.
I put the letter in the mailbox, raised the red flag and began to hope that someone there surely knew how to get the letter to her and she would need a ride to to Casanova’s house on Reddoch Drive from the Jackson airport. A few years later, she appeared even better than I expected in the form of my Mimi. I emerged victorious from this agreement. You never know.
The other piece I found while digging through my files was a story I had written for a contest. Mimi and I were married at that time. Volkswagen was about to release one of its new cars called Touareg. The contest rules are that while writing why you should be the only one to win one of these new cars, you had to include the words Volkswagen, Touareg and Adventure. I knew I had this one in the bag. No one could beat my story. Here is the exact story I sent. This actually happened to me:
I parked my beloved 1965 Beetle while I embarked on a little adventure around the Mediterranean Sea. South of Marrakech, I discovered that nomadic Berbers, Tuaregs and shepherds gathered at night with their camels outside the village walls. They sat around small fires with cauldrons of hot stew and hot bread, serving ladles into whatever bowl-like object was within easy reach. Some nights I traded items they were interested in for jewelry and rugs. The Saharan days were surreal and wonderful, but I really began to look forward to my nights around the fires, not understanding a word, smiling and shaking my head as I found my place among the Tuaregs and their camels.
A particular night in the desert, clear and cold, that I will never forget; the stars shone so brightly that the Milky Way looked like a highway to the sky. As I rummaged through the pile of bowl-shaped things looking for one that looked clean enough to eat, I discovered a Volkswagen hubcap. I smiled knowing it’s too classic to pass up. I drank my soup having a moment that I will cherish forever. I guess drinking soup under starry Moroccan skies from the hubcap of a Volkswagen alongside Touaregs burned Volkswagen in my veins forever.
This is the story I sent to the people at Volkswagen. There’s no way this story wouldn’t have won this contest if they had received it… If they had received it, that was the problem. In the early days of personal computers, I kind of blundered to get it sent in the correct format, or so I’ve led myself to believe over the years. Who knows? Maybe someone had a better story than that. I would like to hear it.
I didn’t bring Brooke Shields to Jackson and didn’t get a free car but I had fun trying and really overall still won. My life is rich in so many ways, I can’t imagine anything better. They say being able to laugh at yourself is good medicine, I have a lot to laugh about.