Monday, September 9, 2013

Regeneration and Other Miracles

To begin, I must admit that I have swiped the first part of this week's title from a brilliant novel by Pat Barker. For penance, I simply urge you to read it.

For the last two years, both my plumeria and my fig tree have been plagued by rust fungus. They get those orange powdery mounds on the undersides of their leaves, and though I spray Neem oil faithfully, they eventually defoliate. This year, thanks to the persistent rain, the fig tree had two types of fungus, and most of the developing fruit fell off the tree before it could fully ripen. I was a little heart sick from it, particularly since I had spent last winter trying to protect the fig tree from another year of attack. As the leaves began to wither on both specimens, I decided there was nothing to do but accept defeat.

And then, both plants seemed to say that they were not going down without a fight, that they would fight back. While leaves fell off, more fresh ones began to break through. As of today, there is virtually no sign of illness on the fig tree. Several new figs are already growing. It's as if the horrible summer of fungus never happened.

The fig's new lease on life

The plumeria still has a fight on its hands, but it looks so much healthier than it did last year. And considering that it has moved all over the country with me, beginning as a wax-covered cutting I purchased in Hawaii in 2002, living in several pots, over-wintering in basements, and now ending up here in massive form, I'm pretty pleased with it.

Doing its best to hide the ugly pool pump

As for miracles, well, I never win anything. Ever. Imagine my sheer delight when I miraculously won a $50 gift certificate while participating in a Twitter garden chat (Monday nights, 9pm ET, #gardenchat). Weeks Roses sponsored the giveaway and made my year when they sent me a gift certificate to a local independent nursery that I love, Apenberry's. I tried very desperately to hide my glee while picking out plants (and fish fertilizer) that would be free to me. Here's just a sampling of what that money did for my garden (but there really is tons more).

A little infusion of raspberry to the garden

What of the bees from last week, you may ask? Well, honestly, Turfman and I are like little kids when it comes to the bees. We're constantly going out to check on them. We report their comings and goings to one another throughout the day. We are a bit like Tippy at Christmas, who loves presents so much that we often find her under the tree, lying on top of them. No matter how many times we tell her that Santa won't come if she acts so greedy, she simply crawls further under the tree.

Santa's #1 fan

And so it is with us and the bees. They are fewer in number, it seems, but we still hope that they will build a home. My hope is especially fervent because I'd love to have their pollination skills in the fall vegetable garden. Perhaps I may be due another miracle?

Our beloved bees


  1. I love growing with you on #gardenchat Becky - can't wait to watch your goodies grow on your blog!

    1. Thanks, Bren! I can assure you, the feelings are mutual!

  2. Hi Becky,
    Here's my plug for #gardenchat since I saw you on #mondayblogs! I am so glad you are happy with the $50.00 gift certificate we were able to provide from Weeks Roses the week I was the host for GardenChat. Brenda does an amazing job with GardenChat! She is a dynamo! I wish I had read your post before we cut down our apple trees. I think they weren't dead! Also I am glad you are participating in Rachel Thompson's. The Bad Red Head's Monday Blogs, its a great way to get exposure!
    Susan Fox