remembering Arizona

In September, some friends and I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for a business conference. When we weren't in meetings, we were able to visit some local attractions. Today, Janet White, Amy Sheen, and Jan Harris came over to share photos from that trip. When I arrived in Phoenix, I was upset because I had forgotten my camera. However, thanks to my friends and modern computer technology, I now have over 200 photos to reinforce my memories. I am putting a few desert pictures up on this blog to share with readers.

The Sonoran Desert is spectacular, with red rocks, turquoise sky, and weird, beautiful plants that definitely do not grow in Alabama. One afternoon we spent several hours wandering in Phoenix's desert botanical garden. The temperature was 104 degrees - if a person happened to be stripped down and standing in ice water. Now, Alabama is hot, too; and as they say, in Phoenix it is a dry heat. I have to admit our sticky, humid summers can take some getting use to. Hot is hot, no matter where on the planet you are cooking. I suppose the choice depends on whether one prefers to be dry-roasted or steamed. 

Arizona is so different from Alabama. I am glad I was able to visit. Our land is vast and offers so much. As Jan Harris said today, "Don't we have a great country?"

Yes, we do.Birds use the cavities near the top of this cactus as an apartment building.


good bye, hyacinth bean

I got rid of a thug today.

A rose arch separates the patio outside the kitchen from a walkway going around the side of the house. The arch is old, and over the years I have had several different climbing roses growing there. They have all been beautiful, and they have all died. The current one is a Zepherine Drouhin, a thornless variety with old rose scented pink blooms. I planted it last year, and it grew a few feet, but not nearly enough to cover the arch. I decided to plant a confederate jasmine on the other side of the arch, hoping the two would eventually meet at the top, but this plant also grew only a couple feet. So, I then decided to plant a hyacinth bean vine, a fast growing annual, so I would have something on the arch while the other two became  established. It worked perfectly, with the hyacinth bean growing enough to climb one side and drape over the top. I liked its cute pink flowers and attractive purple bean pods.

I thought to repeat the strategy this summer. I planted one hyacinth bean plant next to the Zepherine Drouhin, expecting it to behave as it did before. But this time, the plant grew to zudzu proportions, swallowing the arbor and reaching long tentacles toward any soul daring to walk under it. There was no sign of the rose or the jasmine.

Today I looked at the hyacinth bean and decided it was time for it to go. It wasn't due to die until the first hard frost, at least another month away, but I was in the mood. It was a tangled mess and a lot of work. I was happy to discover that under it all I still have a rose and a jasmine, both about eight feet tall and healthy. 

Next year I won't plant another hyacinth bean on the arbor. Still, if I keep it pruned, one would look nice growing up the tall post supporting a bird house located by the driveway, so I will save a few seeds.I found a perfect rosebud, hidden beneath the hyacinth bean vine.