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RE: I have a secret


FINALLY! I had time to sit and read your article. Awesome job David! Very
impressive. I'm saving this one!
A



> [Original Message]
> From: David Franzman <dfranzma@pacbell.net>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 3/3/2005 10:12:35 PM
> Subject: [CHAT] I have a secret
>
> Hi Guys, appreciate the interest.  I hope it's what you expected but doubt
> that it is.  Sorry Sue, didn't mean to create a big traffic log problem.
As
> most of the writings in the IHS are of a scientific nature yet read by
novice
> and expert alike I tried to write something...uh...different.  Here it is
> attached as an email.
>
>
>
>
>
> I HAVE A SECRET
>
>
>
>
>
> I have a secret!  This is not the type of thing I share with too many of
my
> other male friends who spend much of their day either watching sporting
events
> or talking about them.  They may not understand.  There are some things
that
> are perhaps better kept a secret.  You see when you are in love it's hard
to
> share the feelings with other people.  The emotions are too difficult to
> express; the passions too complicated to explain.  When I talk about my
love I
> try to do so in more muted tones.  I say things with a little less energy
than
> I want to.  It is better that way because some parts of society wouldn't
> understand this kind of love from this kind of man.  A flick of the head
and a
> rolling of the eyes is enough to convey that, "Hey, I'm a guy too. Of
course,
> I don't take this seriously."   Each time I feign indifference, I've
betrayed
> my love.  I've disrespected it.  I feel less whole.  But my love
understands.
> At least I convince myself that my love understands.  Oh, but when
another who
> shares my love comes along, and they do more frequently now, the world
opens
> up and I can share my love with them.  The relief I feel when meeting a
> kindred soul.  That's when I can make up to my love for all the
nonchalance
> I've shown.  That's when I can give my love all the adoration and
attention it
> deserves.  You see, I'm in love with Hibiscus.
>
> You'll notice that I didn't say I was fascinated with Hibiscus.  Or that I
> found them intellectually stimulating.  I don't really.  As an Historian,
I'm
> far more interested in an intellectual way in the interactions of humans
than
> I am in plants.  Nor am I a botanist and I know little about DNA or
chromosome
> counts.  I'm just a guy who is in love with the tremendous colors and
size and
> different shapes and textures and varieties of the modern day exotic
Hibiscus.
> You see?  There I go.  Too excited!
>
> I once was told that there are two types of people out there:  The
engineer
> and the poet.  The engineer is fascinated with things.  They want to see
how
> they work and what makes them tick.  They like to deconstruct so they can
> understand the internal workings.  The poet doesn't see it that way.  He's
> more romantic and doesn't get beyond the beauty.  The poet wants to write
> songs, or paint in a reverent almost worshipful way.  I guess I fit into
the
> poet category.  He takes it for granted that Hibiscus flowers have five
petals
> and leaves it at that.  He doesn't need to know why.  When it comes to
long
> discussions of KNO3, or the fact that too much calcium blocks out
magnesium,
> or the exact soil composition (in fact, I have a book on soils sitting on
my
> desk that I've never opened), or especially anytime somebody uses "parts
per
> million" in a sentence, my eyes glaze over.  This type of study about my
love
> would be like looking at my wife as a chemical composition. just a bunch
of
> cells.  Does this make me a bad grower?  Does this mean that I shouldn't
be
> the proprietor of A Touch of the Tropics?  Am I unable to grow mass
quantities
> of beautiful plants?  I don't think so.  I believe that my passion more
than
> makes up for my lack of scientific inquiry.
>
> There can be downsides to my relationship with Hibiscus rosa sinensis. 
Like
> all love affairs there are darker moments.  They, at times, seem very
fickle.
> There is a whole array of things that upset them.  Sometimes I give them
too
> much attention, too much water in the winter, too much sun or shade in the
> summer.  Other times I don't give them enough attention, not enough
water, not
> enough food or not the right kind of food.  This was especially true when
our
> love was new.  It took me time to find the happy medium.  Now, I know
what to
> look for and can remedy problems before my love becomes sulky and sullen.
>
>
>
> In general, there are a few rules that should govern how you take care of
your
> new love.  In summer, they rarely need more than a few hours of sunlight
for
> me in Northern California.  Four to five hours is adequate to make them
bloom
> nicely while giving the best color and the longest duration for the
flowers.
> I have found that it's almost impossible to over water here during the
summer,
> as long as they are not sitting in water.  In winter, watering can be cut
back
> severely.  If they are kept in an area without too much light and are not
> growing, only water them enough so that they don't droop.  Otherwise,
benign
> neglect is the best option.  Never water over the tops of the leaves in
winter
> as this may cause fungal problems.
>
> Hibiscus are not only loved by humans.  Aphids, white flies, and spider
mites
> seem to be the worst of the offenders.  Again, that is here in this area.
> Other areas have other problems such as thrips, mealy bugs, scale and some
> others.  The best cure is to act quickly when the signs first appear.  I
> assure you that at some time you will have a problem.  If you notice
> discoloration of the leaves, check your plant carefully particularly on
the
> undersides of the leaves.  Look for webbing, small white sacs on the
leaves or
> masses of small green, black or white bugs on the buds.  These last are
> aphids.  Another indication of aphids will be if you see ants unusually
> attentive to your Hibiscus.  Ants are the cowboys who use aphids are their
> cattle, rounding them up and putting them out to pasture on your buds
where
> they secrete sweet "honeydew" that the ants savor and harvest.  Many
insect
> problems can be avoided or at least mitigated by spraying your plant with
a
> forceful spray of water once or twice a week.  You may not eliminate them
but
> you certainly will make it difficult on them so they won't think your
love is
> their love.
>
> Tip die-off is a common problem here in the winter, though I think it's
more
> of a problem in the summer in the tropics.  Leaves seem to melt away
leaving a
> bare branch at the tips of stems.  This is a fungal problem and is
typically
> easy to deal with by cutting back the offending branch.  On larger
plants, I
> use it as an excuse to prune.  On smaller plants, it can be deadly.  It is
> easy to combat but you should know why it's happening so you can avoid it
in
> the future.
>
> Lastly, while not necessary to keep your plant alive, pruning will
> reinvigorate your love and make it bloom all the more.  Just be aware that
> Hibiscus bloom on new growth so after you prune you won't see flowers for
a
> couple of months, but ultimately you will see more of them and your plant
will
> look much nicer.  I hate to cut off buds.  So instead, I cut just a
branch or
> two at a time so that I can still enjoy flowers while doing the necessary
> upkeep.
>
> I call these lessons the learning curve of Hibiscus.  The more you learn
the
> faster the curve straightens out and the faster your love grows.  By being
> proactive and responsive to changing conditions, you will forestall the
> frustration that quite often accompanies your love affair.  Ignoring
problems
> will not make them go away.  They will generally get worse until you think
> your love is unrequited.  However, if you just pay some attention and get
to
> know your plants, soon your love will grow and you will have a secret too.
>
>
>
> http://www.atouchofthetropics.net
>
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