Hope Springs Eternal about Tamarinds

Buoyed by my good fortune with the dense houseplants  acquired before my parents’ arrival, and thrilled with the apparent great behavior of the succulents Echeveria shaviana, and its cousin Bob, in their respective ceramic pots, I decided to get brave and attempt… SEEDS.

You might recall my dreams of having a field of pampas grass covering the south side of the house. Well, a few days ago (from this post), I ordered an ambitious trio of tree seeds from Amazon. Visions of pampas grass dance in my head, as well as towering sumac trees and tamarinds.

Now you’d think, avid fan of search engines and hours spent sifting through tons of data mined to research a project… I would take time to do some investigation for my own project. You’d be mistaken.

Fast forward to the first weekend of April. The seeds have arrived and are burning a hole in my pocket, just waiting to turn into towering sumac trees and elegant tamarinds. Keep in mind I have no idea what a tamarind looks like, but it sounds like it will be elegant. Two hundred pampas grass seeds await a careful scattering around my back yard.

Fast forward to the end of the first weekend of April. The seeds are still in their plastic baggies.

First, about that tamarind:

The tamarind, a slow-growing, long-lived, massive tree reaches, under favorable conditions, a height of 80 or even 100 ft (24-30 m), and may attain a spread of 40 ft (12 m) and a trunk circumference of 25 ft (7.5 m). … The tree bears abundantly up to an age of 50-60 years or sometimes longer, then productivity declines, though it may live another 150 years..  

Good grief. And I have ten of the dang seeds. I do some quick math in my head and determine that I will have to live to 120 years old in order to see even one of them completely mature. The good news is they may bear as early as four years (so I’ll be 64) but in some climates bear after 10-14 years (ok, so I’ll be only 74 or so – I can do that).

Then I read the fine print and my brain sorts it out. TAMARIND. I was thinking TAMARISK. Big difference…


Sleepless in Pea Gravel

pampas grass

Amber waves of grass

A downside of moving to a new place is the lack of sleep before the move itself. Every few minutes my mind wakes me up with a reminder of One More Thing to Remember to Do – from packing to planning to boxing to repair to orchestrating the actual move.

Naturally, the garden cannot be ignored in all this, and my mind randomly strives to wake me up with ideas about plots and layouts and sun versus shade. This time, twenty minutes ago, it was about the long sunny stretch along the south side of the house, where my mind is insisting that rows of ornamental grasses can provide shade and privacy.

And then it hit me: Swamp cooler nearby. Will provide moisture. Could provide swampy conditions. Might create slushy mess. Might need drainage. Must put down a layer of pea gravel before planting ornamental grasses. And just like that, I’m awake and reaching for the graph paper. Gah!

Like many amateur gardeners, my masterpiece shall spring into place fully formed like Athena – or Minerva if you’re a Roman – or Extreme Home Makeover if you’re a Ty Pennington fan. Move That Bus, and before our marveling eyes appears acres of lush landscaping orchestrated by benevolent experts, not a broken nail in the bunch.

Which raises the question: Is it cheating to use planters out on real ground, away from patios? Or am I just begging for pro gardener scorn by taking the easy way out?