Not only does Bea have some knees, she has a green thumb. It’s Mother’s Day, so this post is an ode to Mom and her plant babies and has nothing to do with coffee.
For Mother’s Day, I visited for a few days, and I made her a coffee pot terrarium. It’s a small thing, with plants she probably doesn’t really care for all that much. But moms graciously receive the awkward gifts we kids create for them — from when our preschool teachers guide us, to the time we’re middle-aged adults, and however much longer life allows.
Mom has proudly stated numerous times that she knows every plant in her garden. She thinks she must be one of the few almost-80 year olds that still plants trees from seeds. The implication is that she might not live to see the tree grow to maturity or bear fruit. But she loves the growth process and isn’t just pursuing the end-result (the fruit).
One reason Mom isn’t tending the Kona coffee farm herself is that she can’t bear to leave her plant babies, all the living things she has cared for over decades in her Southern California yard. The lot, with a house on it, is only a little over 5000 square feet.
She doesn’t have an English country garden full of flowers for cutting or a Victory garden with all the vegetables she eats. She does love flowers and has many, and herbs, but her plant babies aren’t the most common varieties. She has been a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers for decades. The edibles in her yard, in alphabetic order, are: acerola, apples (4 kinds on 3 trees), avocado, cherimoya (4 trees), citrus (navel orange, 2 kumquat, bergamot, meyer lemon, sweet lemon, 3 tangerine, oro blanco), coffee (2 trees and 2 young trees), dragon fruit, fig, ginger, goji berry, grape, guama, guavas (7 varieties), huangpi (2), jaboticaba, longan (never fruited), macadamia nut, mango (2 seedlings), mulberry (no fruit yet), persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate (no fruit yet), rose apple (no fruit yet), sweet potato (Okinawan purple), strawberry (how ordinary, in this list …), tamarillo, and tomato. If you’re familiar with everything listed, I’m impressed!
Here are two photos from just days ago:
Even though Mom likes the exotics, she doesn’t scorn ordinary plants. And she feels compelled to keep them alive. My brother once brought back a dumb cane (dieffenbachia) house plant for emergency resuscitation. Nine weeks later, he received it back in a healthy state. It’s especially amusing to me since tropical plants are coddled in California, and can grow rampantly in Hawaii. We’ve ripped out dumb cane and have filled a van to bring it to the green waste station in Kailua. We usually rip it out and pile it in order to compost, but you have to be very careful that none of the canes touch dirt — the cane can root and grow vertically or horizontally.
This post gives you an idea of who Bea is. I’ll close with a few more photos of some of the plant babies around Mother’s Day.