The off-and-on-again blog of Ron Mohring, whose plate is almost always overfilled.
Friday, March 17, 2006
About a month ago, on one of those unbelievably warm, fake-you-out-that-Spring's-about-to-arrive February days, I asked Randy if we could stop over at the Kountry Kupboard. The KK is one of those Old Folks Buffets: soft, overcooked veggies, kitschy PA "Dutch" decor, busloads of octogenarians shuffling in to dine and then browse through the gift shop and--and--the greenhouse.
I love the greenhouse. I love any greenhouse, at any time of the year. For one summer in my youth, I worked in the greenhouses at King's Island (a theme park) in Cincinnati. Before we sold our house in Houston, I told Randy that the only way I'd ever move north again was if our place had a greenhouse. We don't have one. But the President's house, right next to the Poetry Center, has one, a modest walk-in greenhouse attached to the side of their Victorian home, and through five years and two university presidents, not once--not once--have I seen a single plant growing in their greenhouse. I have to squelch the urge to throw on some coveralls, knock on their front door, and say "Kids, let's make a deal."
On this particular day, lots of orchids were blooming on the back bench: oncidiums, phalaenopsis, lots of hybrids of hybrids--plants I'd never heard of (Randy was the orchid grower in our garden back in Houston). But the one thing I wanted to take home was a small-leafed passion vine. They had a dozen or so, some in bud, in little 4-inch pots. Sure, R said, then about gagged when it rang up at nine bucks. I brought it home, repotted it in a glazed bowl, and strung it up in the bathroom window with some heavy fishing twine. I've been checking vigilantly for spider mites--which defoliated the impatiens cuttings on the dining room sill--and watching the first bud slowly grow to the size of a swollen thumb. And today it finally opened.