Bethless and Full of Pope

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005 | Family, Friends, Garden

BC’s charming big sis, Beth, was in town for too few days, and has already flown back to the heartland. Between Beth-related activities and gardening (this is one of the months that I actually work), I haven’t had much time, but Reese is working on his homework, so I’m taking a break to click across my keyboard.

On Saturday I took BC and Beth to an amazing performance of The Voysey Inheritance, an early 20th century play by Harley Granville-Barker, adapted by David Mamet, and presented at ACT. The play explores the possibility of an ethical life within a corrupt society. Imagine that. A young man, Edward, discovers that his dad has been using his clients’ properties to raise money to quench his family’s thirst for luxury–for years, his dad confesses–continuing a tradition started by his dad’s dad, and which the young man will soon enough have to deal with as he inherits the family business and the challenge of maintaining the appearance of solvency. Everybody’s out for himself, except Edward, who wants to set the books straight and is reluctantly–in a tilt from his solid moral center–forced to continue his dad’s thievery to save the family from disgrace. Just an amazing piece of theater.

I plucked the remaining Meyer lemons from my tree on Sunday, peeled them, and plunged the tender fragrant skins into a Vodka bath, where they will soak for the next month or so in my closet, and hopefully not explode. I’ll then add some sugar syrup, wait another month or so, and hope that I’ve made enough Limoncello to get me through the winter–if it lasts through summer.

The 99th anniversary of the 1906 quake zipped by without much celebration–next year’s the biggy, I suppose. I did stay over at BC’s, if that counts.

My plum tree, the focus of my garden, has developed rot that has descended into the heart of the main trunk, and I fear that the tree will have to be replaced within the next few years. I’ve lovingly sculpted its form for close to two decades, and am not ready to chop it down just yet, so I’ve filled the hole with an expanding styrofoam insulation, which will hopefully prevent more moisture from getting in, and lightened the limbs so that there’s less stress on the crotch, but once the heartwood is gone, there’s no way to replace it. I’m looking at it outside my window, the styrofoam oozing out of it like a weird polyp. My roses are in outrageous bloom right now, though, and a quarter of my garden is pink.

The client that I worked for today looks just like Janet Reno. She’s one of several beloved clients that I see just twice a year. I love her garden, and its magical contrast of form, texture and color. Because I work there so infrequently, everything gets cut back pretty hard. I leave this tight crew-cut of a garden and return in six months to the Summer of Love flowers in your hair exploding organic inevitability. Janet gave me an $80 tip once, which was great at the time, but makes me a bit uneasy whenever I see her, like does she thinks that I expect another $80 tip? I don’t know if Emily Post mentions it, but it’s not necessary to tip the gardener.

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