Ode to A Greenhouse

The Best Little Greenhouse in Texas

Summer’s here. It came late this year, for which we’re all grateful. To be honest, I like riding my bike in the heat, and I absolutely love hot nights with their exotic breezes and air-conditioned bedrooms. Even if we didn’t have a hundred 90-degree-plus days up in Connecticut each year, I do remember a third-floor walk-up with a thermometer that read 96 degrees and no air conditioning. Takes a whole lot of the fun out of those hot nights. Continue reading

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

                                                        Wild nights! – Wild nights!
                                                        Were I with thee
                                                        Wild nights should be
                                                        Our luxury!
                                                                       Emily Dickinson
I hadn’t known a thing about night-blooming plants until I spent summers in southern California. My friend Mary had an enormous flat-leafed plant that looked like a Christmas cactus on steroids. It lived in a broken yellow recycling bin and its foliage wasn’t anything to write home about. But it had a habit of creating the most complex, astonishing blossoms I’d ever seen, with one of those mild flower fragrances that gets kind of disgusting if you put your nose too close.

What’s Up in the ‘Hood

It’s the middle of June and that seems like a good time to walk around the neighborhood and see what’s in bloom. We’ve had more rain so far this year than last year, so things are much greener and more dense. I haven’t run my automatic sprinklers once – mostly because the water bill from last year made me mad, mostly because it was wildly inaccurate several times, which lead to one of those bizarre conversations you sometimes have with utility companies: Continue reading

Sorrento, Part 3

This is about our visit to La Marina Grande, the older and more rustic of Sorrento’s two marinas. I had spent months researching just about every aspect of our trip, naturally including the extensive reading of restaurant menus and reviews. I had read that Ristorante Bagni Delfino was a favorite “forget the budget” restaurant for many visitors up to and including Rick Steves. It seemed a worthwhile destination. Continue reading

Pests, etc.

See that blurry half-inch vampire? The one that’s out of focus and I don’t even care? That’s a variety of leafhopper that likes to spend its life in battle with me over the Texas hibiscus in the front yard. Its one worldly desire is to bite holes in stalks and stems, creating potentially lethal holes and scars in a perfectly innocent plant. When I googled them this morning, I found out “there are more leafhopper species worldwide than all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians combined.” Great. Continue reading

En Route to Sorrento: Pompeii

From Perugia we took the train to Rome and then to Naples. The only glitch was being a few minutes late out of Perugia, which put our Rome connection in some jeopardy; I was a little nervous about finding our train in the huge Rome station. But all went off without a hitch. It is very easy to get around by train in Italy. Continue reading