Brace yourselves, readers. Some bad news about the flor de mayo in our center courtyard. After two years of struggle, it’s kicked the bucket. We haven’t removed it yet, but it’s a goner. Its hollow branches weren’t even strong enough to hold LED lights at Christmas. The ground cover demanded lots of water, and the tree drowned in it, according to one theory. Whatever happened, the courtyard wasn’t a happy place for our flor.
This was heartbreaking, because we really loved it, and we had gotten used to seeing how well most of our plants been doing. Our designer hand-picked it for its sculptural qualities, and it grew quite a bit before giving up the ghost.
We had cut into the roof and created the courtyard to allow air flow in the center of the main house. The fact that the courtyard replaced the former matriarch’s bedroom was intended as a nod to the house’s former life, which we’ve honored throughout the property.
The tree is surrounded by four 30-foot walls, of course, so direct light is an issue that limits our choices.
So here’s the new plan: Start a new flor de mayo in its place, but in a large pot. Once it’s too large for the pot, it will be strong enough to be sunk into the ground. We don’t have a designer anymore; we are taking the advice of friends and our own gardener, who’s here every week when he’s not tending a giant hacienda on the edge of town. It feels good to have my very own brain trust guiding us through our decision-making, but I digress.
And while we’re buying a pot, let’s buy even more pots to layer our yard. Our friends recommended Vivero Xochimilco on the periferico, which offered a broad range and quick delivery. Our challenge has been to find the most neutral designs. No ornamentation, just something naturalistic to show off the plant it’s housing.
I love a good tropical garden center. I still remember the one named for Jurassic Park, and I can easily imagine dinosaurs roaming its vast grounds. But I digress again.
At Xochimilco, the grounds also feel vast, especially considering that we didn’t motor far out of town to reach it. You can see Country Towers from its front gate.
We were led to the area where the flors de mayo are lined up like soldiers. Their wavy trunks and limbs gave the appearance of a flor de mayo singles bar, packed at happy hour, and we were there to pick our favorite. After some discussion and inspection, none measured up, and we moved on. Such is life at the singles bar.
A blowsy, super-tall schefflera winked at us from another corner of the park. We grabbed it for a pot where our large tree had been cut down, much to the objection of everyone except the neighbors who resented cleaning up the mess that landed on their their side of the wall.
We’re in the phase of Casa Nana ownership where we’re trying to make the place look lived in. Artwork and decorations are popping up in nearly every room. The media room has media in it. And now the backyard and courtyard have some simple white pots to layer our look and soften some rock-hard corners. Our gardener will take his time looking for the right Flor de Mayo to replace the one we loved and lost.