34 steps to growing Darwin’s favorite plant

vft1

I was going to tell the story of an erudite fellow, formerly a grammatician, formerly a bovine grief counselor at an abattoir, who, at some prepubescent soccer game, where the word incompetence passed involuntarily from parent to parent, was regrettably caught streaking: he stood in the middle of the field, dangling his modifier.

Instead, I have returned to my favorite subject, ecclesiastical studies. But since developments in that sphere have been slow in the last several months, I have sought green pastures.

The 34 steps to growing Darwin’s favorite plant

Early in the process of writing this article, I made the strategic decision to skip the first 33 steps, as the handling of catarrh and buffalo faeces is not everyone’s cup of tea. Incidentally, buffalo dung tea is excellent with manuka honey–make sure to have handy a fly swatter though.

The legal maneuvers to procure carnivorous plant seed and import them to this island (which is by all measures much nicer than the Galapagos) make the bureaucracy of Jarndyce v Jarndyce look feeble in comparison.

I am a great admirer of CD (not Dickens, the other CD), even though some of his conclusions strike me as absurd, as we surely did not evolve from primates. This stupefyingly dumb theory is so typical of 19th century thinking–or rather, 19th century fantasizing–fostered in part by the infamous lingerie catalogues of the day, mostly originating from Paris, where bipedal fashion is made scintillating–and at times positively chimpanzeesque, if I can coin a term. Nevertheless, Darwin’s Origin of the Stiletto Heel is incomparable. But the more cogent theory that the whole shebang we call life was willed, is far more likely to find favor in the minds of so-called Millennials, including those perplexed by the notion of gender and who have difficulty making binary choices. What goes around, comes around. Incidentally, I once knew a man who thought himself a woman, only to later think himself a man. Please note that this is a far different person that the one who thought himself to be a man without ever revisiting the subject.

Clearly, I do not wish to split porcupine quills over the issue of gender. What is self-evident to me may not wash on Main Street, O.W.G (One-World Government).

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Pictured is Boophone disticha, of course, which will bloom, according to a Capuchin friar seen skulking in the gardens, in 27 years—and if that seems to be a long time to you, take comfort in the esoteric knowledge that a poison extracted from its leaves can kill a man in a few seconds and that there’s really no reason to wait for it to bloom in order to avail oneself of its distinct properties.

Boophone disticha

Again this blog is drifting into the macabre. But that’s your fault for reading.

Hopefully I’ve done this correctly. It’s been such a long while since I’ve posted something I’ve  forgotten the basics.

I also had to remind myself that this is an educational blog, therefore feeling obliged (no, compelled) to tell you that a group of foxes is a skulk.

https://www.101words.org/a-familiar-story/

O tempora o mores

Suddenly, in a hardware store. A man pretending to know nuts and bolts loiters in aisle 666. I approach in the hopes of making electric conversation with fellow DIY geek, but then notice a name tag stapled to the man’s breast plate. There’s some blood on the tag and the name appears to be Alvin.

“I think I want to build a garden shed, Dirk.”

“And…”

“…and I need expert advice.”

“Glad to help. But I ain’t no garden shed expert.”

“I don’t need an expert, Dirk. If expertise were a color, I’d be red, Dirk. Full on red. Do you know what that means, Dirk?”

“No, sir.”

“Cut the sir crap, Dirk. It means I’m an expert. If I were salmon pink I’d be an expert’s expert.”

“Got it.”

“Do you sell plans? I mean plans for military grade garden sheds?

“No.”

“Damn. You disappoint me, Dirk.”

“Try the internet.”

“I did. Spent four days glued to the screen. I bought a BBQ.”

“We sell BBQs.”

“Not a good idea to send people to the internet then, is it Dirk?”

“I suppose not, sir.”

“Some habits die hard… don’t they, Dirk?”

“I’m on my break soon. You’ll have to talk to my supervisor.”

Supervisor, in a super disheveled state, saunters into aisle. He’s a furry rodent, with flaming apricot streaks, looking for a hamster wheel.

“Simon, this guy wants to build a shed. I’m going on my e-cigarette break.”

“If your face blows up you’ll have to get a new picture ID,” says Simon informatively.

Turning to me. “So you want to build a shed?”

“Not really, Dirk. I’ve selected the site for a garden shed. That’s all.”

“Do you want some books then? South American authors. Bolaño, Borges, Cortázar.”

“No. I just bought a killer BBQ from a store in Australia. That’s when I started to have second thoughts about a garden shed.”

“A few shelves are as good as a garden shed.”

“Here’s the thing Dirk. I want to build an opera house. The garden shed was a teaser.”

“You’ll have to YouTube ‘building an opera house.’ I can’t help you. I do book bindings.”

“You’re a clown, Dirk. But stop over at the house anytime. Join me for some crudités. I’m told the celery and cheez whiz is good.

 Synsepalum dulcificum

Miracle fruit DSC_2742_fss_sm

cacophony

DSC_3107_cpr_sm

https://www.101words.org/cacophony/

The Great Grapes of Wrath

(one of my best books–if only I had tightened up the title I think it could have been big)

Colville's Glory

Garcinia hombroniana, Seashore mangosteen

Seashore mangosteen

Eugenia selloi. a.k.a. Eugenia neonitida, Eugenia nitida, Pitangatuba

Pitangatuba

Myrciaria x – Red Hybrid Jaboticaba, Jaboticaba

Jaboticaba

Malpighia emarginata, Acerola

Acerola

Annona cherimoya, Cherimoya

Cherimoya

Garcinia intermedia, Lemon Drop Mangosteen

Lemon drop mangosteen

Glycyrrhiza glabra, Licorice

Licorice

Morus nigra, Black Mulberry or Blackberry

Black Mulberry or Blackberry

Dionaea muscipula, small infants

Dionaea muscipula

Plukenetia volubilis, Sacha Inchi, Sacha Peanut, Mountain Peanut or Inca-peanut

Inca Peanut, Jungle Peanut

Red Jaboticaba

Jaboticaba hybrid

You live by the sea and you like to eat jaboticaba (who doesn’t). So you go to the hardware store (with limitless floors, like a Borgesian library) and you get the seeds. You’re in luck as they’re on sale. As soon as you get home, you speak to the bailiff. He tells you there’s a jaboticaba cross that sets fruit in four years. Mine, he contends, will take at least 10 years to bear its delectable navy blue plums. You thank him for the information, and then, in a controlled rage, tell him to get the hell off your property. He laughs, you kick him in the groin, he cries (carefully modeled after the infamously great apotheosis of comma spicedom: I came, I saw, I conquered).

You go back to the hardware store and look up the hybrid the storm-tossed fellow was touting. You find it on the millionth floor (or thereabouts), exchange the seed, and get lost on the way out. In fact, you never get out.

But this is how the plant would look if you had, in a drunken stupor, planted the seeds, by the fulminating sea.

(Posted under “the Mysteries of Fiction, or why an infallible narrator can still get himself suspended from school.”)

Garcinia humulis

mangosteen family Garcinia humulis

Having gone to the hardware store and having seen a packet of seeds emblazoned with the name Garcinia humulis, achingly displayed next to Detroit beets and plentiful packets of Nantes Scarlet Carrots, I say to myself confidentially–why not?

Purchase in hand, I fetch the mules and ride back to the farm, place the tiny seeds in a dirt patch (tiny is a relative term–most seeds are tiny when compared to the megalomaniacal coconut), cover with volcanic ash, wait impatiently for rain, heavy dew, or tears from a grief-stricken angel, and, several headaches later, there is a tree in the mangosteen family to boast about.

Mangosteen family Garcinia humulis

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