I enjoy being a garden writer. But sometimes I long to create something that gets readers all hot and bothered the old fashion way, with some sexy, steamy heat.

Today I got my inspiration. While walking Biff the Wonder Spaniel, I espied a flagrant act of botanical erotica. As I scrambled to capture this public display on my camera, images of tattered, torrid romance novels cartwheeled past my mind’s eye.

You know, like the paperbacks with the square jawed hero, blond hair blowing Favio-like, poofy pirate shirt ripped to the navel. And always the ravaged, redhead damsel nearly collapsed in his sinewy, suntanned arms.

Hot Enough To Fry An Eggplant

But in my version, it gets a bit kinkier – how about we try a little inter-genus action? Like what happens when a member of the Moraceae (mulberry) family and another from Palmaceae (Palm) get their mojos workin’.

How to grab the reader?  I know…

Chapter One

Her smooth milky white limbs encased his torso, tightly wrapping him in a cocoon of passion...

Good start. Somebody turn on a fan.

What About The Children?

Shucks and darn! This is a PG-13 blog, so let’s cool the jets and get back to some good old everyday garden writing.

Here’s a thought: Wouldn’t it be interesting if the classic sculptures in museums had deciduous fig leaves?

Seems we’re in luck in Santa Barbara at the intersection of Anacapa and Arrellaga Streets. (Oh, like you don’t have any weird street names where YOU live?). What you see here is an oddity of horticulture that only fully reveals itself during what passes for winter where I live.



The more amorous half of this lovely couple is Ficus carica -- common fig, minus the Newton. The tree appears to have sprouted by accident at the base of Butia capitata (pindo palm or jelly palm). The part I don’t get is how things progressed from that humble beginning into this odd octopus of an arrangement.

The roots are firmly anchored in the lawn on the warm, south side of the palm. Then it begins to spiral around the trunk counterclockwise.



Over on the west-facing side, it still looks sort of normal, if you ignore that one plant has a death grip on the other. Two sizeable branches spread up and away from a central trunk to form the canopy. Looks kinda like a deranged reindeer to me.




But back around on the east and north sides all hell is breaking loose. The outspread “appendages” don’t appear to be branches and they don’t look like roots either. No sign of buds or leaves or root hairs.




This is also where the muscular and graceful human-like forms reveal themselves. Like an Escher drawing, it’s hard to tell which way is up. I see a person leaning against a column, head tucked away, multiple arms wrapping down around the larger form, exhausted, nearly collapsing.

My wife, Lin, interpreted it as if it were a hanging trapeze artist, legs holding onto the trunk, body arcing to the side, arms reaching into the earth.

What do you see? Do you have anything to top this where you live? I’m guessing that if you look hard enough, there are some pretty interesting scenes being acted out in the bushes.

That’s it for me. There are some puffy clouds drifting overhead this afternoon. A want to see if my right brain is still “in the zone.”

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