Sunday, September 10, 2006

Of Cuttings and Tennis

While watching the men duke it out over in Flushing Meadows, NY I have acquired the info I need on growing wisteria and gardenia from cuttings. Now that tennis is dominated by big servers, it just doesn't hold my attention as much, plus I like to mutlitask.

The cuttings: It sounds pretty straightforward. Cut about 6-12 inches of the end of a softwood brach/stem just below a leaf note, come home, dip in rooting hormone, stick in moistened soil, set in bright indirect light, wait 40-100 days. Last weekend I purchased the rooting hormone I will need from a local company. After tennis (it may be a 5 setter!) we'll walk the babes over to make the cutting.

I think I will take the following advice (ingenious use of a plastic coke bottle!!) to make a gardenia cutting:
"I use clear soda bottles. I cut the bottles in half about three inches from the bottom, poke drain holes in the bottom ribs with an ice pick. Put about two inches of mix in the bottom part, insert the cutting with the bottom set of leaves stripped off, and a cut made just below the lowest node. Put the top of the bottle back on the bottom by gently squeezing the top of the bottom part. You now have a mini greenhouse. You can see when the roots have grown by looking thru the clear plastic. Put in abright spot, but don't let the sun shine on them, because it will bake the cutting. You might devise a way to hang them under a tree near the branches so the sun doesn't hit them. In about three weeks you will see roots, it helps if the weather is hot, in the ninties."

The man with gills has returned home from his fun across campus and is now being greated by Mad Bomber Ears. Maybe I can get him to hit the courts with me later... give his darn streptococcal inflammation condition a rest!

I love tennis. I really dearly do. My grandpa taught me to play. He's won a few tournaments in his day, many of them as a "senior citizen." It is a game that can be played lifelong if one has good joints (knees, ankles, elbows). If not, swimming it is! Anyhow, GillMan and I pontificated in our usual completely agreeing fashion that Federer and Hingis in their prime are simply amazing. The make the game look effortless, like topnotch ballet. Angled shots, precision placement, stamina to run down almost anything with ease... their only weakness is retun of serve. Reminds me of trying to play my grandpa - even when he was OLD and I was a healthy young teenager I just could not return his serve. But, if he served a soft one, or a fake-o sidearmed one, I was all over it! He hasn't played for a while; it's sad. I know he has his reasons, but I think he should get off it and get back into it. Next time I visit I'll have to remember to bring my racket and shoes and not accept anything but a visit with him down memory lane.

I'll try not to hold his "You'll never be a good tennis player because you're too short" comment against him. At least I had the sense to call him on it (I usually just roll my eyes covertly and let it ride). I pointed out that Hingis is my size. I might have seen his eyes roll back in their sockets but I was too proud of myself to notice.

Roddick's hanging on by sheer power of will here in the bottom of the 4th set...

... some things just refuse to die, like twigs stuck in soil that blossom into fine plants.

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