Flying Saucers & Sweet PeasWednesday, July 12, 2006
For as long as I can remember there has been a garden in my life. About 10 years ago I went to Rex Murfitt's garden in Victoria and Rex invited me into the kitchen for sandwiches. There was a vase of sweet peas on the kitchen table and when I saw them I realized I had not seen any since my youth. Yet their sweet scent was somehow recorded in my memory and when I put my nose to them I knew exactly what to expect. I was 8 or 9 when this photo was taken of my first cousin Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena and me (with the flying saucer) in our Buenos Aires garden on Melián 2770. Our neighbourhood was named Coghlan after the nearby train station by the same name. Our narrow but long garden had a wisteria and a variety of plum trees including one that was a cross between a plum and a cherry. We also had a khaki and I loved eating the unripe fruit. The puckering of my mouth was a novelty. Some years later we had a large garden on Sierra Madre Street in Mexico City. I was into explosives in those days and I mixed a large quantity of aluminum powder with pottassium chlorate, which my neighbourhood drugstore sold for I don't know what reason. I buried the mixture in a tin can under a hole in one of my mother's rose bushes. I triggered the explosion with a battery, a long cable, and a very thin piece of wire. The explosion sent the bush into the air. I got a sound spanking and a month later the bush flowered like it had never flowered.
Our garden on Athlone Street is now a bank of future memories for my granddaughters Rebecca (left) and Lauren (right) who posed for me last week. Lauren is holding a rose called Rosa 'Sexy Rexy'. I have tolerated its sporadic flowering because I had thought it was named after that notorious womanizer Rex Harrison. I have found out that this is not the case (that it is not named after Rex Harrison). Since explosive ingredients are no longer readily available I will have to live with Sexy Rexy, after all she reminds me of Lauren.