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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

My Baby Don't Tolerate

Bougainvillea - beautiful but thorny!

There are some plants that you'll never find in my garden. With things like cyclamen and calla lilies, it's because I just can't stand them. With others it's because I've never been able to grow them even though I've tried. A third category are plants I think of as "Nice In Someone Else's Yard" and someday I plan to write a post about those plants. But today I want to talk about plants I don't grow because of my husband. And when I think of them, I think of the old Lyle Lovett song, "My Baby Don't Tolerate." It’s true that I'm the head gardener around here, so I guess I could plant whatever I want. But because I love him madly, I refrain from growing these three things, even though they're beautiful.

Bougainvillea. Oh, I know these vines can be gorgeous, and the colors take your breath away. But the thorns - that's the problem. Apparently when he was growing up in Arizona, my baby had to prune these things and it soured him on them permanently.

Jacaranda. There aren't many trees more beautiful than a jacaranda in bloom. In L.A. they tower above the old homes and make islands of beauty in the city sprawl. In San Jose, where we live now, I love seeing them in yards and parking strips, blooming from April to June. But we used to have one, my husband and I, in our previous house, and there we found out how messy a tree can be. Jacarandas shed a different kind of trash for every season. The flowers themselves would be tolerable, but that's only the beginning. There are also fine leaves, pods, and foot-long sticks that get shed over a long period. My husband often got stuck with the task of picking up, so he began to dislike our tree. When we moved to our present home, he nixed the idea of another jacaranda. We settled for an ash, and I have to say it's a beautiful tree that's much neater.

jacaranda tree
Jacaranda - a gorgeous tree when in bloom

Mimosa. Mimosas have the same profile as jacaranda, except that they aren't quite as beautiful and the mess they make is larger. We used to have one, and like our jacaranda, cleaning up after it became a chore and it had to go.

How about you? Are there things you don’t grow because your loved one would object? Are there things you consider “Nice in Someone Else’s Yard?”

mimosa tree
Mimosa - pretty but messy

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