Friday, September 22, 2017

The twenty-parts-water rule?

So I have just started my subscription to Horticulture magazine, and spent a relaxing evening this week going through it from cover to cover. (I promised you the occasional houseplant or cocktail theme, remember, while we dip our toe into the ocean of Gregorian chant.) In a short article called "Air Plants Aloft" by Frank Hyman, September-October issue, I find he makes use of "the dregs of leftover beverages" like coffee or sodas, mixed one part beverage to twenty parts water, as a substitute for expensive commercial air-plant (Tillandsia) fertilizer. But he pours it into other houseplants as well.

I like this. In an old houseplant care book from the '70s I once came across the suggestion to use the rinsing-out water from milk jugs as a fertilizer for a particular purpose, I forget what, and then not long ago in a wine book -- I forget which -- was it Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Trail? -- I think maybe -- the writer admired the chic French lady winemaker who made beautiful wine and poured the tired dregs into her outdoor rosemary plants and potted lemon trees, of course this was in Provence or someplace romantic and hot, and they were beautiful and healthy too. As to Mr. Hyman's specific twenty-parts-water-to-one-part-beverage-dregs rule (mind you the French lady used pure wine), that is interesting because in his Vintage: the Story of Wine Hugh Johnson retells the Odyssey's tale of strong Thracian wine being normally diluted with twenty parts water. Odysseus gives it full strength to the Cyclops: the Cyclops passes out and Odysseus gouges out his eye and escapes.

But I am asking whether I ought to try the twenty parts water rule with my leftover wine, for my houseplants. They need nutrients, no? Why should a meek teaspoon per gallon, of some blue-green store-bought tincture that has been under my sink in a yellow bottle for a year and a half, burst more with good properties than a 6 ounce splash of a stale Rhone in that same gallon? Only it looks so odd to water your philodendrons and things with reddish water. What if it kills them? What if it attracts bugs in this early fall heat? What if it works great?


Meanwhile, chant: Three minutes and 42 seconds. Modern people (good looking people), modern dress. Twelfth-century music from our twelfth century friend, Hildegard of Bingen. I don't have the exact text handy, but it's Ave Maria and you will note the melismas, the long fluttering singing of many notes on one syllable. Of course you can also upload all sorts of very serious videos accompanied by Renaissance art full of flailing arms and legs of angels and spiky crowns, but then people think you are some sort of holy roller and all you want to show is that this is possible.

The soprano is Geraldine Zeller, the recorder player, Helge Burggrabe. Concert in February 2010. No applause! You're in church. 


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