Published Friday, July 17, 2020
Something old . . .
By Victoria Torley
I was digging through some old, old stuff in a trunk and came across a Gardening and Outdoor Living magazine from – wait for it – 1962. I thought it would be fun to look back at a time when pools were $2,000-3,000. What’s an ‘oldie but goodie’ and what has gone by the wayside.
They had bugs in 1962, we have bugs in 2020, but they certainly handled them differently. “Don’t invite insects to your party” says the magazine and I agree. However, the article suggests spraying regularly for seven to 14 days before a party with methoxychlor and malathion. Malathion is still in use and I like it for insect control, but methoxychlor? It has been banned due to “acute toxicity, bioaccumulation, and endocrine disruption activity.” The article goes on to suggest spraying around the porch and pool with DDT. DDT? Yike! Yes, it was an impurity in DDT that killed birds, but the idea of spraying it around the porch, driveway and exterior walls of a house would shock anyone today.
Remember 1962? It was a time when children played outside instead of sitting in front of a computer or TV gaming system all day long. In 1962, the magazine gave examples of outdoor play equipment to “capture your children’s imagination,” instruct, and provide exercise. The playhouse slide, linked ladders, sandbox, tube tunnels and rocking boat were all great toys that have gone out of style. For parents – and grandparents – who want the youngsters to get out of the house and get active, these are all great outdoor items.
What has stood the test of time of course is fencing for containment and for privacy. Some fencing is impractical in Costa Rica – wood fences don’t stand up well in our climate. Outdoor furniture? Wood and steel are both problematic, the former rots the latter rusts. For us, aluminum is usually the answer as long as the seating is not cloth; cloth will disintegrate quickly if it gets wet.
One of the best sets of suggestions that still holds true is the need for shade, either full or partial. Again, wood isn’t the best choice for us, but I do love shade. Trellises are wonderful for shade if they are covered with flowering plants. Just make sure the flowering plants aren’t the favorite food of leaf cutter ants or caterpillars.
Aside from that $3,000 pool, what was my favorite from 1962? I would have to say the illustrations. First, the man out planning his garden while smoking a pipe, then the bathing suits, but best of all? The woman in the shirt-waist dress spraying her roses. It’s just not my style.
Plant for the week
Remember my new favorite hotel, Posada de Quitoje? Here is another flower from their delightful gardens. We called them painted daisies when I was a kid (mumble mumble) years ago and I admit I was surprised to find them in Escazú but there they were. If you live in that area, you might try planting them. We have far too much rain in Aguacate.
Editor's note: More information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at email@example.com