Monday, April 6, 2020

Hanging Gardens and Taxes

There was a lot of this going on yesterday. Olga and I barely left the house. I took her for a neighborhood walk in the morning, but otherwise we stuck to the garden. It was a beautiful day, sunny and relatively warm, and I sat out and read The New Yorker while Dave watered plants.

I always love the garden when the blue forget-me-nots come out. Here's a close-up:

We have some other interesting flowers at the moment, too.

Our snake's head fritillary is blooming. (Much smaller than the one I saw on the Heath a couple of weeks ago.)

And this is honesty, which you may remember I grew from seed last year. It's finally big enough to bloom. Woo hoo! Later it will (hopefully) form its characteristic windowpane-like seed pods.

Our candytuft is just beginning to flower.

Someone asked for a picture of our "hanging gardens," the plethora of hanging baskets we've wound up with this year. This photo shows no less than nine objects hanging from our trees: wind chimes, a gong, two bird feeders, a lantern, Totoro and three baskets (one in the background over the bench). There are two more on the patio and another on the other side of the yard (just visible above and to the right of Olga in the top photo).

Finally, I filed our US income taxes yesterday. What a relief! It's always such a chore pulling that together, even though we normally don't pay anything -- foreign income is excluded up to a point and we already pay taxes here in the UK. But as US citizens, we're required to file. Interestingly, our income in dollars actually went down last year, I suppose because the value of the pound has dropped.

At one point I tried to log in to a web site to retrieve a 1099-DIV, the form that reports the annual dividends (about $15) from my meager stock holdings. The site asked not only for my username and password, but the answer to a security question -- the "name, breed and color" of my current pet. Are you kidding me? OlgaStaffyWhite? OlgaStaffordshireTerrierWhite? OlgaStaffyWhiteandBrindle? OlgaStaffySpots? I have NO FREAKING IDEA what the answer to that question could be, although I must have provided it to them at some point. I tried unsuccessfully three times, got my account locked, sent them an annoyed e-mail and fortunately retrieved the dividend information some other way.


gz said...

Beautiful...and it shows how ahead of us you are in the garden

Frances said...

I have learnt something........Candytuft! I have some but never knew its name. It was a couple of cuttings a few years ago from the garden of the old lady I used to help look after. Mine is just flowering too. My garden is also swamped by forget-me-nots.....I love them at this time of year and they are easy to pull up when they have finished. The small veg patch is completely covered!
Are you still getting garden waste taken away? We put out a full wheelie last night. I think it might well be the last collection for a while, as sis in law told us that their council ( Amersham) are no longer collecting garden waste. A short sighted decision I think, as people will just dump it wherever!

Moving with Mitchell said...

The garden and flowers are beautiful and looking very much like spring. I hate those security questions. I've done the same thing, not being able to remember HOW I phrased my response.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I hate passwords - especially those that you use infrequently. Generally I stick to one password for everything but sometimes they insist on a capital letter and/or a number and/or a symbol etc. or they generate their own very unmemorable passwords for you. It's a minefield. In fact "minefield" is my regular password! Now, if my bank account is drained, I will know that it was you!

David said...

Yes those secret questions we all wrote and/or agreed to years ago are annoying, especially those for websites you use infrequently, or haven't used in years. Especially when the questions relate to things that change. Annoyed is how I would characterise my response too.

The Padre said...

What A Backyard - Olga And D Are So Lucky - Amazing Close Up Photos - Be Well This Week


Edna B said...

I agree, your backyard is so inviting. I love all the pretty blooms. As for the passwords and other information, I started typing a list of all my passwords, along with any other information that I may have had to supply. I can't remember everything so this list is a godsend. When anything has to be changed, I just make the proper changes on my typed list and date it. It does help. You stay safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Ms. Moon said...

When the day comes that everyone is back to work your garden is going to miss you terribly!
See? I am assuming that such a day will come.
It's beautiful, Steve.

The Bug said...

Well that looks like a lovely space to spend the day. And I am fascinated by the snake's head fritillary - what an interesting looking flower!

Anonymous said...

Seeing your forget-me-nots reminds me I should photograph the ones blooming here. I love seeing your yard and all the beauty blooming there. I'm so glad we are at least facing this pandemic in spring when the everything looks so beautiful, the weather is warm, and we can weed the garden in sunshine.

Red said...

Change takes place in a hurry in the spring.

Sharon said...

Your garden is looking very lush and colorful. I have never seen that snake's-head flower before. It's very unusual.

ellen abbott said...

Now that we're retired and on SS plus whatever royalties and occasional sale I make of art, we don't have enough income to have to pay income tax. Our CPA told us the IRS doesn't even want us to file a report in that case.

I love it when gardens wake up. mine is about at its peak spring bloom now. I love your forget-me-nots, something else I've tried to get established with no luck. I guess it just gets too hot here for them.

Joanne said...

Ah, what an oasis your garden is! Your flower photos are beautiful! Beauty is appreciated even more in this sad and scary time.

Catalyst said...

When that tree above the bench leafs out it will be a delightful place to sit and enjoy some of that fig gin, or whatever it was.

Joyce F said...

The forget me nots are so pretty. I never seem to be able to grow them. Our candy tuft is blooming too here in Kansas. Tulips also but daffodils are finished. Will soon start planting some other things.

jenny_o said...

What a lovely oasis you have there. So many folks in isolation would give their right arm for such a spot right now, I bet.

I can never remember seldom-used passwords so long ago I learned to write them down. I also put them in an email to myself that I keep in a special efile so it's easy to find. Hopefully I'll never forget my email password but if I do I'll probably be past my best-before date anyhow. lol

Penelope said...

Your garden is lovely. I am glad you have good weather and time to sit in the sunshine.
Were you able to give Dave watering tips and point out spots he may have missed?

Steve Reed said...

GZ: More sun and warmth does the trick, right?

Frances: Glad I could help with the plant ID! As far as I know, our garden waste is being collected as usual. I haven't heard anything about a change.

Mitchell: It seems to me a good security question needs to have only ONE possible answer.

YP: They're a nightmare, especially when they come with security questions. There are programs you can install on your computer to remember all your passwords, but keep them more secure than a simple list. I haven't adopted that technology yet, though.

David: I go to this particular web site only once a year, to retrieve my tax forms. So yeah -- annoying!

Padre: You stay well too! I hear Colorado has become a bit of a hot spot.

Edna: I keep a list too, but that's really not a secure way to do it. What if someone finds your list? Your whole life would be compromised!

Ms Moon: We are very lucky to have it. I think normalcy will return, but who knows when.

Bug: It's also sometimes called a checkerboard lily.

Robin: Yes! Can you imagine having to isolate in the dead of winter? Miserable.

Red: It does move quickly!

Sharon: I'd never seen them before I moved here, but they must grow in the states too.

Ellen: Lucky you! I'm surprised you don't have to file a return, though. How does Uncle Sam know how low your income is otherwise?

Joanne: We're depending on it, that's for sure!

Catalyst: Yes! That tree is a Japanese maple and it's really beautiful when it comes out.

Joyce: We don't even try with the forget-me-nots. They just appear. We just have to know what they look like so we don't pull them up by accident. Tulips, on the other hand, we've never had much luck with -- but someone pointed out that may be because we're trying to grow hybrids rather than basic tulips, and that could be true.

Jenny-O: It's true. We really ARE incredibly lucky. I think if I lived in a small flat I'd be going crazy.

Penelope: Ha! I resisted the urge! Fortunately Dave is a good gardener and he knows what he's doing out there.