Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's a Jungle Out There

It's getting a little crazy out there in the garden. This inula grew from seed at the corner of our patio, and in past years it was fairly small, but now we have to squeeze past it! We have several other garden bottlenecks, too -- where plants have grown so big they're hard to get around. We'll need to start carrying a machete.

(The parent inula is in the background, behind the bamboo poles -- supports for our sweet peas -- and the banana tree. As you can see, it's immense. It grows to about eight feet high.)

The UK's coronavirus reopening continues apace. Boris has declared that we're now expected to maintain a distance of one meter or more, rather than two meters, from our fellow citizens. Of course this is mainly for economic reasons, because a lot of restaurants and other businesses said they could never survive with a two-meter social distancing rule. A host of establishments -- including restaurants, bars, pubs, hairdressers and museums -- will reopen as of July 4. Just as Dave is finally getting used to his shaggy hair!

Given Dave's immune-suppressing medication, I suspect we'll continue much as we already have been, staying home as much as possible. At least until we see how the reopening goes and whether (or should I say how much) the infection rates creep upward.

Tattoo parlors, unfortunately, will remain closed. Guess I have to wait to get my "I (heart) Boris" tattoo.

(In case you're new to this blog: Yes, that is a joke.)

Did you see that someone paid to have a "white lives matter" banner flown over a football game in Lancashire? I just do not know what's wrong with people. It's caused outrage among the team members and the public, and police are investigating. Seems to me whatever advertising company agreed to fly that banner ought to bear some of the liability. There's a strange intersection in Britain between some football fans and right-wing ultra-nationalist politics, not to mention petty thuggery. Sometimes political demonstrations take place under the sponsorship of "football lads" or some equally innocuous term, and what it really means is potentially violent and often drunk right-wingers. It's very strange. In America we have plenty of right-wing lunatics but they don't make sports part of their group identity.

Anyway, let's look at a few more garden pics.

Here's a hoverfly on a dahlia. The dahlia blossoms are interesting because they start out an intense, deep pink but slowly fade to a lighter color. Dave and I continue to debate whether they're pink or orange.

Some little black bug on one of our geraniums.

A close-up of our bear's breeches (acanthus). The flowers look like molluscs, don't they?

Land o' pansies!

And finally, a colorful little iridescent fly on our Chinese lantern.


crafty cat corner said...

The first thing I thought when I heard about the 'White lives matter' was that 'All lives matter' not just one colour.
The mysterious plant in my back alley is definitely a 'Bears Paw' Steve, it is exactly like yours.
I'd love to transplant it into the Bijou garden but I think I may destroy the root getting out from the crack that it's growing in.
Your garden is a picture.

Elizabeth said...

I like how you snuck in some horrible "news" in between the glory of flowers. Life is so weird right now, it seems, everywhere.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Thank you for your garden (paradise) and your brilliant photos scattered around the upsetting stories about people and Boris. Don't forget Nascar, though, in the States -- famous for the number of Confederate flags that fly. They're having their own share of racist issues.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

DAVE They are pink I tell you!
STEVE No! They are orange!
DAVE Pink!
STEVE Orange!

(Silence ensues)

P.S. White lives do matter. There are impoverished white areas of northern cities like Stoke, Sunderland, Hull and Sheffield where the history of deprivation and blatant prejudice goes back through the generations. Those forgotten white people exist in a metaphorical trench from which it is exceedingly difficult to ascend. Please don't get me wrong - I wholly support the "Black Lives Matter" movement but this should not preclude healthy debate about the experience of the poorest white communities.

Michael said...

We are living in a crazy time. Thanks for posting the flower pictures, a reminder of things that can be beautiful.

Andrew said...

Nice garden photos. i think I have missed a lot as I am a new reader of your blog, but you really didn't have to explain the Boris tattoo. Challenging at times, Andrew.

Sharon said...

You can't beat a row of gorgeous flower photos to start out the day. Thanks for that. I chuckled at your Boris tattoo joke. It makes me wonder how many people have gotten MAGA tattoos. Ewww...what a thought.

Edna B said...

Really? Some folks actually got those tattoos? Ewwwww! Why would anyone want that on their body? Your plants are gorgeous. Whether they are pink or orange. Of course, I'm partial to orange. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Red said...

I like the term sports lunatics and the right. Here it is religious lunatics and the right. They're both creepy.

Ms. Moon said...

Salmon- that dahlia is SALMON! There you go. Problem solved.
Now if I could just solve all of the other problems. One of which is that white people can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that Black Lives Matter does not in any way, shape or form insinuate that other lives don't matter or are difficult. It's just that being judged for the color of their skin is not one of the problems that even the most poverty-stricken of white people have. Nor are they subjected to racial violence or intolerance because of it. That is not up for any sort of debate. It's the simple truth.
I have a lot I could say about sports and racism going hand-in-hand too but I'll save that for another day.

robin andrea said...

Love your garden. I think it looks so beautiful there.
I don't know why it surprises me that governments are willing to sacrifice its citizens in order for businesses to stay out. I understand that businesses need to keep running, but at what cost. It really is quite a thing to really grasp that we are living in a global pandemic, the kind of thing that history books will write about in the future.

Linda Sue said...

Mary nailed it! Even the poorest most down trodden white person has white privilege and "all lives matter" is such a crock - even stealing that from black lives! A missed point and an overdue opportunity to look systematic racism directly in the eye, squirm, feel the hundred's of years grief and reckon with it.

I was going to say that the dahlia is coral but i think salmon is more correct. My mother tried to dress me in that color when i was little...I said "No"- back to black.

English gardens are the best in the world for a reason, temperate climate , rich ground , rain, and soft sunshine ...and you guys of course! Wonderful garden, well done!! You have talent!

The Bug said...

Mary Moon stole my salmon thunder :) I also agree with her on "white lives matter." I'm basically Mary Moon today (but way less cool).

Fresca said...

I too thought of NASCAR, like Mitchell.
Also, like Ms Moon, race and sports--e.g. the "Native American mascot controversy" (wasn't sure what to call it--that's the name of the Wikipedia article on it!).
Still, I see what you mean---the US doesn't seem to have quite the equivalent of the British football (soccer) fandom, do we?

As for "white lives matter", I found an interesting linguistic analysis of the phrase "black lives matter" dissecting what it means to different people:

"My black friends are all claiming:

Black Lives Matter [too!]

...but some of my white friends are interpreting that as:

Black Lives Matter [more than others/white lives/your life!];

[Only] Black Lives Matter!"

"The way most people use it, there's a (silent) [implication]:
Black Lives Matter [As Much As Others].
This does not make for a good chant, and is hard to fit on t-shirts, though.

Note, though, that the most natural reading is NOT to assume "more than others"...

If only people were logical.
I am with Mr Spock when he says,
"May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with Humans? "

Catalyst said...

There is no accounting for ignorance and stupidity in today's world. It makes every election day a frightening, nervous experience.

Angelicastar said...

I usually read and not comment. When they say black lives matter, it's not meaning that all lives don't matter. Black lives matter so why you keep putting your knee on our necks. It has nothing to do with wealth. There are wealthy blacks, just as there are poor whites. Only the blacks and browns are being stepped on. That's the meaning of black lives matter. The browns need to get an organization also to try and get the knees off their necks and maybe their kids won't be taken away and put in cages like what our no good President has done to them. I grew up in the dirty south. Louisiana and I've never experienced the tragedy that is happening today. Yes I am mixed race but I am one race to others and that is black. We were taught to love everyone. Racial prejudice is taught in the home. All colors of babies play together, hold hands and hug. They don't see color until their no good parent point it out to them. Steve your garden is very lovely and hug olga for me. I love that fur baby.

John Going Gently said...

You are a talented planter
With a good eye

Allison said...

The garden is just superb. You and Dave had done a wonderful job.
I'm gonna have to go with NASCAR and racism in the US. Those Confederate flags are part of the culture, and they're not gone yet. Who pins their sense of pride on a pack of loser traitors that wanted to own other people? Introspection is clearly not a core competency for them.

jenny_o said...

Infection rates WILL creep up, maybe even jump up. I think we will see a prolonged period of easing and tightening restrictions, over and over, until a vaccine is available. I'm already half-living in the world of 2022, by when I hope things are back to pre-pandemic in terms of being able to be around other people. I hope there won't be as many deaths in future as there were in the first round - of course, that's unlikely as the very most vulnerable have in many cases already died. Which still angers me.

Steve Reed said...

Briony: I suppose whether you can transplant it depends on how much of the root you can get. We moved ours and left some of the old roots behind, and they sprouted in the old location. So it's a pretty durable plant. Still, it might be easier to just buy a new one!

Elizabeth: I'll say! I've felt discombobulated since 2016, but this year is definitely the pinnacle of weirdness.

Mitchell: Yeah, NASCAR fans can be problematic, but at least they don't demonstrate politically in the guise of NASCAR fans. (At least I don't think they do.) As I understand it NASCAR recently banned the Confederate flag at their events.

YP: Actually, I'm the one who argues for pink. LOL! Of course white lives matter too, but that's what BLM activists would call a distraction from the issue at hand -- which is that blacks are systematically targeted and killed by police.

Michael: I swear, the garden keeps me sane sometimes!

Andrew: Ha! I just wanted to be CERTAIN people knew I was kidding.

Sharon: Yeah, I wonder?! I'm not sure people really think about how PERMANENT a tattoo is!

Edna: The flowers ARE a very peculiar in-between color!

Red: Yeah, in North America it does seem like the evangelicals play the role of right-wing gadflies. But at least they're not drunk and violent! (Generally!)

Ms Moon: YES! It is very close to salmon. And YES, thanks for your concise summary of why a "white lives matter" banner is problematic.

Robin: It does seem a very harsh calculus, to trade a certain number of lives to preserve a functioning economy. But then, we need the economy too. I wouldn't want to have to make these decisions.

Linda Sue: People always extoll English gardens, and you're right -- the climate is a huge part of why this is such an ideal spot for gardening. And you're also right about BLM, of course.

Bug: We are ALL way less cool than Mary Moon.

Fresca: Thanks for parsing that language! It's interesting how some people seem to feel that "Black Lives Matter" somehow negates THEIR (non-black) lives. Which isn't the point at all!

Catalyst: I think social media, unfortunately, helps amplify ignorant voices. (Including our president's!)

Angelicastar: THANK YOU for your comment! I'm so glad to see you back again! And yes, I'm with you on "Black Lives Matter" -- there's no question that policing in the USA (and in the UK too, to some extent) jeopardizes black citizens more than whites.

John: Thank you! Coming from you, with your own beautiful garden, that means a lot.

Allison: I grew up in Florida, and some of my ancestors were southern and fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. But it always seemed so STRANGE to me that people flew the Confederate flag. It was shorthand for a certain mindset and economic class. Now some people fly that flag who have no connection at all to the Confederacy! (It's apparently even a racist symbol in places like Poland!) Anyway, at least NASCAR has taken steps to ban it, from what I've read.

Jenny-O: Yeah, I think you're right -- we'll see peaks and valleys of infection rates in years to come. And I suppose new "vulnerable" people will continue to arise, as all of us get older and more infirm. I hope a vaccine comes sooner rather than later!

37paddington said...

My husband was watching that football game. Premiere league soccer had just returned, with games played in empty arenas, to a soundtrack of cheers. He was in heaven then irritated by the interruption. He thought he could escape from the news into the game. Oh well. This world.