Friday, July 10, 2020

Mission for Marigolds

Before I get started on today's post, several of you mentioned the lack of masks on the people in yesterday's photo. Believe me, this is not unusual! Especially outdoors. I've seen recent articles about the percentage of people wearing masks in the UK, and it's significantly lower than in many other countries, including the USA -- something like 21 percent to the USA's 60-something percent, if I remember right. There's been an argument that the UK government needs to issue clearer recommendations on masks -- although as some of you mentioned a few days ago, Scotland is now requiring them in shops. (According to The Guardian, some men find masks un-masculine.)

But anyway, that's just an aside, because what I really wanted to write about today is...plants. Big change there!

Yesterday I took a walk to Homebase to buy some marigolds for our hanging baskets. Our violas were sagging and leggy, and badly needed replacing. (One wayward blossom found its way into the tiny puddle created by Olga's paw print in our garden stepping stones, above.)

Mission accomplished, although not without minor drama. As I stood in line at Homebase waiting to check out, the woman behind me -- yakking on her cell phone -- kept bumping the back of my legs with her shopping cart. Social distancing, people! I finally turned around a glared at her and to her credit, she apologized and backed up. I'm such a crab.

As you can see, we've had a lot of rain. Our first stargazer lily has opened -- we have a few more on the way, too, despite the best efforts of the slugs and lily beetles.

Our nicotiana, new this year, has put out its first flowers. Dave has named the plant Nicole.

Our purple lupine is at its peak, or maybe just a bit past. Those are hydrangeas behind it.

Also at Homebase, I found this plant -- a curcuma, which I'd never heard of, but I bought it anyway. Turns out it's the same type of plant that turmeric comes from -- a member of the ginger family. Pretty, isn't it?

Aside from my outing to Homebase and some minor gardening, yesterday was pretty uneventful. The mail once again failed to bring several items I ordered weeks ago from the States -- some graphic t-shirts and a mask. It's ridiculous how long international packages take to arrive. Dave's parents mailed him a birthday present in May -- you may recall his birthday was June 22 -- and that still hasn't shown up. We've basically given up on it. I'm wondering if it somehow got returned to their winter home in Florida, and maybe they just don't know because they're in Michigan now.

Dave also asked me to mention that he made a fabulous cauliflower gratin for dinner two nights ago. And it was indeed fabulous. Duly noted!


  1. That curcuma is beautiful. I have never heard of them either, but would def. have bought it if I saw it!

  2. The cauliflower gratin was good...but last nights concoction was not! LOL I'll redeem myself tonight.

  3. At last, Olga was mentioned! Even though the reference was only to a paw print in one of your designer stepping stones. Is Olga still alive? What have you done to her you beast?

    As for masks, Johnson's circus sent out discouraging messages about them early on in the lockdown, saying that there was no evidence that they were in any way effective, I guess they were following "The Science" but such messages have impacted negatively on mask wearing here.

  4. You do such an incredible job with your gardens. In that first shot, I thought you had placed a viola in the stepping stone and sealed it in polyurethane. Since April, I have mailed 6 postcards from Spain to my brother in New York. He has now received two. A frined of mine has mailed five items to him from Oregon. He has received one.

  5. The Power Of A Paw Print - Take Care Crab A$$


  6. Can you imagine how bored you'd be by now without your lovely garden to tend?
    Did Dave use the recipe in the NYT's for his cauliflower gratin?

  7. Your plants are gorgeous, especially your new one. As for the packages, have you tried checking the tracking? Some international packages do not get delivered. Some are returned and I don't know where the other ones go. Once, some packages that I sent to Holland did not get to their destination. I checked the tracking and then gave the tracking information to my friend in Holland. She checked on it, and lo and behold, her packages showed up a few days later. It's just a thought. You enjoy that beautiful garden, hugs, Edna B.

  8. Well those are all just lovely! Thanks for the eye cleanse :)

  9. Ah, I see that Dave is sorry to have disappointed you with last night's fare after his previously wonderful cauliflower gratin. He shouldn't feel too bad. Last night's fare at our house featured leftovers...and may again tonight.

    As for mail--international or domestic in the US--it is a crap shoot. Domestically, I've had some things arrive in a couple of days and others take weeks to get here (funnily--the latter was from Oregon, too). Then received a literary quarterly booklet in less than a week after it was mailed from the UK. Think USPS is overwhelmed with delivering not just regular mail, but packages of online orders that UPS and Fedex pass on to them (smartpost). Our mailman covers a huge area and is lucky to get to our house by 5 pm even though he leaves the post office on his round about 7 am. Even has to drive his own car. Not a fun job--especially in our hot/humid summers-- so I periodically leave him a thank you note in my mailbox.

  10. Lovely flowers, especially that curcuma. Makes me wonder why I never wondered what a turmeric plant looks like. It's a beauty!
    I can't believe that woman kept hitting you with her cart and it took a glare to make it stop. Yikes!

  11. I dispise marigolds
    I am not quite sure why...
    But I refuse to buy them
    I used to buy them when the allotment was going strong as they kept the black fly at bay

  12. So many beautiful flowers and plants -- I particularly loved the circuma. I really appreciate the peace of your posts, Steve!

  13. You always take such beautiful pictures of your plants. They soothe the soul.

  14. We now have mandatory mask orders inside any building. I still occasionally see someone without one. I steer clear.
    The flowers look gorgeous and that one you just bought that sits in the window is very pretty. It's perfect for that window.

  15. Tucson has mandatory mask orders but not everyone is following it. How hard could it be? The indoor flower is just gorgeous.
    Could we see a photo or two of Dave's new cookware. Since there is no shopping for us, I need the vicarious enjoyment of someone else's acquisitions. Plus, my kitchen is FULL and we can't buy anything because there is nowhere to put it.

  16. I keep reading recipes involving cauliflower. The gratin sounds delicious and then I just watched a video of Ina Garten preparing one. Gruyere, parmesan, nutmeg, it all sounds good. I may have to try it.

  17. Cauliflower Gratin does sound fabulous so well done Dave, and Nicole Nicotiana made me laugh! The lily is beautiful. I have begun to clear my garden (again) and need to capitalise on the start. I never seem to keep it up and it soon becomes a jungle again. I think I need a gardener! I hope your parcels arrive soon. It is very annoying when things don't turn up.
    Thank you for your lovely comment yesterday too, and for being so kind and supportive. Brobee continues to chill with the bears!

  18. The USA might have a high mask usage, but they have over 50,000 new Covid cases per day. Somewhere like Melbourne Australia with over 100 new cases per day now has stage 2 lockdown. A lot of doctors say masks don't do much or any good, but social distancing is critical to stop the spread.

  19. I had never heard of or seen a curcuma until a short while ago a friend posted a pic of hers on FB and I looked it up. now here you are having just bought one. I'm so jealous! and Dave's cauliflower gratin sounds delicious.

  20. There are a few unusual to me plants shown. The last is especially interesting. Nicely cooked cauliflower gratin is a treat.

  21. Frances: It was a find! They had a bunch more, too -- I bet if you go to your local Homebase you'll find them there!

    SD: Burgers! :)

    YP: It wasn't just Johnson. The WHO also discouraged their use early on. But I guess science is evolving on that subject.

    Mitchell: Wow! I'm surprised even letters are taking so long. I thought it was mainly a parcel thing.

    Padre: Ha! The best thing I've been called all day. LOL

    Ms Moon: Dave says it's an "improvement on a recipe from Jacques Pepin." (!)

    Edna: Unfortunately, I don't think Dave's parents put tracking on the package. Moral of the story -- ALWAYS track your packages!

    Bug: You're welcome. We all need some uplifting photos in these crazy times! (You're good at providing those too.)

    Mary: His disappointing fare was an egg/potato/bacon combo thing, but he didn't have enough eggs so it turned into a kind of hash. I didn't think it was terrible, honestly.

    Robin: I had a vague idea that turmeric was from a Southeast Asian plant, but I didn't know if it was a pod or root. (It's the latter.)

    John: I really like them, but they're tricky because slugs ALSO really like them. Interesting that they repel blackfly though.

    Elizabeth: I'm glad! I try to keep things peaceful around here, without being too anodyne. :)

    Michael: My neighbor teases me because I'm always wandering around the garden with my camera!

    Sharon: It's actually not staying in that window, though. I moved it to a brighter spot in the living room (where we can see it more easily).

    Allison: I will try to grab a cookware photo post-haste!

    Catalyst: It's a delicious way to eat cauliflower but it also completely counteracts any healthy properties of the vegetable. LOL

    Sarah: Dave names all our plants. He'll come to me and say, "Elizabeth is doing well today!" And I have to think, "WHO's Elizabeth, again?!"

    Jennede: Well, that's a good point! I think the spread in the USA is despite mask usage, not because of it. (Although who knows -- there have been people who say wearing a mask incorrectly is actually worse than wearing nothing.) I agree that social distancing AND hand-washing are key.

    Ellen: Funny! It must be curcuma season! I'd never seen one before either.

    Andrew: Yeah, it was unusual to me too! I hope we can keep it alive.

  22. Cauliflower gratin is the only way I've every actually liked cauliflower, but I am too lazy to make it for everyday meals! Lucky you to have a personal chef :)