Sunday, May 29, 2022

Lupine Report

Well, this happened yesterday -- the first bloom of the season on our Asiatic lily. Looking good! Remember last year, when I kept it indoors and it developed such a terrible case of aphids? Well, this year I've kept it outside in its pot and there are no aphids to be found. Nature strikes a balance.

Our blue lupines (British: lupins) are looking good too.

But the red Beefeater lupine has put up just a single small flower spike -- nothing like the huge flowers we saw the past two years. Maybe I need to put the pot in a sunnier spot. Or maybe the plant is just getting old. Still no blossoms on the pink Rachel de Thame or the yellow lupine, but Rachel has a flower spike so some should be forthcoming.

Speaking of aphids, we usually have a terrible aphid problem on the lupines and I wind up having to clear them manually from the plant with my hands. (Not a pleasant job!) But this year, I haven't seen any. Apparently this has been true all over the UK because of our cold, dry spring. Come to think of it, maybe that's also why there are no aphids on the lily.

Isn't this an exciting blog post?

Well, in order to give you any thrills and chills I'd have to make something up, because yesterday was pretty mellow. Dave was gone almost all day, first getting a blood test and then at a school jazz concert. I spent the morning reading and doing laundry.

Speaking of laundry, I went to the laundromat to pick up our bedsheets, which you may remember I get washed "professionally" because they're too big for our home machine. Well, the woman behind the counter charged me £18, which is £5 more than I usually pay. When I questioned the charge, she pulled out a notebook filled with neat columns of figures and showed me exactly how they arrived at that amount -- £5 for the machines, £2 for soap, etc. Except that the figures clearly added up to £13! She wound up charging me £15 because she said she thought they might have had to use a larger machine and I didn't want to quibble. She said they'd give me a £3 discount on my next load. The whole episode was a head-scratcher.

I took Olga to the cemetery and we had a good walk. The weather was cool and sunny and although Olga seemed content to stick to the paved paths rather than forging through the underbrush, she clearly enjoyed herself. I haven't heard the turaco recently -- not since March. I wonder if it's still around?

Oh, and speaking of exotic birds, I had a conversation with Mrs. Russia upstairs in which she complained about the parakeets on our bird feeder. She says they're too loud. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about that, aside from not putting out a feeder, and I enjoy the feeders so she's just going to have to deal. The Russians are very persnickety about keeping everything just so. I suspect they think we're slobs.

Here's another thing they don't like -- the way we've allowed the pink valerian to grow out over the front steps. I think it looks charming, but Mrs. Russia said the plants obstruct the path. Her husband is talking about pressure-washing again. (sigh)


Moving with Mitchell said...

Mrs. Russia sounds like she could be a pain in the ... neck. The garden looks glorious and your photos are, yet again, brilliant.

Andrew said...

You can't do much about your neighbours, mind nearly half the stairs seem to be covered but perhaps that is how looks rather than how it is.
I remember spraying roses covered in aphids with soapy water and the aphids disappeared.
Laundry lady should be able to easily estimate the size of a load of sheets. Very curious. Surely not reel them in as regular customers and then start to cheat them.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

If the Russians like to keep everything just so then why the hell did they invade Ukraine?

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Boo hoo! Another hilarious comment bites the spam dust.

Marty said...

I’ll bet the laundry lady was just unwilling to admit her mistake and so the wacky discount for next time was her trying to save face.
You could be a diplomat in your next career after dealing with your Russians.

River said...

Mrs Russia needs to move away. Far away. Jupiter perhaps? Should be nice and quiet there. Parakeets do get noisy though, when there is food for them in the local trees the chirping and squabbling is quite noisy for about an hour each morning and then at dusk. Nobody minds.
Can you buy a bigger washing machine?

Boud said...

Mrs Russia could get a job with our landscapers who weedwhack the ground cover on my path, draping softly over the sides, into sharp little walls. I moved some herbs because they kept slashing them to the ground. Neatly.

I think the laundry lady was trying to hide her mistake. Make sure you get the discount next time!

Ed said...

Stuff like that is why I now live on 3 acres in a single family residence.

The Padre said...

Olga Girl In The Garden - What A Lucky Dog - It Is Always So Delightful Crossing Paths With The Neighbors


Bob said...

You're being nice with the "persnickety."

I might have quibbled and then told the laundromat lady that I would find another place to do the sheets.

Marcia LaRue said...

Perhaps you should look into buying your own heavy-duty washing machine! You should be able to do King sized sheets in one of those ... maybe one sheet at a time ... but certainly cheaper then the laundromat charges!
I know ... Everyone tries to tell you what you "should" be doing ... myself included in that! Sorry! You know what suits you the best! 😏
Your flower pictures are always so beautiful!
Mrs. Russian ... 🤷🏼

Ms. Moon said...

Well, I have to say that my giant American washer could wash two sets of king-sized sheets at once with no problem. It's rather bizarre to think that a commercial laundry would have to use two machines to wash sheets. And soap- really? How much do they use?
Anyway, your garden is a jewel, a joy, a crown in the neighborhood. Perhaps you could pacify Mrs. Russia's complaints by trimming back the valerian on the steps. She'd probably just find something else to bitch about though.

NewRobin13 said...

I agree with the previous comments suggesting a new, bigger washing machine. We have a machine that would wash those huge sheets easy enough, plus anything we wanted to throw in there.
Your neighbor is crazy, complaining to you about the songbirds that come to your feeder. How do you talk with her without laughing and simply walking away. Have you learned any good Russian swear words to shout at her? Now I'm going to google how to say "WTF" in Russian. LOL!

jenny_o said...

I saw a meme recently that said something to the effect of "why can't everyone just let everyone else have their small pleasures in this weird and difficult time" and I keep wishing more people would feel that way. Do the Russians even use those steps? Why can't they just let you enjoy the plants and the birds? Surely the parakeets aren't at the feeders all the time, are they? Crikey :)

The lupins look good. I look forward to seeing them bloom here - they grow along the sides of the roads in great masses of colour, truly lovely to see.

ellen abbott said...

Y'all use the same steps? (I don't remember how the front of the building looks). And the parakeets are too loud? Perhaps you could suggest she wear sound dampening mufflers.

Anyway, pretty flowers. Can't grow lupines here though they do grow in Big Bend so go figure.

Beth Reed said...

Neighbors can be the bane of our existence when it comes to things that are of no real measures of things that are of real importance, except to them of course.
I once had a neighbor that hated the fact that our dog laid on his side of our driveway, waiting for me to return from taking the kids each morning to school and back home. Our Duchess didn't lay on his side of the grass, yet she was poisoned, and we made a police complaint, and it was later found that he had purchased rat poison the day before Duchess died an agonizing death. All because he complained all the time of her laying on the grass. Or chasing birds, squirrels or kids.
There was no love lost between us as after Duchess died, he started complaining the kids made too much noise while outside playing. We moved their swing set and their fort to the other side of the house on a vacant lot that we owned. Until I took the kids and left their dad, he would still find things to complain about.
The Russians remind me of those horrible neighbors, so I hope that they do not resort to hurting your parakeets!

I just love your flowers and wish I had the green thumb you have as well as the space to plant a garden. It is wonderful to see Olga laying in front of the flowers and so happy that you two had a great walk. I can envision her smiling!! xx

Wilma said...

The blue lupines are wondrous, especially in the photo with Olga and the other beauties of your garden.

Jeanie said...

The pink valerian is beautiful -- and there's plenty of room on those steps. And, if one doesn't like bird song, close the windows! Neighbors can be the best thing ever or the worst!

Those lupines are fabulous. I might have to try those someday!

Red said...

Look Steve, just turn down the volume on those parakeets and Mrs Russia will be happy!

Margaret said...

Glad you don't have to deal with aphids. Our spring has also been cool and wet and many flowers aren't even blooming yet. Love the lily's colors! Someone at the cleaners can't do arithmetic. ;)

Kelly said...

The Lupines are lovely, but all the prettier with Olga in the photo. I hope she appreciates the beautiful garden you've created for her to lounge in. 😉

Allison said...

The valarian does look charming. Blasting it with a pressure washer is not going to do it any good.

Pixie said...

I bought wild lupin seeds last October from Butchart gardens and I have my fingers crossed that they'll grow well and not be covered in aphids. They're coming up nicely but are still in pots because they're so small.

Screw the russians:)

sparklingmerlot said...

What is Mr Russian intending to pressure-wash? Cut the valerian back a little bit and present it to Mrs R in a bunch with a big bow.

Edna B said...

Your plants are beautiful. I think your neighbor is just jealous. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

Sharon said...

All of these flowers are stunning.

Ellen D. said...

Your neighbors get to enjoy the beauty of your garden without doing any of the work so they should just be happy with that! Yikes! I liked Robin Andrea's comment about looking up Russian swear words!! Funny!
BTW, is there ever a chance of going back to the way you used to do comments? I love seeing your comments but I cannot keep track of who said what when I see your responses without scrolling up and down and up and down!? But I am still always happy to come to your blog anyway if there is no way to fix it! :)

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: What's Russian for "neck"? Or, for that matter, "ass"?

Andrew: It's not quite half the steps -- more like a third. Enough to get by easily but they already think the steps are narrow.

YP: Yeah, that's one subject I don't bring up with them! (I call them Russians but for all I know they're Ukrainian or Belarusian or something else. I'm actually not sure.)

Marty: Maybe that's it, but it IS a wacky discount.

River: The landlord owns the washer, so we don't have control over that! (And no space for a bigger one anyway.) I like the sounds of the parakeets. Lively!

Boud: I can't stand this need to keep everything precisely trimmed. I like a natural look.

Ed: I get the appeal, believe me!

Padre: I make my neighbors sound worse than they are. We really don't interact with them much. :)

Bob: I was so confused by the whole exchange that I didn't even think to threaten to take my business elsewhere!

Marcia: We probably COULD wash one sheet at a time. But then there's the drying! Our clothesline would never hold sheets that big. It's just easier to get them done elsewhere. (But not if it's going to cost £18!)

Ms Moon: An American machine could manage these sheets with no problem. European washers are much smaller! (But probably more energy efficient and they definitely use less water!)

Robin: It's so weird how both she and our next-door neighbor, the legendary Mrs. Kravitz, complain to ME about everything. How did I become the complaint department?!

Jenny-O: I agree! The Russians DO use the steps -- they lead up to a little front porch where our front door (in photo) and theirs are side-by-side.

Ellen: I can be responsible for a lot of things, but not for the volume of the birds. Aren't bluebonnets basically lupines? I thought they were the same thing.

Beth: What an AWFUL story! I can't imagine anything, and I mean anything, that would make me poison someone else's pet.

Wilma: The flowers make Olga even prettier, and vice versa!

Jeanie: I think she was basically telling me to stop feeding the birds. But you know what? I like them. Take that, Mrs. Russia!

Red: Yes, with my God-like abilities! LOL

Margaret: It was 48 degrees when I went to bed last night! Cold for this time of year!

Kelly: She appreciates it, but she might not REALIZE she appreciates it!

Allison: And what is this obsession with the cleanliness of concrete? It's a sidewalk, for goodness' sake.

Pixie: I hope they do well! You'd think wild seeds might have a better chance, being vigorous enough to survive in the wild.

Merlot: He pressure-washes the front steps and the porch at least once a year, far more than it actually requires.

Edna B: Maybe! I often wonder if they're frustrated by living over the garden but having no access to it.

Sharon: Thank you!

Ellen D: I know, the comment situation is not ideal. I can't win no matter which way I go, because some people can't comment using the other format. I may switch back -- maybe the problem has been solved by now.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I’ll have to ask SG for the Russian words... although, knowing SG, he’d probably end up giving me the Spanish ones.