Thursday, June 30, 2022

Silent Spring

Our red dahlia bloomed while I was in Bruges. I came back to find it in full flower, the first dahlia of the season. There are buds on almost all the others, so we'll have plenty of blossoms soon.

Also blooming now is our acanthus, which has sent up a bizarre multi-branched flower spike shaped like a saguaro cactus. I've never seen it do that before.

The buddleia by the birdbath is full of big clusters of flowers that look like pink sponges. Hopefully we'll see some butterflies soon, if it ever warms up out there -- it's 57º F (about 14º C) this morning!

And finally, the purple Amistad sage is blooming as well. It's been blooming for a while, actually, but the blossoms are fuller and more mature now. Don't those little stamens (or whatever) look like forked snake tongues?

Dave and I have noticed a peculiar phenomenon this spring -- an almost complete lack of squirrels. Normally our walnut tree would be full of them, all gnawing and dropping nut shrapnel on the ground, and they'd be racing through the treetops at the back of the property. I've recently seen only one, last week. Right now the tree, though laden with nuts the size of golf balls, is completely squirrel-less. I have a bad feeling that something has happened to them all.

If I had to guess, I'd say that a neighbor who was freaked out by the same presence of rats that we've noticed in our garden put out poison and killed the squirrels. That's just conjecture on my part, but I don't know where else they'd be. Then again, I haven't seen any dead ones either.

I spent yesterday getting my life back in order after my trip -- doing laundry, vacuuming the house, going to the cleaners, that kind of thing. I also caught up on almost all my blog reading, which took the better part of the afternoon! I don't know how I got so behind on blogs. Today I'm hoping to finally finish off "A Gentleman in Moscow," but we'll see.


Elizabeth said...

How utterly beautiful. Thank god for flowers, right?

Moving with Mitchell said...

Your photos and your garden make my days! Exquisite. What a joy it must be to be able to enjoy that.

River said...

I'm so sorry to read of your lack of squirrels. You've never seen the acanthus blooming? We have them here in Australia, huge clumps of them that die down over winter and send up shoots like yours by the dozen in spring and summer. Any bees around your way will be in heaven when they find your buddleia.

gz said...

Those intense colours of the dahlia and buddleia..very nice indeed.
Monkshood is an interesting (if highly poisonous) plant. Looking at it you can see how it inspired both 2D and 3D art

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I hope your trip to Moscow is successful and that you do indeed finish off the gentleman in Moscow who I presume is called Vladimir Putin. I guess that the C.I.A. have made all necessary arrangements for you.

Maybe word has finally got round amongst the squirrel community that your garden flat is inhabited by a bloodthirsty squirrel assassin with four legs. Best to keep away.

Boud said...

Wonderful flowers. Here we have plenty of foliage but not much budding. Fewer squirrels, too. Very few songbirds. I wonder if climate change has thrown everything off.

Andrew said...

Nice to be home, hey. And lots has happened in your garden in your absence.

Think the best. The squirrels have a plentiful supply of food elsewhere and no need to bother with the Steve garden.

Bob said...

I hope no one killed the squirrels, accidentally or otherwise.

Ms. Moon said...

My mind went to poison as well. I hope we're both wrong.
Steve, did you ever think you'd become a gardener? Because you have.

Ellen D. said...

Gosh, those blooms are lovely and so unusual! Great photos!
Did you enjoy "A Gentleman in Moscow" at all? Did you get into the charming characters?

NewRobin13 said...

Your flowers are so beautiful. I love seeing what's blooming there.
It is worrisome that the squirrels have vanished like that. I also wondered if it might be an inadvertent poisoning. I hope not, and I hope they return to your tree soon.

Kelly said...

That is curious about the squirrels. Even if there were dead ones around you couldn't see, I feel sure you'd smell them!

Your flowers are all just stunning. I think I'd be sitting in the garden reading all the time if mine looked like that!

Karen said...

Absolutely beautiful flowers

Debby said...

I love your flowers. I'm trying to work on my own gardens, but honestly, you have such a diversity of flowers...I know for a fact it will take me years to get to that point.

Sharon said...

Your blooms are gorgeous! I especially like that lush buddleia. It does look like something butterflies would love but it has to get warmer than 57degrees.

Linda said...

I've never been able to grow a buddleia for beans. What few flowers showed were shriveled and pathetic. Yours is spectacular.

Haddock said...

The buddleia is real thick. The butterflies are surely going to visit.

Pixie said...

The flowers are beautiful and so are the shots from Brussels. I read the link to your assault in Brussels and that would be my greatest fear of street photography. The mountains and the fields don't yell at me:)

The Bug said...

Gorgeous flowers! Maybe one squirrel got poisoned & another one noticed & warned everyone else away.

Marty said...

I ultimately enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow, but at first didn't think I'd get past the 3rd chapter when I finally realized I'd never get to leave the hotel. And somehow it was surprisingly suspenseful. Masterful.

Michael said...

I am catching up on my blog reading too. Your trip sounded great, despite the crazy hotel. I have been to Brussels, but never to Bruges. I would love to go someday. Glad you had a good trip.

Red said...

Interesting about the squirrel disappearance. They're a nuisance here but I don't think anybody goes out and poisons them.

Linda Sue said...

your trip was so enjoyable, So glad you went with your excellent camera skills and ability to cover a lot of ground in a short time. Nice,too, to get back to the garden!

Margaret said...

I love dahlias! I dislike coming back from trips--the unpacking and laundry stuff.

Steve Reed said...

Elizabeth: They definitely help keep us going around here!

Mitchell: We are very lucky to have such a big garden in London.

River: Oh, I've seen the acanthus bloom, but it usually has one flower head per stalk. This year it sent up a single, thick stalk that branches and has three flower heads. Weird!

GZ: You've confused me. Are you talking about the acanthus? I don't think we have any monkshood.

YP: Our squirrels are normally way too brazen to be intimidated by Olga!

Boud: Maybe that's it. Something about the cooler spring? We have had nesting birds, though.

Andrew: It's certainly possible, but with several big trees and lots of nesting space and food, we are normally squirrel heaven.

Bob: I hope not too. Maybe someone relocated them. People are strange about squirrels.

Ms Moon: I hope we're both wrong too! I've always liked plants so it's not a complete surprise that we have a garden, but I'm not sure I imagined doing it to this extent!

Ellen D: My brief review is in today's post. Let's just say, "Meh."

Robin: It just seems suspicious when a whole group of animals vanishes like that. I wish I knew.

Kelly: Exactly! You'd think there'd be some indication.

Karen: Thank you! That dahlia is one of my faves.

Debby: The climate is a huge part of it -- we're in a temperate place and a lot can grow here. England was really made for gardening.

Sharon: Exactly! I've seen a handful of butterflies so far this year but overall I think it's been too cold.

Linda: They are literally weeds here -- they grow in such profusion along the railroad tracks that they're considered noxious. I love them, though. (That pink one is a special hybrid.)

Haddock: I hope so! Any day now!

Pixie: For what it's worth, that's the only time I've been challenged in such a direct and aggressive way. I've had people given me dirty looks but that's usually as far as it goes. (And if they seem unhappy I stop taking pics.)

Bug: Maybe! I hope they're that smart!

Marty: See, I just never got that sense of suspense. I was never looking forward to opening the book and seeing what happened next.

Michael: Bruges is well worth it. Brussels is quite gritty by comparison.

Red: I don't think anyone would deliberately poison them here (though I could be wrong). I think if that's what happened it was probably accidental because they ate poison meant for rats.

Linda Sue: I'm glad I had a chance to get away, however briefly!

Margaret: Weirdly, I kind of like it -- that sense of putting everything back in order.

Edna B said...

Your flowers are gorgeous. I hope your squirrels come back soon. Why would anyone in their right mind put out rat poison? It kills all the animals that find it. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

The bike shed said...

Lovely pics as always. Silent Spring was the title of Rachel Carsons's famous environmental book I think. Thankfully we have lots of birdsong here - but no squirrels