Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Walking Lupines and a Piano Lesson

So here's a garden mystery.

That, above, is one of our blooming lupines. It's growing in the pot where the Persian Slipper lupine was, and when I saw the flower stalk I naturally expected blue flowers. (And it really is the same pot, as photos from previous years prove -- a distinctive terra cotta pot that looks unlike any other in our garden.) But then this emerged -- a pink-and-white Rachel de Thame, a lupine hybrid we once had growing in a different pot. I am completely confused about how this happened, unless the Rachel de Thame re-seeded itself in the Persian Slipper's pot.

It's been an interesting year for lupines, after the surprise survival of our Beefeater red lupine. (See here.) I think those plants all played musical pots on some winter's night, uprooting themselves, dancing in a circle and then re-settling in new containers.

I spent yesterday morning in the garden reading, with Olga sprawled out like exhausted Super-Dog right next to me. I'm still plugging away at "Little Women." I can see how it has remained a popular book but I'm finding it rather boring, to be honest. I feel like I have to read at least until Beth dies, and I'm not there yet.

I also did a bunch of gardening. I picked up a whole trug full of fallen camellia blossoms and dumped them behind the shed, in an effort to give the irises growing beneath the camellia bush a fighting chance. The poor things were buried in floral detritus and I don't think we have any iris flowers this year.

I walked Olga on the high street a couple of times, and that was about as far as she was interested in going.

The blanket flower on our front porch is looking good, and I bought a little orange African daisy to keep it company.

And a persistent pink geranium has managed to raise its head above a sea of betony, grass and English ivy in the back garden.

Finally, one of the Russians upstairs was practicing piano again. I made a video so you can hear what it's like in our dining room, though you may have to turn up the sound a bit. They play this same tune OVER AND OVER AND OVER, along with one or two more -- and I know practice makes perfect, but we're talking YEARS here. I keep thinking they'll want to vary their repertoire, but so far no. Still, it's better than a power saw.

There's also video of Olga wiping her face on the shrubbery, as she does every single night after she eats dinner. If we don't let her out in time she wipes it on the couch.


Moving with Mitchell said...

You sure have created paradise there. Too bad about the annoying piano practice but, you’re right, it’s better than a power saw. Fascinating about the movable lupine feast.

Andrew said...

I don't think I could bare that piano noise.
Olga certainly looks relaxed as she gets a tan.
The blanket flower looks lovely. I'd guess we have them here but call them something else.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Did you leave the massive turd on Olga's sleeping mat for Dave to clean up? I guess it was his turn. Russian prisons probably play that piano music to spies over and over again until they crack.

River said...

I turned my laptop volume to 100 and could barely hear the piano, so I gave up on that.
Your garden is looking good, geraniums are tough and will survive just about anything.

Sabine said...

Wonderful garden! And again, very impressive recall of actual floer species.

When our neighbour's daughters moved out, we and lots of others were very happy as both had been struggling with piano lessons and daily practice for a decade. And struggling is a putting it mildly.
Now the mother has got herself a harp of all things and is at the very early beginner's stage, extremely dedicated, she's at it several times a day, with windows open.
Count your blessings, what you hear is lovely in comparison.

Jennifer said...

I've never been a big fan of Little Women. I think it's boring, too. The Victorian moralizing just leaves me cold.

Olga looks like a queen napping!

Bob said...

Beth dies!!!
I didn't even know she was sick.

Debby said...

You have a regular jungle theme going on, both inside AND outside.

Olga cracks me up. We had a facewiper dog when I was a kid. I'd forgotten until I watched your video.

And yes. piano is better than power tools.

Boud said...

Birds do that face wiping too. They're clean old things! The relief when Beth finally dies, you'll get there. I doubt if this book's worth your wild and precious time though.

Boud said...

I forgot to say my downstairs neighbor started piano, windows open, note, pause, note, long pause, etc. It was months before he played the notes fast enough so that you could recognize Lullaby of Broadway! He did improve though, to where it was okay to listen to.

Ms. Moon said...

I'm sorry. I have to step in and defend Little Women. For many, many girls the book was truly something special. Don't even ask me why. I don't know. It just was. And I was one of them.
Perhaps it is not to be read by adults.
Your garden is utterly delicious. And Olga is a hoot.

Colette said...

It's amazing how much noise comes through from the Russians apartment. I'm afraid it would drive me crazy, but we adjust. Could be heavy metal.

Ellen D. said...

Wow, that piano is quite loud for you but like you have mentioned, it could be a more annoying sound. I do love your ceilings, tho!
No matter what color they are, those lupines are lovely!

Marcia LaRue said...

I had to look trug up: a shallow oblong basket made of strips of wood, traditionally used for carrying garden flowers and produce.
A new word for me!
I love Olga's speckled belly!
The blanket flower is quite colorful!

Sharon said...

I could hear that piano music quiet clearly. All the plants are looking healthy and lush. I love those blanket flowers. Olga looks quite content in her sunny garden.

Linda Sue said...

I missed yesterdays amazing post -I will send the video to Erik, he will love it! Too bad that Brick lane is becoming "homogenized" - gentrified...Cities do not realize the loss until all of the character has been erased and they are left with polished , squeaky clean monotony.
The piano music would not offend me too much, though it may become tedious after YEARS of same same...At least it is not as annoying as "unchained melody".
By the way, I adore Olga, and the raccoon of lust!

Linda Sue said...

Also "Little Women" never turned my crank...I always though it was corny, even when i was a young girl.

Susan said...

Your lupines morphing or somehow moving to new pots is a hoot. That said, I once bought 100 soft pink tulip bulbs and planted them in a single mass. The wildlife ate about half and today I have only 6 left. Guess what, they are yellow and red. What happened to the pink? Garden magic? The Russians need a soundproof music room. Hopefully they do not practice for hours on end. Olga likes a neat clean face. Love that girl.

The Bug said...

I love the lupine mystery. Are they swingers? Ha!

Pixie said...

There are worse things than pianos playing, although the same tune on repeat for years would get to me. I used to have an alcoholic neighbor upstairs when I lived in my condo, when he wasn't drunk and yelling, he was hungover and vomiting. It was lovely.

Jim Davis said...

I reckon piano is better than power tools, but tedious all the same. More power lounging from Miss Olga. :)

Jim Davis said...

PS: Your ceilings are beautiful.

Allison said...

You have the most amazing flat. The ceiling detail is beautiful.

Ed said...

Unrelated other than your mystery reminded me of it. We once were gifted a plant from a friend. Another mystery plant popped up after awhile and produced these purple leaves that always turned to follow the sun. We transplanted it into a pot and it multiplied but never did really well since none of our windows had the right kind of lighting it evidently needed. I have the "sun sucker" plant as I named it to my mom and she put it in front of the big bay north facing window in the farm house and it loved it there. I always liked returning after a few hours away and seeing it pointed in an entirely new direction. After mom died, I gave it to my grandma who also had a large north facing window and it thrived a few more years. I don't know what happened to it after her death but I think of that plant every now and then, about how it was unwanted but caused so much joy in our family.

Red said...

I like the analogy of plans playing moving chairs.

Kelly said...

I feel like I should know what that piece is they're playing. It sounds familiar. You could always turn up some classic rock to drown it out!

Sweet Olga, doing her thing.

John Going Gently said...

I hate fucking lupins
Snails picnic

Michael said...

I am sure I would get sick of hearing that same song over and over, but I guess it could be worse. Do they ever play it late at night? I loved watching Olga wipe her face!

Jeanie said...

Oh Olga, you live in such bliss!

Yes, practice makes perfect and yes, it's better than a drill. But I'm sure it gets dull.

I have issues with Rick practicing his guitar. When he plays the music he is quite good and I don't mind that. But when he starts doing scales or just plucking strings over and over and over it's like Japanese water torture. So I get it!

Margaret said...

I love that blanket flower and the lupin! I wonder if they can seed themselves easily like pansies, which go EVERYWHERE. I'm now going to listen to the piano playing although if it annoys me, I'll turn it off. Don't you wish you could do that?

Mike O'Brien said...

Olga and the Russians - creatures of habit. One a sweet ritual, the other would drive me absolutely BONKERS after the thousandth time. :-)

No idea about the lupine mystery. It sure is sculptural!

Chris from Boise

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: We do like our plants!

Andrew: They're also called Gaillardia.

YP: Her beloved Kong! She loves that toy. (She has three of them.)

River: Yeah, the sound didn't come through as clearly on the video as it sounded in real life!

Sabine: Ha! OK, that made me laugh. It's hard to imagine an instrument as elegant as a harp sounding unpleasant. But I guess anything is pretty rough when someone is just learning.

Jennifer: Yeah, that gets a bit tedious for sure.

Bob: Spoiler alert!!

Debby: She cracks us up too, literally every day. I've never had a dog who's such a character.

Boud: You know, even if I'm not enjoying it, I think it's worthwhile to read and be familiar with it. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

Ms Moon: I think the fact that I'm a 50-something man definitely explains some of my reaction. I can totally see how young readers would enjoy it. And classic books like this ARE an interesting form of time-travel -- it's good for modern kids to see how people kept themselves amused before smart phones and televisions!

Colette: True! LOL! And he put down sound-proof flooring, allegedly.

Ellen D: We DO have very nice ceilings.

Marcia: Well, ours is plastic and more like a big two-handled bucket. I think that's a trug in the modern sense!

Sharon: We've had so much rain, everything is growing like crazy.

Linda Sue: The music is just so repetitive. I don't know why they don't try some new pieces! Glad you liked the raccoon!

Susan: How weird! I think sometimes hybridized plants revert to a wild type, especially when they re-seed. Maybe those tulip bulbs are offshoots of the originals?

Bug: Ha! I guess ALL plants are swingers, more or less.

Pixie: Oh, god, that's the worst. I have never dealt with anything like that, thank goodness.

Jim: Ha! She is a "power lounger" extraordinaire!

Allison: And yet not that unusual by English standards. Any flat of a certain age is going to have details like that. They really knew how to build back in the Edwardian age!

Ed: Well, now I am SO CURIOUS what type of plant it was! I hope someone adopted it.

Red: You gotta wonder what happens in the middle of the night!

Kelly: I know, I wonder about that too. It sounds like an etude of some kind -- Chopin?

John: And aphids too! I'm not sure we'll grow them again once these die.

Michael: No, fortunately, they don't play it at night. They're pretty conscientious about time.

Jeanie: Ha! I guess any kind of musical practice can be tedious, but it's probably necessary for the musician.

Margaret: I suppose I could put in my AirPods! I think lupines can re-seed but not as easily as pansies do.

Chris: Yes, exactly, it's the repetition that gets to me. If they played that piece as one of 20 different pieces, rotating among all of them, I wouldn't mind it nearly as much.

Ed said...

I wish I could tell you a name but I can't. It looked similar to a shamrock plant but I don't think it was one. If I ever did know the name, I've long since forgotten it. I'll have to ask my uncle the next time I see him what happened to the plant.

Boud said...

Ed, it might have been a sorrel?