Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Dahlia Carnage

The dusty miller in our flower bed is huge and is overgrowing the stepping stones into the back yard. I have to keep pushing it aside to even get out there. Can you see the little flower bug in the upper left part of this cluster of blossoms?

Yesterday was pretty quiet around here. I sat out in the garden most of the day reading "The Running Grave," the newest Robert Galbraith book, which tops out at 945 pages. J.K. Rowling (who writes under the Galbraith pen name) can really crank out the verbiage. Mr. Pudding might say that she has bloggorhea -- or would, if she were writing a blog. (Is there such a thing as bibliorrhea?) But I don't find her books at all flabby.

My dahlias are still looking pretty sad. At this point, I'm just hoping they keep enough leaves to nourish the tubers through the season. Expecting flowers in this snail-and-slug-crazy summer seems like a tall order. This one has had all the growth points (where flowers would normally emerge) gnawed off. I imagine more will sprout and I am moving these plants around and elevating them onto tables and chairs until I find a place where they can grow relatively unmolested.

I'm having varying degrees of success!

Some of them look pretty good. This one looks like it might give us flowers eventually.

I have nothing else for you today except this video of starlings mobbing our bird feeder and thrashing around in our bird bath, which I'm posting just to show that the Russians' bird ball does absolutely nothing to keep them away. Good!

(As you can see, Olga did not let them disturb her power nap.)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

The Russian's bird scarer ball is intended for agricultural use - not for suburban balconies. And pigeon spikes on their railing? What's wrong with those people? Why can't they see birds as life enhancing rather than as an irritating nuisance to be driven away?

Moving with Mitchell said...

My mother placed a plastic owl with twirling wings and glowing eyes on her balcony. I visited the day after it was installed on the railing. I walked out on the balcony to find a pigeon sitting next to the terrifying owl.

Boud said...

Those bird scarers do nothing except annoy other humans. I expect they're trying to get you to stop feeding birds. Some hope.

Bob said...

Maybe the Russians' Bird Intimidator™ actually attracts birds?

Ed said...

My eldest, after years of unsuccessful pushing, finally picked up Rowling's Harry Potter series and demolished them. The youngest has now picked them up and is almost done with book 4 and loves them other than the fact she knows what is going to happen since she has watched all the movies with her sister multiple times.

Is "The Running Grave" a teen friendly book that they might enjoy like the Harry Potter ones? If so, I might have to obtain a copy.

Susan said...

The snails are doing lots of damage. This will not be a great dahlia year. The birds love your feeder and they are fun to watch.

Pixie said...

I can't believe that poor dahlia is still alive. I know many people don't care for starlings but I like them. They're interesting and talkative.

Ellen D. said...

You have a popular feeder! I think the Russians are just trying to keep the birds from landing on their balcony. Maybe they don't mind them in the yard.

Debby said...

I know that you are a gentle live and let live sort of person, but really, man, you could set out some dishes of beer for those slugs. Losing a few of them would not be the worst thing in the world from the look of it.

ellen abbott said...

those bird balls and other deterrents, like the plastic owls, don't really work. they may at first but birds are not stupid. they recognise pretty quickly that nothing happens, no attacks forthcoming, and so they ignore them.

I avoid books that are 900+ pages these days as it takes me long enough to get through one half that.

Red said...

Try a soap spray to see if you can limit what the bugs do. There's a product called Slaters soap. I just use ordinary dish washing soap.

Sharon said...

Those birds appear to be having a great time eating and bathing in the summer sunshine. It's good to see that the Russians haven't frightened them away. Those dahlias must be pretty tasty for the snails and slugs. They have certainly been chowing down on that poor plant.

The Bug said...

I really enjoyed that book, but I just had to settle in & know it was going to take a while (I also got both the kindle and audio versions so I could switch back and forth & get through it a little quicker).

Kelly said...

We read the first in the Galbraith series (my first book of hers in general) in our book club. I enjoyed it, but haven't felt the need to continue on since I'm already involved in so many series! Maybe someday.

Catalyst said...

Your starlings seem just as proprietary when taking their baths as the robins are here.

Ms. Moon said...

Do I tell you every year that my grandfather was named Dusty Miller?
I have a very hard time with J.K. Rowling. Her anti-trans attitude and how she writes about it is absolutely NOT okay with me. I have enjoyed her Galbraith tomes but I'm not sure I'll even bother with this one.
I knew that stupid bird deterrent would have no effect at all on your birds. What is wrong with those people?

Jeanie said...

Sorry to hear about the dahlias. But I feel your pain. At 5 a.m. the other day, I saw a doe munching happily on Audrey Two, my sweet pea bush and the only "built in" blooms at this time of year in front. (Which looks a mess. If I showed you a photo you wouldn't be my friend anymore.) And either the mega-rain on Sunday or living in the Heat Dome this week totally wiped out the variegated sage and a small basil (the rest of the basil flourishes). I hope they can be saved.I haven't read any Galbraith. Hmmm. Trying to decide.

Jim Davis said...

Those Starlings are aggressive little critters, but then so are many birds, they just don't seem to get along with each other. I'm with Pixie on slugs, beer or slug bait is in order!!

roentare said...

I only kept roses in my garden now. They are tough and easy to keep

River said...

I think the Russians are more concerned about the birds droppings than the birds themselves. Having to clean that every day gets annoying.

Margaret said...

I have a Martha Washington geranium very similar to that one! I have "The Running Grave" on my Kindle but it's tough to start such a LONG tome. However, as you said, she keeps it moving and I do like the characters.

Steve Reed said...

YP: That is the million-dollar (or pound?) question. I don't understand it either.

Mitchell: Birds are smarter than we think they are!

Boud: I think that's the message, but we like the birds!

Bob: Ha! THAT would be ironic, wouldn't it?

Ed: No, the Strike novels (as they are known, for the surname of the main detective character) are for adults. A teen might go for them if they want a good mystery, but they definitely contain adult themes. Rowling IS a good storyteller, even across lots and lots of pages!

Susan: I am holding out hope that the slug activity will diminish now that it's warmer and drier! Flowers may yet happen.

Pixie: I agree, I like them too. In North America they have the added burden of being an introduced species, so many people see them as a pest. Here at least they're native.

Ellen D: Well, Mrs. Russia has specifically complained to me about how noisy they are -- but I think you're right, their main concern is keeping them off the railing.

Debby: I probably should but I just can't stand to drown them! (Though maybe they would die happy?)

Ellen: Yeah, birds are smarter than we think they are. I find it a rare book that really needs to be that big. Most of these people need better editors.

Red: OK, good to know! I use dish soap on some of our houseplants when they get mite infestations and it DOES work for a while.

Sharon: You should see what they've done to the lobelias! One of them is completely dead, eaten to the ground and not coming back.

Bug: Yeah, at least it's not boring. She IS a good writer and storyteller.

Kelly: Like Harry Potter, each successive book is bigger than the last!

Catalyst: The starlings really DO take over. The parakeets will fight them for food but they never seem to want to get in the water.

Ms Moon: Yeah, her views on trans people are certainly controversial. I think she means to defend women, so I try to remember that's the source of her concern, but that doesn't make it all OK.

Jeanie: Yeah, thank GOD we don't have to deal with deer here!

Jim: The starlings even fight each other quite aggressively. They are very individualistic!

Roentare: Yeah, I am so thankful that roses are tough plants! We have quite a few of them that were here when we moved in.

River: Yeah, the droppings are their main concern. But Mrs. Russia has also complained about the noise.

Margaret: You just have to take the plunge. Once you're in it, it goes pretty smoothly!