Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Garden: August 03 2015

I walked into town this morning to go to the bank and pay bills (I haven't payed my healthcare premium in four months, oops), but it was closed.  It turns out it's BC Day, a statutory holiday.  But I got a few things at the grocery store, and I took a few pictures along the way.

Angel wing begonias outside the grocery store.

Fuschias outside the grocery store.
 I believe that's Fuschia triphylla 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt,' which is bushy and upright but is not hardy.  Carl Bonstedt of the Gottingen Botanical Gardens in Germany introduced it along with a bunch of other cultivars in 1904-1905, and it's still very popular. (American Fuschia Society)

Above, some flowers growing along the side of the road.  On the left is rudbeckia, and I think the one on the right might be purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), which is listed as a noxious weed in BC.

The blackberries are coming along.  I ate a bunch and they're actually sweet now.  Himalayan blackberry is also a noxious weed, but at least it produces something edible.

I was surprised when I came back, after nearly fifteen years away, and the gardens were gone and a thriving thicket of Himalayan blackberry and strapping alder trees in their place.  There's blackberry and morning glory up to the eaves, and in some places you can't see out the windows at all.  I've been back a few times over the years, but if I've looked at the gardens in that time I don't remember it.  It's like being in Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Our house is at the bottom of a hill just after the bend of a sharp corner.  There's a concrete barrier along most of the front yard, but there's a 15ft gap in it at the bend.  There's also a straight clear path between the road the the front right corner of the house.  It's perfectly placed for drunks who lose control on the corner to shoot through the front yard and hit the house, which happens frequently.  There used to be fruit trees between the road and the house, and there still are some around the side of the house, but over the years the drunk drivers have cleared a path to the house.

My brother was telling me that last time a drunk hit the house, he was too plastered to find his way out of the yard.  He drove all over the front lawn hitting trees and the concrete barrier.  There is another gap in the barrier next to the driveway that a vehicle can fit through, but it was dark and he was too drunk to find it.  While he's driving around, my brother calls the cops and gives a description of the truck and the driver, and then the guy gets out of the truck and staggers around, so my brother locks all the doors from the inside.  A while later, he saw flashing lights and went outside to meet the cops, and the door slammed and locked behind him, and he didn't have his keys or his wallet on him.

The cops saw a truck abandoned on the lawn and a tall youngish man standing in the yard looking at him, and they decided he was their suspect and would not listen when he said he lived there and he wasn't drunk and he didn't even have a driver's license.  They unzipped his hoodie, and he was wearing a red t-shirt underneath.  He had said the driver was wearing a red shirt, so that sealed it.  They arrested him and put him in the back of the police car while they went to investigate the truck.

Luckily our uncle came by from next door to see what the flashing lights were about, and saw my brother in the back of the cruiser.  The cops believed my uncle that my brother lived there and didn't drive, and they didn't charge him with anything.  I assume they found the driver eventually, since he was catastrophically drunk and had left his truck behind.  All that's left now is a huge dent in the siding on the front right corner of the house.

I'm almost certain I grew this cactus from seed in the sixth grade.  It's survived somehow, although it's barely been watered since my grandmother died eight years ago.

Sweet Cicely seedheads against the summer sky.
You can almost watch the zucchini plants grow.  That little zucchini wasn't there before the weekend, but it's already 4" long.

A rose mallow (Malva sylvestris 'zebrina') growing out of a crack in a concrete path.

Here's a bigger mallow plant growing in Russia.

It's a very old plant and an easy one to grow, technically a short-lived perennial, but ours only live a year.  They reseed themselves and grow back the next year without an any effort or attention.  They have a long flowering season, don't need a lot of water, and aren't invasive.  A good-sized bush will be about three feet tall and two wide.  My grandmother used to grow them, but the only ones left are growing in cracks in the pavement and not in the garden beds. 

Our cats: left, Gracie; right, Jesse.

Shortly after I took this picture, Gracie jumped off the couch and caught one of her claws in the afghan on the way down.  I was reading something and it took me a few moments to realise that she was flailing around on the floor in a panic.  Her paw was still stuck to the afghan sitting on the couch cushion.  I yanked the afghan off the couch and dropped it on the floor.  She freed herself and ran off.

Jesse used to only sit on my lap when he really wanted attention and I wasn't giving him any.  He would sit on my lap and lick my hand while I tried to type on my phone, until I stopped and pet him.  Then he would get off my lap and curl up against me on the couch.  Except last weekend, he curled up on my lap and wouldn't get off.  I moved him and got up and later sat back down again with my laptop on my lap, and he stood next to me on the couch and yowled at me until I put the laptop on the table and let him back on my lap.  And then I was stuck reading on my phone, because I couldn't have both the cat and the computer on my lap at once, and I couldn't reach the coffee table from the couch.

He was really clingy, and I thought maybe he was sick, but he was eating fine and behaving normally, just sitting on me a lot.  But this is the cat who wouldn't even come near me for four months, and then started wandering into my kitchen and demanding to be fed.  I think he just levelled up in trust again.  He's not on my lap all of the time anymore, he's beside me right now, but he still sleeps on me a lot.  I guess that's normal for cats, I'm just not used to it.

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