Magical Death Weed Seeds: new evidence?

Photo from this great article about the plant prop from Day of the Triffids

I’ve been a bit shoddy posting recently, and I’m sure that many of you have been wondering: What about those mysterious Chinese seeds? Did they turn out to be Triffids?

Well there have been a few new revelations about the seeds, so I’m going to put an article up for any of you who’ve been wondering. There have actually been a few articles posted, mostly saying OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE THESE! WHERE HAVE THEY COME FROM? WHAT DO THEY WANT? DON’T PLANT THEM, WHATEVER YOU DO! A few countries have received them now: Canada, US, Australia, Ireland and UK – all English speaking countries, no idea if that’s significant.

https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/government-identifies-some-of-the-mysterious-seeds-posted-from-china-1014055.html

One detail in the article is that the seeds come from Vanuatu as well as China, which aren’t two countries I think of as being connected. The article suggests we ‘avoid planting the seeds’ which is pleasantly mild, so I won’t set fire to the pot on my windowsill yet. It seems there are a few different species in the packets. Bamboo would have been nice and I like a Petunia, but I don’t think mine are either, so they may still be Triffids. It’s still unknown as to why the seeds have been sent – although the ‘brushing’ scam is mostly likely. Apparently the US are having an investigation and China are helping.

I will post more details, should any appear.

This is who she is!

statue with a weary unimpressed expression

So I posted a picture of this statue a few days ago. She was looking down on me with a withering gaze while I was squirting toxic plant juice in my eye. I was trying to work out what she was holding (it’s a kitten, definitely) and Calmgrove wondered who she actually was and if she was holding an owl (clearly not, because it’s a kitten). And now I know, she’s one of the three Graces (you can see part of the face of another one on the left.)

The number of Graces varied in different legends, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). They are said to be daughters of Zeus and Hera (or Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus) or of Helios and Aegle, a daughter of Zeus.

From www.Britannica.com

To try and work out which particular Grace this is and whether she is, in fact, holding a kitten, (I mean, she is, I’m simply being polite). I’ve had a look at a few other pictures and statues. It’s actually pretty rare for them to wear clothes, although they often have a bit of draped material.

Here’s what the Louvre museum thinks:

Eternally young and lovely, they represented charm, beauty, and human creativity, and were depicted naked, originally holding attributes such as apples, roses, and sprigs of myrtle.

From other statues they only seem interested in draping over each other and gazing into each other eyes – which is all very romantic, but not very productive for people who represent creativity. However, the Grace in my picture has defied all their expectations: she’s got dressed, clearly has bigger and more tragic things on her mind than looking pretty and she’s holding a kitten. I think this statue must represent the three Graces once they’ve grown out their frolicking about naked stage. These days Aglaia (Brightness) works in a food bank and plays the drums, Euphrosyne (Joyfulness) volunteers at Samaritans and does chainsaw sculptures, and Thalia (Bloom) is, of course, a gardener who takes in homeless kittens. Which answers all my questions.

A blog of few words…

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From underneath a weeping willow

Sorry I’ve not been around for a few days, I’ll do some catching up on my blog reading in a minute. I hope you’ve all been keeping out of mischief; or in mischief, if that’s your thing. I spent the weekend finishing a draft of the book I’m writing, oh and watching the film Us it was great.

Today our robot mower was causing trouble, although that’s not so much Momo’s fault as Mike stirring up trouble because he thinks Momo is trying to take his job. Last week Mike set up the sprinkler in the bit of lawn being mowed to get Momo to explode (didn’t work), and then today he was trying to grass up (pun!) the mower to management. I over heard this conversation between a boss and Mike:

‘Look, Momo has done a terrible job,’ said Mike. ‘It’s killed that lawn. I’d be sent home if I did that.’

‘It’s fine, it looks fine,’ said the boss.

‘And it’s always sitting around, doing nothing for hours on end,’ said Mike.

‘It’s his lunchbreak, he’s allowed a break.’

‘And it keeps vaping on the job!’

Poor old Momo.

All bow to our new robot masters…

 

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I quite liked turning up to work this morning and seeing the robo mower trundling about, it’s like a pet. Myself and Dan tried playing with it for a while, standing in robo-mow’s way so that it turned around. But I guess it got annoyed, because then it started charging at our feet, little blades whirring away. Mike just shouts at it like it’s a disobedient dog (‘Go on! Get back in your hutch!’) or complains about its mowing skills (‘Look! It’s cut the grass too low!’ ‘It’s wrecked those edges!’) Mateo sneers at it, (‘You fuckin’ bastard!’)

While I do like the innocent nature of the robo-mow, I’m not sure it’s going to work out as a new member of our team. It has no method to its mowing, just trundles in a straight line until it hits something, then turns at any old angle and shuffles off. Such a random method takes ages to cut all the grass. That’s fine on a small, fairly regular patch of grass, but we need it to cut one of the huge, oddly shaped lawns that continue across paths. I’m not sure it would ever finish.

My plan is to see if I can retrain it as a robot dog. I’d enjoy the company while I’m working, and if any of the residents start to give me trouble, little pooch can scare them off. Not sure how to do this though, any ideas?

Filthy Humans

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‘I may not yet be as old as dirt, but dirt and I are starting to have an awful lot in common.’ Stephen R. Donaldso

Today I was working next to a main road today trying to reduce a hedge. The hedge was growing through the railings which meant I had to squash between plant and railing, my arm rubbing against the leaves. After a day, I looked like this.

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(note: my arms look like truly odd shapes in these photos,. I don’t think they are odd shapes, it’s just difficult to take a photo of your own arm with a phone.)

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No, that isn’t dirt exactly, it’s pollution. In central London, next to the road, the plants are covered with this. You can see it in the trees too.

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It was a good day though, every time someone walked past on the pavement, I stopped the hedgecutter and waited (for safety, mainly, but also so as not to freak people out with the noise). People passing would see this squashed gardener behind the railing, hedgecutter held aloft. I’d smile, they’d smile, and it would make me a bit happier each time.

Word of the day: Ramentum – chaffy scale on plants

 

Freaky deaky Clematis

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I’ll be honest, this photo was taken a few weeks ago. Or months. I don’t really pay attention, time does its thing whatever. Anyway, I found this while weeding in one our more exotic gardens and asked around my colleagues to see if anyone knew what it was. We thought because of the leaves, it must be a Clematis, but none of us had seen a flower like this.

After I got home I did some googling around and discovered this photo, so the centre of Clematises do do this, but is it normal to do it this much?

Clematis Taiga
The Googled photo From here

 

Like the segments of an orange. Barely a flower at all.

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This has just been a week when I’ve proved how little I know about plants, right?

Attack of the killer plants

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This morning myself and Dan were clearing out a herbaceous border that hadn’t had attention in a while. Sometimes people think gardening is simple, but I’m not sure why, plants are damn complicated. And not being straightforward means that we often have to ask each other,

‘Is this a weed?’ Because there are thousands of different weeds and if they grow huge or are attractive, then it’s easy to assume a weed is a carefully chosen ornamental plant, of which there are also thousands.

So Dan asked me if a plant was a weed, and I guessed yes because it was too close to a shrub, but still, it was huge and attractive, with pretty purple flowers. I picked some to get a photo, trying to arrange them on the grass, while Dan started googling purple weed, but got nowhere. I had a feeling that these flowers reminded me of something else, maybe something like Solanum? (there’s an ornamental Solanum, but tomatoes are Solanum too). Meanwhile Dan was rubbing the leaves under his nose to see if they smelt of anything familiar.

‘Oh yeah, they do look a bit like Solanum,’ said Dan, squashing a leaf against his cheek thoughtfully. Then a worrying thought occurred to me,

‘Isn’t Deadly Nightshade a Solanum, Dan? Dan, maybe stop rubbing it on your face.’ I said, beginning to panic I googled. Yeah, Deadly nightshade is exactly what it was. One of the most poisonous plants we have in England. Cue frantic seeking out of water and searching symptoms and cures, and waiting for hallucination, seizures, death.

Pretty though. And we discovered that Deadly Nightshade is ok so long as you don’t eat any of it and wash it off immediately. And women used to drip juice of it into their eyes to make their pupils big. So it’s been educational.

Word of the day: phthartic – deadly; destructive

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