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.

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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Nature’s bubble wrap. And ants.

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“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”

Word of the day: myrmecophilous – having a symbiotic relationship with ants

This morning my train got cancelled! Which means I ended up sitting in a carriage with all the wrong people, going from the wrong station. I’ll have to wait until Monday to see Angry Staring Man and the twins again.

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Melianthus seed pods ready to be stamped on

 

However I did make two interesting discoveries today. One was that the seed head of Melianthus (pic above) makes a very satisfying popping sound when you squeeze it, far more delightful than bubble wrap. I showed some to Dan and his eyes grew wide as he began popping feverishly away, then I showed Jessica and she was soon jumping up and down on them. I reckon I could market them:

Melianthus bubblepop! The all natural way to relax.

Bubblepop, no plastic, no toxins, just soothing pops to ease your mood.

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The other discovery happened when I pulled back a dead leaf and discovered an ants’ nest underneath. They hadn’t even bothered burying their army in the ground. The swarms of flying and pedestrian ants quickly fled to hid under another leaf, but I got a  photo.

Oh AND the brilliant Calmgrove has been doubting the veracity of some of my words of the day and has challenged me to use them in a story. I’m not sure how that would prove anything, but I think it’s an excellent idea all the same. It won’t be easy, but I’ll see what I can do.

A Break from the Norm

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I haven’t posted up many stories on here recently because I’ve been away in Munich on a work trip. During that time I went up to see the alpine garden at Schachen. If you have an interest in plants, or just pretty photos, then you can find it here. There are also other blogs about plants there, plus orangutans and weird jungle insect pictures.

Tentative Plant Scientist

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