I found a $50 gift certificate in my desk drawer.
It was a Christmas gift from some years ago, carefully stored but then forgotten, purchased from a seed company called Whatcom. Their specialty is seeds from odd plants. For example, they offer seeds to grow a tree called Midnight Horror, which sounds like a late night movie but they say its seed pods (four feet long and curved down) look just like the wings of a resting vulture. Well we all want birds in our gardens don’t we.
Anyway I looked at every last item in their online catalog, and then researched every interesting looking plant to be sure it wasn’t something like Lesser Celandine (which I am just about to dig up, really I am), and I sent an order which spent all but 20 cents of the gift certificate. So stay tuned for some horticultural excitement to result from that. (And no I did not order any Midnight Horror seeds because really I don’t need more trouble.)
Then it got to be noon and I looked outside and found a lovely sunny warmish day.
It felt like early spring and so you have to go outside–you have no choice– you have to be in the garden, even if everything is just thinking about growing.
But you go out and walk around, and maybe toss a rubber ball for the terrier, maybe the orange one, and he runs and gets it a few times, then you walk around some more.
You find a few dead perennials to cut back, knowing full well you can’t blog much about THAT because you are getting an unsavory reputation for your work with sharp implements…
Then you come across a rose, and it’s Jude the Obscure (shown below in a past summer of course), and you love this rose and you carefully prune its canes and dig out a grass clump by it and then the terrier pokes his nose in and there is a yelp! and he runs off.
Soon someone calls to your attention that the terrier’s ear is bleeding from what was clearly a rose thorn attack, and it’s normally a white terrier but now there’s all this awful wet redness on his little ear and it’s still bleeding and leaving the dreadful blood color on the tips of his fur down his cheek. And what if the thorn is still in there?!?
So you go inside and comfort him and lightly touch his ear but don’t feel a thorn but he looks so sad and sits in your swivel desk chair with you which means he sits BEHIND you which means you have to perch on the front four inches of chair. You think of maybe giving the little wounded dog a bath, because he needed one anyway, but then that might make his ear hurt worse, and it only just quit bleeding. So you wait and eventually you and he both go back outside but every time you look at him and see the blood on his fur you feel terrible…
You go into the greenhouse later, with lists and boxes of seeds and you prop open the door and the window because the maple tree still has no leaves and so the sun is making it HOT in there.
You notice that the petunias have sprouted.
Lots of people are negative about petunias. I felt that way too once. Likely because petunias–and geraniums–were almost the only plants my mother ever grew when I was a child. She bought them at a nursery every year and planted them in planters in front of our house, like in the blurry picture here. (You can see I thought they were kind of a joke.)
But then, a couple years ago, I bought seeds for a very pastel, soft pink petunia, single and simple, and I grew them carefully and they were nice. Then I bought blue. And now I just collect seeds each summer and grow my own big sturdy pale pink and blue-that-is-really-purple flowered plants and stick them into all the places where I don’t have anything else growing. They bloom all summer and are quite useful.
So the sprouted petunias inspired me to start some pots of other things… And then I noticed that Something has been eating in my greenhouse!
I had tiny lobelia volunteers coming in a pot from last summer, and they were almost ready to transplant individually, but the Something had nipped off most of the leaves so that there were just these miniscule vermicelli-type stems sticking up.
THEN I LOOKED AT THE CLEMATIS CUTTINGS. You may or may not be aware that these cuttings have been a source of great stress and worry and blog dissension since last summer. But now I definitely had three, possibly four, doing-just-swell cuttings. And I swear that just yesterday I observed nice green buds on them. Then, last night, Something chomped the buds! Here is an evidential photograph–
The Something ate at them like they were fruit–while the same Something ignored the pots of lettuce and spinach which sat on the same greenhouse bench.
The whole thing looks quite suspicious.
I will generously suppose I am dealing with a mouse or some invisible bug. (Any other suggestions would of course be appreciated.) I’ve covered all the relevant pots at night and blocked the hole to the sink (which can’t become standard procedure because really the sink, which drains on the grass outside, is for tree frog access and egress). Max seems to agree that there is some significant creature about–he is very interested in the space beneath the potting bench…
I have faith that the magnificently vibrant clematis cuttings will recover, but stay tuned for updates on this appalling situation. (I might as well have bought those Midnight Horror seeds…)
And yes I know I kept switching from first to second person in this post but I was certain you wouldn’t mind.
Oh and Max’s ear is fine.