Today I noticed a pink erythronium in my border that I couldn’t remember planting. I have some yellow ones and some white ones in different parts of the garden but they have been spreading only very slowly in their local area. It was really starting to puzzle me until I found a few more a bit further away and then I suddenly remembered I’d got them from a neighbour about 3 years ago. She gave me some other plants at the same time and they’ve come up every year; this was the first time her erythroniums had shown themselves.
I know there’s a metaphor in here somewhere about the future of our country but I’m too tired to think it through so here’s a photo instead:
The recent dry and sunny weather has got me into the garden but usually there’s been a snell wind that’s driven me back indoors, hence the mossy state of the border. I can enjoy the spring flowers from the kitchen window though – and I’ve taken Carol Klein’s advice about putting tulips into pots and have five pots of white tulips on my sitooterie.
I took great delight in telling the loon last week that “sitooterie” was now in the Oxford English Dictionary as he’d previously denied that such a word existed; however, he insisted he was taking the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as his bible and the word wasn’t – to his knowledge – in there. Rama, the student of Spanish, tried to keep the peace by asking what was wrong with using the word patio. All I could say was that I preferred the sound of sitooterie in my mouth but also, I don’t want our words to die.
I’m going to ask the loon to give me more tuition on adding photos; he’ll sigh and roll his eyes because he’s shown me several times before but, as I keep telling his mother, he’s a good boy really and quite obliging, so I hope we can work through our linguistic differences.
You can see a bit of my mossy lawn in the photo to the right. I try not to get too hung up on having a perfect lawn and never now use any chemical treatments.
A few weeks ago in a Saturday Herald, Dave Allan was writing about a lawn as part of a “sustainable eco-friendly garden” . He says it provides food for insects which are then eaten by birds. He advises cutting one bit once a month, leaving another bit alone but putting in plugs of wildflowers; you then cut this bit annually, using a strimmer – but I won’t be using one of those as I hate strimmers. I also hate leafblowers which I wish could be uninvented; what’s wrong with a brush or a rake?
Dave Allan says you can sit on the bit of lawn you’ve mown and admire the life on the rest of it. I try to mow round my daisies and have done for years so my push mower and I are nearly in the vanguard of back to the future.
In the same article, he was urging his readers to pressure their local councils who buy 36% of all pesticides sold in the UK. In France, the council in Rennes have not used any pesticides since the 1990s and also delay their first cut of grass until July when many wildflowers have set their seed. In Seattle, fifteen parks have been pesticide-free for seventeen years and now they’ve banned all neonicotinoids. A few rare cheers for the US of A.
Maybe you’ve been wondering about the relevance of my title, well here it is: I’m going from one wee flower in Scotland to billions in California. ( I know this blog is meant to be about Scottish affairs but I have full editorial control so can write what I like. ) In last Sunday’s Observer, I read an article by Carla Green about this spring’s superbloom in southern California. It was fascinating and now I’ve also looked at umpteen photos on Google images.
There are so many wildflowers now because there was a lot of rain over the winter; this came after many years of drought and wildfires and these are ideal conditions for wildflowers as their competitors – the European grasses – are not able to cope with the drought.
Unfortunately there’s a downside to all this beauty as small towns in the area have been swamped by visitors, many of whom have been driven by the need to take photos of themselves among the flowers. The experience itself is not enough; it has to be captured by ‘influencers’ and boasted about on those wretched sites, Instagram in particular. One young woman is quoted in the article saying she saw the superbloom on Instagram, “so I dragged my boyfriend to take pictures of me ……. they’re not gonna stop us, there’s way too much of us, so we might as well just come.”
The mayor of Elsinore described a recent Sunday invasion of his town: “It was like Woodstock. An absolute apocalyptic scenario.” He actually went on Facebook and Instagram to plead for folk to stop coming to his town, but Carla Green reports that he was ignored. Traffic came to a halt and tourists started leaving their cars at the sides of the road, climbed over rails and walked into the canyons. Mayor Manos decided to close access for public safety reasons and they shut down exit sliproads from the freeway.
The superbloom will last for weeks yet and Mayor Manos is asking folk to go elsewhere to see the flowers, but with little confidence that he’ll be heeded. What a shame that what must be a breathtakingly beautiful experience is being spoiled by the sheer number of people who want to capture it.