Garden Notes

Had my first two harvests over last weekend – more salad turnips than you can shake a stick at, and the first load of kale.    I have about a half dozen turnips left in the ground that were a bit smaller.     They should be ready in a week or so.    Turns out to be a great use of space – the winter squash I planted the turnips around are just getting big enough to fill in that edge space.

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First cornflower of the season.

It’s the weird between time for the gardens – things are starting to fill in, but aren’t really there yet.    The above is the community garden plot – it’s filling in a bit more noticeably than the pots at home.    I’m waiting for the peas to start blooming.   It really should be any time now.

I think I made a miscalculation at home.    I needed to stop using the tomato grow bags – they’re pretty blight ridden at this point.    Because of the size, I thought they’d be great for greens.     However, they either let go of the water way too fast, or the black color just isn’t working.    I can’t keep either the Swiss chard or collard wet enough.   This year may be a bit of a bust, greens-wise, at home.   Oh well.    They’re at least easy to buy at the store – I just like having my own when I can.


Cryoburn – Lois McMaster Bujold

ad2da9f7f0619fc596d7a576667434f414f4141The planet Kibou-daini is obsessed with cryonics – any member of population can expect to be frozen before or just after death (depending on how much you can pay, of course), and these not quite dead citizens still feature in the voting rights of where they’re stored. When one of the cryo-companies tries to expand into the Barrayaran Empire, the Emperor smells something fishy, and sends Miles Vorkosigan in to sniff around.

Naturally, Miles uncovers a whole heap of trouble, which ends up being centered around a boy who loves animals, his missing, frozen mother, and the strange outlaw cryonics community he’s managed to find a home in. The story’s hard to describe if you’re not in the middle of it, but definitely makes you think about how we view death, and how that might change if it went away, or even appeared to go away. I can always count on these books to be interesting.


English Wildflowers

I normally publish my wildflower photos on my other blog, but that’s really for local flowers.    When I was in England, I definitely took plenty of wildflower photos, so I’m going to publish them here, in the style I would normally do on the other site.    This is probably going to be a work in progress, because my references are not as good as what I’ve built up for New England, so I have a bunch still to identify.

It’s fun to see what we have that’s come over here, and what has not made the journey.

Germander Speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys, Plantaginaceae
Common Daisy, Bellis perennis, Asteraceae
Bulbous Buttercup, Ranunculus bulbosus, Ranunculaceae
Red Campion, Silene dioica, Caryophyllaceae
Ribwort Plaintain, Plantago lanceolata, Plantaginaceae
Common Comfrey, Symphytum officinale, Boraginaceae
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum, Geraniaceae
Greater Celandine, Chelidonium majus, Papaveraceae
Black Medick, Medicago lupulina, Fabaceae
Ox Eye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare, Asteraceae
Elder, Sambucus nigra, Adoxaceae
Wood Avens, Geum urbanum, Rosaceae
Wild Oregano, Origanum vulgare, Lamiaceae
White Campion, Silene latifolia, Plantaginaceae
Water Forgot Me Not, Myosotis scorpioides, Boraginaceae
White Clover, Trifolium repens, Fabaceae
Hoary Cress, Lepidium draba, Brassicaceae
Red Clover, Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae
Hedge Bedstraw, Galium mollugo, Rubiaceae
Bugle, Ajuga reptans, Lamiaceae
Cow Parsnip, Heracleum sphondylium, Apiaceae
Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, Brassicaceae


Wood Forget-me-Not, Myosotis sylvatica, Boraginaceae

Oxford (1-10)
Hampton Court (11-14)
Regent’s Canal (15-17)
Kew Gardens (18-20)
Chiswick House (21-24)

England 2018, Day 4 – Kew Gardens

In which the Temperate House is reopened after five or so years, and we finally make it over to the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

My adventures in transport getting either or from Kew also continued.    This time, there was a fault on the line after Earl’s Court, so we ended up taking a bus the rest of the way.   I believe I’ve now hit all the possible public transport methods to get there.

The Species Seekers – Richard Conniff

0393068544-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_This book chronicles the natural history movements in the era leading up to Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle, and how the advances in technology of that time created a craze for finding new species, and what that meant for science. Darwin certainly wasn’t the only game in town – you meet a number of other naturalists – either in the field, or those gentlemen that funded or ordered species for their homes. It’s a fascinating mix, and after reading this book, I’m frankly amazed that there are any exotic species left after this era – I’m glad we can record things thoroughly with cameras these days.

It was also interesting to see how much dissent existed in these groups, and the various discoveries that built into Darwin’s theory of evolution of are fascinating. I think we’ve forgotten how completely revolutionary (and dangerous, from a religious sense), that idea was when Darwin published – it’s an interesting exercise to see what was happening in the lead up to his publication.

Dreams of Distant Shores – Patricia A. McKillip

1a8f819faa9cb84597164786d51434f414f4141This is a book of short stories, rather annoyingly including the novella length “Something Rich and Strange” – which I already own in a stand alone illustrated edition. I like that story, but I wish I’d had more new material to read.

My favorite story was “The Gorgon in the Cupboard” – the tale of a young painter (picture pre-Raphaelite Victorian) searching for his muse.   He somehow manages to summon Medusa. Medusa’s voice is great – she’s funny, and knows exactly what Harry needs – which is not at all what he thinks he needs. It turns into a really sweet story about finding things where you’ve forgotten to look for them.