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January 10, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Crunch time

Every get a show stopper to wear in anticipation of going to a cool event…only to not be invited have life intervene?

Got to be feeling that.

The seasonally oblivious poinsettia in the flowerbed suddenly decided to bloom today.

Unclear on the celebrities’ rule of smooth: arrive late, leave early

Party’s over and no place to go, Red.

flower. plant. Poinsettia by fence. (© image all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Like Lucy Ricardo, red was always her color (© image)

It was a mercy buy. Three dollars. You know.

Knocked by a customer rushing into Home Depot and crashing right at your feet; what dirt there was in the cheap little pot spilling out everywhere. Unable to avoid the guilt of leaving it behind, I took it home Christmas before last wedged it into a wind protected spot on the front porch and offered it hospice.

Somehow it sensed this was a place to live.

Quietly surviving the summer in deep shade, last fall it was given a pot abandoned by a selfish unappreciative, expensive plant. Then it proudly bushed out – ignoring the fact that it was there to hide the tall sprinkler stalk and stop the dog from racing across the back of the flowerbed. It must have felt purpose. Thrived.

And suddenly realized it had been so happy rooting around in new dirt, that it missed its’ bloom cue.

Things generally turn out like they are supposed to if you let them.

A straggler batch of Monarch butterflies just arrived. Hurrying to feed and rest up before moving on before the next bug cold front.

Poinsettia is like a butterfly billboard – proclaiming “Last chance Rest Stop: Water, final location of blooming flowers, and sheltered sunny spots. Next Rest Stop several hundred miles across the sky.”

Water seeks its own level.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

And here’s more proof plants have personality and are far closer to human qualities than we like to believe:

plants huddled against the house on the patio (© image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

You see that broad-leafed middle plant? The one sandwiched between the palm and Schiffilera – and behind the alyssum (a compassionate one – always trying to keep cane plant’s feet warm) and the miniature rose (who is not afraid to stick up for herself)  It’s the prima donna middle child. Always fussy:” too much sun. It is bleaching my delicate arms. I demand you lug all the others out of that corner so I can be there. Oh, now the gutter is overflowing and dripping too much on me. Oh, now it’s too cold, I demand cozy shelter – let the others freeze on the outside off the pile. Oh, my arms are cold, I want a sweater. Oh, now I need more light…light, not sun….” The youngest, the rose wanting to feel the wind swirl freely around her stem and relish the full winter sun on her buds, has just about had enough with the complaints. A thorny response, “Darn it, bloom where you are planted!” 78 degrees F yesterday.(© image)




  1. Kate Crimmins / Jan 10 2019 1:49 pm

    Please, please, please box up some of the warm sunny weather and send it to me! You can send the plant too. My cats will teach it a thing or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 10 2019 2:06 pm

      Today it’s only 60F – but sunny! Cold and rain on the way chasing the Monarchs, I think. RC Cat is getting downright ugly face every time she wakes up to rain blocking her sunny window…she knows staff is somehow to blame for it. ..
      Hope the weather has changed for the better your way…forecast not real promising.
      Thanks for planting a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Jan 10 2019 2:39 pm

        We’re getting a cold spell. Weather hasn’t been nice but I shouldn’t complain. We haven’t had bitter cold or snowstorms and that’s all good. I could take your 60 degrees!


  2. Anne Mehrling / Jan 10 2019 3:04 pm

    Plants have personality! I like that idea. Most of my plants are depressed. I smile and talk to them, anyway.

    We went walking in 22 degree weather this morning. For the first time this season, I put on my winter coat from NY. That was fine, but the sweater under it was unnecessary. I can’t seem to translate weather facts into picking of appropriate outerwear.


    • shoreacres / Jan 10 2019 3:16 pm

      You must have a heck of a winter coat! Just reading your comment made me start shivering. I was watching the livestream from the Cornell birdcam in Ithaca, NY last night. It was 25, snowing, and blowing about 30 mph. I had to turn it off, and turn on the one from Panama.


      • Anne Mehrling / Jan 10 2019 6:38 pm

        That winter coat is not used often in NC, but it felt good this morning. I laughed that you turned off the birdcam in NY in favor of one from Panama. Given the choice, I’d take a too-cold day over a too-hot one. I suspect you would opt for the opposite.

        Liked by 1 person

        • shoreacres / Jan 10 2019 6:49 pm

          Actually, I want perfection: 60 at night, 75 in the daytime, with scattered clouds and a light breeze. Always. But I’ll take what I can get!

          Liked by 1 person

          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:43 am

            Whew – so far so good with the weather….looks like that huge cold is going to stay north and slide East
            (but let’s not raise our heads up and cheer until MArch?)


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:45 am

          Yep, you pay for heat in winter and stay inside – we pay for AC in summer to survive the heat. A mild middle of the temperature road balance seems to be a dream?


          • Anne Mehrling / Jan 11 2019 12:35 pm

            You are right. Middle-of-the-road temperatures don’t exist, at least, not for long.


      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:51 am

        Shoreacres, did you relocate down here early enough to remember moms giving college girls/new career girls “the winter coat” – you know, the grown-up 3/4 or full length cloth coat to be worn to the office during the 1-2 cold years of the year – and that hung neatly in the closet year after year?
        We used to laugh that we knew the “transplanted” residents because they had entire outfits that matched in cold weather where the locals just layered on whatever to stay warm – knowing it wouldn’t last long and wasn’t worth the expense for real winter clothes.


  3. shoreacres / Jan 10 2019 3:15 pm

    I think I heard some monarch person at the NPSOT meeting saying that not all monarchs migrate. Apparently there are some that stop here, lay eggs, and then expire. Or something. It’s confusing. But I saw quite a few at San Bernard a couple of weeks ago, and believe me — they weren’t in any condition to migrate. Those poor little wings were pretty tattered and torn. Despite it all your plants look much spiffier!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 9:24 am

      There used to be a research “bug” scientist who tracked monarchs and a few years ago. Quite interesting. We do have a group that stay locally – I didn’t know monarchs can go into a semi-hibernation in cold weather, then crawl out to sun to dry wings and warm up as the weather changes. So all those little guys I was so careful to “relocate” to safer spots protected by the wind were probably muttering curses at me and having to expend more energy to get back to their recuperation site.
      I’m not sure if the front yard lantana heard it was about trim time or if it’s just mustering up what looking energy it has left because it noticed monarchs, but the straggly plant is blooming again – a few brown leaves still hanging on with flowers at the tips of branches.. (But that’s it – after the next real cold front, it’s getting a winter haircut )
      Meanwhile – everyone be the squirrel: go out and play in the sun!
      Thanks for swooping in with a comment


  4. jacqueslebec / Jan 10 2019 6:16 pm

    There were milk weed growing on my neighbors levee, I told her she was chosen to be a “Monarch” lady and convinced her to let them grow. A few days later the Levee patrol cut them down, Monarchs can’t win for the losing.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:47 am

      How smart you are to notice the butterfly weed – it gets cut down far too often. With luck some of the seeds managed to get off before the mowing. Monarchs are a small thing but bell weather of environment at risk. Hopefully more will learn to appreciate natural beauty as well as cultivated landscape. Thanks for flying in with a comment


  5. LordBeariOfBow / Jan 10 2019 8:57 pm

    So even plants can show love and gratitude,

    That’s a very pretty flower, I don’t know if we have Poinsettia here; probably do, they look like they enjoy a warmer climate,

    I’ll ask the War Office next time we speak 😈 she’s the mad gardener, knows all there is to know about gardens: when I told her that is was good she knows something, she walloped me,

    Can’t understand women, compliment them and they go off half cocked, my dog licks me!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:42 am

      Researchers are discovering the life of plants is much more complicated, aware, and evolved that anyone expected (You have to worry vines will get too empowered…they already know they can unify and completely make former civilizations disappear….if they ever learn to get on the internet and organize – that yellow vest movement in France will pale in comparison?)
      Actually poinsettia plants do not naturally grow here – I think from Central America ands need a different/colder(? They do not manage our summers well) climate and much more darkness to turn their leaves red (the red is really not their flower, but a response to length of sun and darkness) They are popular plants for Christmas here (and there’s a legend behind that read more here: ) Aztecs called them the flower of winter. In Mexico they are called Flowers of the Holy Night because of the legend with the little girl. (Indigenous MX were really good at blending their early religious stories with the Catholic Church – like Our Lady, the Virgin of Guadalupe (which is another big Dec. holiday there. )
      Life is better with a little mystery…(so understanding the War Office would only make life drab and dull HAHAH )
      Thanks for trimming up a comment to leave


      • LordBeariOfBow / Jan 11 2019 1:39 pm

        Well now I can see why I don;t get to see them here, too damned hot!
        Talking of the WO when looking through the old stuff I noticed that one of my original posts was introducing the War Office, I might repost that, nobody ever got to see that one.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. easyweimaraner / Jan 11 2019 12:57 am

    it’s amazing that the plants we buy at the bargain bin become the bestest ones (sort of, the 3 rescued orchids sadly went to pink poney ranch, but the cyclamen is still alive)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 11 2019 7:23 am

      Spotting the ones that need a bit of assistance and getting them in the right place – a rare instinct and talent that makes the world a better place – whether it’s plants or people. Dogs know that – maybe the reason dogs offer unconditional love even when they know it may not be wise. Paws up and thanks for trotting by here


  7. Curt Mekemson / Jan 12 2019 5:16 pm

    I love a story with a happy ending, Phil. 🙂 –Curt


  8. sportsattitudes / Jan 15 2019 9:34 am

    This reminds me of our beloved ficus. A gift from the in-laws, it was on death’s door a couple of months into its residence. I submitted a vote to put it out of its misery, but my wife suggested a change of rooms and a few weeks more. That was at least ten years ago, We’ve had to cut it back a couple of times, and will need to do so again soon. Found a sunny place for it to thrive, and thrive it has!


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