The Revenge of the Dodder

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (12)

Thanks to a colleague on WordPress, the truth is now known which invader  is attacking my basil plant.

To begin at the beginning, it was a harmless basil herb that I bought in the local supermarket. They arrive every year in small pots, but this year they were selling a king sized pot. My tomato mozarella salads were saved for the summer season. Basil is a sensistive herb and you never see it in Switzerland in the winter months. It prefers the warmer days and does not survive the ice and snow.

I put my basil outside but left it in the pot. It is no good transferring it to the garden where it serves as breakfast, dinner and tea to the slugs and other insects that attack with their knives and forks, figuratively speaking of course. And so my basil began to grow and we had a harvest. One day I noticed fine strands of hairlike formation growing from the top of the plant. I thought it was spreading out roots and making a new plant. However after removing this strange growth I realised it renewed itself in other places.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (7)

And so it grew and stretched its little arms out searching for an anchor. I received some suggestions from online colleagues. It is bindweed some said, which I could agree on. We have bindweed in the garden, but the vines are thicker and they have white flowers. My mum called it convulvulus and removed it immediately if it grew in our garden, as it would quickly conquer everything. Another colleague decided it must be a parasite so kill it. She was not wrong. In the meanwhile our own gardener arrived to trim our hedges. Mr. Swiss has back problems and can no longer do the work, and my problems with MS no longer permit strenuous gardening work. I asked the gardner and he said he had never seen anything like it, which was not exactly helpful. In the meanwhile the plant performed a few more curves. It seems it is probably the only existing example in Switzerland. I am still thinking about telling the local newspaper “Dodder Invades Switzerland” would be the headlines on the front page.

Yes it was growing with an aim. Yesterday the mystery was solved. An expert saw my blog and said it was most probably dodder in his words “It is a nasty parasitic plant, and is quite contagious to other herbaceous plants” confirming my suspicions. Wikipedia calls it Cuscata and tells me it is mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions, and often in California (death valley comes to my mind). There is a European variety, but I have a feeling this one somehow smuggled itself onboard in the  earth delivered to the supermarket chain from somewhere else (a secret weapon perhaps, although Switzerland is a neutral country and quite harmless). I do not know where my supermarket gets these plants, perhaps from a guy wearing a long cloak with a hood and carrying a scythe – who knows. I suspect some sort of strange magic. They are now probably growing and developing all over Switzerland. “Houston we have a problem”.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (4)

In the meanwhile it grows regardless. It seems that seeds could be slumbering in the earth waiting to develop and pounce on an unsuspecting plant. My main worry is now that they could take a flight and arrive in my garden, attacking everything and spreading its feelers out, stifling everything in its way. I can no longer sleep at night worrying if the tap on the window is the rain or the dodder trying to find an entrance.

Today I made a decision. I shot a few more photos, as a memory and it will be transported into our communal green garbage container. I have my own container, but this maruding villain will not be granted entrance. It could infect everything. I am now even suspicious when my cat has a scratch.

I would like to thank once again all assistance and advice, expecially the person that gave me the correct solution. I am saved from a close encounter of the third kind.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (1)

Flower of the Day: 23.09.2017 Thistle

Thistle 12.07 (1)

This one was growing wild in my garden. I must admit after taking the photo it no longer existed. I once let a thistle plant grow in my garden, but when it began to go into competition with my apple tree, I removed it after a lengthy battle with its roots and wearing gloves for protection.

Flower of the Day: 23.09.2017 Thistle

Daily Prompt: The Irrelevency of growing old.

Clouds 22.09 (9)

Yesterday a plane flew overhead, which is irrelevant in itself because I no longer fly to places. Since my dad passed away last year in England I no longer have to go places. My british passport has become irrelevant. I have a Swiss identity card which also serves the purpose to prove I am who I am.

Of course I am entitled to a new passport – no problem. Just request the documentation from the British Embassy in Bern. The documents arrive from the Swiss Consulate in Geneva, because Bern does not deal with such trivial stuff as a new passport. You discover that your new passport must be biometric, it has become an e-passport. The passport now shows personal details on the last page with a chip and antenna visible on the observations page according to instructions on the UK guidance page for biometric passports. I have not  yet discovered why I need an antenna, perhaps E.T. (Angloswiss) can call home with it.

My last British passport expired 2 years ago and it used to be just a matter of signing on the dotted line and including a photo to replace it. Today, if I want a new passport I have to translate the instructions for taking the photo for the Swiss photographer in his studio as he does not understand or speak english as everything must be biometric. I have given up and who wants to go to England in any case. If I travel anywhere it is a neighbouring country by train and my Swiss identity card does the job nicely. The British passport is now irrelevant.

I now stay at home and take local walks in the countryside, although also not so much. I am waiting for the Autumn to arrive with all its colours, and then I will be out and about with the camera and my walking stick. That is another problem. Travelling far is no longer as simple as it was. I can do it of course, even with a walking stick. All those good looking guys in uniform at the airport are only too glad to help a golden oldie. That is, of course, relevant for me.

What more can I say on this subject, it has all become so irrelevant. So I leave you with one of my favourite songs sung in Swiss German by the group Taxi, “Campari Soda” telling of a flight when the passenger takes a Campari Soda on the plane. You will not understand the words, because they are singing in our Swiss German dialect. I understand it, and that is relevant. I just like the song. I hope you enjoy it all the same, even if few know what he is singing about. It is all so irrelevant I suppose.

Daily Prompt: The Irrelevancy of Growing Old

Good Morning

Apple Tree

Autumn is around the corner by the look of the apple tree. Mr. Swiss says the harvest will begin in a week. At the moment we have nice sunny weather, quite cool, but ideal for the picking apples. We are no experts and eat them as soon as they leave the tree. Of course, Mr. Swiss makes his famous apple tarts which we all enjoy. Some of the apples on the lower branches serve as a snack for various insect babies, but they also have a life.

Talking about plants, I have now discovered what the strange growth is on my basil plant, the wiry growths that resemble something from an Alien film, but they have not yet engulfed me or my computer. It is now sitting in a high place where no-one and nothing can touch it and will be tranported to the large plant container some time today, after I made a few goodbye photos – blog follows.

And now to the next exciting news in my part of the world. It is unbelievable I know, but the Odyssy of the renovation of the block where I live is now approaching the end.

New colour 22.09 (3)

Half of the building is now reflecting a slight shade of green. Here you can see one of the painters putting finishing touches to a window frame perched on the scaffolding. He even asked me what I thought about this new shade of green. I did not want to disappoint him, so was careful with my choice of words, omitting profanities. Of course, he is just following instructions. It seems the forumula for this shade of green somehow got lost, amongst the other 50 shades, but it was found, probably illuminating the surroundings with its green reflection. We were told it was a very light shade of green, hardly noticeable. It now seems that in the sunlight it could become very noticeable. Note that when I took the photo the sun was not shining on the walls.

I informed the painter that I am not really a “green” fan. I wore a green uniform to school six years of my life, and it is not really my colour. It clashes with my blue eyes. For me green is an institute colour. In my younger days hospitals were painted green, asylums were green and my school was green, all usually with a corresponding off white contrast. Even government offices were painted green. Perhaps it was a special offer for pots of green paint. And now our wonderfully new renovated building, with new cladding isolating it from everything including radioactivity I hope (are you listening Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump?) has  been painted green. Wait until we get the green sun blinds. I have seen a sample and that will really knock you off your computer chairs. As soon as they are put into position, a photo will follow.

Next week the new metal blinds will be mounted, the painting should be at the finishing stages and there will be nothing more in the way for the scaffolding to be removed – we hope, but you never know.  It seems there is a slight miscalculation with the size of the new steps to the outside world from the windows. On our ground floor it does not make such a difference as they are firmly anchored on the underground surface, but the balconies have problems. They tremble if you tread on them. However, we are now confident that the work will be completed by Christmas after almost nine months of work and a life shared with builders from various nations. Yes, we have been quite international this year.

Clouds 22.09 (6)

I am still busy cloud spotting and found this one quite interesting as it hovered over our local Jura mountain chain.

And now to the normal daily work of  a golden oldie housewife. The vacuum cleaner is waiting and it will be an adventurous day. Mr. Swiss is already planning his release to visit the local supermarket for a few last minute buys. Enjoy the day, it might even be the beginning of a relaxing week-end.