Wait. Seriously, nobody has anything to say about Japanese beetles? [This was true at the time I wrote it, but is no longer true as you read it, now. Sorry for any confusion.-Mr. S.] Would a dramatic visual aid help?
I accept that this is largely my fault -- growing a monoculture of a single clone, planting Cannas in the same bed year after year, being less diligent about picking beetles off leaves than I should have been last year, when these beetles' parents were around, etc. -- but there must be something I can do besides hand-picking beetles off of the plants. In four days, I've removed something like 1000-1500 individual beetles, and yet if I stand outside for five minutes I can watch ten more fly in from somewhere. It feels shitty.2 Tell me how to fix it.
So there's a seedling to name. Specifically, this one:
And I didn't come up with four name finalists, because it's the second to last Schlumbergera of the season and I'm tired and also trying to prepare for the 2016-17 Schlummies (scheduled for 19 July). I thought about bringing back Free Kesha3 as a descriptive (rather than imperative) name, because I'm happy for her, and I like her new song, but she's young enough that I can't be sure she won't turn into a terrible person someday. Young people become terrible old people all the time, after all. And I considered Love Is All Around (a.k.a. the theme song for The Mary Tyler Moore Show), but it seemed like that would be tempting a permanent MTM earworm, and I don't think I like the song quite that much.
Eventually, I decided to pick one of the names that honor specific people who are/were personally important to me. It happens that this one will also get a song stuck in my head, but I don't think I'll mind nearly as much in this case, because I've become exceptionally attached to the song. The song is Tom Waits' "Time;" the seedling name is East Of East St. Louis.
Only one Schlumbergera left, and I think it's going to mirror the first one of the season (283A Migaloo), in that it's also white, and I'm fairly certain that I already have a name picked out. [Aaaaaand this might not be true either; there's a good-sized bud on seedling 142, in the basement, which I didn't notice until Monday night. It's going to be white also. -Mr. S.]
2 All the more so because the Cannas weren't having a good year anyway. They got in the ground late, and then we didn't water during some dry spells when we should have been watering. Sheba's broken a few stems off at the base while chasing after tennis balls. The squirrels have dug up a few, and have taken to chewing the new leaves off before they unfurl: it's unclear what purpose this behavior might serve, but the husband says he's seen it.
I mean, who knows why squirrels do anything, really. I imagine one of the best things about being a squirrel is never having to explain yourself.
3 (previously considered for 211A Bruce Lee)