What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Marigolds--photo copyright Anne Underwood EnslowTake a good look. What’s wrong with this blue cloisonne vase full of enchanting marigolds? It’s a trick question, really, because the vase and the flowers are fine. What’s not fine is the reason that they’re in my house. I came outside the other day to find entire stalks of marigolds torn off and the flowers scattered about the stoop of the townhouse I live in. Now this may just be the handiwork of one of the resident squirrels who buries his peanuts in my window boxes and flower pots. My husband has actually seen the bushy-tailed fellow sniff the air just above a container, then swiftly unearth a nut. (Can squirrels really smell nuts underground? Amazing!) Lately, I’ve found quite a few holes in the soil of my containers, and if it’s the squirrel causing this mischief, so be it. I think of these minor losses as my tithe to nature. Nature giveth, nature taketh away.

Scaevola--photograph copyright Anne Underwood EnslowBut there’s vandalism in the garden that cannot be attributed to squirrels. I came home today after a spectacular afternoon at the Bergen County Wine Festival to find that my lovely purple scaevola was gone. Gone! It was one of four plants I’ve positioned in hanging baskets on the railings around my house, and frankly, it was my hands-down favorite. The curious blossoms, also known as “fan flowers” or “half flowers,” actually do look like half a flower each–a fact that legends have attempted to explain. But even more alluring to me is the fact that my scaevola has maintained a constant supply of fresh-looking blooms all summer. And unlike petunias, which require constant deadheading and quickly become gangly, the plant has kept its nice tight form, with no care other than watering.

Scaevola--photo copyright Anne Underwood EnslowObviously, a squirrel didn’t walk away with my scaevola. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s no tithe to vandalism. So herewith, I’m filing this “missing plant” report:

One scaevola in a hanging pot
Last seen: Saturday afternoon at 1 pm
If found, please return to owner
Reward: A clear conscience

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