tough plants


Introducing the one-in-a-million duo, Basil and Rosemary! …Of course they couldn’t be particularly energetic for this blog’s first official post; you see, they’re busy with very important business. Namely, napping.

But hey! This is our new catblr! I, their personal muppet servant, will be taking photos and videos of them for everyone to admire them by. We’ll also sometimes be joined by our cat roommate Mucka, as well as any other kittyfriends we happen to meet. These kids are a lot of fun, so I hope you love them as much as I do :,,)

@dappledawgs @pangur-and-grim

Soon, I’ll be headed south towards the Colorado Plateau. The desert was not always my cup of tea, but after spending time in the backcountry of Escalante I came out with a great respect for all life dwelling there. At first glance, it was hard to believe anything could survive in those elements let alone flourish. How wrong I was. Life in the desert is tough, plants and animals have no room for negligence, but they are savvy, resourceful and above all have learned to adapt no matter how harsh the setting. This will be my second trip to Grand Staircase, and it’s still most certainly a terrain I’m not accustomed to, but the eagerness to be back in this unfamiliar land is addicting. I know full well that I have much more to learn. 5 days till I hit the road…🚙💨


New Muchalock Master Post

An explanation for the flora in the top of each frame:

Mycroft is shown with roses, partly because roses are a symbol of England, but mostly because I couldn’t resist the visual pun of having Mycroft standing literally under the roses when everything he does is sub rosa.  Sherlock is shown with laurel, which symbolizes victory but also pride; John is shown with English oak , which symbolizes strength and courage;  Lestrade with irises, which are associated with faith, valor, friendship and wisdom.

Sally is shown under the tansy flower, which symbolizes hostile thoughts.  Anthea is under a blackberry.   Molly is shown under the shy violet, a symbol of humility - apparently it doesn’t think it counts.  The brambles over Anderson’s head are prickly and intrusive - but you could probably use them to feed your pet dinosaur.

Henry has wolfsbane over his head; hope it keeps the monsters away.  Mrs. Hudson favors lavender, a universal symbol for hominess and little old ladies, but it is also a tough and hardy plant which can thrive in a wide variety of environments (though it doesn’t do well with damp; that may account for the trouble with the hip.) Mike’s peaches are a symbol of abundance, but are there mostly just because he’s peachy.  Sholto’s red poppies symbolize fallen soldiers.

Magnussen is pictured with hemlock.  Mary with the flowers of the Judas tree.  Irene is shown with green willow, which is very flexible and willow rods are sometimes used for discipline.  Jim is, of course, shown under deadly nightshade.


Botanical Name: ‘Salvia Officinalis’

Planetary Ruler: Jupiter, Venus/Leo

“Sage is a shrubby plant, found growing wild throughout much of the world. It is indigenous to the Mediterranean from which it spread throughout Europe, becoming an important household and medicinal herb. It is found throughout our western mountains, where it was well known by the Native Americans for its healing and religious properties. It is a tough plant, with the oblong leaves, a singular light green color, and can always be distinguished by its scent. One of its constituents, thujone, is a potent antibacterial, one of the best among herbs, which is contained as a volatile oil.” (Paul Beyerl, 149)


Sage is one of the best styptics available. A few fresh leaves, lightly worked (chewing is best) and applied to a cut or a wound will quickly stop the bleeding. The same effect may be had with dried sage, but it is more difficult to create a natural poultice with it other than immersion in hot water. 

Sage is taken internally, being good for the stomach, calming indigestion, and also used to discourage constipation. Sage works well in the treatment of ulcerated stomachs, helping to tone the tissue, the astringent working against the ulcer itself. Sage may be used externally as a liniment, being good for sore muscles, arthritis, and the like.

A wash made of sage may be used as a gargle, one of the most effective in the treatment of oral infections. This gargle can also be in treating throat infections, and preventing the germs of colds and viruses from spreading. Sage is also used in early treatment of colds and chills, and may be added to any remedy for the lungs and respiratory system. Sage will reduce fever, and also works as an expectorant. 

(Disclaimer: Not all illness and ailments can be fixed with herbal remedies- please seek professional help if needed)

Magical Uses:

- Used in purification, healing, cleansing, strength, aiding mental health, inspires wisdom, and banishes all evil. Sage is to be used in rituals involving purification.

- When growing sage, to keep its energies pure it should be planted near rue. As a magical tonic, one method is to drink it after sunrise for nine consecutive mornings to cleanse yourself of negative energies. Sage is the appropriate incense for meetings of business and important decisions. 

anonymous asked:

What measures are taken to keep people out of enclosures and animals in?

Plenty! We of course have excellent fencing in place, both ‘obvious’ fencing and ‘invisible’ fencing- which can be very tough to get through, even if it isn’t conspicuous.

“Obvious” fencing is what you see. When building Huxley, we consulted engineers well versed in clever and effective enclosure design. Strong, steel-alloy fences with wire mesh coverings are used to keep in animals and keep people out. We often have some distance between the walking path and the enclosure wall, as well as incorporating multiple walls where we can, for maximum safety.

We try to create the illusion of less wall than there actually is- putting shops in front of them, hiding them with plants and signs, et cetera. For example, some thick, strong barriers are enforced with none other than tough, spiky plants. Animals do not want to eat or get pricked by them, so the natural-esque barrier creates a less intimidating but still effective boundary. Other barriers like deep trenches, paired with fences, help keep animals secure and people safe.

Other invisible fencing includes speakers that produce sound at frequencies humans can’t hear, but it is annoying to the animals when they get too close. (Motion sensors and guards watching livecams can set these off, so the sound isn’t there all day long.) Speaking of guards, staff watchfulness both from cameras and across the path makes sure no guests go where they shouldn’t!

Sometimes, though, we actually want people in the enclosures! Usually staff, though. Or tour groups. Staff in safety-equipped rovers (completely enclosed, roll bars, safety and first aid kits under the seats… and if you’re getting Jurassic Park vibes here, we don’t blame you - we’ve made countless JP jokes especially concerning our custom Jeep rovers… countless) are often sent out to ‘explore’ the enclosure, with tasks such as collecting fecal, plant, and soil samples, checking up on nests, making sure the right plants are growing, and checking for general health and safety. We tried doing some of these visual checks with drones but… after crashing (and having to retrieve) like the fourth one, our team decided it was a job better equipped for our human staff. Obviously, we’re better at driving Jeeps than drones. I was talking about barriers, right? Whoops.

Some tour groups do go through enclosures, usually in one of two instances: (1) there is a path through the enclosure that is well protected/designed and the animals aren’t super dangerous, or (2) they are part of education programs and are going ‘behind the scenes’: if they go in enclosures, it’s only relatively safe ones, like with smaller and less carnivorous animals. (Nobody, not even the keepers, goes in directly with large, potentially volatile animals like ceratopsians, big cats, big carnivores, et cetera. Nobody really goes in with any animal they don’t absolutely have to if there’s a decent risk involved.) These groups are always small, really only exceeding 10-15 people, so guides have better supervision. Most people know not to run off the path- the risk could be fatal-, but there are, of course, small children who aren’t familiar with the rules, kids who want to go see a dinosaur “up close,” et cetera. To reduce the risk of these kids getting too up close and personal, our tour guides actually sneakily try to get only a few kids per group so they are more ‘controllable’, and of course, everyone is reminded of the rules at the beginning of the tour.

Our ‘invisible barriers’ play a huge role in these in-exhibit paths, such as depicted here: trust me, there’s some really excellent engineering put into making it as little likely as possible that the larger animals would get too close to the path. (Small animals can still usually get closer, they just rarely want to.) For example, trees that have fallen onto others are put parallel to walkways, forming huge cross-bar barriers that the sauropods avoid. (They just look like fallen trees to people). However, they can still cross the path at points where we have wall gaps and other aspects in place to keep them roaming freely in their territory. Paths often include ground and up-in-the-trees installments, which are higher up so the ‘pods don’t step on them. Sometimes the sides of the path dip down, and there is a fence and thorny barrier: the ‘trench’ is small enough that huge animals step right over, small animals can avoid, but people get stopped at the bottom.

Whew, that was like a lecture! I’m guilty of talking too much… anyways, thanks for your question anon! Maybe we’ll do some spotlight posts on our exhibit design in the future. Now I gotta go do some checkups at the aquarium…

-Anastasia F.

In light of the attack in the North, I’d like to point out, especially to those non-Irish followers, that the IRA in their modern incarnations are a complete joke nowadays, and when we share IRA memes or jokes, we are actively taking the piss. Big tough army planting bombs and running away, most of them are too fuckin young to even understand what they’re involved in.

A lad from the school up the road from me back home was arrested a while ago for plotting to attack Prince Charles with the IRA or something. He was 20, what in the fuck do you know at that age to go out bombing people over?

They’re not heroes. They’re nothing to be proud of. We joke to make light of it and make it less serious, but the IRA are terrorists, and be under no illusions about it.


Plant of the Day

Friday 26 June 2015

On my way to work I noticed this local front garden filled with Centranthus ruber (red valerian, fox’s brush, German lilac, Jupiter’s beard, kiss-me-quick, pretty Betsy, Spanish valerian, spur valerian). This woody-based herbaceous perennial has dense clusters of small flowers in crimson, pink or white, and these contrast well with the grey-green leaves. This is a tough plant it will grow in walls, rubble and copes with costal conditions. Seeding freely when in the right environment it is tolerant of poor soils, dry conditions but needs to have free drainage. The white form is often sold as the cultivar Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’.

Jill Raggett


Carnivores, pictured top (Lion and Arctic Fox) are specialized animals. They have large canines for puncturing prey and holding onto it, and sharp scissor like molars to slice up chunks of meat. 

Herbivores, pictured middle (Domestic horse and Goat) are also specialized animals. They have large flat teeth at the front of their mouth for cropping vegetation, and flat grinding molars for processing tough plant matter. 

Omnivores, pictured bottom (Human and Brown Rat) are not specialized for any kind of restrictive diet like herbivores and carnivores are. Humans have teeth at the front of their skulls for cropping a variety of material, such as vegetation and animal matter. They also have scissor type pre-molars, and almost flat, but distinctively sharp molars for grinding up plant matter and animal matter alike. 
Brown rats are also not specialized. They have two sets of sharp incisors for piercing and tearing into insects, plants, meats, and other edible material, and flat all purpose molars for processing it all. Omnivores are, by nature, all purpose animals.

Omnivores also do not have a specialized digestive system. For example, humans lack an enzyme in their digestive system that cannot digest cellulose, whereas herbivores produce an abundance of that enzyme  

However, humans are not restricted to our physiology. We can make conscious decisions to not eat a certain food group. Some choose to restrict meats, whilst others may choose to restrict dairy. However, whatever choices an individual human makes, for whatever reason they choose, the debate on whether or not humans were designed to eat plant or animal material is cut and dry. 

Humans are omnivores. 

My main anger with humanity comes from the fact that the human race could be so great for the planet

We can fix bones and organs when nature cant

We can cure illness

We can create shelter and habitats and know how to grow plants in tough conditions

We can do so much that all species can benefit from and yet instead of just focusing on doing good we do so much evil for selfish reasons to fellow humans and animals

And its such a shame

Cacti are pretty amazing sometimes. This one got its tiny pot knocked around by the cats, so that I had no idea where it had even gone. It did get sun where I found it, but no water for probably a year. The couple of broken-off pads were looking particularly shriveled, but I decided to stick them down in the soil and hope they’ll root.

I know they’re adapted to quickly slurp up whatever water they get access to, but this is still pretty amazing. I just repotted it yesterday afternoon, and already it’s looking pretty good. Well, other than the fluffy cat hair I couldn’t get all brushed off… ;)


Plant of the Day

Thursday 15 October 2015

The flowers of Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass) catch the late afternoon sun on the dry garden at RHS Hyde Hall, Essex, U.K. The natural habitat of this plant is the South American grasslands, known as the pampas. It is a tough and adaptable plant but prefers an open, sunny spot with good air circulation and fairly fertile, well-drained soil. Once established it is very drought-tolerant only needing watering at planting.

Jill Raggett

A prince’s secret


“They’ll survive,” Ja’far hummed, glad the response wasn’t half as awkward. “They always do. I’m often surprised by how tough plants are. Seeds that have been dry for decades can still sprout a new plant, it’s amazing.”

The slightly warmer air when they walked into the city was pleasant compared to the chill of the sea. Ja’far would be grateful for the warmth of the palace tonight. But first he would have to take care that his now master would be sleeping without the ache of his scars.

“I know.” he said, hearing the hum and nodded. “They truly are amazing. No matter how much they’re knocked down, beaten, and harmed they keep standing right back up.” 

He let out a happy sigh as they entered the city, the air warming up a bit. He’d been starting to get really cold by the sea. He walked back to the palace, heading straight to his room but sure he didn’t walk to fast not wanting to lose Ja’far.

also I know this is a comic storyline and it was actually developed in early 2014 but AoU and CACW actually… could work with it? which is terrifying?

let’s recap:

  • Steve saying Tony just hasn’t seen his dark side in AoU 
  • Steve being anti government and starting a war with 117 countries
  • Steve’s theme being that he’s doing the right thing and following the right path even though it must be tough, and planting himself in it even when other people tell him to move
    • Compare this with this Hydra!Steve quote: “This road has not been easy and I have plenty of cause to doubt it. But even still, I hold true to what I believe – and I follow in the footsteps of those that have inspired me. You see I dream of something better, too…. Hail Hydra.”
  • And this one, that I hate to think about: Steve desperately wanting to keep Bucky from the government because the safest hands are his own… but then Bucky goes back into Cyro freeze just like Hydra’s, same chamber and all…. 
  • And another one I hate to say: Steve not wanting Wanda to stay in Tony’s custody…. but Wanda was also a Hydra experiment…….

:/ I know/hope MCU won’t do this but the fact that it lines up so well is disturbing. As hell.