A recent incident has us seeing red.
Shown above is Ruellia elegans ‘Ragin’ Cajun’
Before we begin, let us step into the time machine and go backwards a week or so. Our annual beach vacation, planned oh so long in advance, was drawing near. The plastic storage tubs were packed with towels, sheets, and art supplies along with bathing suits and sunscreen. A last minute garden perusal showed the Belamcandas budding. There would be blooms upon the return to the Fairegarden, a highly anticipated event, this blooming. The first seeds had been planted several years ago, passalongs from good friend Laurie. The seedlings had been spread with diligence on the sunny sloping area to the side of the shed yearly. Nasella tenuissima, various Eryngium ssp. and Helenium ssp. that share this space have awaited the maturing Blackberry lilies to add verticality and late summer color to the mix. This will be the year when the plan comes to fruition. It will be a joyful return to the garden after a week of joyful reunion with family, lazy lollygagging and surf.
The blooming Belamcandas did not disappoint.
In the view from afar the flowers appear to be of orangey hues. Some are coral it is true, but most are a mix of reds with yellow streaking and red freckles. Last year there was one solid yellow, a rogue seedling that was greatly admired. So far no yellows have been seen though one may appear yet.
But instead of reveling in the beauty of flowers and foliage as endless loads of laundry were done in the attempt to reset the mind and body to home rather than sand, sun and fun, we were slapped with a sorry state of affairs computerwise when we awoke the next morning after a late night arrival back at Casa Fairegarden.
Shown above is the new orienpet Lilium ‘Robert Swanson’. These were also given to the offspring with gardens last November. The colors were stated to be orange petals with a red center. Lovely, yes, but more yellow than orange to these poor eyes.
The laptop had accompanied us to the beach to be used for the loading of the many photos taken by the family. We are a group of digital camera buffs, very attuned to the auto features of our equipment. Since this was a vacation with family, the internet provided with the rental house was not used by me, although others partook.
Shown above is the very intense Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
The first order of business at home was to begin watering the parched plants, especially the containers, for no rain had fallen in our absence. The internet could wait for it had already been a week since we were online, what’s a few more hours? Upon reentering the house after watering the most thirsty, both the cell phone and house phones were ringing. On the cell phone was Mr. Semi saying he had received an alarming email from me stating I was in England and was asking for money to be sent there. He read it aloud and said I needed to check it out. Ignoring the home phone still ringing with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ode To Joy, in two rooms creating a nice stereo effect bouncing off the hardwood and tile flooring, I turned on the laptop and tried to sign in to the email account. I could not sign in, my password was not recognized. Okay, click on forgot password and change it, easy enough. It would not recognize me either, not the correct zip code or state.
Shown above is a second year seedling Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’.
Panic was setting in, for my go to computer guru, The Financier was on the golf course and his cell phone, which would have been turned off while on the links anyway, gentlemen that he is, was sitting on the table next to me back at home. More phone calls from concerned friends and family, a big thanks to you all for alerting me by the way, helped my addled brain to figure out what had happened. Someone had gotten into my account and sent the offending message, using very poor grammar. Here is the message:
How are you doing? Hope all is well with you and your family, I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar/conference.
I need a favor from you as soon as you receive this email, I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money, and other valuable things were kept. Can you urgently assist me with a soft loan of $2,600 US Dollars to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home. You are the only one I can trust with this, please can this be between us? You have my word; I will refund you as soon as I return.
I will appreciate whatever you can afford, I’ll pay you back as soon as I return I promise, Let me know if you can assist, to enable me send you the details to use in sending the money through western union.
Shown above is Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica, with the black berries of Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’.
To the few that responded to the false Frances was sent this message:
“Thanks for your concern, I really appreciate your effort. Here are the details to use at the western union when sending the money to me.
Name : Frances XXXXXXXX
Address :#201,Kensington High St
Zip code : W8 4PT
State : London
Please kindly help me to wire the money today and once you have it sent,send me the money transfer control number (mtcn) with details used in sending it. I wait to read from you as soon as you have it sent.
Shown above is Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ in a sea of Spiraea ‘Magic Carpet’.
Many hours were spent on the phone with tech support individuals, most of whom had to follow a script no matter what was said on my end. All such conversations ended with the same result, a form had to be filled out online explaining what had happened. The problem of the form not recognizing me was solved with a series of click here, click here instructions and at one point someone in India taking over control of my computer, somewhat scary but utterly fascinating at the same time. On the fourth day access to my email account was finally successful. Except for a week’s worth of emails missing from my inbox, just vanished into thin air it seems, we are back to normal. Sort of. There have been changes made.
Shown above are Gomphrena haageana ‘Strawberry Fields’. The seed package said G. ‘Qis Carmine’ but that is disputed with proof in the flower color. Or maybe it is G. ‘Qis Red’. Either way, Veronica ‘Icicle’ blooms white at the back.
1. *The first order of business was to open another email account. That was the only way make the contact with the internet gods along with friends and family letting them know I was allright. If you do not have an alternate email account, open one now, or two.
2. *Change your password, making it as strong as possible. I believe that is how this ne’er do well was able to access my online address book. My password had not been changed in ten years. While it was considered strong when first decided upon, times have changed and the spambots have become much more sophisticated. Use odd letter combinations, numbers and the little oddball punctuation symbols liberally. Write it down somewhere in case you can’t remember it.
3. *Don’t use the same password for everything. Mix them up and change them periodically. Write them down with the username in case you can’t remember who you are to whom.
4. *Check your online address book and delete those contacts that do not know you well. Keep it to a minimum number to make it less attractive to those unscrupulous hackers looking for valid email addresses on which to perpetrate unspeakable requests for US dollars.
5. *Delete emails that are not absolutely necessary, both stored online and on your computer. I did not realize the file of sent emails stored on my computer would never go away until the memory was full. One of the lessons learned while chatting with Robbie in India while we waited for his procedures to scan each one of the thousands I had written in several years. I also learned that 5PM is 2:30 AM in Bangalore. They are all gone now and I will be on top of this in the future.
Shown above is the batface cuphea. Cuphea llavea is displaying a good illustration of facial expression made by the Fairegardener, minus the periodic arrrgghhhs and hair pulling in frustration as this wad of backlashed fishing line was untangled. The Financier was startled and alarmed by some of the utterances coming from the lazyboy after we were told to fill out the complaint form for the fourth time and then wait yet another 24 hours for the response. Why couldn’t they just fix it on the spot? They have unbelievable powers over us.
What is needed now is our moment of zen. Om. This is the universal mantra of truth. Chanting this mantra takes away everything.
I need to go buy some plants. With gusto.