Gimme Shelter In A Peony Seed Husk

Peony foliage in autumn colours in a border at Trentham Gardens
Peony foliage in autumn colours at Trentham Gardens

Years ago, the RAC used The Rolling Stones’ haunting Gimme Shelter in a TV commercial where a lone lady’s car breaks down in the dark and a black knight on a shining motorbike pulls up to fix it for her. It was more atmospheric and persuasive than my summary gives credit: although I doubt TV advertising (like all intrusive advertising) works as well as the sales team would claim, in this case it triggered a purchase. I bought the (wrong) Rolling Stones CD to try to get a copy. I’m just that bit too young to be truly knowledgeable about the band and thought I was looking for 2000 Light Years From Home, a good title for a stranded lady.

Ladybird sheltering in a peony seed husk
Ladybird sheltering in a peony seed husk

Gimme Shelter sprang to mind when I spotted this ladybird.  I’d have cropped in a bit tighter but liked the dramatic effect of the wizened seed capsules, hard, almost ugly against the splendour of the fiery foliage; the feeling of disarray.

Snail in a peony seed husk
A snail had the same idea

In another capsule, a snail had checked in and was trying out the peony seed hotel for size. Can you imagine the review? “The bed was hard, not wide enough to turn round in, and the room spent the whole night swaying. In the morning I tried everything to get the shower to come on hot but ended up having a cold one in the open air…”

Only teasing. Unlike us, I’m sure snails and ladybirds are grateful for whatever they can find.

A rabbit's eye view of an autumn border at Trentham Gardens
A rabbit’s eye view with daisies

Setting aside the snail, beetle, seeds and song, I was amazed how beautiful the peony foliage was in its autumn colours. Who would have thought the leaves would take such good advantage of their turn in the limelight after the flowers had hogged our attention earlier in the year?

24 Replies to “Gimme Shelter In A Peony Seed Husk”

    1. Thanks, Derrick. The ladybird one would make a decent ‘Where’s Nugget?’ picture, were Nugget a ladybird (one of the early ones in the series – they’re getting more tricky)

  1. Quite apart from the lady beetle and the snail (and the seed capsules, which I don’t remember seeing before) it’s wonderful to see some autumn colors. We’ll have to wait a bit longer for those. I do have to ask: what is the RAC? My knowledge of all things British is expanding, but there still are gaps.

  2. Too funny about the Rolling Stones error! You youngster, you. The foliage is very lovely. My sundrops—or evening primroses—have a similarly lovely foliage.

  3. Very interesting. Our peonies never produce seed husks. Maybe it’s too hot and dry here for them to go through a complete cycle.

  4. The peonies were a pleasant surprise for me in my garden as well~who knew? I agree with you, the top image is wonderful as it is. It would have bee a shame to crop it. You made me chuckle about the Rolling Stones, as I’m in the same boat regarding them. And if you are like me, you aren’t sure you really want another cd….but maybe…

    1. These days we can just buy the track we like – and it’s much easier to work out which one it is that you want. In the ‘olden’ days there was much more fun in the chase!

  5. Those seed husks look as though they’ve been burned crispy by the foliage. A gorgeous contrast, both in color and texture. And don’t bug and snail give us a lesson in recycling! I do love the review by the snail — the original Airbnb! Interestingly, I had a different association: “any port in a storm,” which I learned ever so long ago in an ancient copy of “Uncle Oojah’s Big Annual,” complete with 1929 calendar. That I would think “Uncle Oojah” where others would think “Rolling Stones” is a clear indication of how uncool I have always been. I’m resigned to it.

    1. Being cool is overrated. I’m sorry to have missed out on Uncle Oojah. I did have a toy elephant, but he had no magical powers. He couldn’t even get the crumbs out of his mouth.

  6. Yes, the Peony Autumn colour is both surprising and very attractive.

    Good find in both the Ladybird and the Snail. I’ve often found insects in flowers when I downloaded the day’s flower shots, but never really noticed them at the time of the shooting.

    1. I like them when they are green as well. I can’t see any real negatives about leaving the seedheads on if you like the look of them – though we imagine a plant’s resources are diverted to the seeds, an abundance of hips never seems to hamper Rosa rugosa.

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