Q. What is missing from this picture?
A. Poppy seed heads.
Each year flower arrangers grow a number of plants for harvest very late in the year where the main aim is to get dried stems which will stand in a vase and can be sprayed gold or dipped in glitter.
There is an element of luck involved; the fragile stems often break when handled or the quilted heads go the ugly shape of tumours instead of the magical little pumpkins with their mathematically perfect but whimsical shells.
Ceramic sculpture of poppy seed-head
What you don't expect is either some self-appointed DEA person who is supposed to harassing poppy farmers in Afghanistan, or some lazy-arse local who can't be bothered to grow their own poppies, to come and snip the heads off while one is out. The chilling thing is that somebody has been observing this patch of flowers carefully as they aren't easily visible. There are only a handful of people who know the plants are there, so this breeds distrust of neighbours. Unjust, but inevitable.
The thief has come in with a bag and pair of secateurs and systematically ruined the future display. The two pods in the picture are the only survivors. I doubt this will give enough seeds for a colony next year, and anyway, there is an argument for not growing them if it attracts undesirables.
The sooner we get this drug regulation sorted out and the Afghani farmers paid properly for their crop, the sooner the flower arrangers of the world can take down the barbed wire and machine-gun nest which I now feel obliged to install.