some flowers, for once

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, Chess the weather-traumatized border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Guess The Weather” and “It Raineth Every Day”, among so many, many other weather-related posts.

Here I am in a characteristically traumatized pose. I was sure I was going to be hit by lightning today, but as you can see, I wasn’t. 14081819This what my back yard looked like around one in the afternoon, yesterday. It thundered for hours yesterday. 14081817What it looked like at the same time, today.14081818And right before my dinner time. It thundered for hours again today. 14081820I was fairly bummed out, as the guy I live with says they used to say in a time called “the Sixties”. 14081821The guy I live with, though, went out into the garden, “to fearlessly take pictures”. Ever since he read that the split infinitive was a made-up rule, he splits them left and right. He said the blog could use some flower pictures, for once. “To easily give it more class.”

He bought a bunch of oreganos from a mail-order nursery in California a couple of years ago and either lost the labels or buried them with the plants. I know, hard to believe.14081805

 

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14081814This one (below) has a label. “Lizzie’s Hybrid No.2″. 14081801a

 

14081815Here’s Salvia ‘Maraschino’, a hybrid between Salvia microphylla and S. grahamii. The guy I live with says that S. grahamii (and S. lemmonii) are now considered to be S. microphylla, so this is a hybrid with itself, I guess. It likes a lot of water at this time of year, and might be better in one of the sand piles. (This was supposed to be in focus…..)14081812A salvia which was labeled ‘Dark Dancer’, but it isn’t. It’s been here for ages. (Flower of Achnatherum scribneri, grass, on the left.)14081811An agastache of the A. cana type. 14081807Coronado Red, again. Also not hugely in focus. I should learn how to take pictures, I think, because my eyesight is certainly better than you-know-who’s. 14081808Salvia blepharochlaena.14081804Incarvillea olgae. This is a tall one, but could use more water….14081803The first of the Cyclamen hederifolium.14081802The sphaeralceas in the way back. The flag is to remind the guy I live with to water something he just planted. Oh, I know, Asclepias latifolia14081809The big orange one, again, that he now thinks might not be Sphaeralcea incana, though it looks mighty like it. 14081810Muhlenbergia dubia and Sphaeralcea munroana14081806Okay, that’s all the flowers. The guy I live with says it might be nicer if it rained instead of just thundered for hours, but you can’t have everything. Eventually the clouds headed east “where they belong” (so farmers can get the rain, he says), and I got to go on my afternoon walk. (The guy I live with said that was a metaphor. I’m tired of metaphors.) Look how green the weeds are. 14081822I guess that’s all for today. 14081823

 

Until next time, then.

 

 

 

 

 

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at the arboretum

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest and greatest news from our garden, or, in this case, from somewhere else. You may remember me from such posts as “Guarding The Fort” and “Time To Get Serious”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. (Yes, I know my toenails need to be clipped, but don’t tell anyone else, okay?)14081627I was left alone again today. Not for very long, really, but I didn’t get to go, which was a disappointment, but the guy I live with said that where he went was to a place where no pets were allowed.

I don’t consider myself to be a “pet”; I’m the guy I live with’s best buddy, a pal, if you will, but he said that other people don’t make that distinction, so I had to stay home.

He went to the Chatfield Arboretum. It’s part of Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s pretty much right down the street from us.

First, there was the obligatory stop to take a picture of the outcrop of Niobrara Shale on the way there. The white stuff is the shale. 14081602Looking the other way (south).14081603Looking across the road (southeast). The arboretum is down in the valley there, and off to the east. 14081604The arboretum is on the site of an old farm, built in the 1860s, and Deer Creek runs through it.

There’s a garden of what you might call midwestern prairie plants. We don’t grow any of these. It’s mostly in a “swale” (I didn’t know what that was until it was explained to me).14081605 14081608 14081607 14081606

14081609 14081615 14081614 14081613 14081612 14081611 14081610Here’s the farm house.14081616

 

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14081623He wandered around some, but he said he was perspiring so much he thought he might lose his mind. I don’t know how he could tell, if he did. It’s been really humid here, for us.

tree form of Hippophae rhamnoides

tree form of Hippophae rhamnoides

bark of the black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia

bark of the black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia

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14081624I know what lives in here, because I grew up with them when I was really super extra little.14081625The guy I live with says he’s always wanted one of these.14081626Well, that’s where he went. Then he came back, and everything was okay. I knew it would be. It hasn’t thundered yet, and it’s pretty hot, so I think I’ll just hang out in my fort.14081628

 

Until next time, then.

 

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another wet afternoon

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here, well, not to bring any news, really, but to complain about the weather. You may remember me from such posts as “A Wet Afternoon” and “The Weather, Again”, among so many, many other weather-related posts.

Here I am in a characteristically weather-related pose. Don’t you think I look ultra-sad and pathetic? I had my dinner; the guy I live with fed it to me while it was thundering, and now I’m waiting, wondering if I’ll ever get to go on my walk. 14081501Maybe I even need to look sadder. 14081502The day started out nicely, all sunny and everything, but then the clouds rolled in, like they have almost every single day in the last three months, but unlike most days, where it just thundered and thundered and sprinkled a tiny bit, something else happened today. I have a movie to prove it.

And, not only that, I have a movie that shows what it’s like to be in my fort. Almost, anyway.

The guy I live with went out after this and took one whole picture, out in the way back. That’s the blue lyme grass, Leymus arenarius. It does spread like crazy, but that’s what we want.14081503So, okay, true, the guy I live with did get a little rain water for the house plants, but I’m really, really, really tired of all the thunder. It’s nice to think it could snow here next month. (The guy I live with disagrees with this sentiment.) I did get to go on my afternoon walk. I am ready for winter, though.14081504

 

Until next time, then.

 

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an early start

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest and most exciting news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Then And Now” and “This And That”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. 14081301I’ve had two nice days in a row, with sun all day, and maybe I’ll have a third (it’s hard to tell right now), but it’s been so nice that I’ve even been able to sit out on the patio and watch the guy I live with putter in the garden. 14081304He potted up some Phlox longifolia for the rock garden sale next month. They look kind of ratty now, but that’s how they look at this time of year. In spring, and then later in autumn, they get all green and flower and stuff; we’ve even had them in flower in December here. 14081305Well, you know, the guy I live with is often pretty well out of it, in the morning, even after he has a couple of cups of coffee. He’s not a morning person, and neither am I, really. (He takes diuretics that make him dehydrated. I can’t take those because I have to save up everything for my walks, of course.) We had to get up super early this morning, so that the trash could be taken out. Trash Day is a very exciting day.

So, even after we came back from my morning walk, he was still fuzzy-brained, but had a glass of water, and then walked outside and yelled something like “My goodness gracious!”, though not really in those words. He ran to get the camera, and did a quick check of his pulse.

Now, the guy I live with is not afraid of snakes, at all, and neither was my mommy, but when you’re just walking in the garden, humming to yourself (like “deet dee deet dee dee”, you know), and all of sudden you come upon a snake “half as big as the back yard”, you kind of jump. The guy I live with wouldn’t let me see it, because I don’t like snakes at all, and wouldn’t want to know they’re in my back yard, waiting for me.

I’m not going to post any pictures of this, so people who don’t like snakes won’t have to see the pictures, but if you want to see them, they’re here and I think you’ll agree that is one big snake.

In other, non-slithering news, a box came in the mail, and that was almost as exciting to the guy I live with as the reptilian encounter. 14081302

 

14081303The box was from Mesa Garden, and that’s a four-dollar cactus you see there, which is why there are so many little bundles in the box. He’s been ordering from Mesa Garden for a very long time, but this order was something he’d been meaning to do for quite a while, and finally did it. He says those are “the funnest things of all”, and he’s probably right, though I do like to be spontaneous from time to time.

The cactus went into the new sand pile, though maybe temporarily.14081307I guess that’s it for today. I didn’t have to see the snake, and didn’t have to help plant cactus, so things are good. I really do prefer days where practically nothing at all happens, but today was almost practically nothing, and that’s okay, too.14081306

 

Until next time, then.

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this old mouse

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “More Sawing And Drilling” and “Fixing Things”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically long-suffering, weather-related post. It thundered for about five straight hours today.14080903The morning was nice, and my walk was excellent, but then around eleven or so in the morning it started to thunder, and only stopped at about 4:30. This is what the sky looked like a little after noon today.14080908Eventually, it cleared up.

In order to explain the title of today’s post, I should probably back up to yesterday, right before bedtime. The guy I live with had gone downstairs to turn off the lights in the laundry room, and heard chewing noises in the wall. He looked in the direction of the noises, and lo and behold, there was a tiny pink nose poking out from under the baseboard. The guy I live with went to get his camera, because of course a picture of that would have been pretty good, but the nose disappeared.

We’re both really tired of mice coming into the house, and especially chewing holes in the baseboard downstairs, and the guy I live with said he was going to have to “think like a mouse”, in order to figure out how the mice were getting into the downstairs bedroom, once and for all.

It took a lot of thinking.

He finally decided to tear away the drywall in the closet, which is where most of the holes were chewed14080909and this is what he found. See that glimmer there? The light is on in the crawl space, and there’s a hole there. And, uh, you can see where tiny gross mouse bodies have rubbed against the Romex, too.

That’s the sill of the foundation, right below the piece of wood projecting down. Mice would come in through the hole (now plugged with steel wool, before it gets caulked), walk along the sill, and then grab hold of the styrofoam insulation on the left14080910and scurry right down. See where the tunnel, or channel, or raceway, or miceway, turns to the left at the bottom? 14080911

Smarter than a mouse! Smarter than a mouse!” I had to listen to this for a lot longer than I should have.

Well, I guess that’s settled, at least for now …….

So anyway, some serious gardening did take place today. The guy I live with had to go to the post office to pick up a box, registered mail, because he was at Whole Foods yesterday, when the mail came. This was in the box.14080902The guy at the post office wondered where “LV” was, and the guy I live with said “Latvia”. These are crocuses from Janis Ruksans. The guy I live with was totally excited.

And not only that, he got a bunch of cyclamen from Edgewood Gardens today, too. They’re all planted now. The guy I live with says the earlier they get planted, the less chance of frost heaving.

He says you plant them like this. Then after they’re watered, maybe just a little bit of soil or mulch or “faux mulch” (just stuff lying around) could be scattered over the top of the tuber.14080907This is an older one, that’s been here for a couple of years, at least. Those are flower stalks on top. 14080905The kind of soil doesn’t matter.14080906It does help, sometimes, to put a cage around the newly-planted tubers, just in case a Certain Party decided to dig them up. (Just because he’s a jerk.)

Earl

Earl

Cyclamen can take dry summers, and seem to be very happy here. We have a lot of ants to help propagate the cyclamen. Cyclamen purpurascens was already blooming when he was out there, planting.14080901That’s pretty much it for today. The guy I live with got a bunch of bulbs, well, really, corms and tubers, and also thinks he’s smarter than a mouse, so it was a good day for him.

The sun finally came out again, and the day became a good one for me, too.14080912

 

Until next time, then.

 

 

 

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my day, in pictures

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you all about my day today. You may remember me from such posts as “Dogs” (the post where I introduced myself) and “Pictures Of Me”, which featured pictures of me, among so many, many other posts featuring me.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. This post will be mostly about me, so you already know it’ll be excellent. 14080716My day started out pretty much like usual. The guy I live with started poking me with his finger at about 9:30 or so, and finally rolled me out of my cozy bed at about 9:45. I got my breakfast, and went on my walk. The guy I live with pointed out the huge clouds piling up over the mountains, but my walk was still sunny, and everything was okay. This has been a really rough summer for me, though.

This is what the sky looked like at noon. Looking northeast.14080702It started to thunder, and thundered like crazy for about an hour, and it even rained a bit. The guy I live with took a picture of, well, the thing he always takes a picture of, in the rain and wind. Ipomopsis rubra, again. (The pot down at the bottom of the picture is indeed slanted…it isn’t your eyes….and is empty, too.) The camera didn’t get wet like I thought it might. 14080703While it was raining and thundering, the guy I live with did a bunch of vacuuming (I don’t like that, either), because he said I’d left biscuit pieces all over the new mats and rug. He didn’t get around to vacuuming this side of the rug. You can see that the light is on, on the kitchen table. (The aquarium sitting on cinder blocks used to have a turtle in it. The turtle lived a very long time but went to a new home after my mommy died. It was big, and pretty scary.) 14080704The guy I live with got hopping mad when he discovered a mouse had gotten in the house last night, and pooped all over my toys. He washed and dried my toys, and then put them back in my toy basket, next to the bookshelves with my mommy’s books. That’s my Nippo, the hippo, on top, there. 14080714Then, the guy I live with took some pictures of plants, since there are a few in the garden here. This is the Rocky Mountain bee plant, Cleome serrulata. It’s as tall as he is.14080712Over to the right of this, growing in over two feet of pure sand and gravel, is Agastache ‘Desert Sunrise’. It doesn’t need any watering to do this, if it’s growing in deep, permeable soil. (If it rains, I mean. By the way, the clematis in back is growing in regular garden soil, and is much lower down; there’s a slope right behind the agastache.)14080713The first of the cyclamen started blooming about a week ago. This is Cyclamen fatrense, grown from seed. More cyclamen are coming in the mail, soon, and guess who’s all excited? 14080710Way out in back, Sphaeralcea incana, blooming all orange. We have to have a chain-link fence back here, because this is a flood plain. The top of the fence was added later, and was bent by “overweight raccoons” climbing over the fence to get stuff. I bark at them if I see them. 14080711About two o’clock in the afternoon the sky looked like this.14080706The guy I live with took some pictures of the baby cactus sitting on the shelves, to show how much they liked all that rain a week ago. Happy, happy cactus. 14080708And, then, of course, the guy I live with completely freaked out when he saw my hind leg. He was sure I’d injured myself.14080715It was grape jelly, from the oriole feeders. He felt pretty stupid after he realized that.

Speaking of stupid, I’m sure you’ve noticed the “Wardian case” on the patio table. My mommy arranged stuff inside it, though it’s been knocked over a couple of times and needs rearranging “at some future date to be determined later”. 14080705Well, a squirrel saw the snail shell in there, grabbed it, and carried it up to the top of the patio cover, because it thought the shell was a nut. What a maroon, huh? The guy I live with yelled at the squirrel, who eventually realized that it wasn’t a nut, and so the guy I live with got a ladder and retrieved the shell, and returned it to its rightful place. We had snails here one summer a while ago, and then another summer a couple of years back.

At dinnertime, which is 3:47 p.m., the sky looked like this.14080717Then at 6:30 p.m. Purebred border collies look at the sky a lot, if you didn’t know. It’s important to know whether or not you can be out in the garden, puttering around, or hiding in your fort. 14080719At around 7:15, I thought I heard some rumbling, but pretended it was okay. “Sometimes it helps to look in a different direction”, the guy I live with said, and sure enough, a thunderstorm was heading right for me.

Looking southwest.14080723It rained for a minute or two. There were some creatures who weren’t at all fazed by the weather, but knowing this didn’t help me one little bit.14080721

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14080724There was kind of a sunset, anyway.14080725Well, that was my day, or at least most of it. I guess tomorrow will be the same, because it’s mostly been the same for almost longer than I can remember. The guy I live with says that everything changes, but the weather doesn’t seem to, much, so I can just hope that he’s right. For once, huh.14080720

 

Until next time, then.

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la nouvelle vague

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest and most exciting news from our garden. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “More Form, Less Texture” and “Big Metal Chicken”, among so many other design-oriented posts.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Notice that I have a new rug, and a new mat, which is actually a doormat, so it’s much easier for me to get up. There are five of these large black doormats in the kitchen, all for me, and as you can see, we’re on the cutting edge of style here, as usual. I like the new mats a lot. 14080501Continuing this “new wave” approach (you can see how sophisticated I am by titling my post en français..), the guy I live with took a picture of the usual thing he takes a picture of, the path going through the “lawn” to the arbor on the north side of the garden, but this time at dusk, which he says makes a better picture than if it were taken in the gloom of a thunderstorm, which is what we usually have here. You can see that the solar light is on. The lights are there so I can see stuff when I go out into the back garden at night. The mulleins are Verbascum densiflorum14080510Even more astounding, and I bet this catches on very quickly, is the stylish placement of a trash can in the garden. The guy I live with says it’s okay to be jealous of his ability to create garden art out of objets trouvés.

I don’t really know why the trash can is still there. It was out in the garden to collect a bunch of rain water for the house plants on the two days when it rained a lot, and then it was moved closer to the house, but it hasn’t been moved since then, and there isn’t any water in it now.

la poubelle dans le jardin

la poubelle dans le jardin

Well, whatever, huh. I like my mats quite well, as I say, but I’m not so sure about the trash can. The guy I live with says it’s “symbolic”. He looked at this book about gardens “designed to be read”, and so he says this is the same sort of thing.

I guess it’s time for a plant picture, before we lose all credibility. I know I keep showing pictures of this, but here’s the colony of Ipomopsis rubra again, which he says refuses to come into focus. How can plants refuse to come into focus? (Oh, and yes, there is an echinacea in the garden, at the bottom of the picture. This is E. tennesseeensis. Maybe that’s too many Es.) 14080508To get a colony like this, in focus or not, you order seed from a seed company, and sow it any time before the first of the year. Then next spring you get a bunch of ferny rosettes, which turn into these, the year after. (Seed companies like J.L. Hudson or The Fragrant Path sometimes offer seed of this plant.)

Speaking of seeds, the guy I live with has been potting up more seedlings for the rock garden plant sale this September. He says he bets most rock gardeners don’t have Acantholimon curviflorum or Achillea sipkorensis. (Yes, the plants could be bigger, but I’m sure you remember how much complaining there has been about the lack of sun here this summer.)14080503To get back to interesting stuff, this is me, inspecting the garden for weeds. The guy I live with says that we don’t pay much attention to weeds around here except on Weeding Day. 14080506Me again, if you couldn’t tell. We had a couple of hours of sun in the afternoon today. You can’t see the trash can from here, which I don’t think spoils the overall effect at all. (You can really see it, but you have to look for it, which spoils the “spontaneous gesture” which it was claimed to be earlier today, and definitely not by me.)14080507We even had a sunset this evening. sunsetOkay, now that really is all for today. Sorry about all the French at the beginning. The guy I live with was talking about style and design, and I got carried away.

Until next time, then.

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