a moment of fear

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to thrill you and amaze you with the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such thrilling and amazing posts as “Invasion Of The Pods” and “The Happy Elephant”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I just felt like looking serious; you know, sometimes the way you do. 14042307I’m doing fine, thanks, and I get to stay on the Rimadyl, which means that the guy I live with is going to have a hard time keeping up with me on my walks, though I do need to lose a whole bunch of weight. Someone else does too.

Well, I should probably explain the title of today’s post. The guy I live with had to go out and get pills, for both of us, but at different places of course, and then he came back, and said today was going to be devoted to gardening. Most days are, but our modern lifestyle was slightly disrupted with me having to go get blood drawn, and I figured that his declaration that this was going to be a day for gardening meant that we’d be doing hardly anything at all, which is what we both like.

The guy I live with was doing something in the front yard, I forget what, when the mailman pulled up, and stopped at the driveway, and gave him a box, the sight of which alarmed him to no end. 14042308What if someone had sent this to him, to decorate the front yard? Would he have to send a thank-you note, with a picture of the thing all set up, telling the person who sent it how much he enjoyed it and what uses he was putting it to, like when he was a little kid? (“Thank you for the Erector Set. I am building an exact replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, but, of course, much smaller.”)

It turned out to be a box with cactus in it. The guy I live with was greatly relieved. “Whew”, he said.

So that was the big thing that happened today.

I’m supposed to show some “obligatory plant pictures”, just so that people know this is a blog about gardening, and not about getting funny things in the mail. Okay, here we go.

Here’s the native bluebell, Mertensia lanceolata, again. It’s having a really good year. 14042304This funny-looking thing is the foliage of Allium pskemense. I think I spelled that right. 14042306Bellevalia forniculata again. Now called Pseudomuscari forniculatum. The guy I live with grew this from Archibald seed many years ago, and it’s still here. 14042312

Tulipa ferganica

Tulipa ferganica




Tulipa butkovii

Tulipa butkovii


Fritillaria crassifolia subsp. kurdica, two color forms.

Fritillaria crassifolia subsp. kurdica, two color forms.

See, that wasn’t so bad. The guy I live with gets to show off the bulbs and stuff, and I get to show the funny box that came in the mail, plus a couple of pictures of me looking serious.

Oh, and it’s raining. Not just sprinkling, but raining. It’s been raining now for about three hours, and there was thunder earlier, which the guy I live with said I didn’t even notice, so I must be getting more evolved, or something. He also says there’s a night crawler moving along the patio at top speed. I don’t much care for night crawlers; even their name is spooky. The guy I live with says there are no earthworms native to Colorado and so they must have crawled their way, at night of course, all the way here from wherever. I’ll have to watch out for them at Tinkle Time, which is one reason when we go out, right before bed, that the guy I live with carries a flashlight.

Now I have a slight case of the creeps, and so I better let you go.14042313


Until next time, then.


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less form, even less texture

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest, most up-to-date, and most with-it news from our garden; in other words, all the news that’s fit to bring you. You may remember me from such with-it posts as “The Mouse Movies” and “An Icky Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically sad pose, after learning that I don’t get anything at all to eat until about ten o’clock tomorrow morning. 14042103This can’t be right, can it? I might not make it that long without food….14042105The guy I live with explained to me that I just have to have some blood drawn to make sure the Rimadyl is working okay inside me, but why, oh why, does this have to be about food instead of something else? If the guy I live with said, let’s say, that I couldn’t listen to any Wagner played at top volume for the next day or so I’d be okay with that, but food? I like food a lot.

The guy I live with just said “That’s obvious”, which is think is pretty rude. He did point out to me that he shared some really runny and smelly cheese with me earlier today, and it was really good, and he also said this will all be over before I know it, so why can’t it just be over now?

I know he really cares about me, what with me being my mommy’s little angel and all, but still. I’m used to waking up, getting out of bed, going downstairs, having the back door opened for me, and having my breakfast made for me, in just that order. I don’t like changes.

The guy I live with telling me that everything changes hardly helps at all.

One thing that did change here was the color of the stone, now stones, or rocks if you insist, under the pinyon. There are supposed to be more, but for now there aren’t.

Oh, and by the way, if you really want to be thought of as with-it, as they used to say in the Sixties, long before I was born of course, you call it “stone”, and not “rock”. Though, these are rocks, so I don’t really get it. What the guy I live with thinks of is that memorable phrase in George Schenk’s Moss Gardening (one of his all-time, top five favorite gardening books), about rocks I mean, is “pieces of the planet”. Here are two pieces of the planet. The right color, this time. 14042101In our plant pictures section, I only have a couple of pictures. (That’s because the guy I live with only took a couple of pictures.)

Another “this really is a plant” type thing.

Neohenricia sibbettii

Neohenricia sibbettii

And Stomatium mustellinum opening its flowers. This was taken about 8:00 p.m. tonight. He had to lean over the trick-or-treater fence, visible at the bottom, to take this picture. 14042106The guy I live with says that the flowers of most stomatiums are scented, like of pineapple or banana. I don’t care for pineapple so much, but I used to like bananas. I don’t know why I don’t any more, though a banana sounds pretty good right now, since I haven’t eaten anything for three minutes. My grandpa Flurry really liked bananas.

Well, if you don’t hear from me in the next couple of days, it’s because I’ve withered away to nothing. The guy I live with says that won’t happen, but I just don’t know….04142107


Until next time, then.

I hope …..

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more form, less texture

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest and most excitingly up-to-date news from our garden as is caninely possible. You may remember me from such up-to-date posts as “Hedgehogs And Dishpans” and “No Pizza For Me”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose, shortly after my slightly damp, but excellent, afternoon walk.14041901Though my feet are obviously wet, it was not I who tracked dirt onto the recently-shampooed, and about to be shampooed again, carpet.14041902Pretty funny, huh? Side-splitting, in fact.

If you think that’s funny, look at the fence the guy I live with “just threw together” to hide the pile of trash on our neighbor’s driveway. 14041904If this isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is. He claims that he’ll replace it next week with a real fence, but today just got tired of looking at trash bags. We’ll see.

So anyway, I have some plant pictures to show you. First off, a shot of the little cactus garden right by the front window. Things are looking pretty good, mostly because he got rid of the dead stuff. You can see how he sort of form-and-textured the garden by artistically strewing some small river rocks here and there. The little flower pot at the end fell over while he was doing that, and he forgot to right it. 14041905Now some plant pictures. You’re suppose to ooh and aah over these, he says. Whatever.

Maihuenia patagonica. I mean if you want to talk form and texture. (You can see the plant in the picture above, almost where the old-time steel edging fence ends. The old-time fence will probably be a permanent trick-or-treater-protection fence. So little kids don’t fall onto the cactus while eating all that candy, I mean.)14041906Those little green things are real leaves, and they remain on the plant. The red on the spines is not what you might think it’s from, but it’s a tint that the spines have. He keeps his fingers away from this one.

Iris bucharica. Easiest of the juno irises. 14041907Tulipa montana. The label says “stoloniferous form”. 14041908Oh, well, this is tulip time, here. I should have said.

Tulipa butkovii. There might have been more focus on the flower itself, but, well, there just wasn’t. 14041911And kind of a lot of Tulipa tarda. I think that’s what this is. All self sown, too.14041909

14041910Okay, so now, I need to show you this. I may have said that one of the neighbors is getting rid of a bunch of rock, a lot of which the guy I live with has been moving, and now that he got a new tire for the new-when-Roosevelt-was-president wheelbarrow, he’s been moving a lot more, but today he was offered some real river rock, the fancy round kind, and he always had this vision of a few pieces arranged artistically underneath the pinyon, and possibly another grouping elsewhere in the garden to sort of echo it, and so he brought one home to test it out.

He says it looks like a very large egg.140421912As you can tell, the predominant color here, that is, of the soil, the flagstone, and the gravel mulches, is a kind of reddish which I can’t really see.

Then there’s this big white egg under the pine tree there. White with gray spots. He says he’s going to return it, with thanks, but it doesn’t fit the color scheme, such as it is.

My mommy would have been in charge of things like this; like, if the guy I live with suddenly had a vision, and described it to her (kind of looking off into the distance, all misty-eyed and stuff), she would either get all excited and start drawing up plans, or tell him he was full of it and it was not going to happen.

I have no opinion. Though if it were a real egg, he could scramble it and I could have that on my breakfast, and I would have an opinion about that, for sure.

I guess that’s it for today. We have a big white egg under our tree, and yes, the guy I live with could put it with the big metal chicken, for, you know, humor and all, but he isn’t going to, because, he says, unlike some gardens, which are festive and “full of hoo-haw”, the guy I live with says our garden is rather somber, if not actually saturnine, and things like big white eggs under pine trees just won’t go here.

I’ll leave you with another picture of me, and my less-than-clean feet. It was a really good walk, as you can tell just by that. I was playing with my squeak toy and got interrupted for a dumb photo opportunity. 14041903


Until next time, then.


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form and texture

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest and greatest news from our garden. You may remember me from such great posts as “Words Of Wisdom” and “The Third Wave”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically squinting pose. 14041611The guy I live with said that if I squinted, it would accentuate my “hound dog lips”, but it was kind of bright, looking into the camera. Whatever, huh.

At least the coffee cup was found. The guy I live with said that from now on, he’ll look in the microwave first, no matter what it is that he’s lost.

Now that that’s out of the way, today I’m going to talk about form and texture, because everybody else seems to, when talking about plants and gardening, so I figured why not give it a try myself. Besides, the guy I live with took some pictures of form and texture, so it would make sense to talk about it.

As many people know, my mommy was an artist and was really into things like form and texture. She would spend hours at the art supply store looking at paper. The guy I live with had a great deal of patience, obviously, because watching someone look at paper, especially handmade paper that has both form and texture, is rather boring. There was also this book, or books, since it comes in two volumes, called On Growth and Form, by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, which my mommy said she always wanted, way back when she and the guy I live with were first together, and one day she asked the guy I live with if he thought the books were too much money, and of course he said no, and so she ordered them, and they came, and she was very disappointed. The books weren’t about what she thought they were, and she felt really sheepish about spending so much money on books it turned out she didn’t want, but the guy I live with just dismissed that, since he did that all the time, and still does, but not so much. 14041613Oh well, huh. The books sit on the shelf alongside other books with similarly-colored bindings, so there is some color coordination at least.

The guy I live with always thinks of this little episode when he thinks of form and texture, even though they aren’t quite the same. He thinks about a lot of things that aren’t quite the same, but that’s the way he is.

Some plants came in the mail today, from Miles’ To Go, and a few of these have quite a bit of form and texture. The guy I live with thinks the flower buds of gymnocalyciums (“naked calyx”, literally, “naked pod”; the word “chalice” comes from “calyx”) are especially attractive.14041601




14041602Some other plants. Aloinopsis malherbei.14041604And this thing. It really is a plant. Aloinopsis schooneesii.14041605And, I don’t know, green fingers coming out of the earth, or something? A green octopus? Ebracteola wilmaniae14041608Here’s a really form-y and texture-y thing, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis. This is in the garden, but it still counts. These plants are well out of my way, behind a bunch of other stuff, in a garden I don’t go into, ever, in case you were worried. The guy I live with does think about things like that, you know. 14041612And, of course, there’s this, for total excellence of both form and texture.14041626So there you have it. Some form and texture. Maybe sometime we’ll “make a dramatic statement”, too. I mean if plants can make statements. I think purebred border collies can, at least. 14041614


Until next time, then.


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turned up missing

Greetings and salutations everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest, most up-to-date, and possibly weird news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts about things disappeared as “The Missing Trowel”, to mention just one of the weirder ones.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14041503I know that you’ll think that we’ve reached a new low here, but really, the guy I live with says this is important, so I’m posting about it.

The guy I live with wonders if anyone has seen his coffee cup.

It’s white, with a blue Qwest logo, and full of coffee. It was last seen at 8:34 p.m. last night, when he filled it with coffee, and looked at the stove clock to make sure it wasn’t too late to drink coffee. After that, it disappeared completely.

Using another coffee cup to play the part of his favorite, this is where it was filled with coffee.14041504Then, the full cup of coffee gets moved to its strategic place on top of my fort, for drinking purposes. But it wasn’t there. It “turned up missing”, as they say (though neither I nor the guy I live with would say something like that).

strategic place

strategic place

The coffee cup, unless it’s being washed, by hand, is never anywhere else. The guy I live with doesn’t walk around with a cup of coffee in his hand, and doesn’t take the cup into any other room.

He called his sister, and emailed a few friends, to see if it had suddenly appeared there. He got a haircut today (to help him think) and asked the barbers if they’d seen his precious coffee cup. He even went through the trash.

He was very much afraid that he’d find it sitting in the strategic place this morning, or get a picture of it in the mail with a ransom demand.

Okay, well, that’s the news of the day. Seriously. The missing coffee cup.

I’ll show a couple of pictures just to prove he does have other things going on besides spending hours looking in places like the washing machine for the stupid coffee cup.

Pediocactus simpsonii, grown from seed twenty years old; flowers scented of roses

Pediocactus simpsonii, grown from seed twenty years old; flowers scented of roses

Violets. Years ago the guy I live with bought some violets from Canyon Creek Nursery, hoping they would spread, and they have. He got the reddish-purple one, too, and wanted to get more, but the nursery stopped selling by mail the year he wanted more violets. My mommy couldn’t smell violets, for some reason. Lots of flowers were spoiled by the snow the other day, but there will be more. This is kind of a dumb picture, with all the sunlight in back. I stepped on the plant right after the picture was taken, too.

14041502So as not to make this post seem completely pointless, we have what I think is a fairly cute mouse movie for you.

Mouse fights. I bet you didn’t know they did that, but they do. (About .08 in the movie.) It looked like no one won. Maybe the mice carried off the coffee cup, except that the back door was closed, and they haven’t been in the house lately. Much, that is.

Until next time, then.




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a drippy day

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such weather-related posts as “Drip Drop Drip Drop” and “Snow On My Nose”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in an extremely damp, yet noble, pose.14041306There really isn’t a whole lot going on right now, because it’s raining or snowing, depending upon what minute you go out and check, but that never stopped us from posting before. I really like weather like this, but the guy I live with says it’s “too drippy”.

I got to go on my morning walk, in the rain and snow, of course, and I had a good time. You can also see that the canal has water in it now.14041302I needed a biscuit after my walk. Doesn’t it look like I do? (You can see some biscuit pieces on the little rug there, but those were from before. The other rug was being washed.)14041304Here’s a picture of the drippy garden from the upstairs window.14041305Here’s Squirrel eating seed. I don’t know the name of this one, so I call him Squirrel. He has his own personal umbrella, as you can see. 14041310And here’s me being cute. It isn’t all that hard for me, really. That’s the kitchen rug on the chair there, after it got washed. The guy I live with shampooed the carpet the other day, but that was the other day, and today is today. That’s the way we have to look at things. 14041309Well, so, the biscuit pieces got vacuumed up, and the rug went back in its place on the kitchen floor, and so practically everything is back to normal now. The guy I live with says he might do something with seeds today, but I bet nothing gets done, which is okay, too. 14041311I’ll leave you with a little movie we made about the weather, and how drippy it is, and kind of gloomy, too, but, as the guy I live with would say in one of his more philosophical moments, good for the garden.

Until next time, then.





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why is the sauce green?

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest and most up-to-date news in our garden. You may remember me from such amazing posts as “Slush Fun” and “Gardening In The Snow”, among so many, many amazing others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. That’s one of my toys, there. 14041210It’s supposed to snow, tonight and tomorrow, and snow a lot. That’s okay by me, but the guy I live with would rather have rain. But then he would have to cover the seed frames with window screen, to prevent “drippage”, and snow doesn’t do that, it just sort of falls on the seed pots, but on the other hand, it can break branches and do all sorts of other stuff, so, well, oh, I don’t really care, I’m a purebred border collie who goes with the flow, and here’s another picture of me instead of hearing the guy I live with complain.14041207Not really a whole lot went on today. The guy I live with hauled a bunch of rocks, even though he keeps saying he’s done hauling rocks, he still hauls them. The front yard is full of rocks now.

He had to do some cooking, since there supposedly wasn’t any food in the house. Of course there was, but mostly just cookies, and I don’t want him eating my biscuits. He made badami murgh, which if you aren’t familiar with it, is Indian almond chicken, and you know that scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (which by the way has been totally spoiled for the guy I live with by Amy Farrah Fowler) where John Rhys-Davies looks down into the Well of Souls and says “Indy, why does the floor move?” My mommy would come up and see what he was cooking and say things like that. “Why is the sauce green?” (I don’t think it looks so green, but he says it is.)14041201“Why is the sauce green?” Why? 14041202And after the cilantro and ground spices were folded in.14041203It reminded me of the time my mommy was sitting in her chair at the table and looked at her dinner and said, “I’m afraid of my food.”

I’m not having any, that’s for sure. The guy I live with, who is not to be trusted in such matters, said “It wasn’t all that hot”.

Um, let’s see. Oh. Me again. 14041208Now, before it snows and the guy I live with gets all “I hate snow” on me and stuff, here are the miniature beavertails I said I might show, and so I am now. They’re in pots until the snow melts, which it probably all will on Monday.

Opuntia basilaris

Opuntia basilaris

A couple of corydalis, too. Forms of Corydalis solida. He has to sit on the path in the south rock garden, which is called Mount Zot for very obscure reasons, to take these pictures.



Purple Beauty

Purple Beauty

That’s it for today, I’m sure. If there was something really interesting, I guess I’ve forgotten what it was, and I know the guy I live with has forgotten. 14041209


Until next time, then.

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