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.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

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.




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 18 Comments

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.





Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

still more spring stuff

Hello everyone; 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. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “Eliminating The Impossible” and “Fly Away Home”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14041003If I look extremely chipper, it’s because I am. The new medicine seems to have helped me a lot, and the guy I live with says I’ve been “puppyish” on our walks. The walks have been excellent, too.

The vet did say that my eyes were cloudy, as you can see, but I don’t have cataracts, which is good. In fact I can see a lot better than you know who.

Speaking of whom, he’s been moving river rock for the last couple of days. The tire on the wheelbarrow burst (the wheelbarrow is older than both of us put together, according to the guy I live with), and so, instead of leaving me at home all by myself to go buy a new tire, he got out the garden cart my mommy bought for him, put some paint buckets on the cart, hauled across the street, and filled the buckets. He says every gardener should have paint buckets. He has a lot.

He spent a little bit of time weeding out cool-season grasses from the blue grama and buffalo grass, which are just starting to turn green, or really bluish. He uses this weeder, which he says is excellent.14041010I know it says “Mont Blanc” on it, but it’s a Japanese weeder, not very big, and you push it into the ground and rip out the weeds or grass. It’s very effective. I have paws, so I just have to take his word for it. It cost a couple of dollars and came from Hida Tool.

That’s what’s been going on. A little weeding, a lot of rock hauling, and my walks. Plants from Wrightman Alpines and Cistus came today, and the guy I live with planted a bunch of saxifrages, which, unbelievably, he had room for in the troughs, but he saved the rest of the plants so that they can get used to the intense sunlight here. And he decided not to plant the cactus from Cistus (miniature beavertails and stuff like that) because tomorrow it’s supposed to be 74 degrees (23C) but Sunday night it’s supposed to get down to 22 degrees (-5.5C) which the cactus, all puffed up with water and ready to grow, might not like. Incidentally, cactus do sometimes need to adjust to the sun here, too, otherwise they can get badly sunburned. We might show pictures of the miniature beavertails later. They’re cute, and don’t have spines. They do have glochids, though.

He took some pictures of other plants, so, this being at least partly a gardening blog, I’m going to show them now. First off is Aloinopsis spathulata again, taken one day in sun, and then in shade the next. 14041002

14041001Now some pictures from the rock garden.

Narcissus rupicola

Narcissus rupicola

Muscari leucostomum

Muscari leucostomum

the dwarf honeysuckle, Lonicera olgae

the dwarf honeysuckle, Lonicera olgae

harbinger of springtime in the Rockies, Mertensia lanceolata

harbinger of springtime in the Rockies, Mertensia lanceolata

Fritillaria pinardii

Fritillaria pinardii

A little later on, the guy I live with was sitting in the path on the south side of Mount Zot (the main rock garden). I came over to see what he was doing.

14041013He was taking pictures of cyclamen. Cyclamen coum, to be precise.14041011I think with this next one he focused more on the aroid leaf in front, but what can you do. I don’t take pictures, because, as I said earlier, I have paws. Cameras aren’t very paw-friendly.14041012There are lots of Corydalis solida plants blooming, including some new ones from nurseries in the Baltic states, but he took a picture of one that’s been here since long before I showed up here.

Corydalis solida 'George Baker'

Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’

And finally, Lewisia tweedyi.14041015Well, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to go do what I do best.


Until next time, then.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 20 Comments

“there will be mud”

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you all about my day, and show a little bit of the garden, too. You may remember me from such posts as “More Excitement” and “The Expired Chicken”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a rather uncharacteristic pose. 14040702The reason I look so incredibly sad is that today I was dragged off to The Bad Place, where I was stuck with needles, and poked and prodded. I know the doctor really well, though; she’s been my doctor since I was really little. I got my toenails clipped, and I seem to be fine, except for a certain weight problem, which may be attributed to the medication I’m on, and not to excessive amounts of Brie. There isn’t even any in the refrigerator.

So that was that.

It rained last night, just a little, and this morning it was all cool and spring-like, with low clouds hiding the mountains just to the west of us. The guy I live with said “there will be mud” on our morning walk, and sure enough, we tracked a bunch of it onto the carpet when we came back. I tracked in much less than someone else did, though.

I did get to go to The Bad Place with muddy paws, and that made it more excellent than usual. It probably wasn’t as excellent as the time my Uncle Pooka rolled in fresh raccoon poop right before he went to The Bad Place, and got to stink it up quite a bit, but it was still pretty good.

Anyway, so it was chilly and damp this morning. When we came home, the guy I live with gave me a biscuit, and looked out the kitchen window, where he saw this.14040701The guy I live with says he thinks this is a sharp-shinned hawk. My mommy was really into birds and would have known right away. I don’t want to say what it’s standing on.

I have some garden pictures, too. The guy I live with says this is a hepatica; he thinks the one called ‘Lithuanian Blue’. He really likes hepaticas and other spring-blooming things like this, but only has a small area of the garden for them. There were other hepaticas here, but they got trampled when the fence was put up.

When he was a kid he thought the word hepatica was cool. It means liver, which I like quite a bit. When my mommy cooked a turkey for the holidays, the guy I live with would fry the liver and other stuff in butter, and I and my buddy Slipper would get that on our dinners. I can’t have onions, but liver and bacon sounds really good right now.  With Delmonico potatoes, maybe. It would make up for this morning, a lot.

Oh, the picture. 14040703There are some hellebores, too. They’re almost a month late, but the guy I live with says whatever. Some of these came from nurseries, some from his pen-pal in New York whom I talked about a while back, some from Archibald seed, but most have just sown themselves.14040704

14040705I guess that’s it. I know this post was mostly about me, and that’s as it should be, if you ask me. It’s supposed to warm up now and there won’t be much potential for getting all muddy. Oh well.14040706


Until next time, then.


Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments