last of the pods

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 “A Day At The Opera” and “The Sand Man”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically sophisticated pose.14093005It’s been rather damp around here lately, with rain, and, of course, thunder, but I was able to go on my walks, and I guess one advantage of the all the rain (a whole six tenths of an inch in two days) was that the guy I live with has declared that the rain brought down “the last of the pods”. The honey locust hasn’t had that many this year, compared to some years, but there are still a lot. 14093011Somehow I doubt that this is the last of them. The pods didn’t come down all in one place, in case you were wondering. He raked them into this pile.

The “squishies” have enjoyed the rain, too. The guy I live with took some pictures today, and here are a couple of the squishies. It’s just that they looked so contented, and he felt like taking their pictures.

Titanopsis calcarea

Titanopsis calcarea

Aloinopsis spathulata

Aloinopsis spathulata

The squishies get nibbled on by rodents sometimes. You can see some of the nibbling if you look closely.

Here are the newly-emerging leaves of Cyclamen hederifolium. Attractive, huh? (The label is for a snowdrop.)14093010Well, that would be all I had for today, but we were visited by some wildlife. The downy woodpecker likes to creep up the birch branches. It wasn’t standing still when the picture was taken, which is why the focus is a little off. Branches on the tree (really a shrub) occasionally die and the woodpeckers like to drill for bugs in the dead branches. 14093001As you may know, I and the guy I live with lead a pretty laid-back life, with just the occasional incident marring a succession of otherwise uneventful days, but just today an event occurred which was so shocking, and so disgraceful, that I had to get up and leave the room, which was the kitchen.

This happened after I came home from my morning walk, which was excellent, by the way. Both of us were just sitting here, each minding his own business, when all of a sudden….

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Earl

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14093004I couldn’t believe my eyes. Especially when the rodent looked into my fort.

After documenting the unwarranted intrusion, the guy I live with cleared his throat very loudly, and the invader turned and fled.

“Such”, said the guy I live with, “are the times we live in.”

Surely something must be done. Aside from keeping the door closed, I mean.

I guess that’s all for today. The guy I live with suggested I spend more time patrolling the patio, and less time asleep. We’ll see.14093006

 

Until next time, then.

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a very busy day

Hello everyone; yes, 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 posts as “Another Busy Day” and “Yet Another Busy Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in an exceptionally noble, pure-bred pose.14092602You may wonder what it is that we do every day, in order to enable us to bring you these gripping posts. The truth is that the guy I live with is an extremely busy person, and relies on me to supervise. I don’t always need to be awake to do that, which, you must admit, is in itself quite remarkable.

Just to give you an example, take today. The guy I live with spent several hours root watering. Though I suppose there are other ways to do this, he uses what’s called a root waterer to do this. With the water turned on just a tiny bit, the root waterer is stuck in the ground, making sure it doesn’t get plugged up, and the water is left on for a while.

root waterer

root waterer

So that he doesn’t forget and leave the water running for hours, he writes “root watering” on a piece of paper to remind him of what he’s doing.

Today he forgot to look at the piece of paper and left the water running for hours.

He also spent some time rooting cactus. This is a cactus being rooted. There are actually four in the picture there. It can take up to a month and a half of diligently rooting them for roots to form.

cactus being rooted

cactus being rooted

In the same room–on the same table even–he also grows plants with weird, sometimes smelly, flowers.

Orbea paradoxa

Orbea paradoxa

Every now and then, he walks around the garden to see if anything is happening. I do this, too, but I’m less interested in what’s happening than in just walking around.

There was a Sternbergia lutea in flower. At one time, there was a big patch of these, but they disappeared “mysteriously”, like a lot of other bulbs. There are, or were (we’re not certain) other sternbergias in the garden, too. Oh, and I’m supposed to say that what looks like a lot of bindweed is really an extra-rare convolvulus from Tajikistan. (Yes, I know I said the last one was from Kyrgyzstan; well, this one isn’t from there. Or so he says to say.)

It’s covering Lonicera olgae, a dwarf honeysuckle from around the same place as the extra-rare convolvulus. 14092603And then there was a lot of pod-raking. It seems to me that he rakes up pods almost every day. Why not just wait until all the pods are down and then rake them up? The guy I live with says gardeners don’t do that.

There is a reason why pods are falling from the honey locust.14092601That’s about it. I hope you didn’t get too exhausted following our busy day. The guy I live with says that tomorrow might even be busier. I can hardly wait.14092606

 

Until next time, then.

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sunny, hot, and dry

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 “Nothing Gets Done” and “A Post About Nothing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. The guy I live with was hiding a soft jerky treat and I was waiting for him to stop taking pictures so I could eat it. 14092512Most of the time in the last several weeks has been all about me, which is of course totally and completely excellent; even when I wasn’t feeling well I got constant attention and cuddles. Some gardening does take place in between the all-about-me stuff, and I guess I have to talk about that, though I’d really rather talk about me.

I guess I like my new food. The guy I live with thinks I’m extremely wobbly on my walks, which haven’t lasted very long lately, but, really, it’s been hot the last few days. I don’t like being hot, and get tired quickly when it’s hot. He did notice today that I spent a lot of time lingering in the shade on my walks. I’m ready for some cooler weather, thunderless cooler weather, and even snow.

The guy I live with said today was a beautiful day: sunny, hot, and dry, just the way he likes it. Of course that meant it was too hot. Today would have been the guy I live with’s 32nd anniversary, and I suppose he was sad, but if he was, I didn’t notice it, because I was asleep for most of the day. That’s what aging dogs do, you know. Just lie around, and sleep.

Oh, right, gardening. This is some gardening.14092509If this looks like a salad, it really isn’t; it’s a bunch of plants sitting in a bucket of water. Close to a salad, I guess. These are plants of Salvia ringens, getting all the peat moss and stuff washed off their roots, so they can be planted in dirt. Sometimes he takes the Japanese root hook and gently teases out the roots, then washes more peat moss-type stuff off the roots. He says that if the root ball with the peat moss gets too wet, there can be a build-up of carbon dioxide which suffocates the roots, causing them to rot. He says a lot of things like that, and I only pay attention sometimes.

Here’s the desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, undergoing predictive dormancy. The leaves are turning yellow in anticipation of colder weather.  It leafed out the first week of June, so it only has leaves for four months of the year. 14092511This particular plant came from somewhere south of Santa Fe; a collection from seed, that is. Other desert willows come from much farther south, and usually don’t turn yellow in anticipation of cold, because the cold comes later, and so the leaves just freeze off (what’s called “inherited late growth cessation”), and that process is called consequential dormancy. The plants are still hardy, they just aren’t as ready for it as this one is.

Okay, that was the actual gardening section.

There are lots of plants in flower in the garden right now, lots and lots of them, but the guy I live with tends to focus (metaphorically speaking, of course) on the littler ones.

These might be Cyclamen mirabile. He couldn’t get close enough to see if the petals had erose margins. He says it looks like they do. They’re self sown. 14092501This is Cyclamen cilicium. Scented. Also self-sown. I know I’ve shown these before, but showing them again can’t hurt. There’s a self-sown C. coum in front of it, and you can see how far the top of the tuber sticks out of the soil. Sometimes the guy I live with sprinkles dirt over the top, and sometimes he doesn’t.14092502Here are some more cyclamen seedlings. We have a lot of ants. Sometimes they crawl on me and I don’t even know it. 14092503And Cyclamen purpurascens ‘Extra Fancy’ (again).
14092506Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’, in the ivy.14092510Now three pictures of Crocus kotschyanus. Yes, again. The guy I live with admits he does a very poor job of record-keeping, relying on his memory, which used to be perfect, but now isn’t. One of these groups is of the one called ‘Reliant’, and the other has a collector’s number. Or maybe not. (The labels that are there aren’t for the crocuses. They’re just waiting to get snapped in half when the guy I live with steps on them.) But, regardless, he claims, this is the benefit of being a bulb snob, because you get normal-looking flowers instead of the ones you get from corms of C. kotschyanus sold elsewhere.14092507

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14092505Well, that’s pretty much it. Same old same old, as they say. The guy I live with is all excited about still more autumn crocuses, and so you can expect more pictures of flowers that all look the same to me. I say we could save time, and just do the same posts over and over again, like we mostly do anyway, but then there’d have to be the same pictures of me over and over again. New ones are much better, so I guess I’ll put up with this obsession.

I forgot to add that this marks our 600th post, if you can believe that.

Here I am again, kind of squinting in the sun. 14092508

Until next time, then.

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the equinox

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, no matter how unexciting, from our garden. You may remember me from such posts where I tried to make things much more exciting than they really were, like “I Don’t Get It” and “Gray Day, With Drays”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14092215Things are pretty much okay with me, now, though I don’t see why it has to keep thundering once we get to the equinox, but the guy I live with says, helpfully, that “it just does”. I’m worried that the thunder will never stop, and that the few nice days we had last week were just an illusion.

I mean, I’m like, just going along, doing something, nothing much in particular, and the sun is shining on me, and all of a sudden it thunders, because I haven’t looked at the whole sky and especially where the dark clouds are, and then I have to run for cover. Or walk for cover, really. My fort is the best place to be when that happens.

After the guy I live with dragged me out of bed this morning, at the ridiculously early hour of 8:30, it started to rain (and not thunder), which is pretty unusual for here. The guy I live with decided to emphasize its unusualness by filming the rain in black and white. If you didn’t think he was a nut before, like I keep saying he is, this should be proof.

The guy I live with also took some pictures in the rain, and some not. The rain stopped after a while, and I got to go on my morning walk. Here are some of the pictures. I know I’ve already posted pictures of these things, but the guy I live with says if I post lots of pictures, people might get the idea that we’re interesting. Some of these are enormously huge files, and can be embiggened, if you want. Some might even be in focus.

the front cactus garden

the front cactus garden

 

Salvia greggii 'Furman's Red' and the honey mesquite in the side yard.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ and the honey mesquite in the side yard.

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the back yard, from the bench under the tree

the back yard

the back yard

 

looking down the north path, to the "way back"

looking down the north path, to the “way back”

Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' and Sorbus scopulina

Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ and Sorbus scopulina

Cyclamen hederifolium in the other side yard (north side)

Cyclamen hederifolium in the other side yard (north side)

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Cyclamen hederifolium 'Fairy Wings'

Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Fairy Wings’

Cyclamen confusum

Cyclamen confusum

Oh, and since it’s that time of year again, the baby cactus got moved into the upstairs bedroom. The guy I live with thinks they might be able to stay outside all winter, but they would probably be devoured by rodents.

stuff upstairs

stuff upstairs

the baby cactus

the baby cactus

Well, that’s pretty much it for the equinox. We didn’t really do much of anything, which is how we both like things to be. Oh, one “hugely exciting” thing happened; our neighbors let the guy I live with toss some old pieces of wood and stuff into the dumpster they were renting. He hates having stuff that should be thrown away lying around for a long time.

I guess I’ll let you go. 14092213

 

Until next time, then.

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bunches of stuff

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 most exciting news possible from our garden. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “Baby Pictures” and “Trouble In Paradise”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I look rather jolly, don’t you think?14091907As many of you know, even with our internet being out for a while, I have been considerably under the weather lately, and my doctor was even talking about ultrasound to see what was going on in my tummy. I had to go to the Bad Place this week to have blood tests, and stuck with needles (that was to test the efficacy of my new medication, not because I was sick), but I also got my toenails trimmed, as maybe you can see.

This morning I lost my breakfast in “a most undignified manner”, and the guy I live with showed me what was in my tummy. That’s a wad of dried blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) that had probably been in there for quite some time. The guy I live with said I was not a cow and to quit eating grass. I felt better almost immediately, so maybe I should take grass out of my diet. 14091906He’s hoping I’m much better now. I certainly feel better.

Here’s another creature who can eat blue grama and not have it wad up in their stomach.14091903Things are changing around here. Summer was just one endless thunderstorm, but now we’re having the most beautiful warm, sunny, dry days, and the leaves are starting to turn. This is the Russian hawthorn, Crataegus ambigua. My buddy Slipper and I used to go into the rock garden under the hawthorn to eat the fallen haws, but squirrels get all those now, and so the beautiful display of dark red fruit is a thing of the past. 14091908Squirrels are kind of jerks. Last week, Earl was caught draining one of the hummingbird feeders, and the guy I live with threatened to squirt him with the squirt gun again, because Earl hopped up on sugar syrup was the last thing we needed.

The hummingbirds are gone now, and Earl built himself a fancy new dray up in the honey locust.  He was trying to come into the house a couple of days ago, and the guy I live with said it was probably to swipe some of the etchings, so he could line the dray with them, so, well, you know. It does look like a cozy home, even if he is a jerk. 14091902There are lots of things in flower now, but mostly you’ll just have to take my word for it. Autumn is one of the best times for the garden here, though a hard frost can wipe out some of the main providers of flowers, the salvias and agastaches.

Here’s a self-sown agastache.14091904And the cool red one he picked up from a local nursery, that was labeled Coronado Red, but isn’t. The hummingbirds really liked this one, as you can imagine. That’s the cowpen daisy, Verbesina encelioides, in the picture, too. 14091905One thing frost doesn’t spoil, much, is the crocuses. Today, Crocus pallasii subsp. turcicus started to flower. The shadow is the guy I live with’s head, which is why it’s so big. And, yes, there’s bindweed in the picture, too. If visitors come over he claims that this is a rare bindweed that only grows on certain slopes in a remote mountain range in Kyrgyzstan, and that it only looks like regular bindweed. 14091909I guess that’s it. I ate a bunch of dinner today, much to the guy I live with’s relief, and I had a good afternoon walk. We had a nice sunset and he took a picture of it. It looked sort of like lava in the sky. 14091901

Until next time, then.

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post haste

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to make a quick post before our internet goes out again. You may remember me from such posts as “While We Were Away”, which was also about having no internet, and being rather spoiled by such a technological marvel.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m thinking about not having any internet, of course. 14091506Not much has been happening here, except for my “picky eating”, which the guy I live with has had to deal with, but the weather has been nice, and so have my walks, so I don’t see why he’s complaining.

There are crocuses blooming. I think I already showed Crocus hadriaticus var. lilacinus, but why not show it again?14091001aAnd Crocus kotschyanus HKEP 9317 (collectors’ numbers).14091501Colchicum ‘Violet Queen’. I think.14091505Aster novae-angliae ‘Chilly Winds’. A nice white one. We’re pretending no one has changed the name of North American asters to something horrible. This plant came from Seneca Hill Perennials, alas, no more, as they say across the Atlantic.

We don’t grow the novi-belgii types since they get covered with gross mildew. 14091503Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’.14091502Aster ericoides ‘Pink Cloud’. It fell over, but is covered with honeybees. 14091509And the cowpen daisy, Verbesina encelioides. An annual. Slight chocolate smell to the flowers. 14091508Well, I guess that’s it. Just wanted to show some flowers blooming here, before our internet goes out again.

I don’t care that much, to tell the truth.14091507

 

Until next time, then.

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technical difficulties

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you we are experiencing technical difficulties. Our internet connection has been kind of intermittent lately, and the guy I live with said if I start to do a post, it’ll probably go out again.

Just to let you know. Please stand by.

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