stuff and nonsense

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani 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 Misty Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Waiting to go on my evening walk. Waiting very patiently, and wondering why we’re not going.It’s been super-dry here; even hot. It was seventy-eight degrees here today (25.5 C) and it’s been like that for a few days. It’s not freezing at night. The guy I live with says this isn’t unusual, except for the dryness. The record dry March was in 1945, with .13 inches (3.3 mm), and so far this one has been drier.

The guy I live with also talks about watering, but he hasn’t done any yet. Maybe you can see how dry the garden looks. He says this is okay. I guess he’s right ….

The flower pots in the picture above are for covering things, but it hasn’t been necessary for a while. Maybe it will be, next week.

There are quite a few things in flower right now. This is the pink form of Chionodoxa luciliae.And Adonis amurensis. It’s late because it’s in more shade than it used to be, so it takes longer for the soil to warm up, where it is now. It was in sun when it was first planted, about twenty years ago. It gets less attractive as it grows, but it’s nice now.Viburnum farreri is flowering too. It flowers later here than at the botanic gardens, because it’s in more shade. See the fallen fence pickets behind the viburnum? I’ll talk about them after I show the pictures. Flowers are scented of heliotrope.About the pickets. They fell down. They used to be set on the fence, with the other end set on the roof of the shed. Because raccoons would get up on the shed roof and have no way to get back into the yard they came from, and I would feel obliged to bark at them for hours. The raccoons used the pickets to escape my deadly clutches. But they fell down. The guy I live with just noticed this a couple of days ago, and said the pickets will have to be put back up, because raccoons do what raccoons do.

The guy I live with’s ear is stopped up. This happens a lot. He spent thirty years talking on the phone, and so this happens. He went to look for some stuff to put in his ear, and discovered the bottle said the medicine expired in 2011. That was a long time ago. He said it’s weird to think that “2011” was a long time ago, since when he was little he always thought that the year 2000 would be a weird year to live in, and there would be rocket cars and jet packs and everyone would be at peace with one another. It turned out differently.

While he was going through all the bottles and things, to see what had expired, there was this bottle of Selsun Blue shampoo which had expired an even longer time ago. He threw it away. And then he said he felt really ill-at-ease doing that, because the bottle was used to give Slipper a bath, since he had a super-oily coat. He felt so strange about throwing away this connection to Slipper that he got the bottle and put it back where it’s been for over ten years.

He keeps telling me he’s not a weirdo, that the therapist he used to see told him he was sane and all, but I sometimes wonder. On the other hand, I know I do like to have things pretty much the same, in the house, and in my yard. I guess you call it continuity.

Some tomato seeds are germinating. The guy I live with’s friend saved these from last year, and he sowed them a few days ago. Speaking of germinating seeds, you may already be aware that the guy I live with is kind of obsessed with finding easier ways to germinate seed. A while back he got a packet of seeds of Mirabilis longiflora, and looked online to see how to germinate these. Some sources said stratification helps, some said germination would occur at warm temperatures some time within one to five weeks.

“Stuff and nonsense”, the guy I live with said. (There’s a book called that, by A.B. Frost, in the living room, so I wondered what he meant.)  The seeds looked pretty hard. Like impermeable-to-water hard. (They’re way more in focus than this in real life.) The seed coats aren’t really that hard, not like morning glories or members of the pea family.He soaked some in warm water overnight, then made a slit in the seed coat, and put the seeds in a wet coffee filter, which was placed in a freezer bag. The bag was sealed and left upstairs for a day. All the seeds needed was an entrance for water to get in.

The sprouted seeds went into peat pots this evening.

But not before I went on my walk. You can see that the grass is turning green. That extremely green grass is Kentucky bluegrass, which must have escaped from the yard next to the fence. I think you can see the path we walk on, in the evening. It’s really a coyote path. We go this way in the evening because of the possibility of unleashed dogs, going the other way, and the guy I live with says this is safer. He took a picture of the group of Yucca baccata in our front yard, too. The front yard is kind of messy.Then we got to look into “someone’s” back yard. This is a terrible picture, really, but I kind of like looking into this back yard. I do know whose it is.There are some pea shrubs, Caragana arborescens, which are leafing out at the bottom. You probably can’t see that. The guy I live with said that this was the first thing he planted in the back yard. There were people flying on those propeller-powered hang-glider things too. You can see the one in this picture if you embiggen it. It’s that black dot in the lower center.That surely has to be it for today. I know this was a sort of rambling post, but I’m easily distracted, as the guy I live with will tell you. 

Until next time, then.

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the new berm

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani 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 “When Border Collies Attack”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I guess you know where the biscuit is.Pretty much less than nothing has happened since my last post. Quite a few days go by with nothing happening at all. Sometimes the guy I live with rakes up leaves and things in the back yard, or takes pictures. Sometimes he just sits inside because the smell from the neighbor’s laundry is so strong. Sometimes he goes to the store.

Then the other day, when we came home from Day Care, the guy I live with discovered that all of the crocus flowers had been shredded by birds. Some language ensued. He said the birds, probably robins, were looking for bugs in the flowers.

There was a tiny bit of rain one night, but mostly it’s been extremely dry. But it was weird to wake up and see things all damp. It was about a millimeter of rain. Or it could have been snow, even, that melted in the morning before we got up.

When the sun shines through the birch (Betula occidentalis) in the afternoon, the sunshine on the twigs makes these peculiar circular patterns. Kind of cool, huh? The birch has been here a very long time, and would be happier growing next to water, but this is where it lives.

A few things are flowering, despite the cold nights and the birds. (And whatever else is chomping on the plants). This is a “regular” form of Iris reticulata. The point-and-shoot makes the flowers look too blue; they’re really purpler. A few days ago, the guy I live with decided to do something he’d been wanting to do for a while, and so he did it. What he did was rake up all the dirt and gravel that was strewn around in the middle of the lawn, and make a berm out of it. If it looks like a pile of dirt and gravel, that’s because that’s exactly what it is.

It was a berm a couple of years ago; maybe you saw me lying on it was I was extremely miniature. Over time the berm got flatter, for some reason.

A dwarf conifer, Pinus monophylla ‘Tiny Taylor’, was transplanted into the berm. Plants get caged for their first year in the garden. (This cage is a bit too tall.) “To keep them in place”, is what he said. And because of the various rodents that might do harm to the little conifers. I know it doesn’t look like much, but not looking like much is kind of one of the garden’s mottoes, and so there you are.

Someone had to protect the berm, just in case. This is me, protecting it. The black tub is a liner for a half-whiskey barrel (half a barrel that used to hold whiskey, not half-whiskey), but we don’t have one of those here. There used to be half barrels in the garden, but they weren’t here when I showed up. Except for the one at the end of the patio, which never has anything planted in it. Someone talked him into taking the tubs and he’s been stuck with them ever since, but they are useful for covering bulbs on freezing nights.

Here I am again, protecting the berm, and keeping a close eye on my stuffed hedgehog lying on the flagstone. You never know what might happen.If it gets windy, which it has, lately, at least part of the berm can be held down securely. This is how you do it. I guess I was lying on some sedums that had been planted there (Sedum rupestre, I think), but I didn’t hear anything about it later.

I understand that some grass seed, buffalo grass seed, will be sown on the right side of the berm (the north side), and that it really won’t look as dumb as it looks now. I’ve heard that before.

So I think that’s it for today. We have a new berm. Or, the berm that was has been made new again. There’s a pile of dirt in the middle of the lawn, really. 

Until next time, then.

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