just some things

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our garden, on what turned out to be a very beautiful day. You may remember me from such posts as “Divers Things”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.It was a really beautiful day today. Sunny, without any dark clouds and scary thunder appearing in the afternoon and frightening me. We had a sunny day yesterday, after a cold and cloudy morning.

You can’t always tell what the weather will be like on any given day. It can be deceptive. This is what the sky looked like on a day with lots of thunderstorms.Today, the sky looked like this, but even though there were clouds, it wasn’t one of those days that send me running to my upstairs fort.

Maybe you get the idea that in the last several months the guy I live with has felt pretty overwhelmed by things in his life. He does very well with stress, though working with his mom’s estate has been a bit much. He has his ninth tax appointment of the year this week. He says it is okay to be jealous of that. (And you thought he didn’t have a sense of humor.) In fact he often wonders if some people do have any sense of humor at all.

But whatever; back to the stress business. He “rather foolishly” agreed to have the garden on tour at the end of this month and doesn’t have the slightest idea how he is going to have things look even remotely presentable. There is no one else to help in the garden now that his wife, who loved to weed, with Chess at her side, is gone. On the other hand it isn’t like he has all that much else to do, besides the tax thing and visiting his friend.

He says things will be fine, and if the garden looks really bad, he just throw drop cloths on the weedy parts and tell visitors that there are mysterious experiments going on under the drop cloths.

The garden is more overgrown than it has ever been. We’ve had lots of rain. 

A lot of the grasses you see in the picture above are ones we want to have, but a lot aren’t, too.

The “way back” is even worse. You can see a whole bunch of smooth brome growing around, and also in, the blue lyme grass.  The field full of smooth brome is just a few feet over to the right (west). It crawls under the fence and sends runners hundreds of feet away. The guy I live with says it’s like the Ultimate Weed.

And there’s the catmint. The guy I live with’s wife wanted it, and so he planted it, and now it’s absolutely everywhere. (The cinder block isn’t supposed to be there, but never got moved back where the others are, waiting to be concealed by a low fence.)“And the feverfew.” I forget about that, sometimes, but it’s also everywhere. There’s some right there in the picture, near the cinder block.

There are some things flowering, too. You can see Asphodeline damascena, in this not-very-focused picture.

The first flower on Rosa kokanica:But as the guy I live with would say, this isn’t a summer-oriented garden any more, as far as flowers are concerned. It’s mostly grasses, though native ones, not the kind you find in nurseries, which mostly need too much water to do well here.

There are some plants that are still important here, for flowers. You may remember the post “A Sad Farewell” (the one I posted, not the one the guy I live with posted before Chess took over the blog), where I talked about the desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, possibly being killed, and he was really wondering about it just a few weeks ago, even though it grew taller than him last summer, but things seem to be back to normal now.The desert willow likes heat, of which we haven’t had much of. We purebred border collies do not like hot weather at all, but the guy I live with does.

He wanted to move to Tucson when he retired (or Portland; it changed from week to week), to get away from the weather here. His wife was against moving to either place, for reasons he never understood, though there was some talk about how hot it got in the desert. He would tell her about the “clear” scorpions and spiders as big as a dinner plate (possibly an exaggeration), because she liked bugs, but it wasn’t enough to sway her.

So we have a desert willow (three, actually) which yearns for the warmth of more southerly climes. (I always wanted to say “climes”.)  But when it flowers, the whole garden is scented of violets, at night.

I guess I’m going to have to endure three weeks of nothing but weeding, and complaining that it isn’t hot enough for the desert willows, but things could be worse. I’ll leave you with a picture of me, walking along, surrounded by nothing but weeds. 


Until next time, then.





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the arboretum again

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on all of the latest news. You may remember me from such posts as “The Missing Grass’, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a serious pose. The guy I live with said to say characteristic, but I was feeling serious and not so characteristic. I’m not exactly sure why I was feeling serious, but I was. 

I brought the pine cone into the house, if you didn’t know. They don’t just appear here. Maybe they do, sometimes.

Anyway, the guy I live with says it’s that time of year again. Severe weather is forecast for tomorrow. He said he would stay home with me, so that part is good. We can be inside, watching TV (“Grace and Frankie”, over and over again), and hoping for the best. It can be pretty scary.

There were bad storms today, but “out east”, I guess in places like where Pooka, a purebred border collie who lived here in the last century, was born. Out on the plains.

The sun came out after all the clouds moved eastward. There are flowers, too. I know, hard to believe, right? This is Gladiolus atroviolaceus. (Not a phone picture.)

The wolfberry, Lycium pallidum, is flowering. This was taken with the phone, like all the other pictures except for the gladiolus and the hens and chicks picture below this one. The guy I live with hasn’t figured out how to get the best focus.

Now that the anniversary has passed, things are more or less back to normal, though with some fretting about the weather, as is usual this time of year.

The guy I live with suddenly realized that he’s the age his grandfather was when the guy I live with was a kid in Los Angeles, which was a very happy time for him. (See the post “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”) He told me he always thought this was an excellent age to be, and now he has someone to share his life with, so things are pretty good all around.

He and his friend went to the Chatfield Arboretum the other day, because she wanted to look at the big willow sculpture (called “One Fell Swoop”), and he wanted to go with her. (And also because, in a not totally indirect way, a visit there four years ago caused him to be open to the possibility of meeting someone. I can tell more of the story later.) The arboretum isn’t very far away from here. It’s on the site of an old farm, with lots of farm buildings, farm implements, and gardens.

I guess Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, posted a lot of pictures of the arboretum (see his post, “At The Arboretum”…I’m not sure whose title is cleverer), but the guy I live with said that more pictures couldn’t hurt.

This is Penstemon eatonii

They have vegetable gardens, too. There’s a hawk, lunching on a rabbit, in this picture. Just at the far end of the roll of weed barrier, there.

The place is pretty big, several acres, but eventually they found the willow sculpture, and also met someone they knew, who took one of the pictures. Pretty sure you’ll be able to guess which one. 

Pretty nice picture, huh?

The guy I live with likes to wear that baggy old flannel shirt, even when it gets hot. He says you can’t get ultra-soft flannel like that any more, but he hasn’t done much flannel research.

Back to the garden, now. The guy I live with has been weeding. Not furiously weeding, but weeding. There are a lot of weeds. More than he’s ever seen. Lots of smooth brome everywhere. I helped, of course. This is me, helping, in the “way back”. There are a lot of dead branches this year, which is what the bag is for. The smooth brome and other weeds just get piled up in bare spaces in the back garden (the “way back”). I can tell by the language used that the guy I live with does not care for smooth brome. But after the big weeding session it looks a lot less unkempt back there.

Well, what else? The ducks. There are ducks in the canal. The guy I live with said they’re all bachelors. There are some married ducks around, though, and so I guess we’ll be seeing ducklings pretty soon.

That’s pretty much it, for today. There may have been some other things, but, if so, I’ve forgotten what they were. 


Until next time, then.


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