how to avoid gardening

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, on this very beautiful day. You may remember me from such posts as “The Fast Learner”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose.16082002Pretty funny, huh?

If you couldn’t see me there, this picture is zoomed in.16082003There was a lot of gardening today. That’s because it was seventy-four degrees here (about twenty-three Celsius), sunny, and, well, downright gorgeous. So there really wasn’t any excuse to stay inside and talk about all the things that need to be done in the garden.

Though, as you might be able to guess from the title of today’s post, the guy I live with has a severely lazy streak, and has decided to write a book called How To Avoid Gardening. It might be a best-seller; you never know.

That’s probably enough humor for the day, don’t you think?

We spent quite some time being very still, trying to get pictures of the hummingbirds in the garden. I was less still than the guy I live with, but I wasn’t racing around or anything like that. These are the only pictures that came out even reasonably well.16082004

16082005That’s a male black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). They make a lot of whistling noises as they fly through the garden, and sometimes they fly up really high and then dive-bomb us. Today they were sharing, or sort of sharing, the feeders with a broad-tailed hummingbird.

There aren’t that many flowers for the hummingbirds because it’s been so dry here. They visit this sphaeralcea (S. fendleri), but just to look. 16082001Sometimes they look at the Rocky Mountain beeplant, Cleome serrulata (it has another name now, like Peritome or something), but they seem disappointed. Here’s the beeplant with bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoregneria spicata). 16082006That would be all I have for today, but things happened yesterday, and I’m going to talk about them now, if you don’t mind.

In the afternoon (yesterday) it got really windy. (It was even windier than this, but there weren’t any movies being made then.)

And it sprinkled a little, and then stopped, but then, finally, it did this.

It rained for a couple of hours. It wasn’t a huge amount of rain, but it was “totally excellent” according to the guy I live with.

I know I haven’t said very much in this post, but it was such a nice day that it left both of us pretty speechless. Well, it did me, anyway. 1

Until next time, then.


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not only roasting, but gloomy

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the still roasting-hot purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you more news about our roastingly hot garden. You may remember me from such heat-related posts as “Super Roasting”, among so many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. This is what you do when it’s hot for days on end.16081601Sometimes the heat does get to you, and you look like this.16081602Maybe you can see how dry the garden is, in that picture. It’s dry. The guy I live with says it might never rain again. It looks like it’s going to rain, almost every day. Very gloomy, but still hot. This picture might look like rain, but the guy I live with says that nature is faking it. 16081505Sometimes I get bored and play with grasshoppers. I admit that the guy I live with can be quite a hoot, at times, but grasshoppers are pretty interesting. 16081603He said to make sure not to eat the grasshopper, because then I might get all jumpy.

Let’s look at some things in the garden, now. This the native “cowpen daisy”, Verbesina encelioides. It’s an annual. An unhappy annual. 16081504Here’s the lilac, ‘Victor Lemoine’, with drooping leaves. 16081508You can see how gloomy it is here. You can’t really see how hot it is, or how dry, but it is gloomy. 160801501The “lawn” is really pathetic. The guy I live with said he was going to fix that. Eventually. 16081503The “way back” is super dry, too. The buffalo grass looks okay, but it gets watered about once a week. 16081507Not everything is totally gloomy, of course. The Tecoma ‘Orange Jubilee’ is flowering. It’s in a big pot on the patio and gets water. It takes a little bit of frost, so if it gets left out on the patio by mistake, it doesn’t die. The leaves get all wrecked, but they grow back. There’s also the yellow-flowered Tecoma stans, in a pot, that’s been here for decades. The lady of the house grew it from seed, and it’s been left out in freezing weather more than once. And allowed to dry out and drop all its leaves, too. 16081506And even though there aren’t very many flowers here, the hummingbirds are still happy. 16081600Because it’s so thundery in the evenings, I only go on my morning walks. The other day I was just walking along, the way you do, and the guy I live with said I almost stepped on a huge bullsnake. He said I wasn’t very observant. But I was on my walk, after all, and when you’re on a walk, walking is what you do. Walking and sniffing. Not looking around for enormous snakes that might swallow you. That’s the guy I live with’s job, to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And so, then, there was another horticultural crisis. It may have been partly my fault. The neighbor got a new dog, and I wanted to meet it, and bark at it a lot, and things like that. The guy I live with had to put up another fence (he says I’ll learn not to race and leap through the garden, when I get older, but I doubt it), and then when I stood on the two troughs in the corner, to try to see over the fence, he decided to move them. He said that Slipper, who lived here a while ago, stood on troughs too, and broke one, once, but that it was the guy I live with’s fault, because of the way the trough was placed.

The guy I live with said the troughs weigh at least two hundred pounds each (about ninety-one kilograms), but he has a method of moving them, which he showed in an earlier post. (Though, this time, he didn’t break a trough at the end.)

So the troughs are moved, and now there is this space. The soil is “beyond awful”. 16081502It’s possible that either a great deal of thought will be put into deciding which plant, or plants, will go here (keeping in mind that I need to be able to look through the fence), or that no thought at all will go into the decision, and the guy I live with will just get something, plant it, and the plant will die. That happens a lot.

That piece of vintage steel garden fence on the right protects a plant of Clematis × triternata ‘Rubromarginata’ (whew) which isn’t quite dead yet.

A shipment of bulbs came today. Maybe if you looked at the other pictures you can guess why the guy I live with likes bulbs so much. (They’re underground all summer.)16081604It may surprise you to learn that sometimes these posts take quite a bit of time to prepare. When I started this post, things were all gloomy and roasting. And then this happened.16081605This isn’t enough rain to make the plants happy, but it’s enough to cool things off so I’m not so roastingly hot. And that’s what really counts.

The guy I live with says it’s supposed to cool off even more by this weekend, and maybe even rain some more. That sounds okay to me. 16081600a copy

Until next time, then.



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