more degrees, please

“…Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!”

Uh huh. Coleridge didn’t have to endure what I do; in fact, the previous min-max thermometer I owned was made in England, and one night it got so cold the thermometer just gave up.

This is the face of winter right now. The thermometer says about 18, which is no dream of spring.


A few scanned slides of plants in the rock gardens, to cheer me up. I suppose these were taken back in the last century.


Acantholimon araxanum; fruit of Physaria chambersii behind it


Acantholimon kotschyi


Androsace vandellii


Arabis aubretioides


Carlina acaulis ….Cindy accidentally weeded this out one year


Edraianthus pumilio ….messily devoured by rodents a few years ago


Edraianthus serbicus

Then some cactus pictures, to remind myself that the cactus sale at DBG is only eleven weeks away. Time, even frozen time, passes quickly. Cactus sale …..cactus sale ……are my hands trembling? Maybe it’s just the cold.

In De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, we learn that Coleridge tried to cure himself of his opium addiction by paying people to stand guard in front of the shops, to keep him from buying opium, and then he would bribe them to let him in. I employ a more subtle approach.

“Excuse me, but I do believe that plant was grown especially for me. Do you mind?”

“I looked at these plants earlier, and they all have a disease that’s very difficult to cure. If you would go over to that area in the corner, you might find something you like.”

“These aren’t hardy here; they brought the wrong plants by mistake. If you would go over to that area in the corner …etc.”

“There’s a game on in the other room.”


I did, as I think I mentioned, injure my back trying to carry all the plants at the DBG Mother’s Day sale, and the lesson I learned here is that I should plan to nurse my injured back again.



This last one is what Anderson, in The Cactus Family, calls Echinocereus mojavensis. The curved spines being diagnostic. Cindy wanted to draw this, so I dug up the whole plant and potted it, and it spent about a year in the house, sitting for its portrait. Then I replanted it in the garden. Maybe I should dig up all the plants and put them inside for the winter.

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10 Responses to more degrees, please

  1. Just want to rip out all my big ungainly plants and redo the whole place as a rock garden specimen collection.

    • paridevita says:

      There are a lot of things to be said about rock gardening. You can get more plants into one space. There are all sorts of plants to grow, too; plants from North America, Europe, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey and Central Asia, China, Japan, Kamchatka, the Andes, New Zealand, etc. Lots of vicarious travel possible there. Growing from seed is fun, even with the considerable restrictions placed on American gardeners. And there are several societies devoted to rock gardening, full of friendly people. Meeting someone who shares your passion for these plants can be very rewarding. One good place to look at stuff is The International Rock Gardener on the Scottish Rock Garden Club website. Downloadable PDFs.

      • I have an old copy of Reginald Farrer’s My Rock Garden so that’s one step.

        My garden is so lush and damp and green. I got all excited last summer and decided to turn an area into a scree garden, but the first couple of areas I picked were where I realized I might need privacy (tall things) depending on who buys the now empty house next door. I have one other area that might work and now am all inspired again.

      • paridevita says:

        Undoubtedly a local chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society near you. Friendly people, gardens to visit, and …..plant sales.

      • Portland, 0regon 2.5 hours away. I am two hours from two major garden landmarks, Cistus and Joy Creek.

      • paridevita says:

        Almost said that two hours isn’t a very long drive (for here), but then realized that getting out of the driveway is a major accomplishment for me. Driving for two hours, versus napping for two hours and pretending I drove somewhere, napping wins. I’m kind of glad that Cistus is so far away for me……. But then, there are mail order nurseries; Wrightman’s, Beaver Creek, Wild Ginger Farm, Siskiyou, etc. In Colorado, Sunscapes and Laporte Avenue Nursery. Great stuff to be had.

      • I have a major flaw in the modern world : I do not drive. Fortunately, Allan does not mind going to nurseries. He usually buys a fern of some sort.

      • paridevita says:

        Don’t know if I’d call that a flaw. My seven year old car has 28K miles on it. Anyway, mail order nurseries. Getting things in the mail is extremely fun.

      • It sure is, especially when they throw in a bonus plant. I used to order from a guy called Herb Senfft (Skyline) and he always threw in a bonus. Doesn’t happen often anymore.

      • paridevita says:

        No, not too much. Far Reaches threw in a bonus plant, and YuccaDo has, and maybe some other places. I take back what I said about mileage; it’s 24K, not 28, on a seven year old car. Still has a little new car smell……

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