Hello everyone, it’s me again, Chess the purebred border collie. You may remember me from such posts as “Stinker’s Revenge” and “Another Lonely Day”, which, if I do say so myself, were so totally excellent as to redefine the notion of excellence for decades to come. Border collies are noted for their modesty.
Here I am after having a nice drink of water.
The reason why I’m doing this post, aside from being able to guarantee total and complete excellence, is that the guy I live with has a case of the creeps and can’t do much of anything. There was a tick crawling on him this morning and you should have seen him dance. He’s really, really tired of all this tick business and I would be too except that I get extra attention, including lots of brushing.
The guy I live with is not especially fond of bugs. Arachnids, which he knows are not bugs, are his least favorite. My mommy really liked all these things, the bigger and grosser the better, but she mostly kept that to herself. There was one summer when fourteen orb weaver spiders made webs on the kitchen ceiling, and the guy I live with liked my mommy so much that he put up with it, understanding that the orb weavers were there to help keep bugs out of the house, since the back door is always open. My grandpa Flurry had to come inside really quickly one day and bashed in the screen door, and so that was that with the screen door, and they never bothered to get another one.
Then there was the time the guy I live with found a gigantic wolf spider and, as my mommy put it, “screamed like a girl”, which the guy I live with totally denied, and still does. My mommy put the spider in a cage, fed it raw meat, and named it Silas Gray, or Grey; I forget, and it probably isn’t important. Silas had a body that was over an inch and a half long, and that’s not including the legs, of course. The guy I live with pretended the cage wasn’t there, until the next spring, when Silas was let go in the garden.
Well, anyway, that’s the reason why the guy I live with has such a problem with blood-sucking arachnids. Which brings me to the plant of the day. No, not coreopsis. I decided to go to the Balkans, instead. (Border collie humor can be both sophisticated and subtle.)
Here is the gesneriad, Haberlea rhodopensis. The guy I live with thought it might be H. fernandi-coburgii, but according to Flora Europaea, that has glabrous leaves and is known only from one population in central Bulgaria and probably is just a variety of H. rhodopensis. Whatever, huh.
He has a whole trough full of these because he saw a trough full of them in a Czech rock gardening book and that was good enough for him. He also says that the genus was named for Karl Konstantin Haberle (1764-1832), author of Beobachtungen über die Gestalt der Grund- und Keimkrystalle des schörlartigen Berils und dessen übrige oryctorgnostische und geognostische Verhältnisse and Ueber Witterungsbeurtheilung und -erspähung; oder, ausführliche Uebersicht dessen, was bisher zur wissenschaftlichen Begründung der Meteorologie geschahe, und noch dafür zu thun ist. The guy I live with says back in those days people liked long titles, because when they were finished reading them, it was almost as though they’d read the entire book. This came from a German Wikipedia site, by the way.
There are a couple of unhappy ramondas growing at the back of the trough. The guy I live with doesn’t know why he has such a hard time with ramondas; he said he saw enormous clumps of them growing in plain garden soil on the north side of the house in the late Mary Ann Heacock’s garden. He planted a whole trough full of them last year, but that didn’t work out too well after squirrels dug up most of them. He plans to try again.
Not so with the ultimate hardy gesneriad, Jankaea heldreichii. One year he grew a whole bunch from Archibald seed, feeling all Olympian and stuff, and then forgot about them for just one day, and that’s something you can’t do, at least if you want the plants to live. He was pretty ticked off with himself for letting that happen, but things happen. He says he might try growing it again some day.
Today he was a rock gardener, tomorrow he’ll think about grasses again, maybe the next day about cactus. I’m not sure I really know what it is that makes the guy I live with tick.
Okay, I better go now. This wasn’t nearly as much about me as it should have been.
What makes him “tick”? Clever!
Border collies are clever. See the bell hanging by the door? That’s for ringing to go out. With my nose.
Are these deer ticks or dog ticks you are seeing Chess? Hmm…
Don’t know. Ticks. Black ones. Hopefully gone now.