as above, so below

Greetings everyone, it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here again to entertain you with the most delightful and informative posts a border collie can provide. You may remember me from such posts as “He Fixes Something” and “Tick Talk”, among others. Here I am in a characteristic pose. You can also see the ancient creaky rattan furniture (even older than the guy I live with, if you can believe that, and fun for border collies to climb onto), and I would suggest that you note the colors of the wall behind me. My mommy picked out those colors, but they’re full of portent at the moment. Symbolic, even.


Well, the day started out quite nicely, with our walk and all, and the guy I live with did stuff, and then the UPS guy showed up, and guess what was in the box?


That’s right, lavenders. And some mints and stuff. These came from Goodwin Creek Gardens and the first thing the guy I live with noticed was that they sent these UPS ground because it was cheaper, which was nice of the nursery since he clicked the three day delivery box, and there was a note that some of the plants were small so they sent him a free plant.

He explained to me that small plants establish more easily because there is an equal balance between roots and top growth, so the hormone balance is good, and the plants will be happier than ones with too much top growth versus roots. An even more difficult situation exists when the pot is nothing but roots, so almost none of them can absorb enough water to hydrate the top growth. “As above, so below” he said, and while this reminds me of Hermes Trismegistus and Jakob Böhme, it didn’t have anything at all to do with that, so he wasn’t getting all mystical on me. That was a relief.

The lavenders are mostly white or pink ones, and several of them are actually what they call lavandins, rather than “regular” lavenders. Regular lavender is Lavandula angustifolia, and it has a very wide distribution, growing even in the Pyrenees, which makes it the hardiest species. A lavandin is Lavandula × intermedia, and cross between L. angustifolia, and the less hardy but even more drought-resistant L. latifolia. Some people think that one produces better oil than the other. All the guy I live with thinks about this is that you can scarcely make herbes de Provence without lavender.

There is a chicken dish which you make with herbes de Provence and lots of butter that ….well, I better not start talking about food. The guy I live with says that both Lavandula lanata and L. stoechas are also hardy here, but, he says “not if they die.”

All very interesting. And speaking of hybrids, there’s also a Buddleia ‘Lochinch’ (B. davidii × B. fallowiana) in the flat there. He already has one, but this one was in bloom, and there’s not much like the scent of a buddleia, at least to the guy I live with. They have some really big ones at the Bad Place, not ‘Lochinch’, but they smell nice. He doesn’t feel like spelling buddleia with a J like most people do now. It’s hard enough to get people to pronounce plant names correctly, like they were words in English instead of in Klingon, without having this J business to deal with.


And, oh, let’s see, it got really scary this afternoon, the way it does every afternoon at this time of year now. The guy I live with says it didn’t used to, and even though I wonder if “it didn’t used to” is real English, the good old days do sound better to me. He says that August used to average 8.3 days with thunderstorms, but I’ve heard thunder every day but one so far. I even heard it when we started out for our afternoon walk, and I had to go back inside. Those stories of seeing my skeleton if I got hit by lightning were not encouraging. We waited for a while and then the storm blew to the east and we were able to go on our walk after all. It hardly rained at all. Whew, huh.


What else? The oriole feeder is still attracting lots of orioles, but also some non-oriole visitors. You should see them when the guy I live with takes the feeders down for “rejellification”. He uses one of those grabber deals to get the feeders, even though the hornets don’t seem to have any interest in stinging him….yet…but they do follow him back to the patio to see what’s what with the grape jelly.

In fact, he got a call about having the garden on tour, and the person on the other end of the phone was shocked when he said he didn’t grow any “edibles” (what a ridiculous word), but he does have quite a few stingables in the yard, besides the hornets. Yellow jackets, wasps, bumblebees, bees of all kinds.


So that, like I like to say, was our day. The guy I live with got his lavenders, and now has to start thinking. That’s a process which makes me go into another room. One day I’ll tell you about the thinking process, and what’s involved, but right now I’ll say goodbye, and sign off with a picture of the moon this evening.


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17 Responses to as above, so below

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    I got my lavenders from Goodwin Creek, too. Very nice to talk with them on the phone. I remember when I called them about making my lavender hedge: “Your tag says to plant these dwarf lavenders 12″ apart, but I want to plant these to a make a small, dense hedge, so how close should I plant them?” “12 inches apart.” Very sensible plant folk.

  2. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Hello, Chess. Fisher here. My Grammy was sad to learn that Buddleia has been banned as an invasive in Oregon and Washington. She says this puts to rest any dreams she may have harbored or relocating to Oregon. (Not to worry! There are plenty of other dreams to take this one’s place–see below) Invasives, in her book, are porcelain berry, bittersweet, English ivy and other plants of their ilk that smother and choke all surrounding vegetation unfortunate enough to be possessed of a milder manner. To lump the graceful and sublimely scented butterfly bush in with this gang of nasty characters seems a bitter injustice. My Grammy says that her ideal garden would be filled with rugosa roses, lavender, rosemary and buddleia, and if they all self-sowed, then all the better, since she much prefers thinning over planting! Personally, I don’t think my sensitive canine nose could stand all those aromas, but I probably shouldn’t worry about it, cause I think it’s never going to be anything more than just another one of my Grammy’s delusional dreams, like moving to Colorado, or visiting Provence when the lavender is in flower, just to name a few. Looks like the guy you live with has a lot of planting ahead of him. Maybe you could help dig some of the holes. Wag on!

  3. Diana says:

    Buddleias banned in Oregon! That is so sad. I have a friend in Portland who loves her butterfly bush so much she can barely bring herself to prune it. Every year hummingbirds nest in it.
    I think humans are much more invasive than buddleias, and no one has banned them.

    • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

      My Grammy thinks that Buddleias are possibly innocent victims of reactionary hysteria–something, she says, we seem to do very well in this country. Hopefully the Buddleia police don’t force your friend to get rid of her beloved bush—they can’t do that, can they????

    • paridevita says:

      People have tried to ban some humans; I think they do this all the time.

  4. Laurrie says:

    Good luck with the lavenders. They failed for me in wet New England, but yours should do better. Although, having just arrived in Denver yesterday to clouds and rain and a little thunder & lightning, I was surprised. My son says what you have noted, it has been weird stormy cool weather this year, and it certainly is for my visit right now. But I’m happy to be in your part of the world even for a few semi stormy days!

    • paridevita says:

      There were a lot, several years ago, but they disappeared during the Great Upheaval.
      You could visit here, if you want. My email is ….I can’t figure out how to add a contact button to the website.
      And see the spectacular (as in jaw dropping) Kintzley’s Ghost honeysuckle down the street.

      • Laurrie says:

        Ahh, I would have loved to see the jaw dropping Kintzley’s Ghost. Thanks for the invite, I would like to see in real life what Chess goes on about, as he seems an unreliable narrator. Next time I come out I’ll take you up on your offer of a visit. (I did get a Kintzley’s Ghost up in Ft. Collins today.)

      • paridevita says:

        Fort Collins? I could have given you a list of stuff I need…..
        We do like having visitors, unreliable narrator notwithstanding.

      • pamit says:

        Hey, is that an invite for any regular reader to visit? And…why “petuniaman”? I don’t think I’ve seen many petunias in your pictures. (I have lots tho, “Laura Bush” is my fave.)

      • paridevita says:

        Sure. is another email. I don’t know why there’s no contact button on the web page, but I haven’t done much with the appearance, except opt for the no ads business.

  5. Thea says:

    Please, what is the Bad Place? Perhaps I missed a metaphor?

    • paridevita says:

      It’s the place where the guy I live with takes me to get stuck with needles and suffer all sorts of other indignities. He claims he does this to keep me healthy.
      I like the ride going there, and everyone is really super nice to me, but I’d rather not have to go inside, if it’s all the same. I keep saying we could just go, and stop, and like wave, and then turn around, but instead, I get stuck with needles. The guy I live with keeps explaining why we have to do this but it never sinks in.

  6. Vivian Swift says:

    I had to look up almost every other word in this post, and I find the fact that Jakob Bohme sold woolen gloves heartbreaking. I’ve never heard of the thrice-great Hermes but if there’s a god of writing I really should learn how to tap into that, or else I’ll be selling woolen gloves one day soon (and god, I hate working retail).

    Awww, Chess, you’re a thrice-great DoG. Lavender inside and out …. nice homage to your sweet mom. If Colorado were France you’d have to give that chateau a name, Maison Sans J or something not so pun-ny because puns are the lowest form of humor, in that they are highly unamusing.

    Anybody calls my butterfly bush “invasive”, them’s fighting words.

    • paridevita says:

      I had a relative who sold test tubes full of sand as fire extinguishers. Some family members wondered if there was something wrong with him.
      La paronomasie, à bas, non? The maison, avec its jardin, used to be called Little Fantods. People who never heard of Edward Gorey would ask what a fantod might be, and there were a few people who wondered why “little”. (“As opposed to Great Fantods, up on the hill”, was the standard answer.) The name fell into disuse after a few years.
      We don’t talk about invasive plants around here. There are more interesting things to think about.

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