il giardino di leonardo

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, whose brain has been so wracked today that he needs a long period of rest. You may remember me from such posts as “Memory and Desire” and “My Garden in Spring”, among many, many others. Here I am in a characteristic pose, just waiting for my opportunity at the laptop so I can make fun of the guy I live with. He’s a regular Leonardo da Vinci, let me tell you.


Today the UPS man brought him some plants. This is nothing new, believe me. Here they are.


The box on the left is from Mountain Valley Growers, and the plants on the right are salvias from Flowers by the Sea. The guy I live with knew what to do with the plants on the right; they’re in pots, and he can figure them out. The stems are kind of twisty because of their trip to him in a box, but they’re such nice plants they’ll recover quickly with the cool nights here.

Look how beautifully these plants are packed. Not to mention grown. Lots of thymes and stuff. He spent about an hour trying to figure out how to get the plants out. I know, spent a lot of thyme, right? Leonardo at work.


After studying this situation, he thought that what you do is just cut the tape and lift the plants out that way, so he cut the tape and discovered the plants don’t really lift out. He was stymied. I was inside busy guarding the house, but if I had been out on the patio I might have pointed out the pretty obvious holes which were probably put there for a purpose.

Then it dawned on him.



The holes are for dita, Leonardo; fingers. You put your fingers into the holes and lift out the little trays. Che genio, eh? What a genius.

I could have reminded him of the time the alternator went out on the truck he and my mommy used to own, and Leonardo decided to replace it himself, which isn’t too difficult (so he says), but he spent all day trying to get the new one back in place, and my mommy sat downstairs so she couldn’t hear what he claimed were “car repair expletives”, necessary to help get the (expletive) alternator back in, and this went on for hours until my mommy came out into the garage, snatched the alternator from Leonardo’s dita, took a C clamp and pressed in the little deals which were preventing him from properly fitting the alternator in place, handed it back to him, and walked back inside. The alternator slipped right into place.

Of course, I could have told him leggere le istruzioni, read the instructions, but Leonardo has no use for such things, and didn’t even know there were any. There were.


That took up most of the day. It’s amazing how little gets done when he spends so much time thinking.

I’ll say addio now; until next time.

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12 Responses to il giardino di leonardo

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    I’m counting four languages you appear to know. Or are there others? Are you hiding something exotic like Urdu from us?

    • paridevita says:

      “Appear” might be a good term. I took Latin in high school, and German and Italian in college. Taught myself French in the 70s (an easy step from Latin); can read Spanish pretty well, and some others.
      I can order food in Hindi at an Indian restaurant, if necessary.
      I ordered Alternatives au gazon in order to keep my mind active, since I’m entering my Declining Years, and don’t want to decline too quickly. For people who know some German (and English), Dutch is pretty easy, and the rock gardening book Rotstuinen (rock gardens) is pretty cool and easily understandable. (Tuin, an enclosed place, a garden, a town.)

  2. Marialuisa says:

    Ciao Chess,
    ti seguo dall’Italia, da Roma, e trovo meraviglioso il vostro blog (tuo e del tipo con cui vivi). Mi piace seguire le vostre passeggiate, ammirare il vostro stupendo giardino e gli animali che lo visitano. Penso che abbiate un grande senso dell’umorismo e questo rende il vostro blog unico al mondo. Giardinaggio, risate, vicende umane, animali selvatici, lacrime: nessuno lo fa come voi.
    Mi commuovo sempre quando vedo le foto della tua mammina, credo che sia stata una donna adorabile. Ora scopro che parli italiano, che felice sorpresa! Non potevo non manifestarti la mia gioia di poter comunicare con voi nella mia lingua madre, dato che il mio inglese scritto è un po’ zoppicante.
    Ringrazio The amazing Loree di Danger Garden per avermi fatto conoscere questo fantastico mondo – lontano, purtroppo -.
    Vi abbraccio tutti calorosamente come si fa in Italia

    P. S.: Chess, cerca di essere indulgente con i coniglietti che ospitate in giardino, e con i gatti. Ti piacerebbero.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I thought I would respond in English, if that’s okay. My mommy was adorabile. She thought I was too.
      Inseguo i gatti dal mio giardino. I chase cats from my garden. …

      • Marialuisa says:

        You’re so kind, Chess, for translation, and the guy you live with too. I see, you love cats,
        And I love chatting with a purebred border collie, it seems a funny psychoanalytical play.

      • paridevita says:

        You’re welcome. I also love sprinklers. The guy I live with says not enough water goes to the plants …..

  3. Vivian Swift says:

    Hoo boy. I would think a book about gazons in French would be a better aid against insomnia than dementia. But bravo for your challenging reading material. The only thing I use my years of French learnin’ for is to read Paris Match. Got to keep up with those hilarious Grimaldis.

    You forgot Portuguese. If you know Latin, French, and Spanish, you can easily get the hang of Portuguese. I think it’s such a pretty-sounding language and when I heard that the Portuguese lyric to Girl From Ipanema is sadder than the English version I had to give it a clin d’oeil. It’s hard to get pathos in translation, tho, except with border collies. The sadness of a border collie without a biscuit doesn’t even need to have words.

    • paridevita says:

      Alternatives au gazon. It has pictures. I started out with Antonin Artaud, Rimbaud, and Mallarme. Quel way to learn French.

      Portuguese is indeed a beautiful language. If I had somewhat more money, I might get an apartment on the Rua da Saudade in Lisbon. I Google street viewed it and it looks like there’s no place to have a garden. Dang. Imagine people saying “Yes, he left Denver and moved to Lisbon, and has a garden on the Street of Longing.”

  4. Loree says:

    Look at all those plants…wow! You’re gonna be busy planting for a long while. Lovely to see the packing so well done.

  5. Hilarious, Chess. Is your person acquainted with my husband, do ya think? They appear to have similar repair techniques even down to the vocabulary and a shared “phf” as to reading instructions.

    • paridevita says:

      As the guy I live with says, “Real men do not read instructions. Rilke said ‘There are no classes for beginners in life’, therefore instructions are unnatural.” That’s probably why he planted a bunch of erythronium bulbs upside down, and then found the instructions, had to dig them all up again, and replant them….

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