after the equinox

Greetings and salutations everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to entertain and inform you while the guy I live with reads up on cyclamen. You may remember me from such outstanding posts as “The Day In Pictures” and “May Day”, among so many others.

Here I am looking serious. I’m hoping the guy I live with will notice that I’m standing right next to the refrigerator and that my biscuits are in the cabinet just to the left, or to my right, and that I could really use another one, and that we always go on a walk in the morning, and so far nothing is happening. Of all the purebred border collies that have lived with the guy I live with, I’m the only one who can win a staring contest with him. He always blinks first.


Well, the equinox came and went without any major trauma. I was sure there was going to be one, but there wasn’t. See, one of the reasons why I do the posts now is that the guy I live with tends to get rather sad at this time of year (his wedding anniversary is this Wednesday, and then my mommy’s birthday is on the eighth of next month), and he heaves so many sighs that it takes someone a lot more focused to be able to do things like this blog.

The cyclamen, which are one of his many obsessions, are emerging now, and I know I showed some pictures of them a while back. Here’s Cyclamen hederifolium.


Years and years ago he started a correspondence with a friend in New York, and they talked about hellebores and cyclamen and all sorts of things. When email became common they talked almost every day, so the correspondence lasted for twenty years, and yet they never met each other in person. She sent him some cyclamen which started him on yet another gardening obsession and now they’re all over the garden. Well, not all over it, but all over the parts they’re all over. (How’s that for a syllogism?) Anyway, when my mommy died so suddenly, his pen pal was the third person he called, and shortly after that, she herself went into the hospital, and died the following January. So he looks at the cyclamen now and sheds a tear for his lost friend, and for the wonderful gift of cyclamen, and the love of them, that she gave him. He says that’s probably the best thing about gardening, the way you can remember friends, with plants.

There are other things going on in the garden. Here’s a colchicum, ‘Dick Trotter’, slightly battered by rain. Yes, it rained here last night. It was sprinkling at Tinkle Time, which is about 10:30 at night, and we got almost half an inch (1.25cm) total. There’s snow on the high peaks to the west now. It smelled really good this morning. The guy I live with says it reminded him of the time he went to Madison, Wisconsin, to give a slide talk, all by himself (which made him lonely), and he had to take two different flights (which made him nervous), but when he got there it was cool and damp and misty, like it almost never is here. He was fairly sure that one of the planes would crash, and my mommy would be left all alone, but that didn’t happen. The guy I live with does not like to fly, if I didn’t mention that. My mommy loved it; he was the worrier, worrying about this stupid thing, worrying about that stupid thing. I guess there’s a moral here. I only worry about being hit by lightning and seeing my skeleton, and not getting my dinner, and not being able to go on my walks. Oh, the colchicum.


And then, the new leaves of Lilium candidum, even though the guy I live with was sure they had all died this summer, because last winter they were covered in a thick layer of bird seed from the feeder hanging right above them, and then they didn’t do much this past June (really, because it was so cold, not because of the bird seed), but look at them now. He says you plant the bulbs at this time of year or slightly earlier, and not very deeply at all, so the bulbs can send up these leaves that stay green over the winter.


He wrote about these last year, in “A Clod Of Soil”, and took more pictures of them here, and still doesn’t have the hybrid that’s the color of Queen Isabella’s really old underwear. The guy I live with thinks it would be funny to have lilies the color of old underwear. “What color are those?” “Old underwear, I think they call it.” In fact, though he mentioned it a while back, one time my buddy Slipper, when he was just a puppy, carried a pair of underwear out for a whole bunch of garden visitors to look at, I guess thinking just in case they’d never seen any before. It wasn’t his underwear, of course. He ran out and flung the underwear onto the rock garden. I wasn’t there to see it. Maybe Slipper thought that’s what you did when people came to see the rock garden, flung underwear onto it.

I guess I’m running out of things to say. I can tell that the sun is getting lower in the sky, because I use that to tell when it’s time for dinner, and so before I got I’ll show a picture of the path my buddy Slipper made, which of course I still use, which leads back to the “employees only” section of the yard. All the new green grass is a horrible weed, cheat grass, Bromus tectorum, also called …..ready?…..chess. Isn’t that funny? A grass named after me. (There’s a board game named after me, too.)


Looking even further into the corner. The corner is way, way back there, and I’m the only one who goes into that part of the yard. All that grass is new after the rain we got a couple of weeks ago.


Anyway, that’s how things are just at the moment. The guy I live with is getting more cyclamen this week, very excited about it, and he’s seriously hoping he can control the weather for a few weeks, maybe make it rain just a little more, before it snows.

I’ll sign off now.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to after the equinox

  1. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I know that burning stare. I get it from 3 black standard poodles if I sit at my computer past 4:59 pm because they’ve decided that dinner is at 5 pm. Sometimes I sit here just a little longer because I love those stares so much.

  2. Love that white hederifolium: it’s whiter than white. I have a few blossoms open on my white. I too dote on cyclamen!

    • paridevita says:

      They’re fun to dote on. Lots more coming in the mail this week. You would think when you have a lot, that would be enough, but that’s not how it works, is it?

  3. Chess, if you gave me that gorgeous, solemn stare, I’d give you what you wanted many times over. What you’ve got to do is hook up an internet link to your biscuit cupboard so your readers can hit hit hit it. Our doggies know your biscuits as their crackers. What they like even more than crackers is a grooming session. You yourself seem always well-groomed.
    Foliage and flower photos are lovely, as per usual. What’s new is the light, the light! That’s light for wandering into and becoming lost.

    • paridevita says:

      The light is new. Autumn light. Very evocative.
      I get brushed all the time. Or, I should say, raked, because the guy I live with bought this nifty undercoat rake from Only Natural Pet (that’s a plug) that really does a nice job and feels good too.

  4. Loree says:

    He’s right of course, plants given to you by friends are typically the most important ones in the garden.

    • paridevita says:

      Unless they die, and then it’s kind of embarrassing, but it does happen. “How that’s plant I gave you doing?” “Oh, a squirrel dug it up.” (Always blame it on rodents.)

  5. petabunn says:

    I really like the study of you today Chess, all pensive and serious. Hope you got your biscuits, after all you work hard for your guy. The cyclamen are beautiful, mine just finished, we’re having a very hot spring so far. I don’t mind because I like to lie in the sun even when it’s 35 degrees C, for an almost all over black dog you’d think I was crazy, Keep up the good posts.

    • paridevita says:

      Very pensive. The guy I live with has one rule, which is no lying in the hot sun. I might boil my brains. I still do it sometimes, and then come inside when I’m too hot to touch.
      It’s 7C this morning ….(we woke up early).

  6. Vivian Swift says:

    Chess must be part Vulcan because that’s a mind meld stare if ever I saw one.

    Thanks for the info on the Post Horns. Who’da thunk? There is so much I don’t know about the world.

    This time of year is a priori melancholy. Even though I know there is plenty of backyard snow-drift-chilled champagne in my near future I do not relish the end of Summer. I don’t have a garden so I would have thought that the coming of Fall would be extra grim for a gardener but I see that the guy you live with has planted year-round treasures that honor the grace and spirit of those great ladies you mentioned. Your garden looks beautiful. I want to paint it.

    Ummm…aren’t we talking tautology, not syllogism? Tautologies are hilarious, such as “being all over the parts they are all over”. It’s especially funny when a tautology is passed off as information, which happens a lot when you work with dopey people who take themselves way too seriously. I once worked with an Austrian prince and I am convinced that nothing is more tautological than minor European royalty.

    • paridevita says:

      Autumn is pretty melancholy indeed, at least for the guy I live with. I can hardly wait for snow. We have a tradition of keeping the back door open every day because my buddy Slipper liked to stand half inside, half outside, with his rear end warm and his nose all freezy. On the other hand, there’s lot of stuff that happens in the garden here, up to the end of the year usually, and then pretty soon it’s Snowdrop Time, and the guy I live with gets all excited about microscopic dots on flowers.
      The guy I live with says it’s not a tautology, but a classic syllogism Barbara expressed as a pseudo tautology because the minor premise is hidden, yet understood. There are some parts they are not all over.
      You can believe this if you want to. I’m a dog, and believe almost anything. “If A, then B, if it’s time for breakfast.”

  7. melanie says:

    my goodness, Chess, you were up early, weren’t you? Did you and the guy you live with get to watch the sunrise? My Sheba looks at me like that, too. It usually means “I ate my dinner. Where’s my cookie?”

  8. pamit says:

    I think I have to go buy some cyclamen bulbs. That floaty whiteness is memerizing. Great picture of you Chess. We hope the anniversaries go by with fewer sighs.

Comments are closed.