the worst laid plans

Hello everyone, here I am again. Chess the purebred border collie. Filling in for the guy I live with, even though he insists on taking really dumb pictures of me, his faithful companion. You may remember me from such posts as “Where We Live” and “One Thing Follows Another”, among many other wonderful posts. I mean if I do say so myself, which of course I do.

In none of those posts was my picture as silly as the one I get to provide today. (Notice that I know the word “none” is singular. I don’t always follow the rules of grammar, what with being a dog and all, but I thought I’d show that I do know the rules, at least some of them.) Anyway this is what we get for tonight.



He calls this chiaroscuro. I think it makes me look ridiculous, but he says it’s my fault because I wouldn’t sit still for a “real portrait”.

Well, time to turn the tables, I think. On our walk this morning, we saw frost along the banks of the creek. It’s true that this can happen long before frost reaches the garden itself, since the creek is lower than the garden and cold air drains down from Mount Lindo a few miles away, but it got the guy I live with thinking. That’s right, thinking.

All of these plants will need to be brought inside within the next month.


These too.



And, oh yes, these.



He claims that the Dasylirion berlandieri in the pot on the left isn’t very heavy, but the nameless agave next to it (to the left of the manzanita), is. Really, really heavy, and stabby too. The variegated one isn’t heavy.

Oh, and these. The slipper plant (the green sticks) in back left isn’t very heavy, nor are the Dasylirions miquahensis (or whatever) and quandrangulatum, or even the Nolina nelsonii. The tecoma thing, though, in the big pot, is really heavy. The sharkskin agave isn’t heavy, just planted crookedly. (I didn’t do that.)


And, uh, these as well. The Agave horrida in the back, on the left in the blue pot, is super extra really heavy (so he says), and he’s sure to be sliced to pieces just trying to pick it up. He gets scratched just looking at it. (That’s Opuntia santa-rita, Dasylirion acrotriche, a couple of dyckias, one of which is about to flower, as we showed a while ago, and Aloe ferox, if you wanted to know.)


Really good planning, I say. All of these plants have to be carried inside, and up the stairs into the spare bedroom. Who exactly did he think was going to move all these heavy, stabby plants inside?

The guy I live with, figuring that I’ve built up my muscles dragging him along the canal road on our walks, thought it might be a good idea to hitch me up to a cart so I could drag these things inside. I think not.

My job is doing things like following the hose.


I’ll sign off with that. If the guy I live with skewers himself moving all these plants inside, I guess I’ll have to learn to take pictures, too.




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18 Responses to the worst laid plans

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    I would have thought you would have invested in a greenhouse by now.

  2. Thea says:

    Oh, he’ll skewer himself, Chess. My husband comes in from working in our rose garden bleeding from face, arms, legs. If we walk into the village after he gardens, I have to inspect him to make sure he’s ready for public consumption. On the other hand, bloody mess puts him just right for Halloween. When I work in the garden, it’s sturdy shoes, long pants, long sleeves, and a hard hat.
    Plus, hours of yoga so I can keep my balance in the jungle of woody stuff that tries to trip me or knock me in the head. Gardening is not for sissies.
    Oh, Chess, he carries all that ^heavy* up the stairs? He seems kinda smart, too, enough to have figured out a Better Way. Do what you can, Chess, to encourage a Better Way.

  3. BTW, I like your first view, Shows a different side of you, that “goofball” quality we’ve heard about . Enhances your lovability, although we don’t need to hear about the latter quality — we can see it for ourselves.

    • paridevita says:

      I prefer the serious look. My buddy Slipper showed me how to look extremely serious, and slightly sad. And he also taught me how to howl when the guy I live with got in the car and drove away. It sounded really pathetic and sad, but what we were saying was “Bring us back something!”

  4. petabunn says:

    The guy you live with should buy himself a trolley, if that’s what it’s called there, you know like they use to move fridges and awkward heavy things like that. They are not too expensive, it’s what my person uses sometimes to move heavy plants and it does save the back and knees and they move up stairs well. Good luck with convincing him. Today I am focusing on your following the hose job today, it’s cuter than serious shot (and not blurry).

    • paridevita says:

      Here we call them “dollies”, for no good reason that I can’t think of. Got one. But, pots don’t fit on it very well. They’ll get up the stairs one way or another.

  5. Loree says:

    Wow it’s like I have a twin gardener in Colorado. I’ll be doing the same thing this week, should have done it last week. Now they’re all heavier from rain. So not looking forward to this chore…

    • paridevita says:

      Mine are heavier from rain, too. I can’t believe I said that. But it’s true.
      One trick, save styrofoam peanuts (not the biodegradable kind) and use those as a kind of giant perlite. Not right at the top, though. Makes the pots slightly less heavy.

  6. pamit says:

    Chess, tell that guy to hire some stevedores for a couple of hours, to get those plants upstairs! Starting off the season with backstrain would be horrida indeed. — I have one new, big pot of prickly pear this year that i am awaiting visitors to help with. Twas ever thus.

  7. Ian says:

    Looks like an Agave gentryi/macrocolumis sort of thing. Nice manzanita too.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; there were two patulas there but one up and died mysteriously. The agave was free; it was labeled “agave” just in case I didn’t know what it was. Gentryi could be right.
      Although that’s annoyingly confusing, because I think of macroculmis as coming from 11,000 feet on Cerro Potosi and the fact that they say gentryi comes from a whole bunch of places makes me not want to try it not in a pot; ie, in the ground. Of course, if I planted it, that would solve all the problems of carrying it places, except to the trash next spring.

      • Ian says:

        Last I heard – from my British plantspeople friends who think Mexico has all the coolest plants – gentryi IS macroculmis, and the name gentryi supersedes macroculmis, for some complicated reason I can’t remember. Which is unusual, since we would normally expect the older name to take precedence. Wish I could remember the reasoning behind that. Anyway, there’s still the question of provenance. Gentryi is normally pretty hardy, though.

      • paridevita says:

        There was some reason why the name was changed to gentryi ….I think because macroculmis wasn’t validly published, or something like that. But, the relatively new Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México (2009) accepts the name macroculmis.
        It does okay here, kept totally dry in winter, and never exposed to cold temperatures, in the upstairs bedroom. After last winter, where dozens of agaves (including ones which had been here for 15+ years) and cactus were killed by months of soggy soil (only got to -4F), I think the bedroom is the safest place for any plant.

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