Greeting and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you all about my day. You may remember me from such delightful and informative posts as “Indubiably” and “Where We Live”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.
You know, people, especially gardeners, can be really strange. Now that it’s starting to warm up, the guy I live with is already out checking plants to see if they’ve died, which he told me you’re not supposed to do, but he does it anyway. You’re supposed to wait until later, and in the meantime pretend everything is fine.
He didn’t think this picture was very focused, and he was right. But I think you can see when I say it’s warming up, that it’s warming up. This thermometer is on the back patio, and in shade, too.
Anyway, he went out in the front yard, and proclaimed some plants to be “n.d.y.”, which I know means “not dead yet”. I did have to ask. He says there’s a subtle difference between this and “not yet dead”, like the latter assumes eventual death, so he says “n.d.y.”.
Now, he does admit that the ocotillo is “probably completely dead”. He does says it looks mostly dead anyway, but when it’s not really quite completely dead it has a tinge of green that’s visible to people who are used to seeing live ocotillos. There isn’t really very much green here. He says this is “architectural”.
The screwbean mesquite, on the other hand, is definitely not dead yet. The guy I live with says the other, “reg’lar” mesquite, “your reg’lar honey mesquite“, Prosopsis glandulosa, is still not dead yet, so why wouldn’t these be not dead yet too?
Well, I don’t know. The leaves, however, are dead, and just hanging on so that the plants don’t look dead. But the twigs don’t snap, which he says is a danged good sign. (He says you have to talk that way to grow mesquites in Denver. I think he’s the only person doing it, so he should know.)
The funny thing, he says, about plants like yuccas is that they can tolerate cold, but some don’t always like to have snow on them. “Imagine the difference between being around snow and having snow down your pants”, he says, but I don’t wear pants, so I can’t imagine anything. What he does is flick the snow off with a stick. He has what he calls a “snow-flicker” just for this purpose.
The stick comes in handy for cactus, too. The guy I live with says if you want to see if a cactus made it through a cold spell, try poking it with a stick. He’s said this before, of course, but he says “If it’s worth saying once, it’s worth saying twice.”
The cactus should be firm. Not firm as a rock, which means they’re frozen solid, but certainly not squishy. Here’s how you do it.
The guy I live with says these three cactus are definitely “not dead yet”, but in this case the “yet” just means “wait a few weeks”. They won’t be here come next July. He thought that growing them right by the house and in two feet (60cm) of gravel might help, but it didn’t. Where he planted them did make them easier to poke, though.
Now, with conifers, it’s easier to tell. You grab some of the needles, like this. (Oh, we’re out in the back yard now.)
If they’re soft and pliable, that’s good. If they’re as dry as a three-week-old Christmas tree and the needles all fall to the ground, not so good.
He says this cedar could still croak, though it’s been here for a few winters already, and there’s a big healthy one over by the Asian Market that he and my mommy used to go to all the time. (He goes to a different one now.) They used to ooh and ahh over the cedar as they drove to the market. Well, the guy I live with did, anyway. One time they were standing in line there at the market and everybody in line came from somewhere else in the world and my mommy had a bottle of fish sauce (nuoc mam) and someone said “You like this?” and they both said how much they did, and everyone started talking about how food makes people less afraid of each other, or something like that, but when the guy I live with looks at the cedar in our back yard he always thinks of fish sauce, and, well, not to be too sappy or anything, world peace.
Well, there were other plants he checked out, ones that he shouldn’t have, even though they were okay, but I’m not going to show any more.
I’m almost done here. One picture I want to show is the one the guy I live with took of himself standing out in the back yard to show how warm it was. You can see how good he is at just standing there. I think he looks like an apparition or something equally disturbing. Santa Claus in blue, maybe.
I guess that’s really all. There are geese flying overhead in the late afternoon, so we hear a lot of honking in the sky. I’ll show a picture and then say goodbye.
Until next time, then.