winter creeps onward

Greetings and salutations everyone; it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, once again. You may remember me from such terrific posts as “Revenge Of The Rodents” and “Grace Under Pressure”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m roughing it, as you can see.010204Well, today the guy I live with said that winter was taking a long time to be over. I have some news for him, but we won’t talk about that today. It was a pretty nice day, and he went out and took two pictures.

You would think that after six nights of below zero (F) last month that things would look pretty icky, but see how excellent the rosettes of Lilium candidum look. 010203He says that this lily is native to places like Greece, which as far as he knows doesn’t often have six nights of below zero (F) in a row, and yet the plants look perfectly happy. His brilliant answer to all this is that life is strange.

So, he’s been reading this book, or rather, sort of reading this book, which he says he’s enjoying, and that makes sense to me, because I know he won’t read things he doesn’t enjoy. Some books he reads from beginning to end, but most he reads in a desultory way. Oh, and this is funny. He used to pronounce it de-sult-ory  until one day he learned it wasn’t pronounced that way, and was glad no one ever heard him say the word. It comes from the Latin describing a vaulting action, jumping around, which is sometimes the way he reads. The stuff you learn, huh.

This is the same Bertram Anderson who had so many plants named after him. (The book isn’t really crooked like the picture shows.)010205There are some funny things in it. “…I had great hopes of the new Daphne × mantensiana, burkwoodii ‘Somerset’ × retusa, that for a few years grew rapidly and flowered freely, and the suddenly departed to where daphnes go when they die. The daphne heaven must be very crowded!”

“The lovely Kniphofia ‘Maid of Orleans’ should be nearby, yet I am always afraid of seeing only the label marking the spot and no plant reappearing ….”

The guy I live with was relieved to learn that this happens to other gardeners, especially to people who garden in England. He has a lot of labels that have no plant to go with them. (He says, in theory anyway, that this is to remind him to replace the plants.)

Also, he’s all in a tizzy because just like at this time of year every year, the saxifrage, Saxifraga × kellereri ‘Johann Kellerer’ (not making this up) is showing buds. In a week or so they’ll be turning raspberry color.  Even if it snows, which it’s supposed to this weekend. This bud business happens every year but he still gets excited. 010201I guess that’s all for today. Winter creeps onward. 010202

Until next time, then.

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12 Responses to winter creeps onward

  1. Janet in Virginia says:

    Dear Chess, buds are the most exciting thing about gardening. Especially when you’ve forgotten the plant is there. You really should know this by now. Cheers to you and your man.

  2. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    “And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.” ~~ Rumi

    I’m always amazed at how quickly plants emerge in the spring, like they’ve just been chomping at the bit to leaf out and bud. I guess that’s because of all the root riots down below. And I’ve really be seeing it this winter since the weather has been so weird here — 50 for 2 or 3 days, then in the 20’s or teens for a few days — the buds on the star magnolia (Magnolia stellate) get a little plumper with each warm up.

    • paridevita says:

      Here, it’s temperatures in the 50s or 60s (F), then temperatures in the single digits, then temperatures in the 50s or 60s. It goes on like this until March, when it really starts to snow. The snow finally stops in the last week of May. The last five or six winters there was snow on the ground for three months, then it melted, and then it really started to snow. Nice quote.

  3. Is there a Playgirl magazine for female dogs? You cast such a “come hither” look, Chess.
    Hmm. I believe I have the book by E.B. Anderson. Bought and never read, and that should be remedied. I love myself a witty gardener.
    I can understand the guy you live with’s excitement over the rosettes of Lilium candidum. Pretty.
    Oh, the last photo, such a high standard it sets for further shots in 2014!

    • paridevita says:

      I am quite cute, am I not? That’s my favorite squeak toy right next to me. Well, really and truly, he’s been reading the part about the last garden E.B. had, after he lost his wife and moved to another garden. The guy I live with just did that horticulturally, through the Great Upheaval. In the last picture I’m looking at bird seed. My grandpa Flurry used to eat a lot of birdseed, with somewhat humorous results. The Havahart trap is just for looks, by the way; it isn’t set.

  4. pamit says:

    Looks like something is in the live trap! Maybe a locust pod? 🙂 Nice winter greenery there.

    • paridevita says:

      There are still thousands of locust pods here. Rake them all up, and more appear. (Poem.) They show up in the living room. In the bath tub. On the passenger seat of the car. In the pages of a long-unread book. Everywhere.

  5. Vivian Swift says:

    Three things: First, I just read about the Christmas bucket. According to my understanding of the Eeyore Principle, that bucket needs a burst balloon for maximum utilization of bucketing pleasure.

    Second: I used to think that cacophony was pronounced CACK – o -phony. I had assumed it was an onomatopoeia until I heard it spoken, and then I decided it was much too pretty a word to mean what it means.

    Third: I love the title of that book — Seven Gardens or Sixty Years of Gardening…but I can’t abide that cover. The reds are very cheap looking, the yellows are lurid, the pink is sickly, and the combination of fleurs is, well, hideous. I am extremely interested in garden book covers for personal reasons and I would like to know if this is indeed a pitiful example of such (and the book was purchased only because of the renown of its author) or do I have a lot to learn about what gets gardeners to impulse-buy a book for its cover.

    What I wouldn’t give to be Chess’s Lamb-chop toy for a day.

    • paridevita says:

      The Christmas Bucket. Could become a tradition. Though, looking at the Harrod’s website, the guy I live with says a Christmas Hamper would be more like it. Plenty of cheese for me. The guy I live with says you should hear people try to pronounce botanical names, like they’re Klingon. Copyright date of the book is 1973. “Never”, he says, “judge a book by its cover”. Especially if it was printed in the 70s. I like my Lamb Chop a lot, but it’s coming unraveled. The guy I live with sows my toys back together when they need surgery, and washes them from time to time.

  6. petabunn says:

    What’s not to love about Lamb Chops Chess. My mum has a very old Lamb Chops hand puppet, getting a bit moth eated now and she has a collection of all sorts of sheep which she used to collect. She used to have real ones but on two different occasions in two different places wandering domestic dogs did some horrific things so that was the end of that, too heartbreaking. So the play type are better. My mum sews up my toys too when I pull out the squeaks and stuffing, until it’s not worth it anymore. I always have favourites that she repairs over and over. It looks nice in your garden today, it does almost look like summer with all the healthy green leaves, there’s a nice crisp look to the photos which is probably more to do with the cooler temps than summer light I guess. Great photos of you again, it’s just awful how you and Lamb Chops have to rough it Chess and I bet you just had a biscuit…

    • paridevita says:

      My grandpa Flurry won a blue ribbon at a herding test when he was less than a year old and had never seen sheep, but he knew exactly what to do. The woman in the center of the baseball diamond, where the trial was, blew a whistle and my grandpa lined the sheep up. I hear it was amazing. I’ve never seen real sheep but I bet I would know what to do. The guy I live with has extra squeakers for really serious surgery. He saves the stuffing, too, for surgery. I used to put my toys back where I got them, but when I started getting older, you know, it seemed like too much trouble. It was very much like summer, or, really, spring today, but it’s supposed to snow tonight, and tomorrow. I like snow. The guy I live with maintains what he calls “studied indifference” to the vagaries of weather, unless he has to drive in it. Or shovel it.

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