more weirdness

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such stellar posts as “Guarding The Fort” and “A Winter Wonderland”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’ve just had a biscuit, and it was good. 14022803The guy I live with was gone for kind of a long time today, and I was really glad when he came back.

He bought some more plastic on the way home. You might wonder why he needs so much plastic, and it’s because he has this weird plan. Remember that he put an Arizona cypress in its own personal greenhouse, well, he made another one this afternoon. The cypress is almost totally dry, though you might not be able to see it in this picture. You can see one dry, broken twig, from him touching it, on the left. The branches are still alive, though. 14022801It was a fairly big tree grown in a fairly small pot, and even though he knows better, he forgot to loosen the roots before he planted the cypress and so it never drew up enough water to make the “cryoprotective soluble sugars” which it needs in order to make it through the winter. This doesn’t just happen; water is necessary to make the solution. The sugar solution lowers the freezing temperature of the water between the cells and keeps the plant from exploding when it gets really cold.

Well, he says, if there isn’t enough water in the tree before it can make the sugars, then the parts that have no sugars just dry out. Normally it’s the tips of everything which dry out first, because they’re furthest from the roots. So he dug up the cypress and looked at the roots, and not a single root had left the root ball and grown into the surrounding soil, making it difficult for the tree to take up water. (He’s been digging up plants to look at the roots since about 1958, so I guess it’s harmless enough.)

He loosened the roots and replanted the cypress, higher than before, and in a different location, with a lot of mulch added. His idea, with the personal greenhouse, is that keeping the cypress from getting too cold will extend the growing season so that maybe it can grow back a lot of what it lost before it experienced this winter we’re having. But really, this looks pretty weird.14022802Almost scary, even. It’s fairly close to the other personal greenhouse, and then there will be another one directly behind this one in a few days. I’m not sure what the neighbors are going to think, and I don’t want to be out there if anyone walks by.

Here’s a picture from the exceptionally dirty upstairs bedroom window. Those lights you see in the distance are cars on the highway. And the new personal greenhouse. You can kind of see the other one, too, to the right of it. 14022805It’s pretty noticeable, isn’t it? I hope that when we go out there at Tinkle Time I don’t get scared by it, but if I do, maybe I’ll get an extra biscuit before bedtime. Which sounds good, like it might make up for being scared by a huge plastic thing in the back yard.

That’s really all I have for today. More weirdness in the garden. 14022804


Until next time, then.


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10 Responses to more weirdness

  1. Agree with you on this one, Chess, and I believe your guy needs careful watching. Hard to believe he’s so root conscious, digging them up for examination since 1958 – over half a century – and he becomes so abstracted he neglects to loose the root ball of a treasured cypress before planting. And this is someone who has shown himself to be pretty well meticulous in his approach to seed planting. Perhaps this “cryoprotective soluble sugars” is a recent theory? Keep guard, Chess, he may need a purebred border collie to the rescue.
    Both your photos today show you with soulful expression. I guess they’re a reflection of how deeply you feel about biscuits. May you be handed many more — and you probably will be given your adorable entreaty.

    • paridevita says:

      Adorable entreaty, I like that, and might use it later, to my advantage. The sugar solution thing isn’t really a recent idea, it’s just that the guy I live with has been frustrated by so many dead cypresses and junipers over the years. Too large a tree, and too small a root ball. He used a root waterer, but not enough, I guess.

  2. petabunn says:

    10 points Chess to your guy for admitting his error and for digging up the cypress and replanting how he should have in the first place, and to take the care of protecting it with it’s own personal greenhouse. But why was he gone for so long when he only came home with plastic, must have been awful for you waiting for his return, but you did score a biscuit. It’s the first day of Autumn here and raining still, my mum is over it, she really prayed for rain all the time at our last house and it never happened and everything just died but here we don’t need all this rain. I know we always need rain but I went out for a little time in the garden about two hours ago and I am still a bit wet and curly. I would never have gone out in the rain in the last house, my mum doesn’t understand why it doesn’t bother me here. She is also freezing as it is only 14 degree again. Why did you put the same photo at the end, you do look relaxed though.
    ps. all her potted plants are probably going to die from waterlogging now.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, it’s not the same picture …if you look closely you can see the tip of my tongue in the last one. The guy I live with took his mom to the hospital to visit his brother-in-law who had surgery and is doing fine. They don’t allow purebred border collies in hospitals, I guess. I would have been very good but probably barked a lot and tried to herd people all over the place. That’s what I do. It rains here sometimes. Last autumn we had a whole bunch of rain and it was good for the garden, but mostly we have snow here, due to the elevation. In fact, March, April, and May are the snowiest months in Denver. Heavy, wet snow which usually melts within a day or two. I sometimes go out in the rain but there can be thunder, which is scary. Maybe with my new pills I might not find it so scary, since I ignore the mice caught in the Tin Cat, which I didn’t used to do.

  3. Your garden is getting downright spooky.

    • paridevita says:

      It kind of is. It’s a good thing he had to use translucent plastic, instead of black. That would have been really scary. I can still go out into the way back when it’s really dark, to bark at stuff, but with the new personal greenhouses standing there, I’m not so sure.

  4. Tracey says:

    I must say that the personal greenhouses have afforded me considerable amusement. Could the guy you live with use a sharpie to draw some fun features on the white? He could turn the greenhouses into birds, squirrels (mice?) etc. I understand that Sharpie is now doing paint pens.

    I just spoke to one of my sisters, who has mice running around in her walls. The guy you live with seems to be more proactive with the mouse situation although he is getting equally bad results. You definitely deserve many biscuits for putting up with the mice situation so sweetly.

    • paridevita says:

      Mice are smelly and disgusting and poop everywhere, but they’re also cute. They stick their little mouse noses out of the Tin Cat when the guy I live with picks it up to carry it out into the garage. There’s peanut butter out there, and some sunflower seeds, and the rest of a bag of corn chips, because the chips got too small to dip into salsa (though I’ve seen the guy I live with stuff a bunch of tiny chips into his mouth and eat the salsa with a spoon….my mommy never got used to that kind of behavior), with the idea that if there’s stuff to eat out in the garage, the mice might stay there instead of wander around the house looking for things. The garage door doesn’t shut right, never has, and so a mouse could just walk under it. Better to have mice than voles or gophers, for sure. My mommy probably would’ve wanted to draw on the personal greenhouses. I think they’ll just get covered with bird poop, which’ll add to the effect.

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Add plastic arms and head to the personal greenhouses and make them wiggly air dancers (like they have in front of car dealers). That would give the neighbors something to talk about.

    Not quite the same as digging up a tree to look at the roots, but several years ago I worked with kids on a gardening project, and I showed them how to press on the bottom of the plug to loosen the roots. One boy did so, then said, “Hey! I feel something snapping! What is that?” I told him it was the roots, and we wanted to break some, just a little bit, so they would grow out into the soil. He pulled another flower out and this time he got a far away look in his eyes as he pressed on the roots, learning how to press without destroying. I had the feeling I was seeing a gardener in the making.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, you never know. Horticulture can use as many new, passionate gardeners as possible. The guy I live with remembers when plants were grown in metal cans, and when you bought them, a nursery person would use this two handled tool to slit the containers on two sides. The very sharp edges were scary, but it was a sign that new plants were being brought home. There’s one more personal greenhouse to be made, but I think it’ll be too cold for him to make one tomorrow. It might be cool if they were different colors, but the plastic does need to be translucent. Not clear. It’s almost never too cold for me, though I did get icy paws on my afternoon walk today. The weather here is like a roller-coaster and will be for the next three months. I don’t mind it, but then I have a completely different, canine agenda. Those are the best agendas.

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