there and back again

Greetings and salutations everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, setting the standard in blogging purebred border collie excellence. You may remember me from such outstanding posts as “N.D.Y.” and “Things From Afar”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14031046Well, the guy I live with decided a few days ago that he “needed some more conifers”, and while I really think he meant that he wanted more conifers, the result was that I was left alone for a long time today. I didn’t have anything to do, but he said the drive was long and pretty boring, so I guess it evened out.

He drove all the way to Laporte Avenue Nursery in Fort Collins. And then back again, fortunately for my dinner needs.

Laporte is a mail-order nursery, but they let you visit by appointment, and so he made one, and drove up there, as I said. (It’s north of here, so we say “up”.) They sell superbly-grown rock garden plants and conifers, dwarf and regular sized.

It was a long drive, and the guy I live with was totally freaked out about it. I mean, he started thinking it symbolized some flight away from our cozy home, and the first long trip alone without my mommy Cindy, and he got so worked up about it I wondered if he was going to make it. Or forget something like his checkbook or camera.

He didn’t, but he missed the turn he was supposed to make, and was driving along when all of a sudden he saw a sign for the Wyoming state line. Then he panicked, because he never, ever gets lost, and so he thought he might be having a senior moment, even though he doesn’t qualify for those yet. But he turned around and found the right road to turn off onto. It’s called Mulberry Street, believe it or not. But the sign doesn’t say that, it says Highway 41 or 14 or something that doesn’t have anything to do with mulberries.

Now, I hope you like pictures of conifers, because there are going to be a lot of them, and I won’t bother with names, because the guy I live with gets so excited being around plants, he forgets to make notes of names, so, like, whatever.

First off, though, were the hellebores, Helleborus niger, spectacular clumps of them all over the place. He of course forgot to ask if this was the normal time for them, winter having been so long and all, because here they start in January, sometimes.14031001 14031004 14031003 14031002Then the rock gardens, with conifers aplenty. It was a little too early for anything in the rock gardens to be blooming, but he thought that was okay. The rock gardens are spectacular in bloom, he says. I wouldn’t know, because I was left at home. 14031005 14031010 14031009 14031008 14031007 14031006

a superb group of Juniperus scopulorum "Woodward'. Kirk, the owner, said they can be planted on 3-ft centers to achieve this effect

a superb group of Juniperus scopulorum “Woodward’. Kirk, the owner, said they can be planted on 3-ft centers to achieve this effect




Pinus monophylla ‘Blue Jazz’

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Cedrus libani var. stenocoma

Cedrus libani var. stenocoma

Then into the nursery itself.

14031012 14031019 14031018 14031017 The yellow there is Pinus virginiana ‘Wate’s Golden’ (or yellow, or something), a pine with yellow needles in winter.140310161403101514031014 You can see a hole dug in the sand there. Guess who dug that? 14031013

14031023 14031022 14031021

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some of the conifers he brought home

some of the conifers he brought home



Kirk holding a seedling Cedrus libani var. stenocoma

Kirk holding a seedling Cedrus libani var. stenocoma

14031039 14031040Some rock garden plants.14031028 14031031 14031030 14031029


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a chicken with a hurt foot. the guy I live with forgot to take pictures of the other chickens.

a chicken with a hurt foot. the guy I live with forgot to take pictures of the other chickens.

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this trip the nursery, even though I didn’t get to go. The guy I live with is too embarrassed to show how many conifers came home with him, though he did say we might be living on crackers and water for the rest of the month. I am mighty glad he is home.

Until next time, then.


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22 Responses to there and back again

  1. Linda Meyer says:

    Chess, the guy you live with knows his stuff. When Stephanie Ferguson was here from Calgary I took her to see Kirk’s dwarf conifers and she raved about how surgically fine the grafts were – the best she had ever seen. I also have a number of his conifers and think you would really like them. Do you ever go visiting?


    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with goes visiting, but I stay home to guard stuff. Whatever it is that needs guarding. Funny story about the guy I live with at plant sales (like the one that’s coming up in April). Years ago there was this woman looking at the conifers from Laporte, trying to decide, and here comes the guy I live with and puts all of them in his box. She was a little upset, but he said something about the early bird. The claim that he knocks down little old ladies to get to plants first, however, is completely untrue.

      • Linda Meyer says:

        Good tp know, Chess, I will be very careful at the plant sale, maybe hide my finds.

      • paridevita says:

        He now claims he “doesn’t need any more plants” ……(pause for effect)….. There’s the cactus sale at the end of the month, and he has 400 echinocereus seedlings as well as other genera, and then the plant sale, and he has hundreds of seeds sown from Alplains, the Scottish Rock Garden Club, Stanek, and Pavelka. I wonder how long this “new frugality” will last. A day?

  2. Susan ITPH says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Laporte and Ft. Collins. Wow. Do they still have Pinus strobus grafted onto P. flexilis stock? I heard he had some like this and always wondered if they would do better here than all the dead ones I’ve had.

    • paridevita says:

      They do. Blue Shag, and maybe a couple of others. Can’t overstate the quality here. We like Pinus strobiformis even better, though, because it doesn’t seem to be so finicky about soils. Two Jerry Morris selections, ‘Coronado’ and ‘Loma Linda’ are very nice. Maybe limber pine understock de-finicks P. strobus. And of course lots of Jerry’s dwarf flexilis are there too. Dwarf pinyons, dwarf single-leaf pinyons, etc. etc. Need to make an appointment for Laporte (it’s Kirk’s home, too), and then there’s Fort Collins Nursery right around the corner, on Mulberry Street itself. Big nursery, tons of stuff. Fort Collins was rated the number one city in America to live, I think; it’s a nice place. The Gardens at Spring Creek, rock gardens, are said to be outstanding. There was a large (50ft maybe) sequoia there, out in the middle of nowhere, but I hear this brutal winter damaged it. Maybe it will grow back. Plant sale in April, RMCNARGS; Laporte is always there.

  3. “Two Jerry Morris selections, ‘Coronado’ and ‘Loma Linda’ are very nice.” Hmm, Chess. Loma Linda is a place name here in SoCal, wondering if Coronado might be too. I’m a sucker for things Coronado. Twice I’ve had the HT rose Coronado, very of its ’60s era, which is to say atrocious, big orange blooms, host to many diseases. When my husband stepped on it this last time, I didn’t mourn. I’ll go out now and look around for a pinus spot. Do you think when they found out you were a garden blogging purebred border collie some of these nurseries would let you in? Long drive for you, though, and little to guard on the open highway. Better to guard the home, maybe, and wait for dinner. Was there no treat brought especially for you on the guy you live with’s return?

    • paridevita says:

      To answer your last question first, he brought himself….. Loma Linda, Calif is the first thing that comes to the guy I live with’s mind (I almost typed “mind”) but, no, probably not. Same with Coronado; his mom’s cousin and his wife lived there, because he was in the Navy. The guy I live with heard about Coronado when he was a kid. Then, Coronado was practically in another state. (He moved from Calif in 1961.) Wide open spaces between it and L.A. Countryside. Um, kind of like here, actually, though there are some wide open spaces between here and Fort Collins, for now. Lots of new houses being built. He was going to take pictures of out the car, driving at 80mph (wait, no, driving the speed limit, 75mph), but decided against it. And the clouds next to the mountains were dark and oppressive-looking. This is a funny thing. The guy I live with used to work in telephone repair, which is how he met my mommy (he was the black sheep of the family and didn’t go into the military like everyone else, and didn’t have any serious white-collar career, but found a treasure beyond price instead), and he would meet these people from California, who moved out here to get away from urban sprawl, and moved right back into it. Eventually, he says, there will be a billion people here. Build first, worry about where the water will come from, second.

  4. petabunn says:

    I can only say Chess it looks like a brilliant nursery where you would not have any trouble spending money and filling the vehicle with plants of all varieties. Not too up on my conifers even though I must say they looked good. At our last house we had mainly natives to encourage the birds. But we did have an enormous black pine mummy had grown from seed which she had actually collected from a tree in this area some 30 odd years ago. It did start strugglig a bit because of the very hot dry weather for so many years, totally out of its preferred climate. Just love the rock gardens, I guess yours will resemble them one day. I was wondering how many hours he had to travel and how many plants he brought back with him (and how many will he get on mail order I wonder).

    • paridevita says:

      It was an hour and a half, 145km one way, which isn’t really all that far, here. (The guy I live with has some gardening friends in Oz who “live quite close to each other”, about 725km apart….) He bought more than ten. Let’s just say that. Wouldn’t want people to think he pawned my soft Pottery Barn sheets for conifers. Most of them are native conifers, too, which is good. Dwarf pinyons (Pinus edulis), dwarf single-leaf pinyons (Pinus monophylla, of which there are already a dozen here), ponderosa, etc.

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I have to do an awful lot of homework to follow along sometimes. Like get out my atlas to see where Fort Collins is in relation to both Denver and Wyoming, for example. But seeing as how I’m a cartophile, this was enjoyable. I was happy to see Mulberry St. marked on the inset map of Fort Collins. So now I know how to go to that nursery if I’m ever in that neck of the woods. But first I would drive on up to Wyoming & then turn around because Wyoming is one of those states I’ve never been in (in which I’ve never been — proper prepositional placement sounding oh-so-stilted). This seems like a very nice adventure for the guy you live with. It would have been better if they allowed dogs, but I can see where that might be problematic what with the chickens.

    Then I had to look up to make sure Douglas firs are conifers (they are) — only to learn that they are true firs, so I should write it like Douglas-fir (but I rebel). I was looking that up because I was going to say that seeing baby plants in pots all lined up is always exciting somehow — like all this possibility in a row. Seeing all the pots of baby conifers was exciting even though I’m not particularly a fan of conifers. I hate trimming hedges, which is a major way conifers manifest in the Midwest. When I visited my brother in Seattle WA last summer, where there are lots and lots of Douglas firs, I realized I had never lived in a place that had evergreens or conifers as a major part of the landscape. I liked the Douglas firs there, and I liked Sarah Orne Jewett’s pointed firs of Maine. I guess I like conifers, when they’re not in my yard. Or something like that. At a nursery in Fort Collins, they’re perfect. Maybe in your back yard, too. That remains to be seen, huh?

    • paridevita says:

      Conifers are semi-natural plants for here, since on the other side of the Hogbacks, just a few miles west, there are native junipers. There are dozens of conifers in the garden here already, so a couple dozen more seemed perfectly appropriate. The guy I live with explained that the have dogs at Laporte too, and I wouldn’t like them, because they might chomp me. And I’d have to get out to tinkle, because, like most purebred border collies, I’m about 90 percent bladder. Um, actually, the guy I live with says that linguistics professors, inter alia, say that the rule that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition was made up in the nineteenth century. Like the rule not to always split infinitives. Or the rule “not to write in the passive” (and that most of the constructions said to be passive really are not). I of course write in the best possible way at all times. Prepositions are things I’d never end a sentence with.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        I’ve always found descriptive linguistics much more interesting than prescriptive linguistics. Chess, I think other dogs want to chomp on you because you’re so sweet. And probably they recognize your exceptionalness and are jealous.

      • paridevita says:

        It could be, though my tendency to want to chomp the other dog first might have something to do with it. It’s because of the rescue dog who chomped me repeatedly in my own back yard, that one time. The guy I live with says he’s said he’s sorry over and over again. I forgave him, but I still remember being chomped. He also says we do descriptive because it communicates, and we’re all into that, of course. We also criticize people who try to pronounce scientific “Latin” as though it were the Latin of Julius Caesar. (Well, not the people, but what they say. We know the difference between ad hominem and ad argumentum.) It may be discourteous, though it’s annoying to have one’s pronunciation corrected by someone who is completely and utterly wrong. That’s probably really why other dogs want to chomp me.

  6. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Not! they are NOT true firs. . . argh!

    • paridevita says:

      Not true firs. Not true hemlocks, either, which is what Pseudotsuga means. (Not its original name, though.) False hemlock. So why don’t people call it that, instead of Douglas-fir? Life is a mystery.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        Why my fingers don’t type what my brain is thinking is a mystery, for sure. My first daffodil is blooming today, a cheery spot of yellow in the raw gray day: at least no Vulcan snow, just cold rain.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says “blame the computer”. Computers are smart, and should know. (This from a person who has to write things down, like, “you haven’t taken your pill yet”, or “the sprinkler is on”, or “you’re 62 and she’s 30”….) Daffodils are pretty great. There aren’t many here any more; I think they got narcissus fly or something. The guy I live with keeps trying the little ones from Spain and Morocco, the winter-blooming ones. He hasn’t learned his lesson yet. Maybe it’s something he should write down.

  7. The advantage of being a week late in reading is that I get to enjoy all the wonderful comments!

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