still more spring stuff

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest and most excitingly up-to-date news from our garden. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “Eliminating The Impossible” and “Fly Away Home”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14041003If I look extremely chipper, it’s because I am. The new medicine seems to have helped me a lot, and the guy I live with says I’ve been “puppyish” on our walks. The walks have been excellent, too.

The vet did say that my eyes were cloudy, as you can see, but I don’t have cataracts, which is good. In fact I can see a lot better than you know who.

Speaking of whom, he’s been moving river rock for the last couple of days. The tire on the wheelbarrow burst (the wheelbarrow is older than both of us put together, according to the guy I live with), and so, instead of leaving me at home all by myself to go buy a new tire, he got out the garden cart my mommy bought for him, put some paint buckets on the cart, hauled across the street, and filled the buckets. He says every gardener should have paint buckets. He has a lot.

He spent a little bit of time weeding out cool-season grasses from the blue grama and buffalo grass, which are just starting to turn green, or really bluish. He uses this weeder, which he says is excellent.14041010I know it says “Mont Blanc” on it, but it’s a Japanese weeder, not very big, and you push it into the ground and rip out the weeds or grass. It’s very effective. I have paws, so I just have to take his word for it. It cost a couple of dollars and came from Hida Tool.

That’s what’s been going on. A little weeding, a lot of rock hauling, and my walks. Plants from Wrightman Alpines and Cistus came today, and the guy I live with planted a bunch of saxifrages, which, unbelievably, he had room for in the troughs, but he saved the rest of the plants so that they can get used to the intense sunlight here. And he decided not to plant the cactus from Cistus (miniature beavertails and stuff like that) because tomorrow it’s supposed to be 74 degrees (23C) but Sunday night it’s supposed to get down to 22 degrees (-5.5C) which the cactus, all puffed up with water and ready to grow, might not like. Incidentally, cactus do sometimes need to adjust to the sun here, too, otherwise they can get badly sunburned. We might show pictures of the miniature beavertails later. They’re cute, and don’t have spines. They do have glochids, though.

He took some pictures of other plants, so, this being at least partly a gardening blog, I’m going to show them now. First off is Aloinopsis spathulata again, taken one day in sun, and then in shade the next. 14041002

14041001Now some pictures from the rock garden.

Narcissus rupicola

Narcissus rupicola

Muscari leucostomum

Muscari leucostomum

the dwarf honeysuckle, Lonicera olgae

the dwarf honeysuckle, Lonicera olgae

harbinger of springtime in the Rockies, Mertensia lanceolata

harbinger of springtime in the Rockies, Mertensia lanceolata

Fritillaria pinardii

Fritillaria pinardii

A little later on, the guy I live with was sitting in the path on the south side of Mount Zot (the main rock garden). I came over to see what he was doing.

14041013He was taking pictures of cyclamen. Cyclamen coum, to be precise.14041011I think with this next one he focused more on the aroid leaf in front, but what can you do. I don’t take pictures, because, as I said earlier, I have paws. Cameras aren’t very paw-friendly.14041012There are lots of Corydalis solida plants blooming, including some new ones from nurseries in the Baltic states, but he took a picture of one that’s been here since long before I showed up here.

Corydalis solida 'George Baker'

Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’

And finally, Lewisia tweedyi.14041015Well, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to go do what I do best.


Until next time, then.

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20 Responses to still more spring stuff

  1. In all my days since I first met Aloinopsis spathulata I never knew it bloomed. We have ours in a pot in the backyard, my husband’s domain. I wonder if it will survive what’s coming — the sweet wooden single-story house, early 50s era, will be scraped, “don’t bother to clean before you clear out,” new owners told the tenants. After eighteen months of crashing hammering noise, dust and dirt and loud bad radio, an undomestic use-every-square-inch-of-yard monstrosity will be erected by people unclear on design principles. Oh, well. By ordinance, said monstrosity is prohibited from shading my rose garden.
    Before I totally lose myself in rant, I must tell you, yes, Chess, your photos today, all three, reflect an obvious change in demeanor. You seem brighter, with a luster in your eyes, raised in spirit. Good for the Bad Place to change your meds. Has this also reduced, um, indelicate emissions?
    What will happen to the ancient wheelbarrow now? Will the old friend be discarded? Can’t the guy you live with turn it into a stationary planter?

    • paridevita says:

      The wheelbarrow will get a new tire. The guy I live with keeps saying he’s done hauling rock, he likes the way it looks, and says “there’s no better way to hide weeds than covering them with rocks”. But then he keeps hauling rocks. It is the only mulch that allows rain to penetrate, and now that he’s decided to have a garden that looks like no one else’s around, rock mulch seems the way to go. There was a lot here anyway, before, because there are, you know, rock gardens. What happened was that I went on Rimadyl. In addition to the goofballs. So the gas hasn’t stopped. What has, to some extent, is my inability to move like I wanted to, and the vet thought that would help me lose weight, being able to run out to the back fence, which I did just yesterday. I go in for a blood test in a couple of weeks. They do that to lots here, too, he says. Bulldoze a nice house to build a huger one, I mean. Maybe the aloinopsis needs some winter cold to bloom. It comes from a cold-winter habitat in South Africa. Not as cold as here, but still cold.

  2. beautiful plants and excellent news re Chess’s health!

  3. petabunn says:

    Hello Chess, you are a spritely picture of health and cuteness today. Glad your health check went so well. Great photos of you especially in the garden. Also I love all those wonderful plants you’ve shown today especially the fritillaria, just beautiful, you’re lucky to have such beauty in your garden. What extreme temps you are going to have over the weekend, my goodness I’m glad I’m not there.

    This isn’t anything to do with the garden but I thought you may enjoy it Chess, I did.

    • paridevita says:

      I am even more so this morning. The guy I live with hopes my liver will be okay with this (it’s like ibuprofen for dogs, and the guy I live with takes that sometimes…I mean ibuprofen for people), because this morning I bounded into the kitchen to race the guy I live with to the biscuit cabinet, and I won. The snow here will be free water; that’s how we look at it. Extreme is the nature of things here.

  4. petabunn says:

    that is wrong try this it’s supposed to be Levi, better play right this time

  5. petabunn says:

    wrong again, something really weird here, you would have enjoyed it…

    • paridevita says:

      We could see the youbtube thing but maybe WordPress doesn’t like links like that. It’s a mystery. (Incidentally, if you include more than one link in a comment WordPress will think it’s spam and moderate the comment. Or if you change anything in your email alias.) But, we did see the Bouvier des Flandres trotting around at the show. They’re very handsome dogs, herding dogs too. They are also much better guard dogs than we purebred border collies are. Especially if they have children to protect. The guy I live with came up against a couple when he worked outside, and even though he’s not afraid of dogs, these were tough customers, as they say. He even tried quoting Rimbaud to them in the original French, and they were, how you say, not amused, eh? “Je chompez vous, serieusement.”

  6. Vivian Swift says:

    Yes, Chess, you DO look the picture of pep! You are One Very Handsome Dog. That’s why I check in here — seeing your characteristic poses make my day.

    My 17-year old cocker spaniel also has glaucoma but she still seems to see very well. She can spot a cookie from 15 feet away. She’s mostly hard of hearing — like when I holler “No Boogie Girl! No pooping in the house!” — but she can hear perfectly well when I reach into the cookie bag in the next room.

    That 2nd Aloinopsis photo is a perfect example of why I only photograph gardens on overcast days. Bright sun washes out color and makes dark shadows and dark shadows obscure interesting details of structure and pattern. I love that 2nd Aloinopsis.

    About suburban renewal: I live in a 100-year old house that I would gladly tear down. It has additions to it from the 1930s and early 1950s so that’s how we ended up with two front doors, one of which was made inaccessible when the stoop to the old stone porch was walled up, which also made the old stone porch inaccessible; and that’s why the light switch to the kitchen is in the dining room. We have a second-story window on the side of the house that has a view of the insulation of the roof of the den that was added to that side c. 1954, when dark wood paneling with authentic knot holes was all the rage. It also has a slate floor. Do you know how cold a slate floor gets during a Long Island Winter? House proud, I am not.

    Gorgeous tweedyi, too. Does it help being a dog to look at the flowers in your garden, Chess? My eyes are about 5 feet 6 above ground level and I think I’d have to crawl on my hands and knees to see your blossoms. That’s one reason I like roses so much. They grow at eye-level.

    Happy Weekend, dear Chess. And the Guy You Live With.

    • paridevita says:

      Back when there used to be things like that here, the guy I live with would go into the bathroom and turn on the fan and run water in order to open a bag of potato chips, because I and my buddy Slipper, who were usually at the back fence barking at things, could hear the bag opening, otherwise, and he would have to share. It’s hardly ever overcast here. Really, hardly ever, except some summers it can be dark and cloudy all day long, every day. Taking pictures is a struggle. The guy I live with likes little plants partly because they’re amenable to the climate here; you know alpine plants and small desert-type plants and bulbs and stuff. There used to be a lot of bigger plants here but things would always happen and the guy I live with would get frustrated. My mommy liked crawling on the paths, weeding, and looking at the little plants. The narcissus flower is two centimeters across. The guy I live with spent a lot of time in old, remodeled houses, but a view of the insulation sounds classic. Insulation isn’t very interesting to look at.

  7. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Chess, I find myself wanting to say, “I’ll have what you’re having.” I could use some extra vim and vigor today. (I actually did just take an ibuprofen) A joy to see all the flowers. Was especially interested to learn there is a Mertensia other than virginica, which I have in my yard. If it didn’t cost more than other native shade plants, I’d have a lot more of them. I also have a similar fritillaria blooming right now — same color but with rounded petals. It was supposed to be the checkered (guinea hen) variety. Makes me wonder how often the wrong bulbs are sent. Once my drugs kick in, I’m off to slog a few bags of rocks home — because we have no where to dump deliveries, I move everything in my car, mostly in bags. sigh.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with sometimes takes ibuprofen. His doctor said he could take twelve capsules a day, not all at once, with food. (“With food”, I like that.) But he only rarely takes it. He doesn’t drink, though he wishes he could, and that makes a difference if he took lots of ibuprofen. The frit you have is probably F. michailovskyi. There are three or four dozen species of Mertensia, mostly native west of the hundredth meridian. Our little one here, which is a dryland plant, is native to the foothills, like in Red Rocks Park, a few miles west of here, and then there’s M. alpina, little one from Pikes Peak, and all kinds of others. The others are mostly woodland plants, like pine forests and stuff. M. lanceolata is the only one that has persisted, and by “persisted” we mean sowed itself all over the place. (The soil we have here is the same soil as at Red Rocks, if that makes a difference.) If you’re interested, go look at the Alplains website; there are pictures of several of these.

  8. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I did look. I had no idea there were so many Mertensias. The first time I had them, they came up volunteer in my garden in Flint. I did not know what the strange looking plant was, but I don’t like to pull plants until I know what it is. I went around asking people what sort of a plant had that shaped leaf & pink flowers. Then it bloomed. oh. Embarrassed that I hadn’t known the buds were pink, but very glad I hadn’t yanked it out thinking it was a weed. I wish they would self-seed all over the place here, but I have them in 2 different places here, and it doesn’t seem particularly happy in either place.

    It’s allergies that have me all wonky today. According to my gardening journal, we’re about 2-3 weeks behind in bloomtime (e.g., my star magnolia was finished blooming by Mar. 20 in 2012 but in full bloom today) and several things are blooming at the same time (cherry tree and peach trees)that usually are staggered. The two redbuds are budded and on the verge of popping, too.
    It’s pretty but pollen-y. A report released last week named Louisville, KY #1 in the nation in pollen. Part of being in a river valley. At least I don’t have a headache, thanks to Advil.

    A package of plants arrived before I went for rocks, so the rocks can wait. A gentian was one of the plants. Fingers, er, paws, crossed for me that it will grow here.

    I forget which post mentioned serviceberries, so I’ll say here that a couple of days ago I had a lively conversation with a guy from Cornell who is promoting Juneberries (A. alnifolia) as a commercial crop. They are more nutritious than blueberries. And more northern (aka Saskatoon serviceberry) than my region, but we decided that I should try them here to see how they do. I ordered 4 & eagerly await their arrival.

    • paridevita says:

      Mertensias are quite delightful, and as a purebred border collie, I can see the blue. Some of the western woodland types might do well in the east. The guy I live with says to say there was a Mertensia virginica here, before I showed up, but it was never very happy. Amelanchier alnifolia, which has a zillion common names including saskatoon (the city is named for them), is native to Colorado, too, though in wetter places than the Utah one. They do get fireblight, which ticked off the guy I live with, because it meant other people were growing diseased crabapples.

  9. petabunn says:

    Maybe if you typed into you tube
    Heelwork to Music/Mary and Richard/Crufts2014
    it would work. You would so love it, it features a dog called Levi

    • paridevita says:

      That was pretty cool, thanks. Levi looks like a border collie, even with the characteristic white collar, which we don’t all have. We also come in other colors besides black and white. Heard “I’m Captain Jinx of the Horse Marines”, though the guy I live with, when he was little, heard it as Captain Jeans.

      • petabunn says:

        So glad you could finally see Levi, clever poopy, I think Mum was boss in that family, he really looked up to her (ha,ha).

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, indeed. My mommy used to teach my buddy Slipper “dog tricks”, and he was pretty good at them. I’m better at eating dinner and taking naps.

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