behind the scenes

Hello everyone; yes, it is I, Chess the purebred border collie once again, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest and most fascinating news from our garden. You may remember me from such fascinating posts as “Naming Names” and “After The Equinox”, among so many, many fascinating others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose. I’m headed in a certain direction, which will be obvious after a while.

me walking in the garden

me walking in the garden

You can see there’s a strip of burlap, and also some topsoil, spread over places where the guy I live with sowed more buffalo grass seed, and also all the native grasses doing their grassy thing on both sides of the path I’m about to walk on. There’s a direction I’m going in, in other words.

What I’m going to do this evening is give you a behind the scenes look at one of the little nurseries here, which are scattered here and there all over the garden. This is a very special one indeed.

On my way, let’s look at the “gumbo lily”, Oenothera caespitosa. It blooms at night and is scented of lemon, and gets its picture posted here all the time. (The catmint isn’t supposed to be there, but it’s there anyway.)

Oenothera caespitosa

Oenothera caespitosa

14051702 Okay? Good. Now let’s look at the nursery behind the little hill that the oenotheras are growing on. You might not suspect that this was a nursery if you just looked at it. I think you’d have to be told. Which I’m doing now.

It’s not like it’s camouflaged or anything, it just has a lot of weeds in it. And believe it or not, the weeds are allowed to stay.

Rancho de las Mariposas

Rancho de las Mariposas

The guy I live with, who is very sophisticated when it comes to things like this, calls the nursery Rancho de las Mariposas, or butterfly ranch, or, in this case, since mariposa is also a common name for calochortus, calochortus ranch. (The guy I live with grew up in Southern California where everything was called Rancho This or Rancho That.)

Here’s a closer view of the Rancho.14051706You saw the cages, I bet, and this is what’s in the cages. No, not just the weeds. 14051705What you see there, the green grass-looking things, are Calochortus nuttallii. Now, if you look at the picture above it, you’ll see more green grass-looking things, but with a kind of channel on the leaves. Those are Allium caeruleum.

I’ll let you figure out how the guy I live with knows these are calochortus and not alliums. (Besides being in the cage, I mean.)

A few years ago he direct-sowed a bunch of seed of different calochortus species, put a cage around each sowing, with a holder deal for the cage (you can see that on the left side of the cage), stuck a label in the ground, and waited.

The weeds couldn’t be pulled, because if they were, the calochortus bulbs would be pulled right out of the ground, too.

Pretty neat, huh? I mean if you were a gardener instead of a purebred border collie, and you cared about stuff like this. Maybe I shouldn’t say “neat”, but you get the idea.

The bulbs will be dug this summer and replanted in the actual garden.

That’s it for the gardening news. There are other plants blooming, and stuff happening, but I thought it was high time I should you the Rancho.

Oh, here are a couple of the now-obligatory baby bunny pictures.

This one was on the lawn a couple of doors down. Free lawn mowing service.14051707

14051708Okay, now that’s it. I’m going to take a pre-bedtime nap, so I can be all rested by the time actual bedtime arrives. Or at least I would be napping if the guy I live with would stop taking my picture when I’m in my fort.  14051709


Until next time, then.



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8 Responses to behind the scenes

  1. Knicky Twigs says:

    The garden is looking lovely. I see you’ve replaced the chairs in the Feng Shui pavilion with very large pots. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with says the pots probably won’t have anything in them this year. They were on the north path for several years without anything in them. They had coleus in them for several years when they were closer to the patio. One day he says he’ll try to get rid of the price tags painted or chalked on them, too.

  2. Vivian Swift says:

    The Jardin du Collie Sang Pur looks beautiful at twilight. Ah, those night-blooming fleurs are lovely. I would consider planting a garden full of those lilies if they were called something other than “gumbo”. I’ve had gumbo, in NOLA, lovingly home-cooked by an umpteenth-generation Cajun, and it was not good. As for delectable and appropriate taxonomy for such a night-blooming beauty, “beignet” lily is more like it. Now I’m lost in a fantasy of a midnight garden dusted with moonlight as fine and tactile as powdered sugar. And now I’m hungry. And now I’m going to have to go check my pantry to see if I have any beignet mix left over from my last trip to New Orleans. And then I’ll have to come back with fresh beignets and scroll back over this post so I can go oooooooh over those pictures of the baby bunny, whose little white bib make him look as if he’s been dusted with, you know, the main ingredient of powdery sugary donutty happiness.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with took over the cooking in the house about twenty years ago, when he discovered he could make anything. My mommy used to wonder how he could think about food when he was eating, but he could. Not so much any more, so I’ve taken over that habit. I think about food constantly. You get a book called Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, written by someone who knows how to cook, and gumbo’ll take on a whole new meaning. Gumbo, apparently, is the name given to a very dense clay soil that has a reputation of being very sticky when it gets wet. Claude Barr wrote about it in Jewels of the Plains. When the oenothera is in bloom, it attracts the hawkmoth Hyles lineata, and four of them have already flown into the house on the last three nights. Since I’m taking goofballs it wasn’t as scary as before, and the guy I live with caught them either with the net, or with his hands (“they tickle”) and put them back outside. The fragrance of lemon, like the flowers of the lemon tree I guess, is very strong out in the back, where the oenotheras bloom. Night-blooming plants are excellent, according to the guy I live with. I’m usually asleep so I don’t pay much attention.

  3. I like nepeta, so I like the place it’s in in the photo. Nepeta probably likes it there too. So the guy you live with plants seeds, seeds turn to bulbs, bulbs at maturity can be pulled for permanent planting — like that? I get it. It’s a nursery. On our garden tour of University Heights yesterday, one garden featured several dracaena draco trees the owner had planted from seed 30 years ago, and they were rearing fierce dragon heads. On our little island and down the street from us an old Spanish-style (rancho) house was recently torn down – two will replace it – and a magnificent dragon tree over a hundred years old probably planted by famed plants woman Kate Session was jerked out of the ground, beheaded, and chopped into bits. Until that point the tree was flourishing. There exist barbarians among us, and our city council is spineless. Ahem. Elegant little rabbit looking mighty innocent restores a bit of innocence, and Chess dog strolling out at twilight to show us a garden nursery is a redeeming image. Thank you for lending your pure-bred Border Collie self to so many fine photos, even ones in your fort retreat.

    • paridevita says:

      That’s pretty much what a nursery is here. A neglected, weed-choked area where plants are secretly growing. Hopefully growing. The catmint has seeded all over the “way back” garden and I guess that’s okay, so long as it doesn’t attract cats. We also have regular catnip, too. I don’t know why. When the guy I live with hears the word “rancho”, images pop into his mind, because he’s one of those people who think visually and auditorily (I guess lots of humans don’t); he sees Rancho los Amigos, where his dad went for rehab in the 1950s, and sees eucalyptus and a new toy called Play-Doh, and also, of course, Rancho la Brea. Barbarians, yes. I almost had to do an extreme retreat because today there was a prairie dog in the back yard. Not quite like seeing a rhinoceros, because there’s a colony of prairie dogs across the boulevard, at the Federal prison, about half a mile or more from here, and maybe this one had broken out, like Bogart in Dark Passage, which he was just watching. I think it escaped from our yard, too. The only other thing is the sphinx moths that have been flying into the house. My mommy’s alias was sphinxmoth, she liked them so much, and you can still find her comments on message boards like Aeclectic Tarot and things like that. She had a book on sphinx moths, and painted some. They only come out at night, or dusk, really, so they’re crepuscular moths. I’m kind of rambling, I know.

  4. petabunn says:

    Lots to say but I’m afraid all I can say at this time is my mummy and I think about food all the time too, yes!

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