Greetings and salutations, everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, 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 “Gray And Gloomy” and “Gloomy Weather”, among so many, many other posts in which someone complains about the weather. Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’ve been brushed a lot in the last couple of days. The guy I live with doesn’t like this cool, overcast weather, and has been complaining constantly. The things I have to put up with. I like this weather, almost as much as I like snow, so I don’t have much sympathy for all the moaning and groaning. Since it was overcast, it behooved (always wanted to use this word, even though we don’t have horses) the guy I live with to take some pictures, and so he did. The prayer flags, which you see here and there, are to remind someone (I don’t know who) that there are new plants which need to be watered. Here’s the cactus garden in the front. You can barely see me behind the window. The hose is there because some new plants were put in, though a few of them were destroyed by hail.And Echinocereus triglochidiatus, the “White Sands form”. These are some “honking big echinocereus”, according to the guy I live with. I’ll make the transition from flora to fauna here, by showing Stanleya pinnata and a tiny visitor.We still have a lot of sphinx moths. One got into the upstairs bedroom and tried to climb into a flower pot. The moth was rescued.And the other day, it hailed again, and the guy I live with thought that Earl (notch in his ear) had gotten back together with his girlfriend, who’s probably Pearl, but we’re not really sure. He took this picture the next day. You can see another tail behind him, on the left. And sun on the grape vine leaves. Then there’s the cheeping. It goes on constantly. Cheep, cheep, cheep. The guy I live with got some fairly good pictures, but he also scared the baby robins, which he didn’t want to do.
Now to the Projects part of my post. Every now and then, the guy I live with actually does stuff. Right now, he’s busy rooting cactus cuttings. He uses that as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable social events. “Thanks for the invitation, but I’m awfully busy, rooting cactus.” He made these pins to hold down the joints while they root. Pretty clever, huh? (He said it was clever, so it must be.) Not only do the pins hold the cactus in place, like keep them from blowing away, they also prevent the cactus from falling on the guy I live with’s arm in the event that he picked up the pot and didn’t know the cactus hadn’t rooted. He claims that’s never happened, but it might.And then just today, he thought he would “fix the trellis”, which has been in a very un-trellis-like state since a few weeks after he built it. My mommy wasn’t very impressed with his construction skills. But he did make an attempt to repair it. He gave up about ten minutes after he started. He says he’ll buy some premade trellises and fix it that way.It’s been quite a while since I showed pictures of me on my walk, so I figured I’d show a few of them too. Everything is extremely green from all the hail. (It rained some, too, but we like to pretend we’re tough). I’m not in this picture, by the way.The county came by and mowed, as you can see. Someone there thinks that mowing “keeps down weeds”. The guy I live with says that grasses, by their very nature, successfully compete with weeds, and that everywhere the grass is left unmowed, there are no weeds, but what can you do. In some places, which were mowed last year, grasses have taken hold, but they’re foxtail (Hordeum jubatum), which I have to look out for. The foxtail invades disturbed areas. “People are weird”, the guy I live with says, but there’s not much you can do about it. One time my grandpa Flurry got one of the foxtail’s awns in his leg and he had to go to the Bad Place to have it fixed. I don’t want that. Water in the canal, by the sluice. The turning-wheel thing, that you use to open the sluice, disappeared a few years ago. There used to be a farm house to the north (to the right), with a little woodland, and my grandpa Flurry and my Uncle Pooka used to go on walks there. The guy I live with says it was kind of scary there at night, with an abandoned house, and tallish trees, two ultra-creepy ponds, and broken-down fences, and then he saw The Blair Witch Project and didn’t want to go in there any more, but my mommy said that was silly. She often told the guy I live with that he was being silly, and now he has no one but me to tell him he’s being dumb. I’m always brave, of course. The area now is nothing but weeds, and east of that, the parking lot which you can see here, behind the fence. You can see how high the “regular grass”, smooth brome (Bromus inermis), is. It’s not a native grass and spreads like lightning, but it really does control the other weeds. That’s all I have for today. I know it was kind of a lot. Sometimes we actually have things to say. Until next time, then.
Hi Chess, you did cover a lot today, and interesting stuff. You do look lovely and fluffy today, must be all that brushing and I do like to see your walking pics even if you are lost in the long grass, was it cooler in there. I’m loving the garden pictures, it is looking great. I especially liked your guy’s pretend trellis, he’s kidding himself, a trellis?. An array of wildlife was covered today too, an all round interesting post, thanks Chess.
Thanks. When the guy I live with built the trellis, out of lath that cost him $50 US, about 1987, and it fell apart within a week, my mommy pointed out that he could have purchased trellises for half that, or less, and after that he was forbidden from doing any garden construction. My mommy built all the arbors. It’s 16C right now, and dark at 7 p.m. I really liked the weather today, and also the fact that the guy I live with stayed home all day, and my walks were really long ones, with lots of sniffing detours. We decided not to show the parts trashed by hail, since that’s no fun for anyone. Right now there are mouse fights on the patio, talk about wildlife, and there was an attempt to make a movie of two of them boxing, but the fight stopped when the camera was turned on.
Hey Chess, had to tell you it was -2C this morning and now at 2:30pm it is still only 10C, you’d love it…
ps. can’t wait to see boxing mice
That sounds really nice. It’s pretty cool here right now, and it’s almost bedtime, too. Hopefully we’ll be able to make a movie of the mice boxing. Thought we had, already, in one of the mouse movies, but I guess not. They stand up on their hind legs and bat at each other with their front legs. I guess when someone isn’t getting their way. Or not enough food.
Lovely first photo, whoops of you I mean Chess, but the first garden photo is almost botanical. And the red flowers of the E. coccineus are perfect. (I have several Echinocerus coccineus seed germinations but apparently won’t get to see them flower!) I imagine it was uncomfortable taking cactus cuttings. Any accidental piercings while pinning would certainly put the boss in a bad mood for any event. Hope they root! Very informative and mixed bag posting!
Thanks. I had to update the post to change it to Echinocereus triglochidiatus, which the White Sands form really is. Whew, huh. The guy I live with had a momentary lapse of memory, or something.
Oh, the cactus cuttings were purchased from Beaver Creek Greenhouses. This is often the way you get cactus through the mail, and then you have to root them yourself, which is okay. Things like echinocereus, though, come rooted, in pots. You can get the White Sands form from Beaver Creek and Miles’ 2 Go, among other places.
The White Sands ones are on the south side of the house, in the Jardin Exotique (though there’s very little left there that’s really unusual), but the difference between the ones there, and the one that’s out in the garden in back, size-wise, is considerable. They are huge.
This is funny. Sometimes, the big echinocereus shrivel near the base when they don’t have enough water, and start to lean. So the guy I live with puts a stick against them to keep them from falling over. So then the cactus start leaning the other way. Eventually they get water, and stand up straight again.
The first photo of the yard/garden reminds me of the photo on page 137 in “The American Woman’s Garden” ~~ yeah, I finally bought the book. I was surprised that page 137 was one of the few photos that appealed to me. The one on page 185 does, too, because I have an azalea that color. And I love the sculptures on p. 165, but that doesn’t exactly strike me as gardening. I already knew I don’t like the highly sculptured shrubs/formal gardens because I know how much upkeep it would take (and I’m not up for the upkeep — more time to walk the dogs). Having someone else do it seems like ‘anti-gardening’ — like Dale Chihuly having someone else make his art, or something. I suspect I would like many of these gardens if I visited them in person & it’s the photos of the gardens I don’t like. Lorrie Otto is a guru of native plant-dom, but the photos of her place don’t excite me, either.
I’m jealous of the walk path you have. Ours is all asphalt & concrete ~~ and recently a neighbor yelled at me because Buddy lifted his leg against their mailbox. I tried to tell him Buddy was ‘out of juice’ but, being ignorant of dogs (and what he pays to have applied to his lawn), it didn’t matter to him. Now when I walk past his house, I suspect there’s a smidgen of ill-will oozing out of me: twenty years of yoga/quasi-Buddhism down the drain.
I know about harboring ill-will against a neighbor….. We have to walk across the street to get to the open space, but otherwise, it’s all field, or the canal road. Read a comment on a non-gardening blog that said “If you don’t like something, ask yourself why you think the whole world needs to know it”, or something to that effect, and yet, there are gardens, and elements in gardens, which I definitely, and strongly, dislike. Never even noticed page 165. The American Man’s Garden is equally good. Probably also available for one dollar.
I like the thought of that blogger not reading my comment – because I like balance, especially in book reviews. The word ‘yoga’ means “yoke” or “union” – yoking together opposites: strength & flexibility; anger & compassion; beauty & grief (there’s a blog I read because it unites these two exquisitely); chaos & order (most relevant to my gardening). Twenty years of yoga hasn’t turned off the negative reactions completely, but now instead of obsessing on the bad stuff for days/weeks/months/years, it only sticks around for minutes/hours/a day or two, max. The goal is not to react, positively or negatively, but I like the positive, so I’ll be content with some negative. Because balance.
Ironically, the person who made that comment then turned around a few months later and told everyone about the music they didn’t like. The music was some which I like, and reading that someone didn’t like it had absolutely no effect on me, so the comment was simply gratuitous. “There is not a thing to be disliked.” (Linji Yuxuan) Well, maybe, but there are things to which we can be indifferent, maybe.
Chess, thank you for beautifully documenting your daily walk. You are so lucky to enjoy such natural space, even if recently mowed. Petey and Shredder are walked on village sidewalks here in the neighborhood or driven down the Strand to Cays Dog Park. At the park, they’re allowed off-leash on the mown green put in place over a landfill covering a trashfill, the old turn-of-the-last-century garbage pit for the Hotel Del. Petey chases balls and the Maltese sits his butt on the sidewalk and watches. Both of them socialize with other friendly dogs, although the Maltese mostly prefers humans who fuss over him. I suspect you are as much a loner as the guy you live with – “sorry, can’t come, I’ll be busy holding down the fort” – so your pathway fits you best. Thank you for giving us your portrait pose at the top of your post and then all the shots of Chess in action. The shot of moth climbing into pot is, as kids out here say, a-maaazing.
Thanks; well, we are loners by circumstance, I guess. I don’t much like other dogs after the rescue dog brought here chomped me over and over again. Sometimes on my walk there are unleashed dogs who come up and try to chomp me, too. As you can see in my first picture, I’m extra cuddly and other dogs must get jealous. I bet they’re really jealous of my lifestyle, too. There have been so many hawk moths coming into the house, to check out the lights, that at one time the guy I live with caught two at once, to put outside. The thing is, there’s this super-heavy lamp hanging over the kitchen table, that my mommy talked the guy I live with into buying, and he had to go up into the attic to fit a support between the joists to hold the weight, and the idea of cleaning the thing and having it break was a drag, but eventually he took apart the lamp, cleaned twenty plus years of grime off it, and put it back using a chair and three pillows on the kitchen table to hold the weight as it was bolted back in, and now the lamp is very, very shiny and bright and all the moths in the county can see it.