finally, it’s summer

Hello 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 greatest news from our garden, roasting though I may be. You may remember me from such memorable posts as “Three Percent Humidity” and “‘In The Electric Heat Hypnotised'”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m trying to conceal the fact that I’m roasting hot. The guy I live with thinks this is a ridiculous, not characteristic, pose. What with my hind feet where they are, that is. 14062902Anyway, whew. It was 90 degrees today (32.2C), which is far too hot for purebred border collies. “Especially overweight ones” said the guy I live with, and I do admit I’ve put on a few pounds in the last several years, but he could have left that unsaid, regardless. And, once again, look who’s talking.

The guy I live with likes this weather. I also admit that I like going on walks in roasting hot weather. I don’t know why, but I do. All the foxtail that the county mowed down is bone-dry now; walking through it was like walking through hay. The guy I live with says that summers are supposed to be hot and dry, and so I guess summer has finally started for us.

The one thing that really needed to be done was to move the pots full of seedlings into an area where they get more sun, and that actually got done. I just watched, of course. A whole bunch of seedlings already went to DBG where hopefully they’ll like the crevice gardens there, but there are still a lot left.14062905The bitterroots (Lewisia rediviva), of which there were a whole bunch, were planted in the sand pile. They go dormant right about now, so when the leaves begin to wither it’s easier to plant them than to sift through the soil-less mix later in the year. The leaves start to appear much later, after it gets cold.

There are still a whole bunch of seed pots in which nothing has germinated, but those will be held over, in the other frames, until next spring, at least. Some will come up later this summer, too.

Here are a couple of cactus flower pictures. This is Cylindropuntia imbricata, the tree cholla native to Colorado, from Colorado Springs southward.14062901And here’s a cool flower of an Opuntia polyacantha. The whole plant is going to Timberline Gardens this week because it’s getting way too big for the little area where it’s planted. polyacanthaAnd here’s Verbena wrightii. The guy I live with wanted this for years, and now look what’s happened. It’s seeding all over the place, on one of the sand piles. I think it was Goethe who said “Never wish for something; you just might get it.” 14062910Here’s a picture of the south end of the big sand pile (which used to be the Long Border), taken in brilliant, blazing hot sun. My mommy, who knew about color, said the sun washed out everything. The white on both sides is Tanacetum niveum, self sown. The dark in back is the enclosure fence, with the golden hops growing over it. 14062903In the “way back”. Stachys byzantina ‘Big Ears’ (aka ‘Helene von Stein’), Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (or some name with purple in it; there are several named selections), and Leymus (or Elymus) arenarius, the blue lyme grass, planted where it can take over. A good choice for sandy soil, which this isn’t here (it’s decomposed sandstone, with about ten inches–25cm–of loamier soil on top). The barely-visible small shrub, to the right of the tall weed (a sunflower, which went unnoticed during a few minutes of furious weeding), is Crataegus douglasii. At the extreme right is a mostly-dead plant of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yaku Jima’, tested for “drought tolerance”; a test it has mostly failed, according to the guy I live with. 14062908The shady end of this little garden, or border, under Wasatch maples, Acer grandidentatum. (This is to the right of the picture above.) More Tanacetum niveum, and a ground cover of pigsqueak (Bergenia cordifolia) and Geranium macrorrhizum. The fence my mommy built has sort of collapsed and the guy I live with has been working on straightening it, and propping it up. The apple tree, with sunlight on it, has been pushing the fence farther and farther to the east (left). Lawn is ‘Cody’ buffalograss. The bare spot has been seeded and is the subject of much fussing and fretting by you-know-who. 14062909Later, the guy I live with tried to make more bat movies, but there were an awful lot of mosquitoes out by the back fence, some of which landed on my nose. Probably not this one, though.14062913Two nights past the full moon. 14062912Well, that was our day. Hardly anything happened, except moving the seed pots, but I tried to make it seem like something did. That’s what we do, you know. Pretend like we’re doing stuff. I’ll leave you with a picture of me taken earlier in the day, where I’m being extremely busy.14062911

Until next time, then.

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14 Responses to finally, it’s summer

  1. Vivian Swift says:

    Chess, you do look happy in the heat! Summer suits you. Does the Opuntia polyacantha flower smell as delicious as it looks? The photo of the shady bit of garden is so beautiful that I embiggened it on my computer so I could stroll through the shadows. Was it planted with lots of silver-grey stuff or is that just the way shade looks in CO? The bird bath is a nice touch. I think I also see a path that leads out around the fence, into the sunlight, into a meadow or towards a brook that leads to a stream that flows into a creek that becomes a tributary that powers the mighty Colorado River … I’m saying the scene begs for a narrative. But I’d rather park an Adirondak chair under the maples and watch for little lawn mowers. and of course, I’d need a good dog at my side.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; there’s no smell on the opuntia. It’s going to a good home, where it will get propagated and stuff. You can see how well they’re grown at Timberline Gardens, with plenty of room, which the guy I live with says we don’t have. The cactus has been here since the turn of the century, at least. You can see that the fence behind has sun on it, so this doesn’t really qualify as a shade garden, and neither does the Shade Garden, on the north side of the house, which is really in sun at this time of year. The number of plants which have been planted and then died in both “shade gardens” is staggering. The guy I live with says that if he had all the money he’d spent on now-dead plants we would be living in a villa on the Italian Riviera with lots of acreage. The tansy, Tanacetum niveum, is kind of a weed here, and really, it found a place right at the edge of the “shady” border where it can get sun. The path leads under the apple tree to a pile of dirt, planted with things, that used to be the compost pile, and then to the Trough Patio (where the seed frame is) and the Employees Only section, way back in the far southwestern corner of the garden, where only I go. Like if I have to chase a cat out of the garden. The bird bath was here when I showed up. It leans slightly. It cracked a few winters ago; all of the glazed pots and birdbaths used to be left outside all year long until one winter things started cracking. The birdbath got fixed, and now holds water again. For a day or two, until it evaporates. The guy I live with is kind of puzzled about the photograph; that is, why it didn’t come out as focused as he thought it would, but there are still instructions to be read and things to be learned, I guess.

      • Knicky Twigs says:

        The Optunia polyacantha bloom is beautiful. I love the delicate color and the sharp, ragged edges of the tissue-paper petals.

      • paridevita says:

        It is. Most of the plant was delivered to the nursery (Timberline), where it will have room to grow. Like sending it to a farm, I guess.

  2. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I always enjoy the views of the garden. I’m especially drawn to the ‘shade’ garden with the apple tree. It’s the fence. And the tree. It reminds me so much of our garden in Flint — it was a crabapple there.

    I made a very rudimentary cage for the twice gnawed on serviceberry, and it seems to be working so far. The shrub is leafing out again. But I’m finding that this caging thing is a slippery slope — there’s a paw paw sapling that was gnawed down to a nub last year & I thought it was dead; but then I noticed it sprouting anew. Really should cage that. And I had to sort of fence/cage some of my seedlings, which the teeny tiny bunny chomped (the lone purple milkweed that sprouted & was doing beautifully, e. g.). They’re all sprouting back, too, but I need something more substantial. It makes my hands hurt just thinking about cutting all that hardware cloth, a roll of which I just happened to have on hand.

    I meant to say before, with the earlier bat video, that the bats I saw when I was out looking for meteors were swooping 3-10 ft. above me, not far off in the distance. It was fascinating & disconcerting at the same time.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we might start a new gardening trend. The Armored Garden. You use the wire that comes with the hardware cloth to make cages, wearing heavy leather gloves. The guy I live with cut himself many times before it dawned on him what those heavy gloves are for. Haven’t seen meteors in a long, long time. The apple tree, by the way, was the first thing planted here, in 1986. There was a line of these dwarf apple trees, but all died except the one.

  3. Knicky Twigs says:

    It’s one of those painful, yet joyous things; providing freedom to something you love. How big does that particular Optunia get?

  4. Knicky Twigs says:

    BTW: I’m with you Chess. I don’t fare well in the hot weather.

  5. Vivian Swift says:

    Dear Chess: Happy 4th of July — now remember: When the fireworks get tough, the tough duck and cover.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Fireworks are illegal here, but that doesn’t seem to deter some people. The guy I live with says when he was a kid, no one was allowed to have them, but times change. It’s thundering and sort of raining, and that’s kind of scary.

  6. Merry Fourth of July! Your garden, Chess, looks nothing like the gardens we oogled in the Winchester, England area (I’m mad about Hinton Ampner — Ralph Dutton, the guy who designed it sounds as though he had a lot in common with the guy you live with. Love to eavesdrop on *that* conversation.) Your garden is “quite lovely” as they say often in England, and very American. I know there are dry gardens in England, but the garden you romp in is a special dry garden, one very much the product of its maker. And his purebred Border collie, for we understand concessions have been made. Long may you wave, Chess!
    Our terrier Petey joins you in dislike of loud bangs – which have been going on all July at a certain hotel – and we will have to muffle his ears this evening. Also, we are having Others over for a hamburger feast, a rarity in our lives, Others over for dinner. So often when asked for social engagement we find necessary a timely “transplanting of seedlings.” Still, needs must, and we will raise a Pimm’s Cup tonight to the freedom of excellent walks in blazingly hot weather.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says he remembers fireworks displays at the beach, when he was little. I don’t really know what a beach is, but it sounds totally scary. He’s also heard of Hinton Ampner. Isn’t there a “cool dell” there, pictured in G.S. Thomas’s The Art of Planting? Having others over for to eat is okay sometimes. Depends on who it is, huh.

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