when the bindweed is in bloom

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, here to bring you the latest and greatest news from our garden. You may remember me from such great posts as “Cactus And Snow” and “The Awful Smell”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I bet you wish you had your own personal rug so you could lie in front of the refrigerator, too. 14070503Wait, how about another picture of me before I go into the gardening news?14070505I’m not sure which one I like better. Both are pretty good, if you ask me. You can’t really tell how blisteringly hot I was when I had my picture taken, but that’s because I’m tough.

It was blisteringly hot today, and the bindweed was blooming, as maybe you figured when you read the title of today’s post, and the upshot of this was that when the guy I live with saw all the flowers, he realized that he’d missed pulling a whole bunch of bindweed. Not that he went out and pulled it all. He just realized it.

We got up pretty early this morning, maybe 7:30, and one of the first things that he did after making my breakfast and starting the coffee was to take a morning picture from the back door. My mommy bought that green star. And the bird that’s on the railing. 14070501I got to go on both my walks, of course, and it was super extra blisteringly hot, which I liked, and then I spent most of the day napping. The guy I live with kept saying he was going to do some gardening, and he was outside for a little while, but I was asleep, so I don’t know if any genuine gardening took place, or if he just wandered around looking at things other than the flowering bindweed.

He says a lot of people are kind of strange, and one way you can tell that they are is that they don’t grow this plant. He pushed it over the sidewalk so you could see it in all its glory.14070502Impressive, no? This is Matthiola longipetala (M. bicornis), the night-scented stock. You throw the seeds on the ground and they come up. The seedlings will overwinter, too.

This is what it looks like when the sun goes down. I don’t know why this picture is so grainy, but it is. (I think he pressed the wrong button before he took the picture.)14070510Still not impressed? Well, you don’t grow it for its looks. What you grow it for is the intense scent of cloves and vanilla that perfume a very large area of the garden. The scent carries on the wind, too.

If we could do smells on the blog, you could smell the flowers, and then you’d want to get a packet of seed from a place like J.L. Hudson.

While he was out in front, which is where the stock plants are, he took a picture of the desert four o’clock, Mirabilis multiflora.14070508There was something munching on the plant, too. 14070511The guy I live with said the caterpillar was eating the leaves like people eat corn on the cob. My mommy used to buy corn on the cob, soak it in water for an hour or so, and then grill it. She and the guy I live with would eat it with lots of butter, out on the patio, while I and my buddy Slipper tried to remind them that purebred border collies like buttered grilled corn on the cob a lot.

Um, let’s see. Oh, there are a couple of red penstemons blooming right now, in the back yard. (Four species, really, but only two got their pictures taken.)

Penstemon barbatus. (Self sown.)14070509Another P. barbatus.14070506Plenty of flowers for the hummingbirds.

I guess that’s it. Tomorrow is supposed to be super hot, too, so I’ll go on my walks and make the guy I live with think I’m going to pass out at any moment, when I’m really having a very good time, and then I can nap for the rest of the day.

I’m very good at napping.14070504


Until next time, then.






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12 Responses to when the bindweed is in bloom

  1. Engrid says:

    Ah, Chess, you are so lucky to have a rug in front of the refrigerator. My purebred Aussie is so jealous of your rug (and your gorgeous plume of a tail). I agree that the night-blooming stock is more than worth having. It is supposed to cool down some this week, so hang in there.

    • paridevita says:

      The rug came from Home Depot, I think, and is fairly soft. Made for standing in front of the stove, and the “wrong color” too, just like the real mat for standing in front of the stove is, but we pretend not to notice.

  2. pamit says:

    Umm, corn. Why soak it in water…so the husks won’t disintegrate on the grill? I grill mine in-husk (after removing the silk) and usually the husks seem to have enough moisture to protect the corn. A few charred kernels just make the rest sweeter!

    It’s Roundup time
    Way out West
    When the bindweed is in bloom!

  3. Marcia Blum says:

    How can you tell the P. barbatus apart from the P. eatonii? I planted one of the two and I can’t remember which, but it is doing very well and I want more!!

    • paridevita says:

      This is really funny. The guy I live with went out to look at the flowers, like really look instead of just glance, and both plants are Penstemon barbatus. The flowers, from the side, look like shark’s heads, and, in fact, there are a group of similarly-shaped flowers in the genus Penstemon which are called “sharksheads”. The flowers on P. eatonii are more tubular and the lower part of the lobe isn’t reflexed as it in in barbatus. Leaves are wider and greener, too. The plants he planted were labeled eatonii, but that’s hardly any excuse for someone who’s supposed to know the difference, and not wearing his glasses isn’t an excuse either. The post has been updated with correct information. Whew, huh.

      • Marcia Blum says:

        Well, Chess, at least that explains it. I will look very closely at mine and see what I have – since I seem to have misplaced the labels (which may not have told the whole story anyway). The description of each will help me. Thanks.

      • paridevita says:

        You can’t really depend on the guy I live with, sometimes. He doesn’t wear his glasses, except when driving, There’s a Penstemon eatonii in the front yard, and then P. cardinalis, and P. centranthifolius. The more hummingbird flowers, the better, he says. The one thing about hummingbirds, though….one time the guy I live with was just standing out in the garden, the way he does, and he thought he was having a stroke, because he heard this loud fluttering sound right by his ear. It was a hummingbird, right next to his head.

  4. J.L. Hudson, huh. You are so informative, Chess. I garden for scent, so I will do a looksie. In addition to the slew of books I came back to buy on ABE, I can now start in on seeds, Our hummingbirds seem not to pay attention to our plants, but flutter near the back yard fountain. Much talk of bindweed goes on in English gardens, and in Hinton Ampner a crew of volunteers were tearing it from the borders as they compared how it flourished in their home gardens. Having filled a card full of photos while touring, I know two things: small cameras are not made for landscape shots as they lack ability to convey depth of field. Bulky old cameras captured landscape best. Secondly, Chess, the guy you live with is aces with a camera. Love the shot of the Muncher. Of course, *three* excellent shots of you make for a great blog. My favorite is the last one — you know after you’re made all better, Chess, you will have for a while much opportunity for napping. Indulge, purebred Border Collie friend. Why, yes, I mean with the brie too.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; with the brie, for sure. The guy I live with thought he should mention all this just in case I expire. He’s not really worried about that, much, but, on the other hand, I know he does worry about me. The two penstemon pictures were taken with the Canon Rebel, the others with a Canon Powershot. The Powershot does have a small lens and you can see how it makes things at the edge of the field of view look all leany and stuff, when a landscape shot is made. He knows next to nothing about cameras. My mommy knew a lot, and was obsessive, and took terrific pictures with the Olympus digital, which used four D cell batteries….. Bindweed. The early morning shot shows one of the assistants here eating bindweed. They seem to like it as a snack. J.L. Hudson is a place he’s ordered from for ages. Not this year I guess. They also carry the White Linen California poppy, and others, and you can get those in bulk. They’re sometimes perennial here, like snapdragons. When my mommy had a cutting garden, she ordered a lot of stuff from Hudson. The printed catalog is cool, but they’re online, too.

  5. Marcia Blum says:

    I put on my glasses and went to inspect the Penstemons. I think I do have P. eatonii. It seems to be thriving in the sand. My sand pile is not like the one that the guy you live with placed in your garden with so much thought. Mine is a complete accident. It is a funny story. When my house was being built, a load of sand was dumped for the use of the mason. It snowed. Joe, the snowplow guy pushed it into the meadow – he must have thought it was a huge drift. It was then moved around to form a swale that is supposed to help the drainage into the wetlands. Well, it became a weedy mess. I have been working on it ever since. I chose Penstemons (the eatonii in particular, I think) because they like sand. The buckwheat likes it there, too. Maybe Joe the snowplow guy should have used his glasses. Chess, it is hot here in Summit County, too. I am really trying hard to not take pity on my plants and water them.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that about 99.9 percent of dryland plants grow in highly aerated, coarse soils, so that any brief rain goes right to the roots. (Cactus, with their shallow roots, are an exception, but they have an obvious means of storing water.) It’s funny how people talk about “drainage” when it’s exactly the opposite action on the roots. Like if you wanted to make a garden that you never had to water (except to get the plants to grow their roots out of the root ball and down), you would pile up sand and gravel and snicker at people who say adding organic matter is the way to save water. Okay, feel totally superior if you like. I would add that this isn’t something he always thought, but was persuaded to investigate, by reading a bunch of scientific-type stuff online, by a gardening friend who gardens on sand. Anyway, the leaves on Penstemon eatonii are green, and the flower is pretty much tubular.

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