Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, 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 news from our garden, as well as what I consider to be some pretty dumb pictures, including pictures of stars, no less. You may remember me from such stellar posts as “There And Back Again” and “Time To Get Serious”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a fairly ridiculous pose. 14072608Here I am on a sunny morning right after my breakfast, and waiting to go on my walk. It seems to take forever to get ready to go, but eventually we go. I know my head is really bright and all; that’s a metaphor. Oh, and that is my hind leg, not someone else’s.

By the way. Leonardo da Vinci, the guy I live with is not. The ramp up the stairs didn’t work, because it was too steep. But he (not Leonardo; the guy I live with) says if I use my front legs and he holds my hips, I can make it up the stairs at bed time. It worked perfectly last night. 14072607It’s sunny in the morning here, and sunny on my morning walk, but we can see the clouds building up over the mountains, and by noon it’s totally dark and thundering. I don’t like that very much at all. I do like the coolness that it brings, but that’s not much of a trade, if you ask me.

It sprinkled all afternoon and all during the evening. That’s why my post is called “sprinkles”. The guy I live with thought that you might think of things like chocolate sprinkles, but I don’t mean those. I mean stuff like this:14072606Well, sometimes the clouds do go away around ten at night, and the guy I live with, for no reason I could think of, went out and took pictures of the sky. I should warn you that this part is going to be really boring. I decided just to post two pictures, fortunately for you, huh.

This is the “Big Dipper”. bd1And here’s Mars. The red dot. The guy I live with says there are “people who walk among us” who are from that planet, or even planets much farther away. (That’s the star Spica in Virgo, in the lower right.)mars3Okay, done with the boring part. Sorry about that. Now for some gardening.

We have a whole bunch of Ipomopsis rubra starting to bloom. They’re biennials. The guy I live with (who was fiddling with exposures or something when he took these pictures) says he’ll call the fire department next week and tell them not to worry.

One year there were 120 of these in bloom, but this year, “only” about half that. He hasn’t gotten the cycle down so that there are rosettes this year, for flowers next year. 14072601


Here’s a sphaeralcea in bud, probably S. fendleri, under the oriole feeder. There are so many orioles here, the guy I live with had to buy a whole bunch more grape jelly, and some oranges. 14072605And the Rocky Mountain bee plant, Cleome serrulata. To get these, which are annuals, all you do is toss seed onto the ground in late autumn, and up they come, by the zillion. (A zillion is a lot, if you didn’t know.) They form a huge root in a very short time, and grow six or seven feet tall if they’re happy. 14072604Well, that’s really all I have for tonight. Not much has been going on, because the guy I live with hasn’t felt like working out in the garden much, and you can bet I haven’t, not with all the thunder. It’s supposed to thunder all next week, too. Oh well. 14072609


Until next time, then.




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12 Responses to sprinkles

  1. Oh my goddess, Chess, your garden is so beautiful in the “sprinkles” photograph I just want to rush right into it. Really. Taunt me not with how easily cleome grows. I have tried and tried and tried, and the hateful thing refuses to grow. *Sigh*. I suppose I will test serrulata next. Darn thing better grow. Night sky photographs are not at all boring. Big Dipper is perfectly laid out and Mars reminds me of a certain NFL football player who attended university there. You may have to reconsider the guy you live with’s relationship to Leonardo. He – tgylw – managed to perfectly capture the halo denoting your sainted status, which I believe Leonardo had a talent for too. Halo-capturing, not sainthood. The final photo, dear Chess, no doubt conveys contemplation of your nightly journey upstairs, heave ho. Thought: is it possible to wear earmuffs against the thunder?

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I wonder if they make earmuffs for dogs. I kind of doubt it. Earmuffs might make me looks less saintly, and a lot more ridiculous, though. (By the way, did you know that there’s a plant with “ridiculous” in its name? There is. Aristolochia ridicula.) If you embiggen the half-wet (or half-dry) flagstone picture you can see the orange half in the oriole feeder (surprisingly, no orioles there), and the hail damage on the agave leaves, and the now-gone calibrachoa where the squirrel sat on it. The plumeria (with the twist-tie on it; the guy I live with grew up with Twist-Ems and gets all warm and fuzzy just thinking about them) got a feed of epsom salts and “took off”. It’s never bloomed, though. Regular cleomes have never grown well here, grown from potted plants. We (well, mostly the guy I live with) suspect that it has a hard time getting its roots “right” in the short period it has to grow and then flower. The native cleome comes up from seed and its roots are right to begin with. It does seed all over the place, though. He says, and I have no reason to doubt him since this isn’t my area of expertise, that there are some plants, especially taprooted ones, that are very difficult to establish when grown in containers. Redbud is certainly one. The chocolate flower, Berlandiera lyrata, is another.

      • Ness says:

        All for love of you, Chess, I actually googled “earmuffs for dogs”. I couldn’t believe it. You wouldn’t either. Don’t look.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with did, and said the ones with ears and antlers would be perfect. I don’t want antlers again. It’s thundering, of course. The guy I live with said that we’re supposed to have more or less constant thunder all next week, plus maybe some rain. He looks at the radar site to see if something is coming toward me, and if not, I can try to go on my afternoon walk.

  2. Knicky Twigs says:

    My pug started having problems with his hind quarters, so I fashioned a sling from an old, soft long-sleeved shirt to hoist his hind quarters. I cut most of the body of the shirt off, then holes for his legs. The arms were the holding straps. Pretty primitive, but it worked! Best wishes.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. There is, or was, a giant crane in Long Beach harbor that came from Germany after the Second World War. The guy I live with says that would work to get me up the stairs. All insults aside, we’re working it out now. He holds my hips, and up I go.

  3. Vivian says:

    I embiggened, and I saw the orange half in the oriole feeder. I also saw some interesting looking things hanging from the trees in the background. They look like fiber-woven bird huts. Qu’est-ce que c’est?
    Thank you for the Mars photo. I have looked at Mars most of my life and it has never ever appeared red to my eyes. I’m also one of those people who can’t stand the taste of cilantro. Maybe they’re related.
    I googled Aristolochia ridicula. I used to think that cobra lilies were ugly, but they are merely un-handsome compared to the true hideousness of that thing. But I’ve been painting roses all weekend (and doing it very badly) so maybe my eyes need to re-adjust to the real world. I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden a month ago when the roses were in bloom and I still stare longingly at the photographs I took of my favorite roses. I don’t know if this is normal gardening behavior b/c I’m not a gardener but oh my, I do love roses.
    Speaking of Aristolochia ridicula, I was reading a book (about roses) and I came across this passage that The Guy You Live With can probably relate to: “Botanical Latin has simplified the ancient grammar, added words, and changed the meaning of words. It would sound Greek to a classical Latin scholar or to an early Roman. Still, as one linguist notes, a living dog is better than a dead lion. Botanical Latin is a living dog.”
    Just proves what we’ve known all along. A pure bred border collie is better than a Horace Ode. Nunc est bibendum!

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that botanical “Latin” would look like gibberish to Iulius Caesar.
      The woven things are roosting pockets. Like if you were a bird and it got cold, you could spend the night there, for free. They add a certain je ne sais quoi to the garden, do they not? They half remind the guy I live with of approaching a headhunter’s camp. When the guy I live with and my mommy first met, he was mildly alarmed that she was saving up her money for a trip to New Guinea. Paddling up the Fly River or the Sepik and all that. His grandfather was in New Guinea during World War Two, as an Army doctor. The guy I live with used to hear about the Sepik River and Hollandia and Biak, but that was all the information that was ever imparted. They were places, you know. So when the guy I live with heard that the young woman with whom he had fallen in love, at first sight, was thinking of going to New Guinea, well…. By herself, too.
      You want to talk hideousness, the guy I live with has decided to start a small collection of stapeliads. For indoors, of course. A kind of “ugly beauty”, you might say. There was one here a long time ago, in the upstairs bedroom. Stapelia asterias. Now you know that gardeners are used to having creatures expire in their gardens, and occasionally not being able to locate the expired creature for a while, the smell becoming greater as the days wear on. Well, one day the stapelia bloomed, and the guy I live with heard a voice demanding to know what the fromage that smell was. “Get that thing out of the house!”
      My mind wanders, sometimes. At least I have one. I sometimes wonder about him, though.

    • Oh my heavens, Chess, we’re almost related. My mother served in New Guinea as a Army nurse during World War II. She told stories about surgeries in tents with amputated limbs thrown into corners. She told these stories usually over dinner. I was skinny in those tale-telling days.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with’s grandfather would talk about really gross medical stuff (not about the war, though) at the dinner table, until someone would complain. The guy I live with almost never talks about gross stuff, though he did call his sister just a few minutes ago to say what the thing on top of the curtain rod in the kitchen was. A tiny mouse that had climbed up the curtain. He almost caught it with a kitchen towel (to toss it outside), and now there’s a mouse in the house, and talk about getting a cat again. Talk about a total gross-out. A cat in the house. This was just after an Achemon sphinx moth flew into the kitchen (the open door gives a clue both to the flying-in of moths and the walking-in of mice). I thought it was a bird. The guy I live with caught it in his hands and put it back outside. The caterpillars are copper-colored “tomato worms” and they eat grape leaves, of which there are a lot here. In fact, to continue the gross-out, one time my mommy and the guy I live with were sitting out on the patio eating lunch, and plop right on the table was one of the copper-colored tomato worms. That was back in the day when there was a regular grape vine that covered the whole patio cover. (It died, mysteriously; the grapes here are Vitis riparia, acerifolia, and arizonica.)

    • Stephen Scanniello. president of the Heritage Rose Foundation, started his curator career in Cranford Rose Garden. He has just assumed duties as John D. Rockefeller curator of roses at the New York Botanical Garden. Really hoping next year he arranges a conference in “his” garden. Upcoming is New Orleans in November. In one Baton Rouge garden, mint juleps will be served.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with has never had a mint julep. Or any kind of julep, for that matter. His grandparents used to have something called “highballs” out in the back yard in the evening, in Los Angeles in the 1950s, and the sound of ice in glasses reminds him of that.

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