la nouvelle vague

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 and most exciting news from our garden. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “More Form, Less Texture” and “Big Metal Chicken”, among so many other design-oriented posts.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Notice that I have a new rug, and a new mat, which is actually a doormat, so it’s much easier for me to get up. There are five of these large black doormats in the kitchen, all for me, and as you can see, we’re on the cutting edge of style here, as usual. I like the new mats a lot. 14080501Continuing this “new wave” approach (you can see how sophisticated I am by titling my post en français..), the guy I live with took a picture of the usual thing he takes a picture of, the path going through the “lawn” to the arbor on the north side of the garden, but this time at dusk, which he says makes a better picture than if it were taken in the gloom of a thunderstorm, which is what we usually have here. You can see that the solar light is on. The lights are there so I can see stuff when I go out into the back garden at night. The mulleins are Verbascum densiflorum14080510Even more astounding, and I bet this catches on very quickly, is the stylish placement of a trash can in the garden. The guy I live with says it’s okay to be jealous of his ability to create garden art out of objets trouvés.

I don’t really know why the trash can is still there. It was out in the garden to collect a bunch of rain water for the house plants on the two days when it rained a lot, and then it was moved closer to the house, but it hasn’t been moved since then, and there isn’t any water in it now.

la poubelle dans le jardin

la poubelle dans le jardin

Well, whatever, huh. I like my mats quite well, as I say, but I’m not so sure about the trash can. The guy I live with says it’s “symbolic”. He looked at this book about gardens “designed to be read”, and so he says this is the same sort of thing.

I guess it’s time for a plant picture, before we lose all credibility. I know I keep showing pictures of this, but here’s the colony of Ipomopsis rubra again, which he says refuses to come into focus. How can plants refuse to come into focus? (Oh, and yes, there is an echinacea in the garden, at the bottom of the picture. This is E. tennesseeensis. Maybe that’s too many Es.) 14080508To get a colony like this, in focus or not, you order seed from a seed company, and sow it any time before the first of the year. Then next spring you get a bunch of ferny rosettes, which turn into these, the year after. (Seed companies like J.L. Hudson or The Fragrant Path sometimes offer seed of this plant.)

Speaking of seeds, the guy I live with has been potting up more seedlings for the rock garden plant sale this September. He says he bets most rock gardeners don’t have Acantholimon curviflorum or Achillea sipkorensis. (Yes, the plants could be bigger, but I’m sure you remember how much complaining there has been about the lack of sun here this summer.)14080503To get back to interesting stuff, this is me, inspecting the garden for weeds. The guy I live with says that we don’t pay much attention to weeds around here except on Weeding Day. 14080506Me again, if you couldn’t tell. We had a couple of hours of sun in the afternoon today. You can’t see the trash can from here, which I don’t think spoils the overall effect at all. (You can really see it, but you have to look for it, which spoils the “spontaneous gesture” which it was claimed to be earlier today, and definitely not by me.)14080507We even had a sunset this evening. sunsetOkay, now that really is all for today. Sorry about all the French at the beginning. The guy I live with was talking about style and design, and I got carried away.

Until next time, then.




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to la nouvelle vague

  1. So much to respond to in this post, Chess, I am almost overwhelmed, but as usual not quite. All the garden pictures are lovely, I especially like the path to the arbor — and a light just for you! Lucky dog. And there is a seed place called Fragrant Path? I am so on it. I’ve been walking that path for a long time. Also a long time ago I prepared for a garden tour by reading a book called something like “Queer Space” with a focus on one garden. Never – and I read the chapter *three* times – did I understand how that gorgeously designed garden earned the designation as a queer space. One of the descriptors is areas for posing, and the garden features nice posing spots, particularly by the pool — but I myself was known for throwing a few poses waaay back in the day, and I do not qualify as subject for the book. My point? The book, the garden, and the guy you live with’s trash can are all inscrutable. The garden – a garden which manages to be famous and obscure at the same time – is on a tour for which we’ve signed up in October, so I will be seeing it for a fourth time. I don’t think it will help. So happy you have been given, Chess, all those places of traction. Nice indeed for a purebred Border Collie who can use a bit of help.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; there are several lights just for me, though the cheap plastic ones don’t work as well as the fancy copper ones the guy I live with bought at the Smith & Hawken store before it closed here. They also haven’t been on very much this summer….. That’s why he goes out with me, carrying a flashlight, at Tinkle Time. There is a seed place called The Fragrant Path. My mommy used to order from them. “The Inscrutable Trash Can”. That sounds like something from Gorey. (My mommy was a huge fan; hence the quotes from The Wuggly Ump carved into the arbor. The new-found traction is indeed excellent. When I went to see the oncologist, she noted that I was sliding on the floor. Well, I would. The guy I live with, while carrying a hummingbird feeder indoors for new sugar water and “concentrating mightily” so he didn’t spill any of the old sugar water, of course did, and for a while I had a kind of d.i.y. version of a non-skid floor, but it attracted ants, and so that had to be remedied. Incidentally, the kitchen floor is in “dire need” of replacement, but that’s not going to happen any time soon, because we’re the only two who notice it. Parts of the older floor, a gross green, are visible, but the guy I live with says my buddy Slipper would chew it with his front teeth and pull up strips. He also used to grab my grandpa Flurry by the tail and pull him across the kitchen floor, which the guy I live with said was funny to see; a purebred border collie slowly disappearing out of the kitchen. I digress, a lot, huh. The guy I live with says he sometimes has to read things over and over, and never gets anything out of it. But then, John Donne (I think) is reported to have said that the only thing he remembered about a 600 page book is that he had turned 600 pages. So we’re in good company.

  2. Hi Chess,

    I think the guy you live with has an interest in Mr Pavelka’s seedlists, if I am not mistaken. Grew the achillea. Nothing special but tough. The thymes were beguiling and I want more!
    Lots of nice pictures and a bit of haute couture thrown. What a post!

    Cheers, Marcus from Down Under

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with ordered from Pavelka and Stanek. It was the first time ordering from the Czech Republic since the 90s. One thyme (ha ha, huh?) he got a blue-flowered woody thyme, from Z.Z., and it flowered, and was indeed blue, light blue, so he thought it would look good “in a better place”, and so he transplanted it, and sure enough, it did go to “a better place”…..

  3. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    “The indignities are starting to add up, eh, old boy”, said my grampy the other morning to no one in particular as he tightened up his back brace (girdle?) in hopes of overcoming the spastic pains that seem to have settled into his lower back, the good news being that, at least for the duration, we’ll not be subjected to the sound of the lawn mower, which puts my grampy in less than a fine mood as the man hates nothing more than a lawn that’s in need of a mowing, but since he has been able, of late, to go a day or two without shaving, we all figure letting the lawn get shaggy is just another step in the same general direction of giving less and less of a hoot about those things once deemed so very important.

    Your mats sound wonderful! I’m going to ask my mommy to get me some.

    • paridevita says:

      The “lawn” here is deliberately allowed to go shaggy, as the grasses flower and stuff. The newish buffalograss lawn in the “way back”, my Private Lawn in the lower portion of the estate, that is, is mowed up until about now, with an old fashioned push mower. (It takes all of five minutes to mow.) Then seed heads are allowed to form. He got the mats from a place called Lowe’s. Made by Blue Hawk. They have little rubber dealibobs on the bottom to prevent them from sliding, and, just this morning, I was sitting on one, and the guy I live with said I could get up without assistance, which at first I didn’t believe, but I tried it, and it worked. I wagged my tail to show my approval of this new introduction. The mats do make the kitchen smell like a tire store, but he says that will pass.

  4. Susan ITPH says:

    Une autre raison pour laquelle je souhaite que j’étais un membre de la chapitre de Rocky Mountain. Manzanitas, les autres raretés…. C’est pas juste.

    Et qu’est-ce que c’est la problème avec la français? Eh ben, franchement, elle est prétentieuse. Mais “la poubelle dans le jardin” est meilleur que “the trashcan”. Ce fait quelque chose belle de merde. Tout cela sonne mieux en italien, bien sûr.

    • paridevita says:

      Indeed. The guy I live with just potted up some Penstemon tusharensis to add to the list. Rooted cuttings of some miniature cactus from Cistus, too, if I didn’t mention those before. He also says, and I can’t emphasize how little I care about such things, that pretentiousness seems to be a major theme in gardening, though of course we won’t mention anything or anyone in particular. So why not do it in French, I suggested, hoping not to hear any more about the subject. The guy I live with said that pretty soon everyone will be wanting a trash can in the middle of their garden. He says that maybe we’ll get some old 55-gallon drums and arrange them in an obviously mystical way. I can hardly wait.

  5. Hi Chess,
    Can you ask the layer of rubber mats whether he grows Ipomopsis aggregata and how he compares it to I. rubra? The I. rubra looks a lot taller. I have only grown I. aggregata and it has seeded around politely so maybe I. rubra would do the same. The hummingbirds would be pleased to have more red flowers around here.

    • paridevita says:

      Rubra is much taller; some of the plants here are three feet (almost a meter) tall, and can get taller with more water. We have aggregata here too. (Not enough, he says.) Rubra is from “back east” and doesn’t seem to revel in hot, dry weather, though we haven’t had any of that to speak of, yet. Maybe one or two days, which doesn’t count. In fact, during hot, dry weather it seems to get mildew (yes, I know….) from which it recovers if it rains, or the plants get watered.

  6. Vivian says:

    Oh my, what a gorgeous post. Too many beautiful moments to grok without tearing up. My dear sweet dog, Your happy face says all we need to know about the quality of life enhancement it is when a pure bred border collie has traction in his kitchen (the most important room in the house, dog-wise). The solar lights seem very melancholy to me, and long shadows — Fall is too close for comfort. Every time I hear “poubelle” it makes me laugh — it’s the rare French word that sounds like baby talk. Oh! All that wonderfully random redness against the nostalgic split-level blue…beautiful. Those seedlings for rock gardens unknown represent a kind and caring world view — he’s a nice guy, that Guy You Live With; he husbands tiny little Achillea sipkorensis like they were a litter of baby squirrels or a mischief of thirsty mice. That sunset! Those hummingbird wings! No words. Just: sooooooupir.

    I love dirt, esp. gardening dirt. There’s such a thing as a pretentious gardener? Is it Prince Charles? There’s a gardening book “designed to be read”? What, is it perfect-bound and printed with words? Or did it just not have any color pictures?

    • paridevita says:

      Merci; no, there are gardens designed “to be read”, which, according to the guy I live with, don’t have very many plants in them. (They also don’t have a trash can sitting in the middle of the garden. So there.) (He would also say that there are gardening books designed not to be read, but only if pressed on the matter, and even then, not say which ones.) The solar lights are indeed melancholy. Autumn can be melancholy, though here, it’s the beginning of the dry season that lasts until February, give or take. You know how houses have names in places like Europe, well, my mommy wanted to call this place “Melon Collie Manor”, because of the border collies here, get it? The guy I live with just bought a Rocky Ford cantaloupe and said it was good. I didn’t want any, but it was my grandpa Flurry’s favorite food. So, Melon Collie Manor. It didn’t catch on, though. Not only do I have traction now, I seem to have convinced the guy I live with that feeding me by hand is the best way to go. Not that I’m spoiled or anything, of course.

Comments are closed.