bunches of stuff

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 most exciting news possible from our garden. You may remember me from such exciting posts as “Baby Pictures” and “Trouble In Paradise”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I look rather jolly, don’t you think?14091907As many of you know, even with our internet being out for a while, I have been considerably under the weather lately, and my doctor was even talking about ultrasound to see what was going on in my tummy. I had to go to the Bad Place this week to have blood tests, and stuck with needles (that was to test the efficacy of my new medication, not because I was sick), but I also got my toenails trimmed, as maybe you can see.

This morning I lost my breakfast in “a most undignified manner”, and the guy I live with showed me what was in my tummy. That’s a wad of dried blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) that had probably been in there for quite some time. The guy I live with said I was not a cow and to quit eating grass. I felt better almost immediately, so maybe I should take grass out of my diet. 14091906He’s hoping I’m much better now. I certainly feel better.

Here’s another creature who can eat blue grama and not have it wad up in their stomach.14091903Things are changing around here. Summer was just one endless thunderstorm, but now we’re having the most beautiful warm, sunny, dry days, and the leaves are starting to turn. This is the Russian hawthorn, Crataegus ambigua. My buddy Slipper and I used to go into the rock garden under the hawthorn to eat the fallen haws, but squirrels get all those now, and so the beautiful display of dark red fruit is a thing of the past. 14091908Squirrels are kind of jerks. Last week, Earl was caught draining one of the hummingbird feeders, and the guy I live with threatened to squirt him with the squirt gun again, because Earl hopped up on sugar syrup was the last thing we needed.

The hummingbirds are gone now, and Earl built himself a fancy new dray up in the honey locust.  He was trying to come into the house a couple of days ago, and the guy I live with said it was probably to swipe some of the etchings, so he could line the dray with them, so, well, you know. It does look like a cozy home, even if he is a jerk. 14091902There are lots of things in flower now, but mostly you’ll just have to take my word for it. Autumn is one of the best times for the garden here, though a hard frost can wipe out some of the main providers of flowers, the salvias and agastaches.

Here’s a self-sown agastache.14091904And the cool red one he picked up from a local nursery, that was labeled Coronado Red, but isn’t. The hummingbirds really liked this one, as you can imagine. That’s the cowpen daisy, Verbesina encelioides, in the picture, too. 14091905One thing frost doesn’t spoil, much, is the crocuses. Today, Crocus pallasii subsp. turcicus started to flower. The shadow is the guy I live with’s head, which is why it’s so big. And, yes, there’s bindweed in the picture, too. If visitors come over he claims that this is a rare bindweed that only grows on certain slopes in a remote mountain range in Kyrgyzstan, and that it only looks like regular bindweed. 14091909I guess that’s it. I ate a bunch of dinner today, much to the guy I live with’s relief, and I had a good afternoon walk. We had a nice sunset and he took a picture of it. It looked sort of like lava in the sky. 14091901

Until next time, then.

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14 Responses to bunches of stuff

  1. Happy you’re feeling better, Chess, and chowing down. Here’s the thing: hanging around the old wives as I do, I’ve heard dogs eat grass when they don’t feel well so they’ll, um, heave up whatever disturbs the tummies. This I believed – in fact, espoused – until I noticed our current two doggies head straight for grazing grass as soon as they clear the doorway. These two give every indication of being healthy, so unless the trauma of living with us drives them to neurotic eating, I’ve gotta believe dogs just plain like to eat grass. In summation, Chess, stay away from the grass. I assure you brie is much better.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with thinks I accidentally ate this big bunch of blue grama while I was doing some casual grazing. The “lawn” in the front yard, and also in the back yard, is blue grama, but he frowns on “cow-like behavior”. (The “way back” lawn is buffalo grass.) It’s true that we eat grass when our tummies don’t feel great, but also sometimes just because. Brie is pretty good, I agree. There’s some in the refrigerator, in fact. The guy I live with, perversely to my way of thinking, says I can’t live on just Brie alone. “So vary it with Fromager d’affinois and Stilton”, I say. “Not on your tintype”, he said, without going into any detail.

  2. SusanITPH says:

    We have lots of bindweed. And bluegrass. And dyer’s woad. And lots of other stuff that I’ve not pulled out yet, and will likely not get all out until my kids are in high school. They make the garden more “real.” At least, that is what I tell myself.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says we have more bindweed than anyone else on the planet. He might be wrong, but I don’t have anything to do with that part of the garden. (I just do fertilizing, the occasional holding down the grass by lying on it, and making sure he keeps the paths clear for me.)
      He says the ideal product would be an entirely safe spray that would kill bindweed forever. Like, all you would have to do is drop it on one leaf and all the bindweed around would die and never come back. (There are people who claim to have “killed” their bindweed by doing things like painting Roundup on the leaves, but they haven’t waited long enough to see it become not dead at all.) But like say you could take a small amount of iced tea, and drop it onto a bindweed leaf, and that would be that.
      Someone once said “good gardeners don’t see the weeds”, and that’s something to think about.

  3. Knicky Twigs says:

    The tummy’s feeling better, the thunder has given way to beautiful days, the flowers are blooming. The smile on your face says it all.

    • Vivian says:

      I can’t write anything more cromulent than this, except “Ditto for me”. A happy Chess is a happy The Guys Who Read You.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I think things are pretty much better. I understand that now there’s some smoked salmon belly and Brie in the refrigerator. I don’t get very much “people food”, despite what some people might say, but maybe I’ll get some of these.

  4. vivianswift says:

    Dear Chess: Please ask The Guy You Live With if he’s ever seen an Anemone quinquefolia. I came across it in a digression in the research I was doing regarding the difference between a Marron d’Inde and a Chataigner (reading early 20th century botanical newsletters in French — ick) and I would like to use it in a short story about the chestnut trees in Paris but I’ve never seen an A. quinquefolia in person. In photos it looks like a very ordinary flower (which would be great for me if it’s true) but maybe I’m missing something. And also, since TGYLW is a polyglot, please ask him if this is correct: the Chataigner is the sweet chestnut and the Maroon d’Inde is the horse chestnut. And do I capitalize it Sweet Chestnut or leave it at sweet chestnut? Oh, and one more thing: Does TGYLW ever do free-lance horticultural proof-reading/editing?

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says he’s only heard of the anemone which is an eastern woodland thing. It does look ordinary. You leave it sweet chestnut. The chataigner is Castanea sativa; the specific epithet meaning “cultivated” (for consumption). French Wikipedia has this to say about the marron d’inde: Le marron d’Inde est une graine toxique contenue dans le fruit du marronnier commun ou marronnier d’Inde (Aesculus hippocastanum). Note “graine toxique”. The seeds of both the horse chestnut and the native buckeye (several species, but the Ohio one is Aesculus glabra) are toxique.

      Here is a true story about the guy I live with’s proof-reading ability. Shortly after the columbine book came out in print, he received a rather sternly worded letter saying the the very first sentence of the book contained a misattribution (Parkinson rather than Gerard) and how that wasn’t a very promising start to the book. The quote from Gerard was pinned to the cork board in the room in which he wrote, and yet, he had stared at this sentence for hours, initially with the correct attribution, and then changed it in a fit of manic uncertainty, even though a xerox copy of Gerard still hung on the cork board. It was so embarrassing it almost equaled the time in fifth grade when he wore a pair of white jeans to school and ate a hog dog for lunch but the dog squirted out of the bun and landed on the crotch of his pants, ketchup and all. To conceal this, he wore his sweater around his waist, which was the style at the time, until the end of school and everyone was waiting for the bus, and a neighbor kid demanded to know why he was wearing his sweater around his waist, and pulled it off, thereby revealing the huge ketchup stain on the guy I live with’s crotch, for everyone in the school to see. Now, having lost my mommy, the one thing he life he held most dear, most other things in life seem utterly trivial, and he didn’t feel ridiculous when he discovered just the other day that he’d gone to the store wearing his shirt inside-out. So, no, not a good proof-reader.

      f rom: the miserable gardener Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2014 8:59 AM To: petuniaman@q.com Subject: [the miserable gardener] Comment: “bunches of stuff”

  5. I am glad am reading backward so I know you felt better the day after you yorked up that awful looking wad of grass.

    I love agastaches.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I do feel much better, though I still enjoy driving the guy I live with out of his mind with my new eating habits. My doctor says that the phenobarbital was probably making me ravenously hungry and now that I’m going off that, my appetite has decreased, which I guess is okay. The guy I live with likes agastaches too, but does not care for the hype surrounding them, concerning their water needs and their cultivation.

      • I remember learning from his book that they are not as drought tolerant as is claimed, and he is right.

      • paridevita says:

        Well, the ideas have been revised considerably since then. Agastaches, like aurantiaca, cana, and rupestris, are sub-shrubs, really; they have a woody base and huge woody roots. They experience dry springs, and rainy summers. (In habitat, A. aurantiaca gets more rain from July to October than we get in our garden here in two years.) BUT, they grow in deep, coarse soils (sand, gravel, whatever) so that even a brief thunderstorm will send all the rain right down to the roots. Plants that are adapted like that have a difficult time pulling water from finer-textured soils and will require even more watering. (Clay soil holds more water, but less is available to the roots, and clay requires more watering because it takes more water to penetrate to deep roots..weight of the water pushing it farther down. That’s okay if you live in a place where it rains all day long in the summer, but it doesn’t do that here. All of the “significant” rain events here have been filmed and posted, since they’re big deals here.) So…the secret to success (not having to water) seems to be to make a raised bed two or three feet high, nothing but sand and gravel, plant the plants, water they daylights out of them for their first year so their roots can get down into the sand and gravel, and then watch them respond to a brief rain shower. (Only true with those species, though, and selections made from them, but probably not hybrids with, say. A. “barberi” ..pallidiflora..which has a short rhizome and is adapted to more constant moisture.)

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