planting daffodils

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 greatest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “No Pain, No Gain” and “‘Hepped Up On Goofballs'”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a rather debonair pose.14102501I’ve been feeling pretty darn good lately, what with my live-in chef at my beck and call and stuff like that. I don’t take goofballs any more, by the way. I have a different medication. The weather has also been exceedingly excellent. Right now, it’s 76F (24C) and 12 percent humidity.

The guy I live with has been planting daffodils. You can see some bulbs being soaked here.14102402These came from Old House Gardens; they sell “heirloom” bulbs, and the guy I live with said that’s what he wanted, since he said the modern hybrids would look out of place in the garden here. I guess he knows. (What he really wants is all the little species from Morocco and southern Spain, but they don’t seem to want to flower in the middle of winter here, like they ought to, and just put up leaves every autumn instead.)

He consulted the authority on old daffodils.14102502



And then he ordered. He says soaking the bulbs is a good idea, but I already talked about that.

The bulbs still aren’t all planted, because the pace of life around here is very, very slow.

I guess it’s time for the obligatory crocus pictures, too.

Crocus pallasii

Crocus pallasii

Crocus niveus

Crocus niveus

And, Titanopsis calcarea has started to bloom. The guy I live with says the plant thinks it’s still in South Africa and this is spring, because it blooms on and off all winter.14102405That’s pretty much it, for today. The guy I live with went and bought an electric leaf blower to get the leaves off the rock gardens, and it makes a lot of noise. The gas one that we had decided to leak, and that isn’t really the best thing, but it did last for many years. Leaf-blowing only happens here about three times a year. The guy I live with says brooms and rakes are better. They certainly make less noise.

Oh, and the bird bath got cleaned, and then two blue jays came right down and took baths, and flew away as soon as the guy I live with got his camera. That sort of thing happens a lot.

I’m going to go back to doing what I like to do the most, now, if you don’t mind.14102403


Until next time, then.

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17 Responses to planting daffodils

  1. And so begins bulb time!! Looking really good, Chess.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I feel pretty good, too. The daffodils went out in the “way back”, which is slightly more “traditional” in its planting, though not hugely so. There used to be daffodils here, but most of them disappeared, partly due to “trowelitis”, but also, maybe to narcissus fly. Or something. Rodents, I bet.

  2. Hi Chess,

    Glad you are back in form and looking the part. Also excellent to have a live-in chef, walks-taker and all round good guy at hand (paw). I do like that form of Crocus pallasii. Does the GTYLW have its provenance? Great to see Crocus niveus “hitting its straps”. Such a beautiful thing, and so robust, a crocophile’s dream. Do you guys have the lilac form? Segue to E.A. Bowles: I may be wrong, but I think it was Gussy who stuffed it when naming this species. He only had the white form to go by and hence the name, niveus. In his defence, I guess a trip to the Mani circa 1900 was a “a journey to the moon” for most English gentleman. Although he did venture as far as Lycabettus Hill near Athens (now completely subsumed) to see C. cartwrightianus.
    Cheers, Marcus

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I am feeling pretty good. The Crocus pallasii came from either Ruksans or Rare Plants (U.K.). Possibly the former. C. pallasii subsp. turcicus, which is long done blooming, came from the latter, so maybe, yes, the former. (The guy I live with has been noticing some undeveloped negatives in his photographic memory recently.) There’s a white C. niveus here, and super-pale lilac or purple ones in bloom now, and the large-flowered form, and one with collector’s number on it, either flowering or about to. It’s surprising (and utterly delightful) to see how hardy the Greek crocuses have been, here (C. oreocreticus was horribly devoured, in flower, though, a couple of days ago), but we kind of think that the utter dryness of winters here counteracts the effects of cold. (Zero rain from now until March or April would be typical.) The blanket of snow isn’t too bad, either. Seems like many species have been described as having an attribute they don’t always have. Dictamnus albus, for example.

      • Its kind of surprising that niveus doesn’t show some stress because, apart from one high altitude population I know of, it would rarely see a frost! Ditto C. goulimyi. I guess it’s testament to its versatility although you’re right dry snow would be much better than slush. C. oreocreticus is a different kettle of fish. It lives high up and doesn’t come down, which sets it apart from C. cartwrightianus, a committed coastal dweller. Yeah naming species is fraught with problems when one has limited samples. Not to take anything away from Bowles, he was astute enough to recognize that the white form of C. pestalozzae was just that and not a new species. A classic blunder is to name a species from the area it was found. Chris Brickell did this with C. antalyensis and currently it has been found discovered in two other provinces in Turkey.
        Cheers, Marcus

      • paridevita says:

        It’s funny that these things are hardy (though also delightful); Crocus cartwrightianus seems to be perfectly hardy here, with three named varieties whose pictures have been posted on the blog for at least a couple of years. Apparently C. goulimyi is too, though the one attempt planting it was a spectacular failure. On the other hand, the plants are in the ground, and cold doesn’t penetrate very deeply here. Some people think it does, but,without going into lengthy detail, it doesn’t. With air temperature of –25C, the soil temperature at 3cm, well above the corms of crocus, tested with a meat thermometer (washed afterwards) is just below freezing. So that’s the theory here. Deep planting of bulbs helps too. As far as naming stuff is concerned, Backeberg is said to have described a new species of cactus seen from a moving train, and then there’s Greene’s 30-plus species of Ptelea. (All of which are referable to P. trifoliata.)

  3. PS Love the Titanopsis

    • paridevita says:

      Talk about a rodent magnet. The picture shows some slight nibbling. Some plants are ripped out of the ground and devoured, or dragged off in the night. We have a spray, “Rabbit Stopper”, which smells like cinnamon, helps keep the rabbits and squirrels away. (They also love sempervivums.) Quite a number of “squishies” are hardy here, until devoured. Steven Hammer’s new book on the Titanopsis Group is beyond excellent, by the way.

  4. petabunn says:

    Hi Chess you’re looking so trim, taut and terrific now. I wish I had a live in chef, my mummy is still having such an issue with food still that I don’t seem to get all those lovely people leftovers I used to get, it will pick up again I must be patient. The garden has looked excellent the last couple of posts too.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; what I have is kind of like irritable bowel syndrome, fairly common in dogs. I ate a biscuit just now, which I haven’t done in well over a month. The guy I live with bought two pie pumpkins, one of which he says he’ll steam, for me. Sweet potato is also good for tummy troubles, for dogs anyway. It tastes about the same. (My mommy had a friend from England who had never had a sweet potato, and when she visited here, the guy I live with cooked one in the charcoal grill, by burying it in the embers. Excellent with lots of butter.) I also take a generic form of Pepcid for my tummy. I’m surprised the guy I live with doesn’t have tummy troubles, considering everything, but instead, he forgets stuff. I probably told about the time he got ready to go out, and realized he wasn’t wearing any pants. Or the time he drove to a plant sale without his wallet.

  5. paridevita says:

    It might be worthwhile to add that the guy I live with woke up in a sweat early this morning and said, “But the leaves …..” So much for his Crocus Theory, about to be tossed into the trash. Some of the Crocus niveus are new this year and the status of the leaves will be “rigorously monitored throughout the winter”. So he says.

  6. Vivian says:

    Darling Chess of the Happy Visage — I don’t know if you’re a shade sleeper or a sunbeam napper but it’s good to know that you have your pick when it comes to al fresco dozing. Enjoy.

    I love the crocus photos, and this is coming from a person who [used to] thinks that only roses are worthy of portraiture.

    I went to the library on Friday and I got both Gardens of a Golden Afternoon and The Complete Shade Gardener. Chess, was your mommy myopic? Is that the secret behind her amazing botanical art? (Query from: Gardens of a Golden Afternoon.) And I haven’t cried, yet, reading George Schenk, but I have had to put the book down every other sentence to wonder if he had as much fun writing this stuff as it is reading it. When I get to the end maybe I will cry tears of frustration that I will never be able to come up with something as cool as “Shade gardener in a royal moment, amidst some favorite leafy subjects” [with glass of beer]. Thank you for the recommendation.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, and you’re welcome. No, my mommy wasn’t myopic, just self-taught. …. Isn’t Schenk great? Such a joy to read. The encomium by Christopher Lloyd on the back cover says it all. “How does it do it?” You can go to Moss Gardening after that. The writing, believe it or not, is even better there.

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