Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the delightful purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest chilly news from our garden. You may remember me from such equally frigid posts as “Below Average” and “A Cold, Cold Day”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.Yesterday it was almost like summer. It got to 69 degrees F (20.5C); the guy I live with worked out in the garden, and I sat on the patio rug and watched.
Even this morning it was nice for a few minutes (I didn’t get up until about nine), and then all of a sudden the wind came up from the north, and right now it’s 20 degrees F (-6.6C) and ninety-two percent humidity. That’s cold even for me, because we hardly ever have that much humidity when it gets cold.
You can see how cold it is from the pictures here. Those plastic things are over some agaves which should have been protected the last time it got cold, but weren’t, and so they suffered. They’re not very big plants.
The downy woodpecker ate some suet. That’s the same cage that Earl, the squirrel, tinkled all over when he saw that the guy I live with had added the hardware cloth, last year. It’s clean now, of course. And the lone snowdrop is still blooming. It looks kind of sad. Right smack in the middle of the picture. Its name is…get this…Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus Hiemalis Group. That’s probably why it looks so sad. The blurry thing in the lower right is a post to define the path, in case somebody walked into the shade garden. More seeds are being germinated. Remember I told you that the guy I live with got a bunch of really old seed, and he was going to test it for viability? Maybe I didn’t say all of that, just the first part, but he did test some astragalus seed, and guess what?That’s wet filter paper the seed is on. I know it looks kind of weird. The seeds were nicked, then soaked, and then put into filter paper which was dampened, or wetted, and then put in a mostly-open freezer bag, and left down in the laundry room for a few days, and the seed germinated.
The seed was collected in 1995. This is Astragalus sobolevskiae. Collected by Josef Halda in the Altai Mountains. The guy I live with had never heard of it either, and he says that even Kew doesn’t have a herbarium specimen, so I guess we’re really out on the frontiers of horticulture here.
Of course there was a big to-do about the filter paper. (It prevents the seed from rotting and stuff.) Where, oh where, to find filter paper?Maybe you can see that he found some, and it works really well. I don’t go round telling people that seed is sown on filter paper here and checked with a magnifying glass every day, because, you know, people might talk, but that’s the sort of thing that goes on here.
And I’m supposed to show these two pictures, even though they were accidentally taken as super low-resolution pictures (like the one of me watching, above). I guess you know what the first one is.And two evenings ago we had a really nice sunset. Well, you can tell what that is, too.
Now I’ll let you go. I have another picture of me to show, looking all pensive and stuff, and then that’s it.
Until next time, then.
The pressure is on to not kill that Astragalus.
Uh huh. There’s even more pressure not to kill the irises. A teaspoon full, each, of Archibald collections of various oncocyclus irises. The astragalus was just a test, though; there is a tiny bit of seed of several species no one ever heard of. Astragalus argutensis, A. corydalis, A. caespitosus, etc. A. hirticalyx, a beautiful one, germinated too, from a collection made in Turkey in 1991 or 92.
Hi Chess, looking good, however I think you are now fading away to nothing and your guy needs to feed you a little bit more. One good thing about this erratic weather, it is spring and we keep moving between the cold of winter and the full heat of summer which never used to happen in this place, is that none of us will be here when the planet goes kaput. 20C is a nice temp. for you isn’t it, my mum would like it to be maybe 10 min and 25 max to be happy with a late afternon shower like the tropics, which we have also been getting lately. Personally I can lie n the sun in 40C or the cold 0C, I am easily pleased. Talking about the weather this place never had high humidity and now it is a constant, kaput sooner than the climate sceptics think. Enough on the weather and off my soapbox. We so enjoy your garden, especially since we don’t have one anymore, keep up the great photos. My mum has a particular interest in seeds too, she has a lot of old native seeds she was going to try to germinate but can no longer erect her shade house which would house all her growing equipment etc. Nice to see the snowdrop hanging in there, I do love snowdrops. Keep up the adorable pics of you.
Thanks; I do think the snowdrop will give up after tonight. I personally prefer weather between about 20C and 0C, and lie out on the patio rug even when it’s chilly, until I get told to come back inside. I’m not a fan of central heating, much. It does seem like the weather patterns here have changed, with long, snowy winters and springs, constant thunder in summer, and general awfulness to give the give I live with plenty to whine about. Seed sowing is an obsession here and I hope it gets him through this coming winter, if it’s going to be one he doesn’t care for.
So, a guy from Czechoslovakia trekked a thousand miles to the headwaters of the Ob where the corners of Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Russia meet and all you got was a SEED?!?!?! ha ha. (Bit of botanical humor.) Only the Swedish and the Vietnamise Wikipedia care enough about the Astragalus sobolevskiae to have entries about it, but both agreed that it was an herb. AN HERB. I hope your seedling continues to thrive so this hemisphere will have a Astragalus sobolevskiae to call its own.
Chess, dear, I think you look deliciously svelte and debonair. If it stays very cold, you would look ever so dashing with a bright red cravat knotted around your noble neck.
THAT SUNSET! At least that’s ONE good thing you can put down for humidity. Only Edvard Munch would have the guts to paint that sky, tho; because no mater how exactly you captured the colors, the picture would still look as if you’re just too bad an artist to paint a convincing sunset.
Thanks; indeed, the guy I live with did get more than one seed, though there was a catalog, once, where certain species were sold by the seed. Five dollars (US) for one seed. We didn’t get any of those, because the seed probably would’ve fallen down the guy I live with’s pants or something like that. Flown across the kitchen never to be found again. Or sat on. The guy I live with says that he always thought Ob was a funny name for a river. Such a big river, too. By the way, a dictionary calling something an herb is like calling it a plant. Very useful. Like we were worried it was a rock, or a tomato worm.
Congrats on the seed! I’m rooting for that one li’l snowdrop to be joined by some others soon.
Thanks. Considering the General Awfulness of the weather here in the last eight or nine years, one never knows. One can but hope.