seeds from the past

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, even if it isn’t all that interesting to me. You may remember me from such posts as “Bright White” and “Drip Drop Drip Drop”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. That cardboard box behind me is the source of all the excitement today. Not on my part, of course. 14120601You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while. The reason is that I’ve been really sick (this hasn’t been my year, has it?), and the guy I live with even went out in the dark to get me an antibiotic, but now I’m all better and things are pretty much back to normal. It was just a flare-up of the thing I have, with my tummy and so forth.

Well, anyway, since the cardboard box was set on our front doorstep, by what looked like a not very happy delivery guy (the label on the box said “heavy“), the guy I live with sprang into action. Of course it took him hours to spring, but eventually he sprang. This was in the box.14120606He said he was going to screen it, but I noticed he didn’t, and I understand that it isn’t all that important, but he said he might screen some later.

Seeds were sown. These were old seeds of acantholimons that he was given. You know, acantholimons?14120604They’re pretty prickly, and one of their common names is “spikethrift”, because of their prickliness. They make these huge domes which look kind of odd in the garden.

The first thing that was done was pots were filled with the mix he made, and then soaked in a dishpan full of warm water, and left outside overnight. That’s why he has all the dishpans. 14120602Then the seeds were sprinkled on top. (I know, this is a different dishpan.) You’ll notice that some pots have a few seeds, while others have a bunch. This is because they’re old seeds, and each pot represents a different packet of seeds. And even, in most cases, a different species, though acantholimons do all look a lot alike.14120603Then the pots were “top dressed” with the granite. Those are B.E.F. Grower’s Pots, which you can’t get any more, and which have remained outside for twenty-five years.14120607Then the pots went into a frame, where they’ll stay until next spring. The ideal would be for a bunch of snow to be piled on them, but we don’t have any snow here right now.

(Those green tufts in the lower right are Lilium candidum.)14120605There was even a crocus flowering today. Crocus tournefourtii. The reason for the cage is that rabbits like to eat the crocus foliage, and that makes the guy I live with, um, hopping mad. I think I’ve said that before, but it’s still funny. 14120608In other news, after the guy I live with looked at the instructions for germinating the old oncocyclus iris seed he got, the seeds began to germinate in earnest. He’s fairly obsessed with this. You may wonder what’s up with all the ancient seed here, well, he got a lot, that’s what, and he’s been sowing it. The seed with an impervious coat is more likely to still be viable (like the irises), he says, but he’s going to sow everything, because you never know. 14120609He spends so much time fiddling with the irises that sometimes I wonder if he likes them better than he likes me. I know that can’t be true, though, because of all the cuddles I get, and the irises don’t get cuddles. 14120610


Until next time, then.

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12 Responses to seeds from the past

  1. petabunn says:

    Hi Chess, I’m sorry you were sick again, we did miss you and were a bit worried, but you are fine now and that is the important thing. I think we will both be glad to see the end of this year and a wonderful sickness free new year. Cuddles and laughter are the best medicine. You are so funny, like it took hours for your guy to spring into action. How good that your guy is getting some germination from his ‘antique’ seeds, he must be jumping up and down with joy. See you soon Chess.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I guess this is just the thing that I have, which a lot of dogs have, but it was pretty scary. Antibiotics are pretty great, though. Yes, the guy I live with is all excited about the irises, so if they don’t make it, he’ll be all put out. In some cases there were only five seeds in the packet, and so he feels responsible for the well-being of the irises. And for mine, too.

  2. Hi Chess,

    Sorry to hear of your recent bout of unwellness. Tell the guy you live with he should combine his interests in crocus and acantholinum and plant his crocus under the latters’ cushions. That way he will create a spiky deterrent against those nasty little rodent teeth. On my travels I have found many a crocus happily sprouting out of what appears an impenetrable thicket of spines after pushing their tube up “Jack and the Bean Stalk” distances to reach the light. Don’t know if rabbits get fooled by “visual interference” but goats have some difficulties locating tasty morsels when they are embedded in other visual information.
    Hope the tummy stays tolerably OK. Lots of best wishes, Marcus from Down Under

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the antiobiotic did the trick right away. Same, I must say, for the iris seeds, when the guy I live with actually followed the instructions, which he claims are an example of “voodoo horticulture”. Rabbits, however, will eat anything. Even agaves, right down to the ground. Their favorites, though, are crocus leaves, and calochortus leaves. (There’s no way to keep the rabbits out save burying a deep fence of hardware cloth….though the owls are back.)

      • Thank God for modern medicine even though you guys appear reluctant to have the state pick up most of the bill!
        We have occasional problems with rabbits and, cruel as it may be, I have no hesitation in using poison. I guess I don’t have the additional problem of collateral damage as marsupials won’t touch it. I have a resident Bennetts Wallaby in the front garden, which, apart from using cages like you guys, I have no answers for. It has mown down selected (can’t find any logic) pulsatilla and hepatica and eaten off every flowering stem of Salvia psidica. I am surrounded by non-gardeners, hence no “fresh fields” to lure it away.
        All the best, Marcus

        PS Very envious of your sprouting oncos.

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks; I do have my own health insurance, which is pretty good. Aside from the fact that the guy I live with can’t kill bunnies (my mommy used to make leek and rabbit pie, with a crust, you know, until she and the guy I live with started counting bunnies on their walks, and that was that), there are eagles here which might pick up something that’s expired. We don’t have wallabies, though. The cages work. They’re anchored by hooks fashioned out of old tomato cages, and, for the big cages, old peony hoops. The guy I live with does understand the envy surrounding the onco seedlings; maybe it might increase to know that the Iris lycotis and elegantissima pictured are from JJA collections. There were maybe eight seeds in each packet. One seed of lycotis, 0590805, germinated yesterday. Collected in “Iran, Lorestan, WNW of Dorud, Razan pass, 2200m”, so this is a different form of lycotis from the one already germinated. Very exciting. To one of us, anyway. (They were here, by the way, Jim and Jenny; my grandpa Flurry led them around, and my mommy and Jenny drank lemonade on the park bench you sometimes see pictures of. My mommy would have been beside herself to see how the oncos grow here, wanting to draw them all (which would mean digging them up), and it would have been nice to have Jim see them, but that’s the way life goes, I guess.)

  3. Tracey says:

    I’m glad that you are feeling better. I was hoping that your guy was too busy fighting off rodents to post. I just read the kids a picture book about a tough squirrel. It reminded me of Earl. I’m sorry that the guy couldn’t post because you were sick.

    You look pensive but unbowed. The pots look very prickly with all the granite. I’m sure that you will get a snow-filled winter to help them along.

    No one could possibly prefer an iris(either seed or plant) to a winsome purebred border collie.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; there really isn’t much to talk about at this time of year anyway. But I was sick enough that the guy I live with was rather frightened of losing me. Fortunately he also pays attention and called my doctor and then went out to get the antibiotic, and I was better within a day and a half. It’s supposed to be nice all next week, barely freezing at night, so I don’t know when it will snow again. The weather patterns have become weird here. Like everything else.

  4. christine says:

    Well wishes with companionable days and peaceful nights for you and your guy who takes such good care of you, Chess. I check on you every day and look forward to hearing that you are feeling better and better.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I am feeling better. I guess this is something I’ll just have, but at least the guy I live with can drive to my doctor’s, four minutes away (if the lights are green) and get pills for me.
      He also bought me a humidifier, for my nose, because the air is so dry. So now I have a companion who glows dimly green st night (not the guy I live with) and occasionally makes happy gurgling noises (mostly not the guy I live with).

  5. Whew, I had been a little worried, so I am glad you are back to posting. I have never been able to eat a bunny….Why a bunny is so much cuter than, say, a cow, I just cannot explain, because cows are pretty cute, too. It’s a cononudrum or maybe a dilemma.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; well, there really isn’t much going on here right now, except for the obsession with iris seeds, but I was pretty sick for a few days. I was tough, though, and didn’t complain. Yes, it is a conundrum. The guy I live with claims to be a “failed vegetarian” who eats hot dogs for dinner. (He can cook, but lacks enthusiasm right now.)

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