of snow and snowdrops

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. You may remember me from such snowdrop-related posts as “White Fever”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.15020201I hurt my nose somehow, and you can see the hurt spot there. The guy I live with says it was from eating dirt, or eating snow. He says that only the latter is dignified.

As you can see, it snowed here the other day, and so the snow was relatively fresh. It didn’t taste like anything, but it was cold, and good.15020202You see that little mound on the left, where the pinyon was; well, the guy I live with claims that he’s going to get a bunch of pea gravel and dump it there, and that will be a new rock garden. I can hardly wait. 15020203Hardly anything has been happening. It’s so important that I get my pills that we don’t do much at all, which is fine by me.

You know the guy I live with has been fiddling with seeds, and the other day, Saturday to be precise, he nicked and soaked some astragalus seeds that had been collected in 1988, way before I was born, and then yesterday morning he put the seeds on filter paper, and looked what had happened by last night.aretioidesThe guy I live with says it was like one of those horror movies where the bad people summon some ancient sleeping creature, and bring it back to life. Though not as scary as that. Just weird that this happened so fast, after so long.

That’s the level of excitement around here.

Oh, and in the places where there isn’t snow, and where snowdrops are living, there are now snowdrops. 15020204There are bunches of them in the shade garden on the north side, but there’s still snow there.

I can’t think of anything else to say. If the guy I live with were doing the posts there’d probably be another ten thousand words, but I’ll just let you go now, as the sun sets over our garden.15020205


Until next time, then.


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8 Responses to of snow and snowdrops

  1. Barb K says:

    Our old guy, Mr. Mackey, eats dirt. Perhaps you can tell us why? Does it taste good? We have no snow for him to eat. He gets many wonderful foods of good quality so it can’t be nutritional lack. I find seed sprouting very exciting, even though my seeds are fairly ordinary and haven’t been sitting around for years waiting. There is nothing like getting something from almost nothing the way you can with a seed. And what we all want to know, although some of us may be too polite to ask, is this….is your medicine helping?

    • paridevita says:

      The Chinese medicine seems to be doing the trick. I’m still here, after all. Someone once said that dirt eating was a sign of lack of minerals, but the guy I live with says it’s just dirt eating. Geophagy. My buddy Slipper and I would empty out large flower pots filled with potting soil and the guy I live with would get really mad at us, for a minute or two.

  2. Chess,
    Sorry about your sore nose. It doesn’t seem like snow could hurt your nose unless frostbite was involved.
    Tell TGYLW that I think the Astragalus seeds coming alive is pretty exciting. Now, what does he do with them? Pot them up and put them under lights inside?

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; it got cut somehow, I don’t know how. There was a lot of debate about the astragalus seeds. He was given a pile of them, mostly from Russia (but not this one, which is Astragalus aretioides, from Wyoming), collected a long time ago, and at first he thought he would sow them in pots outdoors, which works but you don’t get many seedlings, and so he tested one, Astragalus sobolevskiae, which they don’t even have a specimen of at Kew, and it germinated right away, so then he decided he would germinate them on paper, that way there wouldn’t be all this waiting to see what happens, and then the plan was to sow the germinated seed directly into the garden, with the paper attached if necessary (because the roots are sensitive), but finally it was decided to germinate the seeds on wet filter paper in a freezer bag, down in the laundry room where it’s warm, and then pot up the seedlings, and grow them on under lights. Most of them, the Russian ones anyway, will go to DBG, which is probably where they belong. If they live, I mean. There were also a bunch of linums, drabas, campanulas, and so forth. Those were sown outdoors.

      • I tried A. aretoides last year outside in pots in January but no luck. The seed is so small I didn’t think I could nick it successfully so I just put it out as is (was). Maybe sandpaper will do the trick this year. No room to grow them inside.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with, who doesn’t have small fingers, nicked the seed with a sharp knife. His Opinel, if you need to know. Holding the seed between thumb and forefinger, using my mommy’s watchmaker’s loupe to see with (and aware that there was a sharp blade close by), the edge of the blade was held parallel to the edge of the seed, and then a quick flick of the blade took off a tiny chip. Nick it opposite the hilum. Sandpaper might cut into the embryo and wreck everything. This can be done in May or June, and the seed sown directly into the garden, but it’s a good idea to make a tiny cage out of screen, because something likes to nibble the tiny seedlings right down to the ground. Astragalus bugs, probably. Sometimes it takes a few winters for cold to crack the seed coat, when the seed is sown outdoors without nicking.

  3. Astragalus seeds asleep since 1988, a whole millennium ago, now arisen, so quickly too. You lead an eventful life, Chess. I’m sure with the careful shepherding the guy you live with gives any plants within reach the summoned creatures will soon be giving blooms. The snowdrops are so delicate and pretty, just right for this season. Love your photos, Chess, you seem to be going at the snow in an avid way. You appear especially delightful in your start-off formal portrait. I remember the days I hand-mixed for our Jack dog a concoction made mostly from French island yew trees. Your Chinese stuff seems much more efficacious. The interwebz graciously allowed me to score more of my cholesterol-controlling tea from China for about the same price I paid at a shop in Winchester, England. They have snowdrops in Winchester too, and wonderful watercress. Watercress is more highly flavored than your average snow.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with says we have watercress in the creek in back, or we used to when there was water in it. The creek, I mean. Fortunately for us there is a large population here of people from Asia, and so there are Asian markets and Indian grocery stores and restaurants and traditional Chinese medicine places. I feel very traditional, though not terribly Chinese. Snow is really good. When the guy I live with moved here “dragged kicking and screaming from southern California”, and it snowed for the first time in winter (though there was snow on the ground in April when he moved here, which he took as an ominous sign), he took snow and maple syrup and mixed it together like people said you could do, and he ended up with maple syrup and water. I think my Unlce Pooka was one who delayed walks while he snacked on snow, and my mommy would get impatient. (My Uncle Flurry never looked left or right on his walk because he knew what walks were for.)

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