the ugly garden

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the no-longer-so-incredibly-tiny 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 posts as “Naughty Noodle”, among at least a few others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m not really asleep, just pondering the cosmos. I find this chair to be rather comfortable, if a bit creaky. The guy I live with said I was the first purebred border collie to sleep in this chair. I’m kind of boldly going where no purebred border collie has gone before. 15041901It’s been pretty chilly and cool, the way it can be, or so I hear, with a little snow, and some rain. The guy I live with said it was too cold to work in the garden, which I think is just an excuse, though he is suffering from sciatica, so he has a good excuse. I guess. You can see how chilly it is by looking at this picture of the foothills.15041910The slope there is Highway 285, which goes up into the mountains. The guy I live with says that the summit of Guanella Pass (11,669 feet, which is 3557 meters, if you didn’t know) is just an hour’s drive from our driveway, and that maybe, if I’m good, we’ll go up there this summer.

I was left at home, sitting in my fort, while the guy I live with went to a plant sale Friday evening. He came back with some plants, but not nearly as many as he usually gets. That’s because there are so many seedlings in the seed pots, he says. He also got a shipment of daphnes from Arrowhead Alpines, and they’re in this picture, along with the plants that haven’t been planted yet. I think it’s odd that you say “plant” when you plant a plant, because you don’t say “biscuit” when you eat a biscuit. Or “TV” when we watch TV. But I’m just learning, as you can tell. 15041906And, yes, the plants (not planted, but still plants) are in what is called a “cat carrier”. I’ve chased a cat or two out of the garden, and I can’t imagine why you would want to carry one, instead of chase the heck out of it, but I don’t know everything. The guy I live with says that when he takes the carrying case to a plant sale, people ask him if he has a cat in there, which he thinks is pretty dumb, since this is obviously really a plant-carrying case, and who would bring a cat in a case to a plant sale anyway. They used to sell the cases at plant sales, just for this purpose.

You get some newspaper or something to pack the plants in tight if you don’t buy enough to fill the case. “Important safety tip”, according to the guy I live with.

Well, so, anyway, the guy I live with says I’ve been fairly naughty, getting into the gardens when I’ve been asked not to, but I saw a snake there, and I keep wanting to see it again, because even though it was scary and smelled terrible I’d like to see it again. You know how that is.

Fences got put up, to keep me off the troughs, and off a couple of the raised beds, and the guy I live with says that it’s “all my fault” that the garden looks so ugly now. I don’t really agree. You can barely see the fence. 15041909Here’s a better view of it. I’m not sure how he’s going to get in there. 15041904Maybe this one, around the troughs which I was certain were there for me to climb on, is a little obvious. 15041908By now I think you can see that things aren’t really as ugly as he says they are. After all, he does have a “portable garden ornament”. 15041905That’s a “legal” shoe, by the way. Practically new; they were too big to wear, I guess. I don’t wear shoes, so I’m not sure what that means.

Back to the ornament stuff, though.15041907


15041903So that was something that I thought needed to be said. The garden isn’t so ugly. The guy I live with is teaching me to consider the effect of what I say, before I say it, which isn’t as easy as you might think, since so many people say something first and then think later. The guy I live with does admit that when he said the garden was ugly now he overlooked the one thing that brightens it up, like a tiny sun had landed in the back yard, and so he said he was sorry for saying that. I forgive him.

He says he’s going to put up another fence, anyway. No matter. I have my new Lamb Chop to play with.15041902


Until next time, then.

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28 Responses to the ugly garden

  1. Mark Mazer says:

    Tis diabolical the way you, Mani, try to imprint your dark doggie topcoat onto that lovely light colored carpet. Does the guy you live with know of the “Furminator”? Lessens the number of times one needs to drag out the infernal vacuum cleaners. First arilbred in bloom here today. Labels long gone. Alas, no Daphne will survive here, and if they did, the barest public mention of them would ensure their imminent demise.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, the vacuum cleaner is for, like, other things. Particularly the mud that someone tracks in. And I like to chew a pine cone or two while waiting for dinner, and so that leaves stuff.

  2. Barb K says:

    You often have a rather thoughtful and calculating look, Mani. What does it mean? It’s not the garden that is ugly, it’s the fences. The garden is beautiful, and you are becoming majestic. Our girls are 4, and whenever we start a new section of the garden, up goes a fence. When does it stop? The first year they took over the pond and dragged sopping dormant plant clumps out to the lawn and ripped them to shreds. I wonder what you could do if you had a partner? All the labels were turned on the Daphnes. What kind are they? I have a Daphne domini and a olioides compact, We’ll see. I lack experience.

    • paridevita says:

      I prefer to remain inscrutable, though the guy I live with says I’m completely scrutable in that I’m always planning something naughty. The guy I live with said that with the first border collie, he put up fences made of string. He’s such a genius. He also says that a partner may be in the future, like next year. About daphnes. The guy I live with says that success with daphnes is mostly luck. They can croak suddenly, just when things look really good. The ones in the carrier were mostly Daphne hendersonii types. In fact, just today, just now really, he finished the “daphnetum”. I was forced to stay inside because I found the shovel too exciting. Oh, and by the way, dragging stuff out of a pond sounds like about the most excellent thing possible. Even better would be dragging it into the house, of course.

  3. Daphnes usually last about ten years and then die. I hope you last longer than ten years Mani

    • paridevita says:

      There are some daphnes here that, according to the guy I live with, have been here before the beginning of time, but he’s too superstitious to say which ones.

  4. Tracey says:

    Visually speaking I find the fences appealing since they add some definition to the garden. Why can’t the guy you live with add some snazzy fence decorations to them? He needs to think outside the box (or the fence in this case). Here is a helpful site to which I have no affiliation

    The stripes on the chair almost match the colors of your fur, which may explain why you like the chair. I hope you get a pal soon. My cats spent the morning zooming around together, and frequently snuggle and groom each other. It is nice to have a pet pal.

  5. Oh, Mani, it does look chilly in them thar mountains — kind of reminds me of the time I last drove through Colorado. *shivers* The plant carrier reminds me less of a cat carrier, more of a plant fort similar to your own. And, my, you do show well standing amidst blue flowers, blue being a good accent color for you. The garden looks quite wonderful, growing well and beautifully arranged. Little wonder The Guy You Life With hurt his knee as beautiful garden arrangements, in my experience, usually require wrenching labor. As we say around here, you look like you are engaged in Too Much Fun with Lamb Chop. Too Much Fun is excellent.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. A plant fort. I like that. I do go well in blue, don’t I? I can see blue. The guy I live with says the grape hyacinths really don’t belong there, but they’re there anyway. He really doesn’t do much wrenching labor, and now he says it’s sciatica and only just involves his knee and other places, but that I should have been the one who had to put up the fence. It’s just chilly here and it “should” be raining, but it isn’t. He says “they” say “rain changing to snow” tonight, and while you may think that sounds extreme for this late in the year, it’s really totally typical. I love my new Lamb Chop. The old one was good too, of course.

  6. Kreng Jai says:

    Hey mani how are you? You and your guy have a busy and wonderful week.

  7. vivianswift says:

    Partner? PARTNER? Mani’s getting a partner in crime?!?! This is the most excellent news since the excellence of the Lamb Chop news!

    Allow me to identify the carrier: it is most definitely a very rare, vintage, Martian Flat Cat Carrier.

    Or it’s a carrier that fits under the seat of a commercial airliner. Either way it is a very clever re-purposing achievement. And the gathering of kick-knacks upon the fences would give the xeroscape too much de-zen-like visual ataxia, altho it would be an excellent de-cluttering project for an embiggening pure bee parder collie. Hmmmm…. “Pure bee parder collie” is either an Auto Correct or the breed that chases Martian Flat Cats around the asteroid belt.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, well, this event isn’t going to take place for quite a while. The thing is, I have to be older, so I could train any new friend who might show up here. We do that, you know.

      • No training! Procure the partner immediately, and let hijinks ensue. TWO border collie puppies frolicking and creating mayhem! Think of your readers, dear Mani, and the photographic possibilities. Excellence everywhere you look. Your line to The Guy should be something along the “we can train each other” track.
        I don’t know if I can pant with anticipation “for quite a while.”

      • paridevita says:

        Well, the guy I live with says it has to be a while. He says that I’m kind of like a whirlwind in the garden, and need to learn the paths, and that the lawn in the way back is my “private lawn” (like in The Musgrave Ritual….)

  8. Tracey says:

    Do we get to see doggie day care photos? Will you invite day care pals over for play dates?

  9. To compare you to a tiny sun is so sweet and true! Even though that fence shows you have been rather naughty.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with said that his therapist (grief counselor) said there really isn’t any naughty, just exploration of possibilities. The guy I live with didn’t want me grabbing a snake, and one lives in the rock garden, and one or two or a bunch live under the troughs. There used to be mice under the troughs; now there are snakes. I don’t get that, quite, but he says it makes sense.

  10. Marieke says:

    Hi Mani! I have two comments – first, no garden is ugly. It’s all about perspective… you and “the guy” must change your perspectives. Having a puppy like you is having a child around; one must just accept chaos will ensue. Second, dogs love digging, especially young purebred border collies. If you bring one (dog) into your life, you’ve got to expect the other (digging). My dogs are diggers – they even dig out dens in the dirt that are big enough to hide in (The horror!). BTW, I also have sciatica. I find the best treatment for it is regular visits to an experienced chiropractor. Stay well – I can’t wait for you to get a new brother or sister!

  11. House is being built next to our house. Not only is it awfulized – just the word – it is aggressively awfulized. A middle finger raised to the neighborhood. Except for those who aspire to emulate.
    Loved the poem. Site has been favorited.

    • paridevita says:

      Indeed, hideousization seems to be the rule these days. Where gardens are concerned, the guy I live with says they can be pretty much anything, so long as they contain plants.

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