a sad farewell

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the, oh, I guess completely normal-sized purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you more news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “We-Are-From-France”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I guess I was listening to something behind me. I can do that, you know. 16060601This is me doing it again.16060609There’s stuff flowering in the garden right now. Not a whole lot of things, because the guy I live with thinks he’s being super-clever by not having a garden focused on plants that flower from now until, say, the end of August. There are some summer flowers, of course. The guy I live with is not a complete weirdo. But summer isn’t as colorful here as it is in a lot of gardens.

Here’s Allium cristophii; one that almost everybody has, and one that reseeds like crazy. So there are hundreds in the garden here now. 16060612And Allium nigrum. We don’t know why it’s called “nigrum”, since it pretty obviously white, but maybe the anthers are black, or something. 16060608I think this is Gladiolus italicus. It just started. The guy I live with figured out which one this was last summer, because he thought it might be G. imbricatus. The seed he got said “italicus”. 16060613And Asphodeline lutea is starting to flower. 16060604This is Oregon Sunshine, Eriophyllum lanatum, a favorite here. 16060606The big surprise of the year is the paintbrush that I guess just got its seed sprinkled on a couple of the troughs last autumn. This is the Wyoming State Flower, Castilleja linariifolia16060605Rosa kokanica has just started, too. I hear there used to be a lot of roses in the garden here, but now there aren’t. You can’t really see the doubly-serrate leaf margins which are diagnostic for this species, but I think if you do a search for this rose on the blog, there are pictures of the leaf margins. The bees really like this rose, and it’s scented, too. 16060607I guess we should talk about the sad thing now. But first, since this is happening in the front yard, take a look at Sphaeralcea munroana. (Maybe that species.)16060602Well, okay, the sad farewell part. It looks like the big desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, which has been here for thirty years, has finally given up. “Maybe not”, said the guy I live with, “but probably”. There are three other desert willows here that have leafed out completely. The big trunks there, that’s the desert willow. 16060603The guy I live with said it was like saying goodbye to an old friend. I guess there’s been a lot of that around here in the last several years, and this is only a plant, but it’s been through everything “Denver’s horrible weather” can throw at it. I guess the seventy-three degree (F) drop in temperature over a forty-eight hour period in November 2014 was just too much for it. That cold snap did kill a lot of trees around here, too, I think.

The funny thing is that this desert willow is, or maybe was, from the farthest north known population, and supposedly the hardiest, but the desert willows here, from farther south, are just fine. Go figure, huh. Last year, the big desert willow didn’t leaf out until something like August. Those lines you see in the picture are some of last year’s growth, but they’re all dead.

I guess it’s pretty sad. The guy I live with says since we live here, we have to get used to such things happening, and not just occasionally. Like, all the time.

There might be other sad things going on in the front yard, too, because the Utah juniper was so disfigured by all the heavy snow we had that the guy I live with says he can’t stand looking at it, and might take it out. You can see how badly splayed it is in the picture of the desert willow. It’s in the upper right.

It was pretty hot today, for a purebred border collie anyway, and so I suffered a whole lot, until the thunderstorms began to roll in. The guy I live with does not like thunderstorms, and I might agree with him.16060610The storm you see here turned out to be the tail-end of a storm that dropped “ping-pong-ball-sized” hail, but fortunately it went to the southwest of us. The guy I live with said that hail that size is bad, and he held up a small lime to show how big that meant. Kind of scary, if you ask me. And why he doesn’t like thunderstorms.

There was thundering so I sat in the living room, in the dark. Quite sensibly, if you ask me. 16060611It cooled off later, and that was pretty good. I guess that’s it for today, anyway.16060614

Until next time, then.




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17 Responses to a sad farewell

  1. Barb K says:

    Whew! I thought the sad farewell was coming from you, Mani! Although it’s too bad about the tree.

  2. Susan ITPH says:

    That is a definite loss. Such a celebrated tree. It doesn’t matter if it should be expected, old trees are old friends.

  3. hillview400 says:

    Hi Guys,

    Always sad to lose a big old friend. There comes a point when replacing them seems a bit pointless.
    I am in awe of your crazy weather. It is so topsy turvey. Although I shouldn’t talk too loud. Currently the Eastern seaboard of Australia is getting battering. Some of the wildest weather ever!
    I luv Mani’s “backward bending” ears. Are these a new addition to his repertoire?

    Cheers, Marcus from Down Under

    • paridevita says:

      The reversible, or, as I prefer to call them, retractable ears, are something I discovered quite a while ago. They come in handy, or maybe I should say, eary, from time to time.
      The guy I live with says that the weather here is awful. Except in autumn, usually. Though yesterday and the day before were sunny all day, and I didn’t hear any complaints. But he says there’s way too much talk about ping-pong balls of ice falling from the sky, these days.
      Also, I possibly should have said that the guy I live with thought something might be going on with the desert willow, and so planted another one, well, you see the gray sagebrush at the end of the little fence there, that’s where it is. Pretty close. But a lot of other things that died during that November thing, or were smashed to pieces by all the snow, won’t be replaced.

  4. My heart stopped. I read as fast as I could to discover to what you were saying a sad farewell. Then I got to the part where you said a desert willow, a northern desert willow, a thirty-year-old desert willow.
    Well. My small yard crammed with much has experienced loss to the left and loss to the right, loss ahead and loss behind. I am perhaps jaded. Still, I understand why the guy you live with mourns. Trees especially can become old friends and it is sad to lose even one tree. This year we lost a twelve-foot hybrid mallow which dominated the yard we call The Bramble, and instantly the yard reconfigured. I planted an oak, a totally absurd act; a black elderberry too close to a wall so I’ll have to take it out; and Romneya coulteri (fried-egg plant) which I never once in thirty years of trying managed to grow. The guy should look for opportunity, and with the new desert willow in place it sounds as if he already has. Condolences on the disfigured Utah juniper. Disfigurement, ugh. Now, those retractable ears are cool, and probably pretty useful in all that changeable weather. Oh, that cool rose! I’ve come around to liking singles, and Rosa kokanica is excellent.
    If the guy is really sad, let him give you a few extra hugs, Mani.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I kind of told him the blog post title might be alarming, but he ignored me. “Type that anyway”, he said. …. The desert willow from the Chisos Mountains, which is far south of where the big one’s parent plants grew, is doing just fine. Let’s see. How many plants of Romneya coulteri have been planted here? A whole many, I hear. The plant is difficult to get going. Said to be hardy here, so probably it will be tried again. Want to hear something funny? Okay, here goes. They say you have to germinate romneya seed using smoke, and stuff, and the guy I live with knew that wasn’t true, the seed just needed to have the germination inhibitor destroyed, and so he sowed seeds in pots, outdoors, just like for everything else, and the cold germinated the seeds the next spring. He gave the plants to Denver Botanic Gardens, and the plants did not die. (That made him kind of mad.) The rose was grown from wild-collected seed by a very well-known gardener (not to drop names or anything), and when she brought plants to one of the rock garden chapter plants sales about twenty years ago, the guy I live with asked if he could have one, and so he brought it home, and now it’s huge. And now he wants more roses from Central Asia. Back go the ears.

      • We go to the Huntington this weekend to hear Greg Lowery (who’s just been there on conference) speak on Chinese roses, and Dr. Wang, who discovers and hybridizes and gardens and writes. His book sells for $200 in China, and people are trying to get it translated (probably by a botanist) and published here. Oh, the photos! (so “they” say), and there’s a lot of theorizing about origins. Hope I haven’t hijacked. You gave me the opening, Mani.

      • paridevita says:

        We just finished a game of Advanced Wootlie-Weetlie. It was exhausting. Basically it’s like hide-and-seek, with the guy I live with pretending he’s some four-legged robot monster out to get me. (regular Wootlie-Weetlie is like Farfnickel, but less exhausting.) So let me collect my thoughts. Okay, I don’t have any thoughts. The guy I live with says to go here, and, like, I guess, surf. http://www.plantarium.ru/page/search.html?match=begins&type=0&mode=full&sample=Rosa He also says, by the way, that he has the same Facebook friends, like the woman in Australia who loves roses. (Not to be mysterious or anything like that.) Like there are only a few degrees of separation. Which is funny. The guy I live with said, a while back, that there were only three degrees of separation between him and Humphrey Bogart. I don’t know why I brought this up, but the game we just played took a lot of energy.

  5. Pat Toolan — and Humphrey Bogart? Well, the guy in Casablanca needed a purebred Border Collie.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes; she also grows and hybridizes oncocyclus iris. Oh, the guy I live with’s paternal grandfather and Claude Rains were on an elevator together once, and each remarked on how like each other they looked. (Is that how you would say that?) So there’s two degrees.

  6. christine says:

    *Phew* You scared us, buddy! I am sorry for your loss; however, comparatively speaking, I am also somewhat relieved. We’ve shared other losses, perhaps more heart-wrenching. Would you say all experience of loss is equal as an experience, but differs in breadth or in depth? I would posit that the loss remains with us and that what changes is only that we expect less and less to see that which has been lost. When you are recovered from your game (did you win?), perhaps you have some thoughts on loss. Happily, being young, you haven’t had too much experience with loss (although any separation from TGYLW or favorite toys or home is also loss), but I am certain that your companionship and youthful energy helps TGYLW endure his losses. Please blog on!

    • paridevita says:

      Yeah, thanks, sorry, the title was the guy I live with’s “super-brilliant” idea, but not so great, maybe. Oh, the desert willow. It turns out that the guy I live with will miss having a largish small tree right by the front walk, with flowers scented of violets on a warm summer night, but that sort of loss is nothing like other losses, and maybe he’s become less of a weenie when it comes to plants dying. It is kind of sad, though.

  7. Knicky Twigs says:

    You seem to smile as you listen to that which is behind 🙂

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with was just a little disappointed that my ears didn’t stay folded, like they were when I was little, but when he saw that I could make them disappear completely, he was impressed. I’ll have to post a picture of me doing that, some time.

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