a hint of rain

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. Not much news, but still news. You may remember me from such posts as “The Project”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically pensive pose.16082703As usual, very little has been happening here. In a way, that’s okay, according to the guy I live with, who likes things to be calm, as maybe you can understand if you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, though he says I’m anything but calm, but on the other hand it would be nice if it really rained, instead of just raining a little.

Even the rain we had the other day, the one we made a movie of, wasn’t very much rain. Not what you would call a good soaking rain.

As a result, it’s been kind of boring here.

The hummingbirds are beginning to leave, for their long journey to Mexico. Maybe you can see this one, on Salvia lemmonii. (The guy I live with says some botanists call this S. microphylla subsp. wislizenii, or just plain S. microphylla. The latter seems to be the preferred name. Isn’t that interesting.)

There are a few plants flowering here, but not a whole lot, because of the lack of rain. This salvia seems to be more adaptable to drier conditions in late summer, but it has been watered. 16082601They stop at the feeder, too. The guy I live with takes down the feeders every day, washes them, and refills them with sugar water. We have a huge bag of sugar in the house, and of course every time sugar water is made, sugar gets spilled everywhere.

Just this afternoon, when the guy I live with was just standing in the garden staring at stuff, without his camera of course, a hummingbird came right up to him and looked him in the eye. And then flew off.

There are the little oaks. Two of them were planted last year, and began to suffer this summer (almost all the leaves dried up), so they were dug up (the roots hadn’t grown into the surrounding soil at all; this is a problem with little oaks grown in nursery pots), and repotted with extra homemade potting mix. The guy I live with sometimes goes on a rampage about nursery potting soil, but I’ll spare you that, this time. We might show how the roots have grown in the homemade mix (perlite, sand, grit, this, that, but no peat) when the little oaks get re-planted later this year.

You can see how they’ve regrown since they went into their pots, with extra mix. 16082910

16082911If you want to know what these are, well, we don’t quite know. They’re probably Quercus undulata, and the label said ‘Prickly Pete’ × ‘Folsom Blue’. The latter is an oak growing on the campus at the University of Colorado in Boulder. They should get about eighteen feet high (about five and a half meters), in about a zillion years.

This little one is a couple of feet (say sixty centimeters) high after about fifteen years, with leaves about two inches (five centimeters) long. It has the tiniest acorns. 16082912Tiny acorns.

That’s really all I have for today. It’s been darkish, and chilly, for a couple of days now, and looks like it’s going to rain, and then sprinkles here, and everybody else gets rain, and asks the guy I live with if the rain wasn’t wonderful, and he says “Uh huh”. Maybe we’ll get a good soaking rain, eventually.

Some pictures of me might make up for the lack of rain here. These are a bit different from the usual ones, but still entertaining, I think. 16082906






Until next time, then.


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12 Responses to a hint of rain

  1. Tracy says:

    Love the action pictures. I HATE peatmoss. Will you share your potting mix recipe? I was mom to a 3/4 border Collie for 16 years and now am tante to a purebred BC my sister adopted. He has retractable ears.

    • paridevita says:

      Retractable ears are excellent. The potting mix is really just old potting mix thrown into the garbage can you might see in pictures of the patio. It’s sand, perlite (main ingredients), Turface, gravel, and some peat-free potting mix. Maxfield’s. Though I think there are others. The sand makes the mix especially easy to wet. But you have to be careful because sand can fill all the micropores in the potting mix and clog the heck out of everything. So it isn’t like “play sand”, but rather “paver sand”, which is composed of different-sized particles.

  2. Nell says:

    Love to see you tearing around the garden, Mani! A fuller picture of your personality than the pensive pose, I think. Don’t let it go to your head, but you are gorgeous.

    As is that 2-foot-after-eons oak. Love the bluish leatheriness of the foliage. Maybe next year there’ll be timely, adequate rainfall and they’ll take off… Still, acorns is a good sign, however tiny.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, there’s no way I could let being gorgeous go to my head. People say it all the time, so it must be true, right?
      I think this is just a very slow-growing, tiny oak. There are lots of those in the garden. Some will get bigger, eventually.

  3. Engrid says:

    My goodness, Mani, what lovely , long legs you have. And what a great athlete. I also adore those tiny acorns.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. I’m much more athletic than someone else I know. The oak came from Jerry Morris’s nursery, way back when. It was just sitting there in a pot and Jerry said “This is good”, and so it was acquired.

  4. Kevin says:

    My, Mani. You seem to be stuck in a veritable “Groundhog Day”, whistling by that silver foliage bush next to the pots in the photos at the bottom of this post. Never fear. I’m sure, like Bill Murray, your diligent repetition will yield perfection in execution and enduring happiness!

  5. Dear Mani, seeing your exuberant surging gallop – which quite makes you resemble an action hero – gives me fuller understanding of why all the fencing even though the guy you live with hates it. I do appreciate reading about the potting soil mix and the allusion to the evils of peatmoss. I equally look forward to the photographs of the tiny oak trees and their root systems when repotting happens. (The smidgeon acorns are adorable.) The previous sentence is in parens because it has not much to do with the sentence before and the sentence which comes after, which is: I long for a revised version of “High and Dry” and I want it tomorrow. Surely the guy you live with can manage rewrites in between scrubbing/refilling hummingbird feeders and the consequent sweeping up. I find amazing the similarities if not outright shared plant palette of the high and dry where you live, Mani, and sea-level beachy where I do my own miserable gardening. The artemisia, the oaks! And currently your running ground looks fabulous.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I do like the idea of being an action hero. The guy I live with says that peat moss (or sphagnum peat, if you don’t live in the U.S.) dries out too quickly, is very difficult to re-wet, and is too acidic. he says, though he concedes that he could be wrong, that the combination of highly acidic peat moss and tap water (which is somewhat alkaline because otherwise it would corrode copper pipes) makes a fairly nasty concoction, after a while. So if plants are purchased and they have this stuff clinging to the roots, it gets washed off. Unless laziness rules, which it often does.

      Sea-level beachy. The guy I live with’s mom’s first cousin had a cottage at Balboa Harbor. He says you would walk out of the cottage, to the end of the street, and there was a small rise, which you would walk over, and there was the ocean. That was back when there was hardly anyone in Balboa. (See how old he is?)

      • Ah Mani, cher Mani, l’exubérance, un véritable vrombissement d’exubérance. Bloke here, who is still in Dubai and says there is no point to go looking for green stuff until October, says that it is better for sofa-dogs to avoid exubérance and concentrate on the research. Hélas, we don’t have lapins or squirrels. Rabbits can’t burrow into the rock which is only 20-30 cms below the surface, and bloke says we have the wrong kind of trees to feed squirrels. Instead, we have hares, which never seem to wait for me to say bonjour.

        Anyway, outside is sometimes frightening. Even in the garden, there are huge rhinocerous beetles in the compost heap, and the serpent. Bloke promises one day we will write about the time the serpent pretended to be part of the garden hose, but first, to counter-act the effect of the serpent, we have to practice non-exubérance. Sometimes, after a long middle-east wandering, he insists we practice at least 3 days of intensive non-exubérance on the sofa. He says this helps me learn the latin botanical terms which any serious sofa gardener must memorise. Pour l’instant, à la prochaine..!

      • paridevita says:

        Indeed. The guy I live with says I am excessively exuberant. But did not William Blake say “exuberance is beauty”? He did. We do like a few days of doing nothing after such exhausting days as a trip to the high country, followed by a whole day of Day Care. By the way, the guy I live with especially likes the books coming from this source: http://www.jardin-sec.com/

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