the drop-in

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. You may remember me from such posts as “Nothing Again Nothing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. 17021201Well, there’s been a whole bunch of stuff going on lately, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. Most of it has involved painting. Painting, painting, and then more painting. I don’t help at all, if you wanted to know.

But before that, there was some construction. img_1996You’ll notice that this thing, which is a “snowdrop frame”, looks quite a bit like this other thing img_1998                but in fact the second thing is just a “bulb frame”, which right now has a bunch of seed-pots in it, instead of bulbs.

The “snowdrop” frame is for the early-flowering snowdrops, because this past year they didn’t get enough water and sun at the right time, in order to flower in November, and the guy I live with, who is kind of a nut, after all, decided to build this smaller frame, move the November-flowering snowdrops into it, and maybe propagate the bulbs. There’s this process called “twin-scaling” that he said he might try. Later, of course.

This is one of the November-flowering ones, which is actually flowering now. It’s been flowering for over a month, but “should” have been flowering earlier. I’ve mentioned these before, because they have such a ridiculous name. Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus Hiemalis Group.dsc_1988There are a lot of regular, that is, flowering at the right time of the year, snowdrops here now. dsc_1996This is a slightly different picture from the one the guy I live with posted on Facebook. After it was posted, someone said that snowdrops all look alike. But, in fact, the species in the genus Galanthus are all readily distinguishable from each other simply by looking at them. You don’t need a hand lens to tell one species from another. This is pretty rare in botany.

There are a lot of selections and hybrids in snowdrops, and one of these has been flowering here for a while. The guy I live with says it has “very long outers”, which is kind of funny.



So that’s part of what’s been going on here.

When the guy I live with was painting, upstairs, he found more packets of seeds. All really old, like at least twenty years old, but he thought he might sow them anyway. Some of the seeds are pretty large.

These are seeds of the Mexican buckeye, Ungnadia speciosa, which probably isn’t hardy here (since one planted here died in its first winter), but he said why not try it anyway.17021204These are seeds of Sapindus drummondii, the western soapberry. They’re not really in focus, of course.17021205I’m not sure how these will be sown, but I guess we’ll find out later, won’t we?

The guy I live with painted all day today. First there was furniture to move, and then the vacuum, which I don’t like much, had to be brought up to clean the place where the furniture, mostly bookshelves, stood, then there was painting, and then everything was moved back.

I still got to go on my walks. It was a little colder today than yesterday; yesterday it was seventy-five degrees (about twenty-two Celsius); it cooled off during the night, and even rained for a minute or two, but the birdbath didn’t have any ice in it this morning.

This is the field, looking southwest, late this afternoon. We walk along the trail made by Norm and Celeste, the coyotes, on the afternoon walk. The trail curves around by the fences, on the left.17021202I guess that’s all for today. The painting is mostly done, so I’m not sure what other project will be started next, but there will probably be something.17021203

Until next time, then.



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10 Responses to the drop-in

  1. You’re not muddy, Mani, so that season seems to have passed. Your snowdrop photos – both close-up and wide shot – are beautiful. You know enough to remain outside the snowdrop field; right? Mexican buckeye, Ungnadia speciosa, died last time as a plant, I understand, but perhaps if raised from seed and put in place very early on it may, uh, flourish. Our climate, you might have heard the guy you live with mention, has changed too, and maybe Mexican buckeye would enjoy your place more. Border collies are evidently not keen on color. Paint colors are a whole fascinating subject, Mani, drop us a hint.
    Finally, much excitement here. Penayoti Kelaidis will speak on “Looking for Succulents in All the Wrong Places” for a San Diego Botanical Garden meeting tonight. Oh, boy! I first met him here, of course, as a commenter. Now in real life. I have met pure-bred border collies in real life, Mani, but my feeling is you are an extra special dog with velociraptor capability.

    • paridevita says:

      I know the person you’re talking about, though not as well as Chess did. The snowdrops are on the north side of the house, mostly. Beyond the gate. Some are being planted in the back yard, too, though. They like a damp winter on a English estate better than here, but the guy I live with says this will just have to do. The thing about the Mexican buckeye is—well, I don’t really understand this, but—it might take the occasional cold spell, but here, it’s cold a lot, and that does in a lot of things which otherwise might make it. The period of most intense cold moves west to east across North America, but it can still get cold here (Below 0F, –17C). We hope not, but it can happen. The water in the birdbath was frozen last night, for the first time in a while.

  2. Barb K says:

    I am very interested in you, Mani and of course the seed activities. However, since I am close in age (I think) to TGYLW I am also interested in the painting. I know, boring to you. I have much painting to do and I’ve been dreading it. Was it hard for TGYLW? Any special tools? Or is it a matter of “JUST DO IT!”? Well, he has incentivized me, as is often the case with him. Just as he’s encouraged you to be a better dog right? If possible.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with is sixty-five. He claims to have been painting for sixty years. Not continuously, of course. He loves painting. Usually the painting is done with Benjamin Moore Natura. No headaches from paint fumes, but it is sixty-seven dollars a gallon. So only one or two rooms are painted every year. The studio was done with Benjamin Moore “Cotton Tail”, a very pale yellow (not Natura; Ultra Spec 500), and the upstairs bedroom (not the one I sleep in) with “Cheyenne Green”, a light gray-green. It was a sort of oily brown or something, and it was time for a change. Purdy brushes and rollers (because he wanted them).

  3. christine says:

    Lovely snowdrops,,,good for the soul! Nothing blooming yet in western PA. We’ve had a roller coaster winter, with temperatures way up and way down, but that sounds like what you always have there. Mani, you must be exhausted from watching all that work and activity. How do you feel about change? My kitty didn’t care for change, except when the end result was in her favor.

    • paridevita says:

      We do have up-and-down weather in winter, but it’s been pretty nice lately. I didn’t notice the change in color in the upstairs room. Not much changes around here, except for the new “snowdrop frame”. My dinner bowl sits on the same box with the same towel on it, in the same place every evening, like it has since I showed up here, and it was like that for years before that.

  4. Bruno Baudino says:

    Hi mani, you know, the Snowdrops, i Bucaneve, les Perce-neiges (The latter two mean “pierce the snow”) should be, more correctly, called “Milk flowers of the snow”, that is Galanthus nivalis as TGYLW knows for sure…

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