the tour guide

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 up to date on the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Still Roasting”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. The guy I live with said I “looked like a loon”. I’d been naughty, and I was getting a lecture. Lectures are really tiresome, if you didn’t know.

The lecture wasn’t very long, because the guy I live with knew what a good boy I’d been yesterday, when the garden was on tour. In fact he used the term super-angelic to describe my behavior.

He fretted a lot about the tour before it happened, and worried that I might dash through the garage door, because everyone had to come through the garage, and that I wouldn’t like having a whole bunch of people in my back yard, and at first I thought it was pretty terrifying, but it turned out that I really enjoyed showing people around our garden. I’m really an excellent tour guide.

There were times when the guy I live with was on the patio, talking to his friend, who came over, too, or to other people on the patio, and he couldn’t see where I was, and started to wonder, and then he discovered that I was out in the “way back” with visitors, showing them various parts of the garden you can’t see from the patio. And also leading people away from the areas that hadn’t been weeded. The guy I live with said that Chess, the purebred border collie who live here before me, did that, too.

It was a lot of fun, but I was really tired at the end of the day. The tour lasted for eight hours. It was ninety-four degrees Fahrenheit (about thirty-four Celsius), with eight percent humidity. The guy I live with said that was “excellent weather” but it was really too hot for me.

Today was a little cooler, but overcast, and so there were complaints. The guy I live with said the weather was supposed to be dry all this coming week, and not as hot as it was yesterday. It was still pretty hot today, if you ask me. So he’s going to get his way with the weather, for a little while at least.

The garden is getting kind of jungly. You can probably see why the Asphodeline lutea stole the show yesterday.The area that’s called “the lawn” is being filled up with plants like sphaeralceas. This is one called…something. The guy I live with says it’s Sphaeralcea fendleri, or maybe a hybrid of it. It has another name, too, like “desert this” or “sunset that”. It will get much taller.

The big rose, Rosa kokanica, has completely blocked the little path called “Pooka’s Shortcut”. (The mulleins are Verbascum densiflorum.)It’s having a very good year, even if it is blocking the path, and you can smell it from anywhere in the garden. The guy I live with was very pleased with the way Salvia rosifolia looks, even if the flowers are pretty small. He grew this from seed he bought from one of the Czech seed collectors.

And this mystery salvia was identified by a salvia expert on Facebook.

It’s Salvia chrysophylla, from Turkey. Growing in “completely the wrong place”. Of course.

The biggest deal, though, and I realize it may seem like nothing, but it really is a big deal here, is how well the California poppies are doing this year. The guy I live with said he would be happy if the garden were filled with them, even if nothing much of anything else happened this summer. This one was supposed to be ‘Red Chief’, but maybe isn’t.It turns out that California poppies can be annuals or perennials, which is kind of weird. They’re mostly perennial here, but not very long-lived perennials (like most other perennials except for bindweed). We still think of them as annuals, though.

The guy I live with explained to me that annuals are really popular right now, but that he prefers the kind that just grow, without having to water them every single day.

I think that’s it for today. The patio is really cool and I like to lie outside at night after a hot day, and maybe chew on a pine cone (even though that’s technically something that I’m forbidden to do).

Until next time, then.



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12 Responses to the tour guide

  1. Mani, it sounds like you both had a great tour on Saturday. The garden looks very good. I hope the tourers didn’t ask too many questions on what plants are good to eat. I have S. fendleri also and like it a lot although it does tend to take over.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The tour was sponsored by the native plant society and there were a lot of people. Not all at once. The guy I live with was exhausted by about nine in the morning. I, of course, have plenty of energy, and was able to lead tours while he stood on the patio. Nobody was interested in eating things from the garden; I could have told them that grass and pine cones are the best. The sphaeralcea does spread, doesn’t it? But the guy I live with says it helps him save money, by taking over areas he might want to fill with other plants.

  2. Karen says:

    I don’t comment much, Mani, but I love your updates. Now I’m off to research Rosa K something and buy more California poppy seeds, I love them too!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says it might be hard to find Rosa kokanica. The way he got it was, at a plant sale here over twenty years ago someone came to the sale with a cart full of seedlings grown from a Czech seed collector (Josef Halda) and he saw this little rose in the cart and asked if he could take this before it even went to the sale tables.
      He was going to get more poppy seeds from J.L. Hudson last winter (they sell by the ounce as well as packet), but didn’t.

  3. Mani – thank you for posting a photo of rosa kokanica. I saw it growing wild in Kazakhstan a few years ago, but have been unable to track down a supplier. Now I know a possible source of seed for it.

  4. Karen says:

    How wonderful to have you assisting with the tour! I certainly could use your help here, especially to keep my visitors occupied when they come across a giant dandelion (or a dozen) on their walk through. 🙂

  5. christine says:

    Lead on, sweet faced puppy! I would follow you anywhere:)

  6. So glad you had a good, and very long, garden tour. Wish I had been there.

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