oaks from afar

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, some of it explosive news, from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Licorice Lips”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. There might have been something funny happening. I forget. It’s a daytime pose, for sure, considering the time of year.It’s been hot, but not very sunny. This is a picture of the usual view, when it was sunny. The sun has only been out for a few hours since the guy I live with returned from Portland, where they had lots of sun. “Darker than any normal person should have to endure, considering it’s summer.” Denver can be very dark during the summer, and since we live on the extreme western edge of the city, it gets darker here, sooner, because the clouds roll in from the mountains to the west.

This is the path on the north side of the garden. I know I show pictures like this all the time. There’s something to be said for sameness. This is me, in case you were wondering. The sun was definitely not out, in this picture.Here I am again, when the sun came out for a moment. One of the yuccas is flowering. This is one called “Santa Fe yucca”, because maybe it’s a cross between something and something else, and comes from around Santa Fe.There’s kind of a lot of Melica ciliata in flower right now, but we like it. It doesn’t have stickers like some of the native grasses do. This is what the “lawn” looks like, right now. It would look different if we had some sun, according to the guy I live with, who complains about the lack of sun all the time, if you hadn’t noticed. The actual lawn, the buffalo grass lawn in the “way back”, looks more like a lawn. The fenced-off area is where more buffalo grass was seeded; the seeds haven’t germinated as well as they usually do, for some reason. It’s been super dry here in the last month. (That’s not why the buffalo grass seed hasn’t germinated, because it gets watered, some.) Like less than an inch (two and a half centimeters) of rain. One of the plants that flowers with just a little bit of watering is Lavatera thuringiacaBefore the garden was on tour a few weeks ago, the guy I live with got all worried about the rose, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’, which climbed up the pergola and over the shed. The stems were so low he thought people would run into them, so he cut the rose almost to the ground. The cotoneaster was hacked away at, too. You can see the bats, though.One place where the are a lot of flowers is along the path. This is kind of surprising, since the soil there is hard as a rock. Most of the plants were grown from seeds, sown directly into the soil, which does make a difference. So that’s the garden, today. Oh, except for the two oaks. They came from really far away, the guy I live with said. “Almost the edge of the continent”, which sounded a bit scary to me.

You probably can’t see them here, but they’re just to the left of where I’m standing. The white bucket has some water in it, with a plant being hydrated. The pool is empty right now. 

They’re Quercus douglasii, the California blue oak, which is hardy here. The guy I live with checked with an oak expert before buying them. Sometimes he doesn’t do that, and guess what happens?The reason the oaks are just sitting there, instead of having been planted right away, is that he wanted to make sure the leaves were fully hydrated before they went into the ground. Sometimes we get plants in the mail and they’re a bit wilty, so they sit on the patio getting hydrated before they go into the ground. Then of course they have to be watered, but he said it was easier to hydrate them first and then plant, rather than trying to do that after they’re planted. The uppermost leaves were wilted when the plants arrived, and now they’re not.

My walks have been a bit different, lately, because the grass in the field was mowed. Only in certain places. The grass is so dry where it was mowed that the guy I live with says it’s now a fire hazard, especially at this time of year, and that if the grasses were left alone, there would be fewer weeds. People don’t get that. I do, because he’s said it so often that I finally understood.

The field would look like this, otherwise. That’s mostly smooth brome, which the guy I live with hates. But at least it keeps down the weeds. (“And every other plant on the planet.”)The water in the canal always looks nice. I don’t go in, because there are big rocks on the bottom, to prevent erosion. The banks are really steep, too. There are big fish in the canal, and of course crawdads. The dry mowed grass is prickly. That’s a red ant hill right in front of me. There are a lot of them around. The guy I live with said not to let red ants, or “harvester ants”, crawl up me. They sting, or bite. So I try to be careful. 

Farther down the canal road, hops are flowering. Hops are native here. This picture isn’t much in focus, but you can still see the flowering hops.The guy I live with once, or maybe more than once, said that hops were the perfect companion plants to rabbitbrush, and nobody got it. “There are times when it’s best just to give up”, he said.

That’s about it for today. As you probably know, this is the time of year when most dogs, including purebred border collies, are not hugely thrilled. Last night, the loudest firecrackers either of us have ever heard exploded all around the house. It’s all completely illegal, but people who do this don’t care.

At least I have the guy I live with to comfort me, and the safety of my Kitchen Fort. I’ll leave you with a picture of me being ultra-safe, but not very happy at all, in my fort.

Until next time, then.


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10 Responses to oaks from afar

  1. Karen Cox says:

    You are just the cutest! Stay safe over the 4th!

  2. My sympathies, and those of Petey and Shredder, are with you, Mani. My place being small and an island nothing much illegal happens because the PD is right on it. However, Tourist Attractions ring us, and they apply for firework permits and use them ALL summer and most holidays. And right across the bay is a Convention Center which also has permits. I’m sure I need not remind you sound carries over water because you have a canal. And hops, exciting! Are they useful for any brewing? They do enhance the garden, which garden looks like it has been recently featured on a major tour. Too bad about the brutality foisted on poor ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk.’ I like the yucca and the new oaks. We not only hydrate what we plant, we also water their holes again (drain), again (drain), and again, sometimes up to five waterings. I hope funny things keep happening to you – enjoy your photos.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; yes, firecrackers are scary and they’ve already started this evening. The sun isn’t even down yet. I got to go on my walk, which was delightfully uneventful, then came home, and the popping began. It isn’t only popping, but huge explosions. The guy I live with said he might collect some hops to make a starter, like in Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads, but he hasn’t done that yet. It was something he thought of doing years ago and still hasn’t done it. We purebred border collies are never like that. We think, and then we act. Plants here are also repeatedly hydrated after planting. You would think that this would be a bad time of year to plant stuff, but often, plants planted in spring are forgotten. This time of year daily rounds with the watering can are common.

  3. Barb K says:

    That first view of the garden is one of my favorites because it features that artemisia which is a highlight. The second view is wonderful too because of the lushness and the disappearing pathway which creates mystery. Like “where did the dog go?”. You think and then you act? Well you’ve got one up on my girls who just act. Thinking doesn’t play a big role in their lives. And my ancient sick doggy, well it’s too bad another 4th of July is underway. Just too bad.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. It’s Artemisia ‘Silver Frost’, which spreads like nobody’s business (a funny phrase, don’t you think?). There’s another group farther down the path, which you can see if you embiggen the path picture (the one taken looking toward the house). The guy I live with says that I only think sometimes, but that’s okay, because he’s done a lot of extremely impulsive things. Some of which are visible on the blog, in years past. Like buying plants he didn’t really want. It’s really unpleasant for me this evening. Loud explosions. When Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, was sick, the guy I live with took his caregiving responsibilities seriously, as he did with Slipper before that. But evenings with sudden hugely loud noises are no good at all.

      • Barb K says:

        Yes. My responsibilities include sleeping by him in a recliner so I can get up and get him out in a hurry. He doesn’t want to sleep in my room. But, we all made it through another 4th of July!!

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with told me about things like that, especially when Slipper was sick. I guess I made it through the Fourth, too, though it wasn’t much fun.

  4. bittster says:

    Hopefully you made it through the last of the fireworks and can rest easy until next year! The garden looks lush this year, is that good or bad? I would think hiding is much easier in the taller plantings 🙂

    • paridevita says:

      A lot of the plants, like in what passes for the “lawn”, are self-sown, so that may be why everything looks so jungly. The guy I live with says this is good. Unfortunately, for me, the firecrackers don’t stop on the Fourth. There were loud explosions just tonight.

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