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 thuringiaca. Before 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.
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.
Until next time, then.