it almost rained

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 “The Fast Learner”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in  a characteristic pose.I know, super cute. It comes naturally.

You can see the stain on the carpet near the door; the guy I live with said he was “semi-resigned” to having to work on it every few days. I think it’s a pretty boring subject. But I guess this is what his retirement has turned into. Cleaning the carpet, and staring at the floor. The funny thing is that the guy I live with actually likes doing both of those things.

And the other day he went to the paint store with a piece of paint scraped from the garage door. The door has had some kaolin-based primer on it for several months. What the neighbors thought, I don’t know, but there are weirder things than that going on in other yards, so, whatever, I guess. Anyway, one of the people who works there helped him match the color exactly, and so he painted most of the door, and decided that he’s going to paint the whole house again. He loves to paint.

Some gardening took place today. The first garden-related thing was that he realized the aster in the previous post wasn’t ‘Alma’ but instead it was ‘Septemberrubin’, or, if you insist, ‘September Ruby’. There used to be tons of New England asters here but most of them were given away. The beautiful pure white, ‘Chilly Winds’, is flowering in his friend’s garden. This is the time of year when the garden starts to come to life again, after a dreary summer like this one has been, and he always regrets not having enough asters and other autumn-flowering plants. Some need too much watering to be good garden plants here, but others do well.

Then a plant of Salvia greggii, which wilted every single day, was dug up and given the once-over. The root ball was mostly peat moss, dry and hard as a rock. You can see that some roots have been growing out of the root ball, but this plant has been in the ground for several years, so this was totally unacceptable. It certainly explained the wilting. It was repotted, and the rather minimalist border on the west side of the house, where it was growing (and wilting) was spruced up, some. The milk can was moved from the north border. I think it looks better here. The French scare cat in the lower left is just there because it isn’t anywhere else. That’s a big, non-wilting Salvia greggii in the lower center. It isn’t flowering because it’s been so dry. Then it almost rained. Some locust pods were raked up; there was a bit of tidying, and then it really started to thunder. I had to hide in my fort.The guy I live with looked at the weather page online and it said something about a “significant weather event”, complete with hail, which was headed our way.  At this time of year. There was a great deal of colorful language in the house.

But, as often happens, the storm dissipated just as it moved over the foothills. We don’t really live on the plains, more like nestled among rolling hills and mesas. The plains do begin just a bit to the east of us, though.

It rained for about ten minutes. Not enough to penetrate down to roots, but it was still nice.You can see our tomato plant in the lower left. There are even tomatoes on it. I don’t eat tomatoes. One tomato ripened on the vine, and the guy I live with started talking about tomato and cheese sandwiches, but a squirrel bit into the tomato an hour or so before the guy I live with was going to pick it. You can imagine what he said about the squirrel. And the tomato.

The rain wasn’t enough to perk up all the cow-pen daisies growing in what used to be a lawn, but is just now a bunch of plants. I guess, if you’re the kind of person that notices things, like I certainly am, you’ll notice the solar lantern is back on its post. It doesn’t work. The post looked dumb with nothing hanging from it. The guy I live with said the solar panels were “shot”. The plastic covering on the little panels wore away over the years and now the sun can’t recharge the batteries in the lamp. So it’s just there, the way so many things here are. The mulleins, on the right, definitely need to be cut down. They’re Verbascum densiflorum, if you were wondering. After dinner, there was a walk that needed to be gone on. So we went.

It was pretty uneventful, though there were some of those powered hang gliders flying around.I watched them for quite some time. It isn’t something I’d want to try, but it’s pretty interesting watching them.We stopped to look at some red ants, too. The guy I live with said I should call them “harvester ants” instead of “red ants”, even though they are red.The gravel around abandoned red–sorry, harvester ant piles makes a superior mulch for seed pots and even troughs, if it’s washed first, so there aren’t the trillion weed seeds that usually come with “wild-collected gravel”.

So that was my day. Partly interesting, partly scary, partly fun, partly instructive. 

Until next time, then.



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2 Responses to it almost rained

  1. I love your western border! and the milk can does look handsome in its new location. About ants, our native plant guru says red ants in a garden setting – not the wild – find native plant roots and treat it as a dessert buffet. They suck the sugar. So not petrified peat moss, but root disappearance and starvation. Guru showed Before and After photos, and it was heartening to see a tree, shrub or ground cover revive after the ants had been, ahem, banished. Beautiful sky over your land of rolling hills and mesas. Our dogs see power gliders over the beach across from Dog Park and over the park itself. They are as good about it as I expect you are. Our late Jack Dog, the terrier, used to race after anything airbourne, barking. Your current Miss Lampchop is the most buxom I’ve seen. Ones around here, even before evisceration, were not so robust. And you, Mani, you look like you need a cigarette.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with says you can discourage ants with cinnamon. I know how that sounds. But some sprinkled around where they’re making a home, like close to plants, will cause them to move somewhere else. Quite a few plants have died because of ants around the roots. He also told me that new Lamb Chops were in the mail, right now. From Chewy.

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