a chance of effelants

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on the news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Autumnal Equinox”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.The south path, that is to say the path on the south side of the garden, is pretty messy because of the locust pods dropping onto it, and the husks of thistle seed, too. A lot of thistle seed has been eaten here in the last month or so.

You may be able to see the teensy change in the garden in that picture, or in this one.No? Well, try this one, with the garden illuminated by the late afternoon sun. You see the dark spot beneath the fence post? That’s a new plant, a Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’. A purple smoke bush. It’s there to “break up the monotony of all the gray and silver leaves”. I guess it does that. Not a whole lot of gardening has been done here, except for getting and planting the smoke bush, which was on sale, because the guy I live with has been on the phone a lot, and is pretty stressed out. He does pretty well with stress; his last job was stressful and so all this being on the phone is like that.

There’s one sternbergia flowering; maybe Sternbergia sicula (which may be the same as S. lutea). How it got where it is in the garden, no one knows. There were some flowering elsewhere in the garden but they really need more rain than we get in order to flower. Or a lot of watering. The others are in one of the rock gardens; the tufts of green leaves in the upper middle part of the picture. You may notice that this rock garden doesn’t have a lot of rock garden plants in it. It used to, but when they died, the plants weren’t replaced. Kind of minimalist, I guess.

Like the bed against the west side of the house. I wonder if a lot of the garden isn’t going to go this way.Obviously the “lawn” is just the opposite, but it’s mostly annuals and plants that have seeded there. A few crocuses have come up among all the other plants. They might be hard to see in the picture above, so here’s a sort of close up.

More crocuses in the rock garden called “Mount Zot”, for reasons I don’t understand. The guy I live with says it was an old joke that everyone has forgotten. These are Crocus kotschyanus ‘Reliant’ (or ‘Reliance’), the earliest one here. There was a stick in the way, in the picture above. The crocus has seeded around a bit, too. The little pine is Pinus strobiformis ‘Coronado’, with a little upright Irish yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’) next to it, and a bird’s nest spruce at the bottom. Some of the new colchicums are still flowering. This one is ‘Beaconsfield’. The label says so. The zauschnerias here were badly battered by the hail, but ‘Etteri’ came back, to flower just in time to see the last of the hummingbirds fly south. They aren’t frightened by the French Scare Cats. I think yesterday or the day before was the last time we saw a hummingbird here. It’s kind of sad. Some gravel got spread on the north path while I was at Day Care playing with my friends. I think I know who had the better time that day.The path is now super-gravely, but water from rain and melting snow collects here and makes the path all muddy. The guy I live with suggested that if I wouldn’t run back and forth on the path chasing squirrels maybe some of the gravel would stay put, but chasing squirrels is excellent fun.

Oh. Here I am going on, and I haven’t said anything about the title of today’s post. Well, the guy I live with snickered when he saw the forecast for tomorrow morning. “A chance of drizzle”. He doesn’t snicker very often, but he did then. I guess it’s almost like having a chance of effelants coming into the garden. We don’t get much drizzle. The garden is so dry, it’s dry. A lot of watering was done, with the sprinkler, while the gravel was being spread.

Ours isn’t really a watered garden in the sense that most gardens around here are. It used to be, but not any more. Now the watering is more to make up for lack of rain in what were considered more or less “normal” years back in the last century. Like when it rained in September and October, which it rarely does now. So we don’t grow many plants native to what we would call “rainy climates”.

The guy I live with enjoys visiting watered gardens, especially with his friend, but that style of gardening isn’t for us, these days.

I guess he’s pretty sad right now, what with losing his mom, and last Tuesday was his wedding anniversary, the tenth one without his wife. How time flies. He said his wife would have really loved me, because she loved purebred border collies, especially excellent ones, and so that’s the main reason why I get to go to Day Care, to kind of make up for that loss.

And then there’s the Effelant Box, a small box made from some tropical hardwood, with, as you can see, effelants on it. It’s really old, needs a bit of cleaning, and he said he didn’t want to know what the effelants were made out of. He remembers the box from when he was little. It came from his mom’s house. At least these effelants won’t invade our garden.

Well, that’s all that I have for today. On my evening walk, the guy I live with said that the ducks were bedding down for the night. I felt kind of sorry for them because they didn’t have cozy forts to sleep in at night, but the guy I live with said they were ducks, and that’s how ducks sleep. They paddle in the canal during the day, and I take naps on soft Pottery Barn sheets which aren’t the most expensive ones you can get, so I guess that’s a trade off. You can see, though, that the ducks were alert when we walked by. I’ll leave you with a picture of me walking the other way on the canal road, just this morning.

Until next time, then.





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16 Responses to a chance of effelants

  1. tonytomeo says:

    You know, my great uncle in Long Beach really liked effelants; although he would have spelled them differently. He was quite well off, but lived a nicely simple lifestyle in Long Beach. The effelant motif was prevalent throughout his home. There were effelant sculptures and paintings in various styles. It was really cool. I will miss that.

    • paridevita says:

      Indeed. The guy I live with, who lived in Long Beach, on Knoxville Avenue, from 1953 or 1954 to 1961, forgot to take a picture of the other, very little, effelant here, which was made of something like ebony, and is even more ancient than he is. I ought to do a post showing some of the other curious things he got from his mom’s house.

  2. Deb says:

    I was thinking heffalumps, a la A. A. Milne, rather than effelants. But they’re both good.

  3. Lisa says:

    We have an effelant figure in the herb garden. It spends the winter on the bookcase in the living room. Once I left it outside and the rain soaked into it and then it made things it sat on damp. It’s pretty much housebroken now.

    Lots of great things happening in your garden!

    • paridevita says:

      I guess effelants are pretty great, though I hear that in real life they can be scary. I sometimes leave my toys out in the garden and they get wet (though that wouldn’t have happened in the last month), and then they have to go into the washing machine. It’s surprising how much is happening now considering how awful the summer was.

  4. Barb K says:

    Mani, is there a purebred border collie who isn’t excellent? I’ve never heard of one. Say, is TGYLW a baseball fan? I’m guessing not since it isn’t mentioned, but there are exciting times in Colorado baseball land right now. I, myself, love baseball and find it helps to banish sadness at least for a little while. So do plants, of course.

    • paridevita says:

      I’m pretty sure that most purebred border collies are excellent, though I hear that Flurry was pretty grouchy. The guy I live with doesn’t really like sports, but he used to watch the World Series with his wife, right here at the kitchen table. They would play Scrabble. She was surprised at how much he knew about the game.

  5. Nell says:

    Those Crocus kotschyanus are lovely.

    • paridevita says:

      They are. There are several forms here, with collectors’ numbers on them, and they flower a little later. Except for one little colony which was nibbled by bunnies late a night. We thought the bunnies had been banned from the back yard (by me), but they move a heavy rock to get into the back yard. We also have the form that used to be sold as “Crocus zonatus” (same thing); it almost never flowers and when it does the flowers are deformed. It spreads like crazy but is basically useless.

  6. bittster says:

    This garden has spots which go minimalist after a couple years. After a couple more those spots make excellent areas for stuffing extra seedlings and things which have no room elsewhere.
    I think I have that ‘basically useless’ crocus zonatus. Sometimes the rabbits enjoy it, but me… never.

    • paridevita says:

      Little wispy pale-violet petals, if it even does flower. Some say it’s a genetic defect, not a virus. But it increases like crazy. The guy I live with said he always wanted a garden packed with plants and flowers, like every gardener, but there’s this thing he talks about a lot, which he calls “reality”, and something about that being a limiting factor here. We would have to have an irrigation system installed.

  7. Oh, my heavens, Mani, autumnal death and sadness and loss — good that you and the guy you live with have a garden to go into to photograph and spread gravel and chase rabbits. Happy to hear you frolic with your buddies at Day Care. I like the new spot of color in the garden, Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple,’ although it looks more a lively burgundy to me. I also like the minimalist planting on the west side of the house, although – yes, another “although” – I think you could use French doors in place of one of the windows. That’s what we did, and now from our bed we see our rose garden, a really excellent view. Putting in a door would give your guy something extra to distract him, *although* I think you are pretty effective at distracting your own self. Love your characteristic photo and how you always seem to find the light.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I like to think the light finds me. (The guy I live with says that’s immodest.) He also says we aren’t going to be able to afford anything like French windows because all of the extra money here will be going toward more thistle seed. There were thirty goldfinches here this morning with more trying to find spots on the feeder. They’ve gone through ten pounds of seed in about a week. And anyway that’s not the bedroom, which is upstairs and faces east, like it says to in A Pattern Language. Day Care is really fun. In the summer they have swimming. The guy I live with says he really misses me when I’m gone though it’s not very far away at all. Less than ten minutes by car even in rush hour.

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