at a distance

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today not exactly to talk about what everyone on the planet is talking about, but sort of about that. You may remember me from such posts as “A Misty Day” (which I did when I was really super little), among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. The guy I live with said I have a “ding” on my nose. He said that Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, had a ding too; “with a ding at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose, with a ding at the end of his nose.”
I feel so advanced.

Anyway, we aren’t doing much of anything. The guy I live with’s leg is still swollen, a little, but it doesn’t hurt as much as it did. His knee is a different story altogether.
I couldn’t think of any stories involving knees but the guy I live with reminded me of the “knee plays” in Einstein on the Beach, and that’s sort of the same thing. I asked what they were but he just said they were “a thing”, which is considered a suitable explanation around here.
His knee still hurts. But since the doctor said he might need surgery in a couple of years, the hurting somehow seemed okay after that. Like it was justified or something.

The day he went to the doctor there was a problem with the car starting. He was able to get it started, but he was pretty distracted while at the doctor’s, thinking about being stranded in the parking lot, and yet when he went out to the parking lot after his visit, the car started just fine. “The exact opposite of what would normally happen”, he said.
Then it started time after time the next couple of days, but yesterday it wouldn’t start at all. So he was going to have it towed to get that fixed, as well as the usual check-up (meaning oil change and stuff), but today the car started again.
His neighbor lectured him about going out; he decided she was right, and so he canceled the car appointment. It can be done later.
We’re staying put for a while.

Things are looking okay in the garden, though a lot of clean-up needs to be done. I’m not sure who’s going to do this. The guy I live with said “Elves”, so that will be interesting.

There are some spring-flowering colchicums here; the most common one, Colchicum bulbocodium (also called Bulbocodium vernum) is doing pretty well.These were planted a few years ago; maybe longer ago than that. I do know that several earlier attempts to get the bulbs established failed completely.

Some of the “steppe corydalis” are flowering now. The earliest ones, here, are forms of Corydalis glaucescens.  These are not all that easy to grow. They had plastic labels but they’re all gone now. It wasn’t my fault, this time; it was hail. I only stole labels when I was a puppy.Some of the crocuses are really late, here, because the snow stayed for so long. Crocus tommasinianus is a favorite; this clump appeared in the front yard, with the help of ants.

And I’m going to show this picture of an Iris reticulata which was grown from wild-collected seed, even though it isn’t terribly in focus. The coloring is pretty cool.

And the little narcissus, ‘Julia Jane’. Also not the greatest picture in the world. This has been doing pretty well in its location at the foot of the sand bed (or pile). The first time it was planted, a very long time ago, it flowered for a couple of years and then died.
It gets more water here; maybe that’s the answer.
Of course then the guy I live with wanted to know why regular Narcissus romieuxii (of which is a selection) has never lived here for very long. Maybe all these little narcissus need to grow at the base of the sand bed. That only leaves the cyclamen, and that’s kind of a pun, because the guy I live with fretted about the frozen soil last November, fearing that it would prevent the tubers from hydrating the leaves in the middle of winter. He covered all the cyclamen with a couple of inches of pine needles and other stuff, and, well, you can see the results. There was some white mold, too, but that should go away now that the needles have been raked up.

Crawling along the path looking at the cyclamen was one of the guy I live with’s favorite thing to do in the garden. It seemed like such a calm, quiet thing to do, and reminded him, with a tear or two, of his late friend in New York, who sent him cyclamen from time to time.
Since his wife died, crawling around looking at cyclamen hasn’t been as much fun to do, like many other things (and now crawling is almost completely out of the question), but he shared the cyclamen with his friend, and can look at them in her garden, too.
Most of these are Cyclamen coum, but not the ones in the first two pictures.  Then there are the ones under the park bench. They seem very happy there.I think that about wraps it up for today. I’ll leave you with a picture of me surveying my back yard. You can also see the bat house which I understand is really on the wrong side of the house (his wife built it and put it there), and you can see me.

Until next time, then.




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29 Responses to at a distance

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Thank you for not talking about ‘that’. Everyone else is. (You would think that with everyone talking about ‘that’, we might actually get some interesting and relevant information.)
    Your crocus with the long name that I can not spell is rad. I only saw it in catalogues with other species crocus a few years ago, but it sounds interesting. The formerly common Dutch crocus do not naturalize here like the should. Actually, that is why I was hesitant to try the Cyclamen, . . . until I found another species Cyclamen hederifolia, naturalize in a colleagues garden. I will get some of it now. I could try Cyclamen coum if I ever find it naturalized around here. There is no hurry now that I have Cyclamen hederifolia. We grow the cheapy common florists’ cyclamen as a bedding plant, and rather than discard it this year, I put it the landscape where it can grow as a perennial if it survives. That is how I grew it when I was a kid. I never discarded it like annuals.

  2. Ethne says:

    I’m so encouraged to see all those cyclamen. I’ve always had them in my gardens and was hoping against hope I could grow them here. But. I’ve never had pine trees dropping needles. They seem to make a good mulch, and the wretched squirrels (not cute at all) seem deterred by them. But. What is white mold? And is it a feature of pine needle mulching?

    • paridevita says:

      There are a lot of cyclamen here. Coum is the one that seeds around, but there are other species as well. Maybe it hasn’t dawned on you, or other readers, that the guy I live with is kind of a nut, but he is. Well, when it comes to cyclamen, crocuses, and snowdrops, he is, anyway.
      The mulch was pine needles, Austrian pine, on the ground for four months, and when it was raked up the other day there was all this white mold. The guy I live with thinks it just dries up and goes away, because we’ve seen it before.
      There usually isn’t any mulching but winter before last the soil froze before there was snow on the ground, so last winter we decided not to take any chances.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    We had a snow fall this last weekend. Very unusual for our area. It was our only snow for the winter. Now it’s sunny and relatively warm. Super gardening weather. Such a great distraction from the “other thing” for sure.
    Mani, I too am wondering where the helpful elves are in my garden. I assumed that once we moved out of the big city four years ago I might get some help around here. Hmmmm?
    The cyclamen peeking up through the pine needles are so charming and that fancy crocus is to die for.
    Ps., you look particularly attractive in that first photo. One more thing. Tell TGYLW that at our age crappy knees are a sign of a well lived life. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. ;—D

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; it’s supposed to snow again the day after tomorrow. Then, I think for once in a very long while, it will melt.
      The guy I live with has been going out into the garden and letting out big sighs. Aside from the honey locust having to be cut down, it looks like that conifer, five-needled pine, that you see in a lot of the pictures here (not recently though), has died. He’s kind of bummed out about this, but the soil was frozen for so long, it’s not all that surprising.
      Maybe the elves will help with that….
      Oh, and you can get those crocuses from Brent and Becky’s, for sure, and maybe Scheepers too.
      His knee is really hurting. Now that his leg has gotten better, he said it’s time for the knee to take over and hurt a lot.

  4. Speck-taculur flowerss Mani an yore ‘guy!!! You trulee have a green thumm Mistur ‘Guy’!!
    LadyMew’ss fave flower iss purpell an yellow Irisess so shee *swooned* seein yore Irisess!
    Mee likess THE little purpell flowerss meeself.
    Wee onlee have droopy Snowfropss still…nothin growin here yet…
    Bee safe OKay?? Wee wurry ’bout our frendss an Corona….they not mix guud!
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with’s wife really liked irises, the tall kind. The guy I live with, not so much.
      Pretty much all I’ve been hearing about is the virus. I know he’s afraid of being separated from me; I can hear the sobbing from time to time. But there’s something else going on, too, that’s making everything harder for him. I’m not sure what it is, but he does go off into a room by himself, with this laptop, and talks to someone for an hour. He says that’s helping him get through all of this. I think it might be a lot of grief and trauma resurfacing for various reasons; it is the time of year when this can happen.

  5. christine says:

    Thank you for sharing the new life and lovely colors…hopeful and helpful!

    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome. It’s supposed to snow day after tomorrow… The guy I live with said he can hardly wait. (He’s been having a rough time lately so I guess I’ll cut him some slack.)

  6. Bruno Baudino says:

    Hi Mani, here, in northern Italy, we live hard moments. Many dogs are abandoned because their owners are in the hospital or have died. In deserted cities, pigeons also starve …. Let’s hope for the best …

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with has mentioned the terrible news coming from Italy.
      Yes, let us all hope for the best.

    • Mark Mazer says:

      Political correctness, insecure borders, and the desire to be seen as inclusive and welcoming to people from all over the world while in the midst of an emerging pandemic has had devastating consequences for Italy. There is a very close association between Wuhan and Northern Italy’s fashion and apparel industries that has allowed hundreds of thousands of citizens from China to move to Italy and work in their factories. More and more Chinese citizens moved to northern Italy to reside and many wealthy Chinese purchased Italian firms. I believe that Milan had the first direct flights from Wuhan into the EU. The Italian nationalized (since some time in the 1970’s) health care system has proven woefully inadequate. An ageing population and the high rate of cigarette smoking has also contributed to the disaster. When this is finally over, the Italian people need to have a hard discussion about how to move forward. We are so sorry for your losses.

      • Bruno Baudino says:

        I’m sorry but I disagree with these claims. There is no scientific evidence that Chinese people introduced the virus to Lombardy. Genetic analyzes indicate that the virus comes from Germany. But this is irrelevant. As for the rest, I only add that if we have one of the oldest populations on the planet (after, I think Japan) and a higher life expectancy than a US inhabitant, we owe it to our national health system which everyone can access regardless of income. I stop here. We are experiencing terrible times. It is a time of mourning, not of controversy

  7. Dear dog, you of the characteristic poses, maybe share with the guy you live with that elves do quite a bit of the work around our garden. Evidently, judging by the looks we’re given of all those flowers popping up, elves photograph you garden too. Love the color and sprightliness of Iris reticulata. Stay healthy!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Well, we haven’t gone anywhere, except on my walks, and there are flowers here and there even though everything is about three weeks late. I’m not sure what that means.
      The cyclamen are probably the nicest things here right now. Fortunately for me, because otherwise I’d hear about it, the cyclamen are among the guy I live with’s favorite plants.

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