past the solstice

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 all the news from our garden, and to help you catch up on our modern lifestyle. You may remember me from such solstice-themed posts as “Another Solstice”, among at least a few others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose.
Not much of anything has been happening in the garden, I think. When we reach the solstice, the garden kinds of shifts to mostly grasses and the few perennials that don’t have to be watered a lot in order to flower. Like the Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera.
There are some of the red-orange ones here, too. The guy I live with really likes these.Β  They self-sow in the garden, which is what we want.
He’s always on the lookout for perennials which will flower for most of the summer but not need watering. They’re aren’t very many of those.

So far it’s been kind of an odd June. We’ve gotten some rain, which was nice, though the garden is dry again, but there haven’t been bad storms like a couple of years ago. That suits both of us just fine.
I guess the passing of another solstice is a big deal for someone who’s inclined to be ultra sentimental, but this has been such a bizarre year that the guy I live with didn’t even notice it was the solstice until he read “solstice” on Facebook.

He went out last week, in the car, to a rock garden meeting, and saw his friend, so that was good. He was a little worried (okay, a lot worried) about the car since he hadn’t driven it anywhere (except around the block) for two months, but it just drove. You’re supposed to drive a car about once a week even if you’re basically staying at home.

I keep hearing about how fortunate he is that he doesn’t have to go to work every day when there’s a pandemic, and that he can have food and groceries delivered. And there’s this place called “Chewy” that brings me my food, and treats, too. That’s pretty nice.

We have orioles. Robins steal most of the grape jelly, but if they don’t, the orioles come and eat it.
Not a great picture, taken with the point-and-shoot, but proof of orioles.
We have more grape jelly than a grape jelly store does. Just in case. The orioles like Welch’s.

Maybe I’ve said before, but last winter was a really terrible one; combined with record cold in October, and close to that in April, the result was a lot of die-back on woody plants.
The guy I live with thought the new desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) he bought last year at a nursery closing sale had died over the winter (they do that sometimes), but it’s come back.
The big one in the front yard is about to flower, too.

And remember the backhoe tearing up the front yard? A couple of scrub oaks had to be moved, and the guy I live with really fretted about them.
But look what’s happening with this one:
So good news on the oak and desert willow front.

Last week, half a yard of pea gravel was delivered, and the guy I live with spent most of the afternoon shoveling gravel into our ancient wheelbarrow and then spreading gravel in places that needed gravel to be spread on. He was pretty tired after all of that.
He said he needs to order some larger rock next. That’s even less fun to shovel. He has to wear ear plugs because it’s so noisy to shovel.

And then today, the roses came. Yes, roses. The guy I live with suddenly got all sentimental (see above), wondered what could be done with “The Enclosure”, the garden his wife made, and decided roses should go there.
He got these from High Country Roses. Back in the last century he would drag his wife to High Country Rosarium (same company) on Park Avenue in downtown Denver, and walk around looking at roses.
The roses are ‘Gloire de Guilan’, ‘Blush Damask’, and ‘Fairmount Proserpine’. The last is a “found rose” growing at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver. He’s only been there once. I hear they have “rose walks” when the roses are in bloom, and people walk around looking at them. He’s never done that.

So that’s the news. Not really a whole lot, but something, anyway.
I’ll leave with you a picture of me walking along the canal road. The first picture doesn’t have me in it, but it’s kind of nice. Sets the mood, you might say.

Until next time, then.

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36 Responses to past the solstice

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Chilopsis linearis is pretty tough. I am not familiar with it, but I know that it is what makes the hybrid X Chitalpa tashkentensis so tough.The other parent of they hybrid, Catalpa bignonioides, is not so tough. I saw Chilopsis linearis only a few times while driving through Arizona. It was at the roadside rest stops.

  2. lifecameos says:

    Great to hear from you again Mani.

  3. Lisa says:

    Oh, pea gravel! I could use a yard of it. I can take my Explorer to the rock yard and shovel into the back (liner), they sell it by the pound, weighing your vehicle before and after, but I’m just lazy. I buy it broken bag by broken bag at Lowe’s, although I haven’t been out in stores in more than three months. My son does the shopping, I go along for the ride!
    You’re looking good, Mani! Not too much summer haunch hair there to heat you up.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with brushes me more than maybe I would like.
      Having gravel and stuff delivered is pretty nice, though the delivery charge is more than the cost of the gravel.
      It’s a lot of shoveling, that’s for sure.

  4. Mee-yow Mani yore gardenss are full of surprisess! Happy surprisess!
    An yore Guy gotted to see his frend finally! More guud mewss!
    An THE Rose Walk soundss purrty kewl. LadyMew an her PawPaw used to go to Bow-tanical Garden inn a place called Burlington (Ontario) fore Iris Walk ’cause LadyMew LOVES Irisess so much…..shee missess those ‘guud old dayss’ πŸ˜‰
    You get yore foodabullss an stuff from Chewy?? Kewl….wee cuud use a Chewy here, mew mew mew…
    LadyMew has waited all day fore 2 scriptionss an iss 5 Pee Em an still no deelivery….shee called Mr. Jay an lodged complaint…(shee iss purrty upset mee can tell you; still inn Pee Jay’ss too!)
    Our Province iss inn stage 2 of ree-openin. Butt all reddy peepell came to Beach an made such a mess an overcrowded that Beach iss closed aftur only a week.
    Wee love yore fotoss…iss all wayss so nice to see you….an wee love yore last foto ‘until next time’…iss sweet.
    **purrss** BellaDharma an Gudd wishess from LadyMew

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; yes, I get my food from Chewy. They sell Lamb Chops too.
      It’s easy to miss “the good old days”. Sometimes they’re weren’t all that good, but things now are so totally weird, almost everything in the past seems good.
      Today I got to see a bullsnake. It was huge. I mean really huge. The guy I live with said it was about five feet long.
      He didn’t get a picture so you don’t have to worry.

      • EEEEKKKKK Mani a snake as long as mee LadyMew?? Iss Okay if you tooked a foto…LadyMew likess all sortss of critturss mee not sure ’bout!!!
        An you know yore rite! LadyMew sayss sum of her ‘good old dayss’ were pawsitivelee pawfull…butt shee all so said thingss DID seem simpler than they are now…What does yore Guy think??

      • paridevita says:

        It was a really big snake. It sort of hissed as it slid down into the creek. (They make a sound like a broken sprinkler pipe, if you know what I mean.)
        Well, fifteen years ago the guy I live with had someone to talk to all the time, here. And that makes a big difference, of course. He talks to me, but it’s not really the same thing.
        On the other hand there was no TV in the upstairs bedroom, and I wasn’t here.

      • **shuddurss** Mee wuud have hid under THE bed Mani if mee saw a snake like that!!! Mee just not a fan of snakess or ratss…nun here thanxfully!
        LadyMew was engaged to a guy 15 yeerss ago…shee thott shee wuud have a guud life. Butt that guy gotted furry sick (mentally) an tried to kill LadyMew (fore reel) so hee went to Jail an LadyMew gotted evicted from her nice place (long story) an ended up inn Housin alone with ‘angel’ Aunty Nylablue; then ‘angel’ Unkell Siddhartha an now mee, BellaDharma.
        An no LadyMew will not go with another guy. Shee all so buried 2 huzbandss so shee not sure shee can handell anymore sadss like that Mani….
        An mee thinkss wee catss an doggiess lissen much bettur than most peepell πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        I saw it again today, along the canal road. Bullsnakes are harmless and eat lots of rats and so forth but they’re so big.
        He also says he’s sorry about what you went through. A sort of similar thing happened in his wife’s family.
        I know he gets pretty lonely sometimes but that’s the way things are. He sees his friend from time to time and that makes things better.
        Speaking of her, he talked to her today and she got a whole bunch of rain in her garden. There hasn’t been any here, yet.
        The day started out with severe thunderstorm warnings, which was kind of unusual since June can be like that almost every day, but this June it hasn’t been. The first storm went to the southeast of us, and the second went to the north, where his friend lives.
        I tried to go on my evening walk but had to go back home because the third storm is headed our way, and I’d rather be in my Upstairs Fort.

      • Mee-yow wow yore a bettur doggie than mee Mani!! Mee wudd run THE other way of mee saw any snake: big, small, harmless or not…mee iss a REEL ‘scaredy-cat’…mee admitss it!
        LadyMew sayss THANX to your Guy fore understandin…shee has all wayss carried guilt that shee provoked THE attack (sheee did not…) An wee both are sorry yore Guy’ss wife’ss furamily went thru simmylar trauma….iss not easy to get over…..
        Wee have had sum weerd weather aalot like yoress here Mani. Wee apposta gt rain an funderstormss an then….nothin????
        Mee thinkss stayin inn yore fort iss a guud idea….till THE funderstormss pass…
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        I hear those “family things” can be pretty difficult. The guy I live with’s family is pretty normal. He just became a great uncle again last week.
        Yesterday was pretty scary. I don’t think we got very much rain but there was thunder that shook the house. I had to stay in my Upstairs Fort so long that it was too late for popcorn-making. Maybe I’ll get some tonight.

      • Concatulations to yore Guy bee-comin a Grate Unkeel again!! That iss so wunderfull!!
        An LadyMew sayss beein without furamillee now iss Okay.
        Pawss crossed tonite iss Poppycorn nite there Mani! Mee likess Poppycorn too….
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks; he says now he has another person to buy presents for. He likes buying presents.
        I hope tonight is Popcorn Night. I like Orville Redenbacher’s, a lot.

      • Yore Guy an LadyMew both like to buy pressiess…LadyMew bott lost off toyss an sum cute bookss for littel Eva who livess in our buildin…shee wil b33 3 yeerss old July 15th. LadyMew likess to give kittss pressiess!
        Did you get Poppycorn?? Mee lovess Orville’ss best too!
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        No popcorn yet. The guy I live with was busy. Maybe tomorrow night, he said. Presents are fun. I get them sometimes.

      • Mee-yow Mani Poppycorn tonite?? Iss Catnada Day here today!! Mee hopess you get sum Poppycorn as a treet….then again yore Guy mite wait til 4th of July rite??
        An guess who FURGOT to BUY Poppycorn??? *shakess head*
        Mee thinkss mee mite have to go finnish LadyMew’ss shoppin! πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        Happy Canada Day! The 4th is not a happy time for dogs, so maybe I’ll get some tomorrow or the next day.
        But I hear we’re almost out of popcorn.

      • Oh no’ss!! All most outta Poppyconr Mani! That iss NOT guud! Wee still ‘out’ here too!
        An mee herd alot fo firewerkss last nite butt LadyMew sat bee-side me & mee was not scared…
        Guud luck on THE 4th. Maybee sum Fort time will bee guud?

      • paridevita says:

        We did get some popcorn, just today. Delivered.
        I’m definitely not looking forward to the next several days but the guy I live with said he would keep me safe.

      • HURRAH fore Poppycorn arrival Mani!!!
        Happy 4th of July…mee hopess you an yore Guy will not bee disturbed bye all THE Fire Crackerss….man they are noisy an bug mee ALOT! πŸ˜‰

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks. It’s really scary right now so I think I better go hide in my fort.

  5. ks says:

    I wish I’d bought stock in Chewy in January.

    • paridevita says:

      Us too. The guy I live with even has a Chewy song. It goes like this:
      “Chewy dot com, Chewy dot com,
      Chewy, Chewy, Chewy, Chewy, Chewy dot com.”
      Pretty clever, huh?

  6. barbk52 says:

    Is that a pink penstemon in the ratibida picture? Looks very good. I killed the only penstemon I’ve tried to grow, but I’m going to try again. There is a slightly weedy plant, Malva zebrina. The man up the street has them growing on the uncultivated county owned area by the street. They bloom nonstop with no water, but every so often he has someone come out at spray herbicide. Last year I took seed but it didn’t come up. So this year when seedlings came up amongst the corpses of their parents I dug a bunch up. They are hardy to zone 4 and even if they die, they reseed about. Very pretty I think. What do you think, Mani? I think TGYLW will have to water those roses.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, that’s Penstemon cobaea, the largest-flowered species. It’s not hugely drought-tolerant, which is why it only comes up, as seedlings, right next to the flagstone.
      We have Malva zebrina here, too. Or at least we used to. (For all his talk, the guy I live with doesn’t do all that much gardening, or weeding, because of the smell from next door, or sometimes because he isn’t feeling all that energetic.)
      There was a severe thunderstorm warning here, but all they meant was wind, which we didn’t get. He talked to his friend, on the phone, and she said it was pouring rain at her house. Not here, but I got scared by thunder.
      The guy I live with set a sprinkler in The Enclosure so that everything got watered, including the new roses.
      And now, of course, it’s raining.
      It almost never rains enough here to keep plants healthy and happy, but at least there is some rain.

      • Mark Mazer says:

        Saw Penstemon cobaea in Anne Spiegel’s fab rock garden years and years ago, drooled. Never got around to begging for seed. My loss. Penstemons brought here from the CT garden have not survived our heat and humidity but I guess Tony at Plant Delights has had some success with SE natives and hybrids. May you have a calm fourth.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says you can occasionally find seed in the exchanges. It’s native to the Ozarks; places like that.
        Today is already not calm.

  7. bittster says:

    Well look at that. Roses. I ended up buying a few from HC Gardens last year after your recommendation and they’re doing just fine. The abuse they suffer here has them nearly as small as when they first showed up, but I’m pretty sure their roots are settling in and hopefully next summer I’ll have a photo or two to share, and I can brag about how nice the scent is… although I regrettably did not get the most fragrant ones which I really wanted.
    Hmmm. If you just got an order I guess they’re still shipping… hmmmm….

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, roses. The guy I live with thought The Enclosure looked like “a wasteland”, so he decided on some roses.
      There used to be perennials there but they mostly died out.
      There weren’t very many roses to choose from at High Country Roses, like all the other places. He did want ones that flowered before the Japanese beetles showed up.
      I suppose he could spray with soap, but he doesn’t have all that much motivation these days.

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