something new

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to tell you about something new that’s going on here. You may remember me from such posts as “Not Quite Like Me”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.You can see that I’m busy guarding stuff, even with this kind of blurry picture. You wouldn’t believe all the things that need to be guarded against here. I might not be able to name them all, but there are a lot, believe me.

There are things that don’t need guarding, like all the snowdrops which are up in the shade garden. They aren’t open because it hasn’t been warm enough. Snowdrops, if you didn’t know, contain an alkaloid, called galantamine, which acts as a sort of antifreeze to prevent the leaves from being killed during cold weather. Lots of hardy plants have their own sort of antifreeze to be able to withstand winter dormancy, but snowdrops have it because they grow during the coldest parts of the year.
The guy I live with says that he read that the tips of the leaves are slightly hardened to enable them to push through the soil.

In an early translation into English of the story by the brothers Grimm, Snow White was called Snowdrop. The guy I live with said he saw the movie when he was little, and he thought the evil queen was scary. I don’t like things that are scary.

It got up to almost seventy degrees (F) a few days ago, but mostly it’s been chilly every day, and the guy I live with says it will be cold all next week. Not incredibly cold, but not very nice, either. He’s really not used to having week after week of all this awfulness, though I don’t mind it at all.
The guy I live with says that’s because I’ve gained weight, but I maintain it’s just a heavy winter coat.

A pile of seeds, from Plants of the Southwest, came in the mail the other day, so there’s something to do. And there was a lot of raking and sweeping today, even though it wasn’t all that pleasant for people who don’t have heavy winter coats like I do.

Well, anyway, a few days ago, when the guy I live with was in “noticing mode”, which he isn’t, always, he noticed that the groundcover manzanita, which doesn’t have a name, was hanging over the sidewalk a little, and so, after quite a bit of thinking, he decided to try his hand at growing some manzanitas from cuttings.
Believe it or not, the guy I live with has never grown anything from cuttings, so this was a pretty big step for him.
The container of rooting powder, which his wife used, because she grew plants from cuttings, wasn’t where he thought it was, probably because it was long gone. You know the way you imagine things being on, like, a shelf, seeing them every day, sometimes out of the corner of your eye, and then one day it turns out that the thing hasn’t been there for years, that’s a bit weird.
A new container of rooting powder came in the mail, and so cuttings were taken, dipped in water and then in the rooting powder, and I guess we’ll see what happens next. If this is successful, I can see the whole house being filled with cuttings. Maybe even if it isn’t successful.

So that’s something new that’s going on here. Not hugely exciting, if you’re me, but I understand that if it’s an activity that involves mostly a lot of waiting, the guy I live with is very good at that.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me doing something else I’m good at, besides guarding stuff.

Until next time, then.

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33 Responses to something new

  1. barbk52 says:

    Oh, Mani, I asked a bit ago if you were getting “broad in the beam” but the answer at that time was no. Well, it catches up with most of us. I put the girls on a diet, cutting all their treats exactly in half and cutting back on kibble. I struggled up on the scale with each of them after 4 months of the diet and they’d each lost exactly nothing. So my advice to you is, don’t bother. Not sure your vet would agree. I started some snowdrops in a new area and then buried them with rocks and soil later on. Luckily, those hard snouts shoved through. Beautiful little things. Do you ever smell them? They smell nice. You’re closer to them than we are.

    • paridevita says:

      I guess snowdrops are scented of honey, but I’ve never smelled honey, so I don’t really know. I do know that there are often bees in them, and I like to bite bees, even though the guy I live with says not to.
      I’ve gained a teensy bit of weight, which I had when I saw my doctor last year, and she didn’t say anything, though maybe she was just being polite.
      But really it’s just a heavy winter coat, of course. Bespoke, even. Fits me perfectly. And, speaking of weight, the guy I live with has been trying to lose weight, not eating snacks or cookies or pie, but I don’t think it’s helped much. So my heavy coat helps cushion me when I sleep next to this beached whale in bed.
      If he rolled over on me, I would be done for.

  2. ceci says:

    Your winter coat looks luxurious – I bet there will be brushing once the weather gets warm! Our beloved and lamented border collie got a wonderful downy undercoat that brushed right out in the summer and was put out in case the birds wanted it for nesting.

    Good luck with the propagating cuttings – I have had success with gardenias and azaleas using that approach. The rooting hormone I had is highly toxic so I stopped using it and that seems to have cut down on my success rate by maybe 25%.


    • paridevita says:

      This powder is called Garden Safe so maybe it’s not so toxic. We’ll see how it works. The guy I live with is used to disappointments.
      I get brushed pretty often. When the guy I live with can catch me, I mean.

  3. Mark Mazer says:

    Propagation of a Manzanita: Have you considered air/ground
    “layering”? Bottom heat/misting the cuttings?

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Manzanita from cutting?! I would guess that they would not root easily from cutting, but since they grow easily from layering, perhaps cuttings are not as difficult as I would guess them to be. I would like to try a few species of Eucalyptus next year. I know that they are difficult or impossible, so will take many cuttings. I would not normally do so, but the trees are there, and a few copies might be nice. If I ever get to Louisville, I would like to get cuttings from the native aspens, but that is easy to do, even during the summer.

  5. Elaine says:

    Good for you trying Manzanitas from cuttings. Always interesting to see what works. Took lots of cuttings last year, first time for me too, and was moderately successful. Enough to continue trying more. Good luck with yours. Tell Mani my cats are also denying winter weight gain just way more fur.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; if the guy I live with had had the rooting powder at this time last year, he would have made cuttings of the big manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula, before the backhoe ripped it out.
      Someone was going to come and take cuttings the week before the new sewer drain was to be installed, but they never showed up, so that was that.
      You’re right; I just have lots of extra hair for the winter.

  6. Mark Mazer says:

    Back NorthEast in the day, we had rather good low-tech success with what was called a “Nearing Frame” for rooting semi/hard-wood cuttings sans hormones. Not so much here in coastal NC.

  7. Mew mew mew Mani mee red yore reply to Miss Barb where you called yore Guy a ‘beeched whale’…that iss furry funny. LadyMew sayss shee uss a ‘Beeluga Whale on Two Legss’..
    Mee thinkss shee iss just chubby.
    Yore fotoss of yoreself are lovely an yore Winter coat iss pluxurious!
    An furry kewl innfo ’bout snowdropss. An so nice you can see yoress. All wee can see iss 3 feet of snow; no dropss!! Mew mew mew….
    Guud Luck to yore Guy on growin his cuttins’! Mee has mee pawss crossed fore him!
    **purrss** BellaDharma an guud wishess from LadyMew

  8. Thea says:

    I scrolled and I scrolled, and I could not see any owl photos. I’m gobsmacked at that development. However, I do have manzanita cuttings to distract me and to which to look forward. People think manzanita and ceonothus do well everywhere in California, but not so. Ants carrying fungus do them in, for one, and I’ve read it helps to plant them up on a mound, and even so…well, no mounds here except for sand dunes, so we (*sigh*) go without those signature plants. I do appreciate, Mani, your stance – which I share – on scary things. Oh,I bought better combs and brushes just today for Petey’s and Sachi’s nightly groom. I think they’re less wiley and easier to catch than you. You might mention to the guy you live with that the more your lovely coat is brushed the easier the, uh, chore.

    • Lisa says:

      There are owls in the previous post.

      • paridevita says:

        That was done a while ago, though. We don’t see them every evening like we used to. Hear them, sometimes.
        The guy I live with would really, really, really (extra triple totally really) like to see owlets, and get their picture, but that might not happen.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, it is a lovely coat, though I prefer not to be brushed.
      The guy I live with was pretty put out that the big manzanita had to be dug up by the backhoe last year, and the other one he transplanted died last summer. There are others here, but the big one was pretty cool.
      We haven’t seen the owls very much, lately, because it’s nesting season. They fly around looking for vacant nests to rent, I guess.

  9. Lisa says:

    Of course even if they don’t grow the house will be filled with cuttings! The next ones might root. You want to give up much to quickly. Oh, you are just fluffy, not fat, the same way my not-purebred border collie, Boo, is fluffy, not fat! At least he has the excuse of a heeler father, so he he has a big round heeler butt. He can’t exercise or even chase a ball right now, doctor’s orders. Hopefully that will change, he thinks I’m a mean ol’ grandma. I’ve never grown snowdrops. I have crocus now though, so that’s enough.

    • paridevita says:

      Boo is sick? I hope he gets better. I had an incident Saturday morning, about 12:15 a.m., and had to go out and eat grass. (I threw it up all over the living room carpet, but I’m better now.)
      I suspect that the will be a lot of cuttings done, since we have propagators (from England, of course), and heating mats, and there isn’t much of anything else to do (I know that because I hear about it).
      Snowdrops are apparently excellent. There are a lot of them in flower right now, but it’s supposed to get really cold by the end of this week. They’ll be okay, I think.

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