manzanitas, snow, and snowdrops

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today just to talk about stuff. You may remember me from such posts as “Helping In The Garden”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
Maybe you can see I was fulfilling one of my main duties here, chasing the squirrel off the sunflower-seed feeder. (The feeder is hard to see in that picture.)
You can also see that it snowed again, so there’s not much going on in the garden.
It was 61 degrees (F) today, but that had little effect on the snow, and the ice on the path.

Speaking of degrees, I forget if I’ve said this before, but did you know that 61 degrees Fahrenheit is 16 Celsius? It’s a handy mnemonic.
The other one like that is 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 28 Celsius.

It’s true that some of the snow is melting, especially in the “way back”, by the fence. There’s a lot of mud, which I like a lot. Just yesterday I got to run back and forth (and back and forth) in the mud. The guy I live with came out to see what all the “hoo-ha” was about, and I showed him the two coyotes out in the field. He got a picture, but accidentally deleted it.
Well, coyotes look like dogs, but aren’t. I think these two are children of Norm and Celeste, the coyotes who were old when I arrived here.

Today, the guy I live with took more manzanita cuttings, and when he went downstairs to move some pots around, he saw that one of the earlier cuttings was flowering.
He asked his friend in the nursery business if this was good, and she said yes, if the cutting has rooted, but not good if it hadn’t. He tugged on the cutting very gently. It didn’t budge, so maybe it rooted.
Even if it is rooted, the transition from a rooted cutting to a happy plant in the garden isn’t always an easy one. Rabbits will bite the little manzanitas and spit them out, leaving just a stump. The guy I live with said “bitten by bunnies” doesn’t have the necessary terrible ring to it, like “horribly devoured by unknown creatures” would. The rabbits don’t touch the larger plants.

These are some of the best evergreen plants for our climate; they don’t need to be watered at all once they’re established. They’re often watered in public gardens, where they tend to get bigger and bigger, but the guy I live with is perfectly content with smaller plants, not watered at all, just growing.
That is, if they do establish. I’ve heard stories about the large number of manzanitas that have failed to establish here. The guy I live with sometimes says he thinks the problem is with the soil-less mix, which has way too much organic matter for dryland plants like these, but there could be another reason. Aside from biting bunnies, I mean.

The wood on older plants can be very beautiful. Smooth, and reddish brown. We had an older plant; its corpse is still lying in the garden, because the guy I live with said he might do something with the wood.

Here are the new cuttings. These were taken from a much taller plant.
The guy I live with loves cottage cheese, if you couldn’t tell. He saves all these containers for gardening purposes.
The cuttings are in one of those fancy English propagators he got from GardenTalk. (The new models have holes in the bottom so they’re lined with aluminum foil.  There’s a heating mat below the propagator.

Back outside, since it was such a nice day, where there wasn’t snow, I spent some time lying in the sun, on the path. It may look like I was just lolling around, but that wasn’t the case. I was looking at bees. The guy I live with says for me not to eat bees, but they’re kind of tasty. I’m not sure why my garden doesn’t need to be guarded against bees, but the guy I live with said something about “pollinating” and other weird stuff.
I wasn’t as bothered by the “overpowering” smell of laundry coming from next door, but the guy I live with certainly was. I began to get worried about him (he was kind of like I am when I have to eat grass), but he went inside, and came back out wearing a mask. Almost everyone wears masks these days, so it wasn’t all that peculiar.
You can see here that there are bees, in the snowdrops. (Probably the same bee in both pictures.) These are Galanthus plicatus. We don’t know why they’re so short, but the guy I live with opined that the snowdrops might be afraid to grow any taller, since the weather has been so awful. 

Some other things are happening, but in the frames. The guy I live with said he planned to redo the frames, so that they afforded more protection to the bulbs, and I guess he’ll get around to that eventually. He’s not an engineer, so I suspect that when he gets around to this project, there will be a lot of thinking, rethinking, then sawing and stuff, and possibly some colorful language. Or maybe not. He likes sawing and hammering. Not as much as his wife did, but still, a lot.

This is Colchicum hungaricum ‘Velebit Star’. We also have the pink one called ‘Valentine’.You may be surprised that there are spring-flowering colchicums. I certainly was. There are quite a few species. We have several, but not all of them.
This is Colchicum kesselringii:
The flowers aren’t as huge as the autumn-flowering ones, and they flower at a difficult time in our climate, so they seem to be happier in the frames. There are some others, which aren’t up yet.

That’s all I have for today.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me taken a little earlier, when the snow on the ground was really cold.

Until next time, then.

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20 Responses to manzanitas, snow, and snowdrops

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    16C and snow together baffle my poor mind. Snow is for temperatures around 0C, proper freezing. If we had 61F at the moment we would be delighted. It would be a beautiful spring day. Thankfully, snow is very uncommon here in Ireland and, for the last few days, we haven’t had rain and the garden is drying out. We have had full days in the garden and lots has been done!

  2. ceci says:

    The picture of you in your boots is pretty pathetic; we have had to use them for various beloved dogs because of all the salt people use here as soon as there is snow, or even snow predictions – much too much, and it hurts dog paws. But it is hard to explain why that is important so we have gotten a lot of those stink-eye looks over the years!


    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I agree that I looked pretty pathetic, but hopefully the days of needing boots are over, at least for now.
      The guy I live with says I walk “like a total idiot”, flailing legs and stuff, until I get outside in the snow, and then the boots are pretty good.

  3. bittster says:

    Snow on the ground with sunny days in the sixties is just ridiculous. It should know better.
    Fortunately you know better and spent the day lazing in the sun. I also like to sit in the sun between garden tours. It’s a great way to spend an entire afternoon.

    • paridevita says:

      It really is, but the guy I live with says it’s the new melt-proof snow developed by the government to test on him. Secretly test, of course.
      Half the garden has snow on it, and a lot of mud; the other half is sunny, is mostly dry.
      The back half, the “way back”, is a soggy mess. The guy I live with says the soil is probably frozen (yes, when it’s 60 degrees), which is why there are pools of water all over. They make a squishy sound when I walk in them.
      But tracking mud onto the recently-shampooed carpet is a lot of fun. (The guy I live with feels differently about it.)

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Did you hear about the French bulldogs who Lady Gaga lives with? That was awful! Fortunately, they are fine, although they guy who was with them at the time is still recovering in the hospital. People can be SO horrible!

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the picture of you and your booties, you know we were all eager to see them! I can tell how you feel about them by the look on your face. You “got” to run back and forth in the mud? That sounds like you had permission, Mani.
    I did not know there were spring-flowering colchicums, so that was a surprise.
    Bees aren’t up yet here. I thought I saw one on the rosemary, but it turned out to be a house fly. Oh, well, they’re pollinators too.

    • paridevita says:

      Lots of bees out, today. I tried to eat one.
      The guy I live with says running in the mud is “exercise”, so he lets me do it. I get yelled at if I bark at the neighbor dogs, even though that’s exercise too. Humans are strange.
      The boots are okay. They’re hard to walk in on regular ground, but in snow they make a difference.
      There are a lot of species of spring-flowering colchicums. Winter, too, in places like Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
      Just like narcissus, cyclamen, and crocus: there are autumn-, winter-, and spring-flowering species. (The winter-flowering ones aren’t hardy here, of course.)

  6. All your flowerss look so lovelee….and to see Beess….wee have more than 2 feet of snow here an no Beess or Buggiess!
    Wee think purrhapss you were not reel happy ’bout wearin bootiess…..they do serve a purrpose an yore Guy was purrtectin yore pawss from stew-pid salt.
    BeeCfarefull with those Coyotess…mee iss scared to death of Coyotess!!!
    Hope yore snow meltss soon…..
    **purrss** BellaDharma an ((huggiess)) LadyMew

    • paridevita says:

      Most of the snow has melted now, so the guy I live with says it will probably snow again soon.
      We don’t get salt on the roads here; they use magnesium chloride on the highways, but our street just gets plowed. The snow doesn’t stay long once it’s plowed, because of the sun.
      The boots are okay, I guess, and that may have been the last time for them until next winter.

      • Mee-yow mee cuud send you sum more snow Mani an Guy…if you like???
        Here THE road dudess use a mix of salt an heavy sand. It iss so messy……butt such iss Life winn Wintur rite?
        An you looked neet inn yore bootss Mani! Better than havin frozen pawss while walkin…. 😉

      • paridevita says:

        No thanks. All the snow is gone here, though there’s still some ice. It’s supposed to snow again later this week, after days in the seventies. Typical.
        The guy I live with says I look pretty good in my boots, and you know what? They glow in the dark. The guy I live with says those white strips of tape are reflective.

  7. Janet says:

    hello from new york! i’ve read your mentions of the “smell” from next door, & today learned it’s a laundry smell. WHAT ARE THEY USING to do laundry??? is it a bleach smell? it seems so odd. best regards~ janet (& mushy)

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, it’s a long, long story. It’s not like how other people do laundry.
      The laundry is hung outside, which is perfectly okay, but it has a smell so strong that the guy I live with says it’s like sticking your face into a box of scented detergent and trying to breathe. Plus all kinds of very strong perfume.
      The guy I live with can’t do much work in the garden because the smell makes him so sick. He says it’s like there’s no oxygen in the garden. The smell lasts all day long, and it goes on almost every single day. Sometimes even at Tinkle Time, which is right before midnight.

  8. Thea says:

    I disagree, Mani, with the judgement that nothing much is happening in the garden. There you are, chasing the squirrel off the sunflower-seed feeder, for heavens sake. And running around in the mud sending the alert of coyotes. Plus, bothering the bees. Pretty active life style, I will say. Fine thing you have spring flowers for their calming effect. About the snowdrops: I am by now used to the ones the guy you live with cultivates. Recently I caught a glimpse of the flowers growing in some Brit garden. I was astonished at their height! Really, I prefer the sweet, shy things pushing through the Colorado snow. Ah, the ice boots, Mani, they bring out the color of your eyes to beguiling effect.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says the snowdrops would be taller except that it’s been so cold here. It’s isn’t, right now. (It will be almost 70 for the next three days.)
      The guy I live with also said that “nothing much is happening” compared to this time of year in previous years. It was like 45 degrees every day, freezing every night but one, since the end of November. No real warm spells like we used to have. He sees all these “memories” on Facebook, showing plants in flower that are nowhere to be seen now. Or yet, maybe.
      Coyotes are pretty interesting. They’re very shy. The guy I live with says they live somewhere to the south of us, where the field is much, much bigger.

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