sunless spring

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about the endless gloom of May. You may remember me from such posts as “The Terrors Of Spring”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.It’s been ultra gloomy here for some time now, and the forecast calls for yet more gloom, with some rain, I guess, and (I hope not) scary thunderstorms.
The guy I live with won’t tell me if my whole summer is going to be one day of terror after another, because he said it’s hard to tell, and, anyway, there’s no sense in getting me all depressed.

The rain has turned everything green; everything that’s not dead, anyway.
There are a lot of dead plants in the garden. Mostly woody plants; the “desert bamboo” (Fontanesia fortunei; it’s not a bamboo but related to privet) looks about half-dead. It’s been here for thirty years, but apparently this past winter was too much for it. The lilac ‘Annabel’, which would be done flowering by now, is mostly dead, too; it’s been in the garden for a very long time.
And some of the bulbs aren’t going to flower this year.

To add insult to injury, they sprayed more herbicide in the field. All along the creek. We could smell it all over our part of the neighborhood.
Maybe you can see the dying plants along the canal bank, here.
The guy I live with won’t let me go on the sprayed side of the canal road.
What I’m standing on here is really a levee. The levee did break once, like the Memphis Minnie song, when there was a big flood, and the water rushed over the levee and cut a huge gash. It sounds pretty scary. So many things are.

I can walk along the coyote path behind all the houses; they didn’t spray there. I saw a hawk a couple of days ago.
I forgot to show the picture of the time I saw a coyote, about three weeks ago, so I’m including it here, even though you can really see the difference in how much the grass (smooth brome) has grown since then.
The coyote is on the canal road, just below the last tree on the right. You probably can’t see it, but I could. If you embiggen the picture, you can probably see the coyote.

You know what else? There are “zillions” of mice in the garden. I can be lying in my kitchen fort, just looking out, the way I do, and all of a sudden a mouse will race across the flagstone, maybe getting a drink from the bird bath, then hiding under the birch tree.
Because there are so many mice, there are also a lot of snakes. I like hunting for snakes, even though the guy I live with says not to. He said if we ever have a tour again I would have to caution visitors that there are snakes everywhere. Snakes and mice.

Just the other evening, a mouse walked into the kitchen. The guy I live with shooed it out, but it probably didn’t actually go out. There’s a live trap in the kitchen, baited with peanut butter.
The instructions on the trap say to release the mouse at least two miles away. The guy I live with releases them on the patio.

Despite what the guy I live with describes as the worst winter he’s ever seen here, there are a lot of things in flower, and I’m going to show you some of them.

Phlox longifolia.

Ephedra monosperma.

I didn’t know there were such things as tuberous geraniums, but there are. They’re mostly from places like Iran. This is Geranium transversale subsp. linearilobum. (A big name for a little plant.)Speaking of things from Iran, this is Allium elburzense (we think):Then there’s the tiny allium from western North America, Allium brandegei:
This is Ornithogalum nutans, which Graham Stuart Thomas called “a study in oyster-gray and soft green”. The guy I live with likes this plant a lot, but it doesn’t seem to be all that happy here.
And Amsonia jonesii, flowering in the front yard. The clump is one-third the size it used to be, but it was run over by the backhoe when the sewer drain was replaced.
A box was delivered the other day. It had hens and chicks in it. I wondered if we really needed more hens and chicks, but the guy I live with said we did. They need almost no care at all, which is why there are a lot of them here.
I know I show hens and chicks pictures a lot, but the guy I live with said to show them again.
That’s pretty much it. I suspect that we’ll just be sitting here all next week, while it rains and thunders and stays gloomy for days on end. But at least we have bedtime, and more Q.I.
We watch that show over and over and over again. The guy I live with says there isn’t much of anything else on that isn’t gross, or dumb, and we learn stuff. I could probably be a panelist on that show; there aren’t any squirrels to distract me.

Until next time, then.

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25 Responses to sunless spring

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Did you show pictures of Ephedra before? I saw it somewhere, but that species name does not sound familiar. Perhaps I read about the species that are native to California somewhere. The Phlox sounds more familiar; but alas, from somewhere else. It sure is a nice white though, like common garden varieties, but of course, not common. Is Allium brandegeei native to your part of Colorado? It is not native to California, but is sometimes sold as a native species, along with several that actually are native. Goodness, you and the guy you live with have enough hen and chick for a big barbecue of McNuggets.

    • paridevita says:

      I think we’ve shown pictures of that ephedra; called it E. minima, but monosperma is the right name.
      According to Calflora, Phlox longifolia is native to California, along the Nevada state line. It spreads underground like crazy.
      The guy I live with says the allium is native to western Colorado, but not here.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, the Nevada State Line is too far for me to have seen the natives there. I have been there only a few times. I remember ‘native’ phlox at a nursery in Murphys (on this side of the Sierra Nevada), but do not remember what it was, or where it is native to.

  2. Mani, you look like you were a bit startled in the first picture? Or expectant?
    The Ephedra looks very lush and I really like your Allium elburzense. I agree, you can never have too many hens and chicks. This is the time of year when their colors really shine.
    I don’t like mice at all. They are so destructive. We had four mice in the house this spring for the first time in years. Jacques, our cat, found two of them. Found one hole inside the house and plugged it up, but I’d like to find the hole where they got in from the outside. I’d rather have snakes, but I haven’t seen as many over the last two years as I used to. Hopefully they will start coming back. Saw a baby garter snake this morning. Take care.

    • paridevita says:

      I was expecting a biscuit, which I got.
      Maybe you watched the movie in the post called “A Post About Sharing”, or the post called “The Mouse Movies”. Those were made when Chess lived here.
      We live next to a field, so we have a lot of rodents. Rodents, and weeds.
      And an awful lot of hens and chicks…

  3. barbk52 says:

    I like hens and chicks myself. The big thriving colonies, each different, make me feel good in a nice safe way. No struggles there. Have you tried “Mare of Easttown?” Not funny or at all lighthearted, but pretty good.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with said he might watch that, except it’s on some channel he doesn’t have.
      I hear that hens and chicks are great. There are kind of a lot of them here now. Which I guess makes up for fewer other plants.

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    I’m taken aback that your neighbour is permitted to spray along a waterway.

    • paridevita says:

      It was the county. Or a company working for them. They’re not supposed to spray along waterways, but they did anyway.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Time to complain?

      • Mark Mazer says:

        I thought that in CO: “any commercial, registered limited commercial, or registered public applicator making a pesticide application in any turf or ornamental category shall, at the time of application, post a sign or signs notifying the public of the application…… making a pesticide application in any aquatic category shall post, at the time of application, a sign or signs notifying the public of the application”. I understand that there is also a registry of pesticide-sensitive persons.

      • paridevita says:

        You would think so, but I guess not.

  5. ceci says:

    Spraying along a waterway seems a lot scarier than thunder, but then I lack canine heritage. Our dog is also very thunder adverse and unfortunately tries to deal with her fears by running out of the house and hiding – OK when she heads out back where there is a good fence, but not so good if she were to make it out the front door toward the street. So now thunder frightens me too.


    • Mark Mazer says:

      “You would think so, but I guess not.” Not enough “juice”, eh? Those are quotes from the CO statutes. When we lived in Connecticut, all aquatic use of pesticides required a site-specific permit, issued by the DEP. and that was well over 16 years ago.

  6. Bruno Baudino says:

    Ciao Mani, è sempre interessante leggere i tuoi racconti. Anche qui l’inverno è stato molto duro e anche a me sono morti alcuni alberi che avevano più di trent’anni. Ma siamo sopravvissuti, il giardino anche. La vita, nonostante tutto, continua…
    Hi Mani, it’s always interesting to read your stories. Here too the winter was very hard and some trees that were over thirty years old died too. But we survived, the garden too. Life, despite everything, continues …

    • paridevita says:

      I guess it does, though it’s disappointing to lose plants we take for granted.
      A lot of dwarf conifers died, too, but they were probably damaged by the sudden temperature drop last October.

  7. Mee-yow wow yore flowerss ARE speck-taculur! Pleese meow to yore Guy hee iss doin a fine job! All tHE flowerss are so purrty….
    An Henss an Chickss are gorgeeus~~LadyMew was furry taken with tHE red oness;)
    THE Hawk iss so kewl an wee DID biggify foto an saw Coyote. Iss funny ’bout THE mice…how yore Guy reeleesess them on patio an not farther away….
    What kind of snakess due you have there? All mee knowss iss snakess eat mice rite?
    An wee are furry upset fore youss ’bout pestycide sprayin……so not rite to due! Yore Guy will keep you safe…..
    Happy trailss Mani. Yore lookin mitey hansum two; mee furgot to meow earlier!
    **purrss** BellaDharma an ❤ LadyMew

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. We have four kinds of snakes here. Wandering garter, plains garter, yellow-bellied racer (very large), and bullsnakes (also very large).
      I’m a little irked that I can’t go my regular way on our walks, but we do go, just different ways.

      • Wee has Garter snakess up here too. They do not bother us. \Wee gotta reed up ’bout Yellow Belly Racer snakess! An Bull snakess!!
        Mee iss sorry you can not walk yore usual roote… wait…route! At leest there are routess you CAN walk Mani!

      • paridevita says:

        I can walk on the coyote path, but the grass is really tall now, and wet.
        There’s a picture of a racer in a post Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, made, called Slithering In The Bindweed.
        Racers can get really, really big. They’re not poisonous, but they will try to bite.

      • Mee-yow Mani mee an LadyMew looked up yore Racer Snakess an they are purrty scarey!! An big….at leest they are not venomuss butt still mee wuud NOT want a bits from one of them! Or a Bully Snake!! Mee likess little Garter snakess that rest on rockss inn THE Sun an not hert anyone!
        Stay safe Mani an Guy….
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, the racers are pretty big. So are bullsnakes. I saw one on the patio when I was little. (Not little enough to be eaten by a snake.)
        Racers are called “farmers’ friends”, because they keep down rodent populations. The babies are really the ones that try to bite.

      • Mee-yow mee iss glad racerss due sum guud werk. Mee iss still scaredycat of snakess tho’. **shudderss**

      • paridevita says:

        They are kind of scary. And they smell weird, too.

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