Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to tell you how dry it is here. You may remember me from such posts as “Dry Grass”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.The guy I live with had just said “Good morning” to me, which is why I look so alert.
I often sleep in this chair at night, which the guy I live with says is funny, and comforting in a way, because so many purebred border collies who lived here before me have slept in this ancient rattan chair at night. Maybe it has a vibe or something.
It’s one of those “continuity” things, but I know when he sees me in this chair it makes him miss his wife even more. She loved her purebred border collies to distraction.
I sometimes do sleep on the bed with the guy I live with, at night, when it’s chilly. He says he sleeps better when I’m next to him. There are a lot of my plush toys on the bed, too.
Anyway, it’s been super dry here. They said it might rain yesterday, but all we got was some sprinkles.
I didn’t see so many grasshoppers today, maybe because the nights have been so chilly. It almost froze the other night.
And yet at the same time, the autumn color has been pretty nice. You can see that the Russian hawthorn, Crataegus ambigua, has turned a nice color.
There are still some haws on the little tree. Usually squirrels get them.
I understand that, years ago, the squirrels wouldn’t get them, and the haws would fall on the rock garden below (not much of a rock garden these days); Slipper and Chess, two purebred border collies who lived here before me, would graze on the haws, like cattle or something. I guess the haws have a lot of Vitamin C in them.
You can also see the field behind the garden, because the lilacs have been cut down. Or almost cut down.
You see that little juniper almost in the center of the picture? That’s Juniperus communis ‘Taurifera’, but just to the left of the rocks by it, there are lots of Crocus speciosus in flower. They were sown by ants, who like the sticky-sweet elaiosome covering the seeds, and carry them off to their nest, occasionally dropping some of the seeds.
The dwarf oak has turned color, too.
The guy I live with doesn’t know what species this is. Probably Quercus × pauciloba. The acorns are the size of a pea.
The little shade garden on the north side of the house is partly still green, because of all the hellebores. That’s a mockorange on the right, one of the regular ones, and another mockorange on the left (Philadelphus lewisii), that have turned color.
This little garden is where most of the snowdrops live.
When I go on my morning walk, I’m often surprised by how dry it is. Even the weeds have dried up. This part of my walk is mostly weeds, though the guy I live with often talks about the few healthy native plants in this area, which is north of the canal road I walk on.
The water is still running in the canal; I haven’t seen any trout in it at all this year. I know there are trout, usually, because the guy I live with will say, “Look, a trout!”, even though I almost never see it.
The cottonwoods are turning color, too, though not all at once, because they’re not clones.
The guy I live with loathes the word “clone”. He says it’s an ugly word, and is often misused in horticulture, when the word “form” is meant. A clone would be like all the cottonwoods grown from cuttings from one tree. A cottonwood that had turquoise leaves would not be a clone; it would be a form.
The willows haven’t turned color yet; I forget if they even do turn color, or if the leaves just dry up and fall to the ground. I should probably pay more attention to that.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me walking under the willows.
You can see I’m getting pretty close to the scary one that hangs over the path on the west side of the creek. I would have said to wish me luck, but I made it past the tree, and am here to tell you about it.
Until next time, then.
‘Cultivar’ is the term that I prefer to use rather than ‘clone’. It is an abbreviation for ‘cultivated variety’, which technically does not mean the same as ‘clone’, but that is how I use it nonetheless. Some cultivars are grafted, so are genetically identical to each other above the graft, but can be on different understock. A ‘variety’ is more of a natural variation within a species, like a ‘form’. Of course, a ‘variety’ can be copied by cuttings or grafting, as a ‘cultivar’.
Yes, well, a cultivar has to be something in cultivation, by definition. A plant found in the wild which is somehow different from the main population, flower color or whatever, is certainly not a “clone”. A clone can only be produced by grafting or tissue culture.
Like I can’t be considered a clone just because I’m not the typical black-and-white purebred border collie. I’m just a color variation. An excellent one, to be sure.
A grafted plant is actually a combination of two different cultivars, or a cultivar and a variety, or even a cultivar and a . . . . seed grown understock. When I grew dwarf citrus, all of the understock was the same, but the scions were forty or so different cultivars. The rhododendrons we grew were all cultivars that were grown from cuttings. I never grew anything by tissue culture.
We don’t generally welcome misery, even miserable gardeners, into our lives but it is a delight to have you here with us this morning where we have no shortage of rain – indeed, we are living under an Orange Warning with water running through the garden in a steady stream. The ground is completely saturated at this stage but, peculiarly, the autumn colour is later than last year.
That Crataegus ambigua is very beautiful, a genus I like very much, and the crocus are perfectly attractive though I don’t grow any of the autumn-flowering species – that’s something I could remedy.
The rain continues today, very heavy, and I am going to settle down with an updated edition of Beth Chatto’s “Green Tapestry”. Hers was a garden I truly loved, better by far than some other much vaunted gardens.
Be good, take care and do the rain dance!
The guy I live with did a rain dance, but nothing happened. Typical, he said.
He left me at home, for a little while (though it seemed like hours), and when he drove home, he said that the autumn colors here were spectacular. Maybe because we haven’t had any cold snaps, which is unusual. He said the Koelreuteria paniculata planted along the “main drive” here were absolutely spectacular.
A lot of autumns here feature just brown leaves rattling in the wind, from an unseasonable drop in temperature.
The Russian hawthorn is a peculiar tree; the branches start growing in a normal direction, then suddenly take a turn to the right or left, or upward or downward. I guess that’s part of its charm.
There are also squirrels in it, which makes it very interesting.
The guy I live with says he used to refer to Beth Chatto’s The Dry Garden all the time, though the definition of “dry” made him snicker.
The autumn-flowering crocuses are another story altogether. You should hear the moaning and groaning here. It looks like all the forms of Crocus hadriaticus have died. Not from a cold winter (the leaves were fine all winter), but from the cold spring we had.
Beth Chatto’s garden is in one of the driest parts of England but still not as dry as your spot! I’m sure your plant selection is quite different to suit your challenging conditions – which seem to be especially challenging this year. We love Koelreuteria paniculata here though we have only one tree and imagine a group or avenue of them would be spectacular. More rain here!
The guy I live with used to refer to The Dry Garden all the time; a lot of the plants listed in the book do quite well here, but irrigation is absolutely necessary. Low humidity and colder winters both make a difference. The humidity here has been as low as three percent…
Yours is the desiccated garden!
Pretty much, though the guy I live with has been setting a sprinkler from time to time. For the crocuses, mostly, but also the snowdrops. Galanthus peshmenii is flowering now. (The others, like reginae-olgae, flower later, which means I have to listen to a lot of complaining.)
Mee-yow yore ‘dancin’ Willow’ iss beeuteefull Mani!! Willowss are kind treess an wuud nevurr hurt anyone. So nevurr bee afraid to walk bye one! Our Willowss do change leef color from green to a pale yellow an then fall off.
Yore Crowcussess are doin so guud! Wee nevurr have them here inn Octoburr. An yore Hawthorne iss lovelee two! Wee love yore fotoss from wehre you live. And you Mani look so adorbss sleepin on THE Collie Rattan chair…bet is DOES have guud an seet vibess to it from Colliess of beefore!
Wee wish you an Guy a happy Autuumy type weekend.
***nose bumpss***BellaDharma an ((huggiess)) BellaSita
Thanks; same to you two.
The crocuses are doing okay, though the guy I live with is kind of bent out of shape because some haven’t appeared, and he thinks they’re gone. They were fine over the winter (we could see the leaves growing well), but now there’s nothing.
The trouble with the willows is that the big branches can break from heavy snow, like in spring, and then some of them just hang there in the trees, waiting to fall. Hopefully not on me.
YIKESS!!! Mee nevurr thott of branchess that cuud fall….an mee sure hopess NO branchess efurr fall on you or Guy!!
Do not wurry Guy; bet Crowcussess come back inn Springtime!! Mee hopess so fore yore sake! 😉
Well, there are autumn-flowering crocuses, and spring-flowering ones (really, in winter, here), but some of the ones that flower in autumn only put up leaves in spring. The others put up leaves right after they flower, and the guy I live with has to put cages around them, or spray Rabbit Stopper all the time.
There’s a really big broken branch on one of the willows by the canal road. And this spring, there was a huge broken branch that blocked the culvert to the north of us, where the creek goes under the canal. The guy I live with called the county, and they came out and removed the branch.
That is rite…you meowed to mee ’bout Autumm Crowcussess Mani!
Poor BellaSita has not been well an so not abell to go to Garden Centre…..maybee next Spring….wee can hope…..
HURRAH fore yore County takin care of fallen willow branch; our County wuud take furr-ever to take it away or fix a tree here! 😉
Oh dear. We hope she feels better.
It did take a few phone calls for the county to come out and remove the huge branch.
Sumtimess thingss go slow rite Mani & Guy?? same as Construction on our street….the fiddled around so much. Not sure if they REELLY finished THE wrork. They quicklee paved street an vanished!
Wednesday is Ultrasound fore BellaSita Mum..pawss crossed wee find out what iss wrong innside…Gall Bladder? Kidneyss? Sumthin???
Maybe. The guy I live with had an ultrasound just last week. And an echocardiogram a couple weeks before that. They didn’t find anything, but his doctor insisted he go anyway.
Things do go pretty slowly here, but we like it that way.