more or less

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

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m daydreaming in my Kitchen Fort, with the swamp cooler running.
It’s not as hot as it has been, though I guess this week won’t be cool, just not totally blazing hot. Or at least I hope it won’t.
The guy I live with said we’ve run out of sugar for the hummingbirds, which is mildly ironic since I understand they’re mostly leaving for the south right now. There was some complaining about having to go to the store.

I talked about the North American Monsoon in my last post, and there are a lot of hardy plants that would do well here, and serve the hummingbirds, like penstemons and agastaches, but they would need extra watering here, so that’s pretty much out of the question, unless it becomes necessary to install an irrigation system. The way things are going, it might be.
Still, Salvia darcyi is flowering now. It does need extra water now and then. You can tell just by looking at the leaves.
Very close by, is Hesperaloe campanulata. I showed a picture of this earlier, but I’m going to show one again, taken today, because we learned something.
This picture was taken at about ten in the morning.
The guy I live with read the monograph on the genus Hesperaloe, and it turns out that the flowers open at night, for pollination by bats or hawkmoths (we have both of those here), and then the next day, some time around noon, the flowers close into a tubular shape, for pollination by hummingbirds later that day.
Pretty cool, huh?

Both of these plants are native to Nuevo León in Mexico. That’s kind of cool, too.

Speaking of cool, but in a different sense, last weekend wasn’t very hot. We had a ninety percent chance of heavy rain this weekend and were under a flash flood watch; the guy I live with made sure the storm drain grate across the street was cleared a couple of days ago, and he pointed out the other, blocked grate to his neighbor, who cleaned that one out. You know, just in case.
It didn’t happen. This has been a theme this summer. Predictions of lots of rain, followed by nothing.

There was no heavy rain. He said he was “more or less disappointed”. More because he kind of liked the idea of a “tropical downpour”, but less because the idea of flooding is not very attractive.
The creek behind the house has flooded a couple of times since the guy I live with and his wife moved here, almost up to the fence in back, and one time the creek flowed over the canal and cut right through the bank on the north side. It was a real mess. They had to come in with equipment to repair that.
Other parts of the Denver metro area had heavy rain, and flooding.

But this did happen, on Saturday, and again on Sunday:

The guy I live with was content with that, even though he was hoping (and at the same time not hoping) for more.
We don’t get all day rain, or rain at night, or wake up to rain, or anything like that; the guy I live with said that used to happen here, a long time ago, but not any more.

So that was the last couple of days. There was a lot of scary thunder and I was glad that my Upstairs Fort felt so cozy and safe.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me in the newly-mowed and very green field.

Until next time, then.

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24 Responses to more or less

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Wow! I totally did not know that about Hesperaloe. I know that all species of Yucca are very specialized for pollination from their particular species of nocturnal yucca moth. (Each species of Yucca relies on a distinct species of moth.) I suspected that Hesperaloe used a similar technique, involving similarly nocturnal moths. How ingenious that they would also exploit hummingbirds. You probably should not tell the guy you live with that I did not know about this. He might think that he is smart or something, and you probably do not want that.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with didn’t know about the hesperaloe until yesterday. The monograph doesn’t say if Hesperaloe nocturna is pollinated by moths, but maybe it is. (That species is native to Sonora and probably not hardy here.)

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, like hawkmoths or bats. . . I really do not know who pollinates them. I just figured that the process would be similar to Yucca or Agave. Gee, now that you mention it, I have no idea who pollinated Agave either. I suppose it could be several pollinators.

      • paridevita says:

        I think agaves are pollinated by bats.
        Even though there have been agaves in the garden here for many years, not one has ever flowered. I think one reason is that in places where they do flower, like in the median of the main street by us, they get a lot more water, which they like.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, although they can survive without irrigation, they really grow like weeds with water.

      • paridevita says:

        They certainly do.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    Extreme weather dominates all our thoughts these days. We have a forecast for a heatwave this week – probably not nearly as hot as you experience but too hot for us.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s not supposed to be all that hot here. Well, 33C. That’s hot, but not insufferably hot, for us.
      The guy I live with has been reading about all the dry weather in places like southeast England. I’m sure the effects of drought there are in many ways worse than here, because the plants here are used to it.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Yes, many plants here are in collapse – as are the gardeners!

      • paridevita says:

        Here, the plants are mostly doing okay, though ravaged by grasshoppers. I really hate it when they land on me. The guy I live with has caught some that hopped into the house (he put them back outside).
        And it’s too hot for purebred border collies. 32C at 7 p.m.

  3. bittster says:

    Look at all the green grass! I did not expect that.
    Amazing how the hesperaloe flowers work. I need to keep an eye on all the little succulents and stuff that flower here, maybe it’s not the must unusual trick and some of this stuff does the same.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s amazing what a little rainwill do to the smooth brome. Way better than having everything bone-dry. Now if it only keeps raining every now and then, the way it used to.
      The “regular” hesperaloe, H. parviflora, has tubular flowers, so just for hummingbirds.
      The photosynthesis of some succulent plants is interesting. The guy I live with says there’s been talk of purslane on Facebook. This is a C4 plant that switches to CAM photosynthesis during drought. (Other plants like sempervivums are CAM plants; the stomata are closed during the day to prevent excess transpiration, so they don’t need to be watered constantly.)

  4. Elaine says:

    At least you got a bit of rain. The edge of a storm passed by here this past week and dropped hail on us though, thankfully, it didn’t do too much damage. However, 30 minutes north of us it produced grapefruit sized stones that punched through car wind shields. Very glad we missed this one. Enjoy the cooler weather. Fall is rapidly approaching so bound to cool down even more.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with saw a video of a hailstorm in Canada, with windshields smashed. He was outside in a storm like that, many years ago. Pretty scary.
      It’s pretty hot today, 32C, and I guess it’s going to be that way until the weekend.

  5. Mee-yow WOW!! Yore Herpurraloe are so dainty an purrty Mani!
    Wee so happy you did get sum rain ubtt no floodin.
    Wee goin thru simmylar situation here: forecastss of rain an high windss an scarey weather an wee get 87 raindropss!
    Thanxfullee THE **heet** an hue-midity has broken an it iss purrfect weather fore now….
    You due look so hansum inn yore Fort an going on yore walk two1
    Mee hopess Guy did buy more sugar fore Hummin’birdss ……..wee nevurr see them here anymore…..sadly……
    ~~~head rubss~~~BellaDharma~~~ an 🙂 BellaSita Sistur

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I do get brushed a lot, which helps.
      It’s still hot here, but not as hot as it was. We don;t exoect any rain for a while now; maybe this weekend.
      The guy I live with did go to the store today, and came back with sugar. You have to use white granulated sugar, regular sugar. We still have them here; there was a hummingbird fight just a while ago. That’s silly because there are two feeders.

  6. barbk52 says:

    I have hummingbirds all year. In the winter I have to watch the feeder for freezing, which it starts to do at around 25 degrees. I also have hesperaloe and was feeling stupid because I never saw the open flowers, but it turns out I have the ordinary one.
    We have a camera on a hilltop here and it scans the valley and broadcasts the 911 calls. I was able to watch a big thunderstorm pass me by and drop a lot of rain just to the north. Sigh.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says you could probably grow all the species of hesperaloe. H. funifera is a really big one, with not hugely impressive flowers, but the leaves are cool. It’s hardy here, too, but we don’t have one.
      They’re hard to find, I guess, unless you’re in Arizona or Southern California.
      We had the yellow-flowered H. parviflora here, but the guy I live with kept moving it around the garden, and it gave up.
      We’ve seen so, so many weather systems pass us by this summer, to form thunderstorms with plenty of rain, out east. Like halfway between here and Kansas.

      • Mee-yow mee asked BellaSita to plant sum seedss an shee looked at mee like mee asked her to rob a bank??? Mee thinkss there iss NO green thumm here!
        An wee have had simmylar weather patternss here. Wee are meowed at to take covurr an bee carefulll….BIG storm comin an wee get 47 dropss of rain…..furry odd rite Mani???

      • paridevita says:

        I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve seen a lot of scary storms in the summer, but never just a few raindrops.
        Maybe we’ll get some rain next week; they’re predicting it, but who knows?

      • All mee can meow iss all our weahter seemss furry diffyrent from 10 yeerss ago…
        Mee iss 10 yeerss old an mee iss feeleeved to NOT bee on THE meen streetss of Wireton anymore!! 😉
        Now to get us sum rain Mani!!!!!

      • paridevita says:

        Things do seem to be very different these days.
        Check out my latest post, for movies.

  7. We got that old-fashioned rain storm last Sunday and Monday. Just long and steady and thrilling to this gardener. Sometimes I think I am delusional remembering how it used to rain overnight when I first started to garden 30 years ago. Now I am always worried when a storm is forecast that it will be another “rain event.” Had one of those a few years ago and it was not fun. Glad you got rain and not flooding.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that back in the last century, here, there used to be periods of mist, drizzle, and rain that lasted for a week or ten days, any time between March and October. Sometimes more than once a year, too.
      When he worked in telephone repair he spent many hours repairing wires that had gotten wet, sometimes working over the weekend to do that.
      But those days are over. We still do occasionally have “rain events” with flooding, like what happened up north near Longmont about nine years ago.
      Even rain lasting a couple of hours seems unusual now.

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