Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you up to date on all sorts of things. You may remember me from such posts as “In The Furnace”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.
I was watching hummingbirds fly around the garden. The garden is filled with the noise of hummingbirds whirring around. The guy I live with was almost hit in the head by a sugar-crazed hummingbird racing through the garden just today.
Things are getting close to being late-summery, if you know what I mean.
The juniper, Juniperus monosperma, has a bunch of berries now. The guy I live with has to sweep the berries off the sidewalk from time to time.
The Russian hawthorn, Crataegus ambigua, has quite a few haws on it, though not as many as in some years. The guy I live with said that some of the purebred border collies who lived here before me liked to graze on them when they fell into the garden.
And Penstemon richardsonii has started to flower again after the rain we had last week.
The guy I live with said he’s considering growing a bunch of red-flowered penstemons and maybe some agastaches in pots next year, so they can get more water, and make the hummingbirds happier.
Because, well, we just aren’t getting the rain we sometimes do as sort of the tail end of the monsoon.
The sky looks like this, and nothing happens.
Today, it looked like rain, and even smelled like rain, but only a few drops fell. I could tell that the guy I live with was hugely disappointed.
(Incidentally, if you’re wondering about those dead branches, they’re on the honey locust. A guy came into the back yard a few days ago and gave the guy I live with a quote on how much it would cost to have the tree cut down. It wasn’t all that bad, and I guess the tree will be cut down in a month or two.)
There was a lot of hemming and hawing about mowing the buffalo grass in my Private Lawn, out in back. At first he said he wasn’t going to do it, then he said he might borrow a neighbor’s lawn mower and do it, then he said he might buy a lawn mower (an Ego, battery-operated), then he said forget that, but then today he went out and mowed the lawn.
I had to stay indoors.
He mowed it with this.
Before you start laughing, this is a really good mower, Green Mountain Mower; the blades are sharp and it does it terrific job.
The guy I live with, though, is kind of ancient, and all that physical activity almost did him in. Now my Private Lawn looks like something much less overgrown, even in this overexposed picture.
It had to be watered afterward, and the guy I live with set a sprinkler that ran while we went on my evening walk.
Just before that, the guy I live with planted a bunch of colchicums he got in the mail yesterday. They went into a part of the “way back” just off to the right, in the picture above.
The corms were as big as pears, but he forgot to take pictures of them to show how big they were. They need to be watered so that roots form around the time of flowering, so that this year’s corms will be able to transfer starch to the “daughter” corms that will provide flowers for next year.
The guy I live with said that sometimes the poor corms are put in vases to flower without roots, but that doesn’t do them any good. So the corms that were planted today got watered along with my Private Lawn.
The other, almost-late-summer thing that’s been happening is various entities flying or crawling into the house.
We’re getting little katydids, and sometimes bigger ones, coming into the kitchen. They do get rescued and put back outside, where they’re happier.
I’ve already talked about how the guy I live with and his wife would hunt for katydids on late-night walks around the neighborhood, trying to find them with a flashlight after hearing their “katydid, katydidn’t” sounds. He gets sad every year at this time, seeing katydids, though he’s pretty sad most of the time.
The end of summer is pretty difficult for him, like it probably is for a lot of people.
And also, there was this weird thing.
You would be correct in assuming that this is a feather standing on end.
It’s a flicker feather that the guy I live with’s wife found, and has been on the lazy susan on the kitchen table ever since, along with the Roman snail shell you can also see, which was sent to her by a friend living in England.
The reason the feather is standing upright is that it’s attached to the web of a tiny orb weaver spider living beneath the lamp over the kitchen table.
It’s about the size of a pea.
The guy I live with said it can stay, partly because it catches stuff, and partly because one summer, a long time ago, there were fourteen of them in the kitchen here. Yes, fourteen. The guy I live with’s wife liked spiders (he feels a bit differently about them), and they were allowed to stay.
Kind of weird, I know.
Oh, I guess that’s it for today. A lot, and yet not all that much. I’ll leave you with a picture of me after I got some mats removed from around my neck. The guy I live with is pretty good about that, and taking care of me in general.
Until next time, then.
That mower is rad! I used one like it for my front lawn in town. The neighbors disliked it though, and told me that it was inappropriate for me to mow my own lawn in a neighborhood where no one else did yard work. Juniperus monosperma is rad also. Was it planted intentionally, or just growing wild?
The mower doesn’t get used very much because you can see how big the lawn is. Not very big. It came from Vermount Country Store a long time ago.
The juniper was planted; it’s not native to northern Colorado, but is to southern. The guy I live with says it provides good cover for birds on winter nights.
I actually grow a few wild North American junipers also. They are Eastern redcedar, Junipers virginiana. I like them, although I can not explain why. They are not even as interesting as those from the Rocky Mountain regions.
There are only three junipers in the garden here. The monosperma in the front yard, and two scopulorums in the back yard.
Are the Juniperus scopulorum wild or garden cultivars? I am sort of familiar with it, but only two of its garden cultivars.
One is a selection from the wild; the other is ‘Gray Gleam’ or something like that. It’s been broken by heavy snow two or three times.
Oh yes, I remember ‘Gray Gleam’. It was supposedly common enough for Monrovia to grow it. However, I have never actually met it before. I only remember seeing it listed with other cultivars that were available from nurseries.
I guess it’s one of the few that survived here after they were planted.
Few?! The guy you live with has good taste.
Well he wanted more, like a ‘Woodward’ juniper, which he planted, and then gave to a neighbor later.
I envy the availability of colchicums as I have found it difficult to source them in recent years. We have always looked to nurseries in Britain but that source is now cut off from us following their exit from the European Union. The mower provides good exercise!
The guy I live with used to order colchicums from Lithuanian Bulb Garden but I don’t know if they ship here any more. Probably not.
And he gets some from Rare Plants in the U.K., because he likes the species as well as the named varieties.
But there’s a small nursery in the northeast that sells a wide variety of named colchicums. He got ‘Antares’, ‘Rosy Dawn’, ‘Beaconsfield’, ‘Lilac Wonder’, and ‘Poseidon’. He already had most of these but wanted more, “the way you do”.
The one that he says is the most beautiful, Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’, is very hard to find, but we have some in the shade garden on the north side of the house.
There are about a dozen corms of ‘Innocence’, which the guy I live with says might be the second most beautiful, but I think this year the grasshoppers will eat the flowers.
The mowing was almost too much exercise.
I have noticed a German friend posting of colchicums received recently from Lithuania so it might be a new source for me. Colchicum autumnale ‘Album’, Cochicum byzantinum and C. parlatoris are into flower here and ‘Nancy Lindsay’, a favourite of mine, is just peeping above the ground.
We have Colchicum autumnale ‘Album’ and ‘Nancy Lindsay’ but they won’t be up for a while, I think. The guy I live with says it’s probably soil temperature that triggers flowering.
The guy I live with used to order from Ruksans in Latvia (very, very small window of time to order in January), and from Bondarenko, Lithuanian Bulb Garden. ‘World Champion’s Cup’ and “Faberge’s Silver’ are his introductions.
I think we also have ‘Glory of Heemstede’, ‘Violet Queen’, ‘Jarka’, ‘Harlekijn’, ‘Jochem Hof’, ‘Disraeli’, and several others. There are a lot of colchicums here.
See my posts “The Broken Cockroach” and “Twenty Years”, for the Bondarenko ones.
There are other autumn-flowering species here, too. There were some in the bulb frames, too, but they rotted, which is why the frames were abandoned.
That’s a great selection!
We’re lucky to have a couple of sources in this country.
The guy I live with says Lithuanian Bulb Garden had a wide selection, too, at one time.
I’ve posted photographs of the colchicums on a blog just now.
The guy I live with saw those. Very nice.
Your lawnmower made me smile and so did your spider. I’d love to bring hummingbirds to my garden by planting the right flowers. I haven’t seen any around here in Ohio where I am because most people don’t plant flowers that attract them.
There are lots of flowers for hummingbirds but we don’t have all that many this year. The main one, Ipomopsis rubra, used to be all over the garden, but as summers having gotten drier here it mostly died out. It’s from the South and so isn’t as drought-adapted as out native I. aggregata, but the guy I live with said that seed of that one hasn’t been very viable in the last few years.
All THE berriess look lovelee an wee are ahppy yore flowerss are doin well. Wee furinallee gotted rain yesterday an then more overnite…our grass iss green again! Much nicer than brown 😉
Mani you look so nobell lookin up at THE Humminbirdiess!! Our wee Sparrows like to divebomm BellaSita when they cone inn fore seedss….mew mew mwe
Oh youss’ have Katydidss?!? Wee have Cricketss an they sound so cheery at nite. Wee had a few Beetle Buggiess here this week so BellaSita had to catch them an put them outside inn wee garden!
Allso wee buried a little Mousie a tenant found yesterday…BellaSita iss 99.9% purr cent sure Little Mouse Man was poisoned like Chewy 2 Chipmunk. Evern Custodeean agreess sumthin bad iss happenin here……
Anywho, that feather iss lovelee an THE Spydurr….well as lon as hee/shee iss not a bitey one…all iss well rite???
Deer Guy August iss ruff month fore BellaSita two~~it was 13th Anniversary of her PawPaw Henry’ss passin anit was 37th Annie-versary of her Brothur Dal’ss passin (he was only 25 inn 1985) an on Sunday iss 4 yeerss ‘angel’ Unkell Siddhartha Henry has been gone. Wee are furry sorry fore yore loss two….
***purrss*** an ~~head rubss~~BellaDharma~~ an gentell ((hugss)) BellaSita Mum
Next month is a rough one for the guy I live with, and the beginning of October, too.
It’s drying out here, again; even though it really looks like rain almost every day, nothing happens. It’s depressingly dry, according to the guy I live with, but at least it’s not so hot.
We have a lot of katydids now. Not as many katydids as grasshoppers, though.
But we do have lots of hummingbirds. They fly so close to the guy I live with’s head he thinks something is happening to him, which is kind of funny. That whirring noise.
Mew mew mew ’bout THE Humminbirdss whizzin bye you Guy!
Wee have Song Sparrowss here who do THE same thing!! Captain Jack an Sarge leed THE flock (up to 20 of them) & they whizz rite bye BellaSita’ss head to THE Hydrangea tree an then fly down to round fore seedss! They are so pawsum…
Mani are Katydidss couzinss of Grassyhoppurrss?
Katydids are cousins of grasshoppers. They make this clicking noise that sounds like “katydid, katydidn’t”.
We still have hummingbirds, even though it’s about time for them to leave and fly south.
Oh those Katydidss’ sound purrty kewl…wee have Grassyhopperss an Cricketss…mee LOVESS THE sound of Cricketss on a *hot* August nite….
Wee hope your Humminbirdss stick around a while longer fore youss’ to enjoy.
Pee S: BellaSita furgot to meow that her PawPaw used to cut grass with same lawnmower an REEFUSED to buy gas powered one. Hee was furry conshuss of THE enviroment beefore it was propurr thing to due!
The push type lawnmowers are fine for little lawns like mine. (It’s my lawn.)
This is the time of year for katydids. One year, long ago, his wife caught one and kept it in a cage on this table in the kitchen. She said it wasn’t going to live much longer anyway. She fed the katydid and they could hear its happy little clicking sounds in the middle of the night.
I suggest TGYLW hitch you up to the various farm implements. You could help, right? The girls dig holes for me, but they are never in the correct spots, unfortunately. They are half sled dog, you’d think they would help more.
The end of summer is indeed melancholy, but pretty much everything is when you’ve lost those you love.
Well, I think the mowing is good for the guy I live with. You can see how small the lawn is. It was beginning to look unkempt, to say the least.
The lack of rain is really beginning to get to the guy I live with. It’s been dark all day now for at least a week. In most places I guess that would mean rain, but nothing is happening.
The guy I live with still sees his friend, though the pandemic has had an effect on that, for sure, but just thinking about autumn coming and then eventually the holidays, with no one else in the house but me (though I am a delight, for sure), makes him pretty sad.
Yes, holidays. Those are rough.
They certainly can be. The guy I live with says Halloween and Christmas can be very rough, but he’s, I guess you’d say, devised ways to make them easier, or at least less painful.
Today, it was very dark outside, and after my evening walk, the guy I live with rode his bike and watched “Salamander”, which he’s really enjoying, and then when we came back upstairs (the stationary bike is downstairs and there’s a TV there too), it smelled like rain.
We got about a thousand drops of rain.
Oh! I’ve killed all of my grass and have an electric lawn mower to give away for free, if you’d like it? It has a cord, no battery, but with an outdoor extension cord it goes pretty far! You just have to be mindful not to run over the cord 😀. It’s nice and quiet and small, it even folds up. You can email me, and I will message you on FB too!
The guy I live with says thanks, but a corded mower isn’t practical here. The tiny lawn only gets mowed once a year, and we’d need a 100-plus-foot cord of a really heavy wire gauge so as not to burn out the motor.