the bee’s knees

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about just one plant. You may remember me from such posts as “How To Avoid Gardening”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
Those pots are mostly hens-and-chicks, though there is a pot of a not-very-hardy agave, Pinus strobiformis ‘Loma Linda’, and some pathetic herbs. Holy basil just to the right on me.
The guy I live with bought two of those pines, which are dwarf, earlier this year (they weren’t cheap); he planted one and it died pretty quickly. He forgot to water it and said he knew better, but got distracted when it was so hot here.
This one, way over on the left of the picture, will be planted later; maybe in a pot, where it will be fine.

Well that wasn’t the plant I’m going to talk about, but I got carried away.

We had a ten percent chance of rain yesterday, but around nine last night, storms moved through Denver, and we got some rain. It rained pretty hard for a little while.
The guy I live with said if we lived farther east we would have gotten a lot more rain; there was a terrific display of lightning out east, according to the guy I live with. I was hiding in my Upstairs Fort.

It’s not like the garden needs all that much rain; just the normal amount would be nice.

Yesterday there was a card on our front door from the electric company saying that they were going to do some work in our yard.
The guy I live with freaked out, imagining all sorts of gigantic equipment tearing up the “way back”, so he called the electric company to talk to the person in charge of all of this to see what was what. While he was talking to this person the tiny rational part of his brain kicked in, and he realized that he had been involved with work like this before, but with telephone cable, and the “way back” wasn’t going to be dug up, they just needed access to the electrical box in the corner of our yard.

So today a lot of work was done, clearing out dead chokecherries that blocked the way to the electrical box. He said he knew how frustrating and annoying it was to have to work around overgrown shrubs and stuff, and now everything is ready for the people who are coming to do the work.
You can see the telephone pedestal now; the electrical box is behind the two chairs no one sits in any more.
You can also see me, and the little wren house (the guy I live with calls it a “wren wranch”) on the chair, and another one on the arbor.
The snow fence is where the very first part of the garden was started; now it’s mostly just the Persian yellow rose growing there.

And the groups of Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’, which is the plant I’m going to talk about. It’s a German cultivar that does very well here with only occasional watering. (The guy I live with says he likes it better than ‘Autumn Joy’, another German cultivar also known as ‘Herbstfreude’ which is its real name.)
There’s also Alcea rugosa (the upright plants which are done flowering and should be cut down), Stachys byzantina ‘Helene von Stein’ (also known as ‘Big Ears’), and the ‘Gray Gleam’ juniper that’s been broken by snow many times.

Here’s another picture, taken on our evening walk.
The guy I live with set the sprinkler before we went on our walk, to water that part of the buffalo grass that was drying out (you can see it in the picture before this one) after my Private Lawn was mowed.

When the guy I live with was working back there, he noticed how good the sedums looked, and that they were covered with bees. Bees everywhere.
I tried to eat a couple, but the guy I live with told me not to. I still tried, anyway.
That’s a lot of bees.

I don’t know where the phrase “the bee’s knees” came from, though maybe just because it rhymes, but I’ve never seen any knees on bees.
Whatever; there are a lot of bees on the sedums.

That’s all I have for today. It was more than I was planning, but things are like that.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me walking past yet more chokecherries, and some plums, toward a couple of ducks who thought I was out to get them. I wasn’t, but I appreciated their sense of how tough and deadly I look.
Those ducks are the ducklings I posted pictures of a while ago. All grown up now.

Until next time, then.

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29 Responses to the bee’s knees

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Bees lack skeletal systems. I do not know if the joints within their exoskeletons would be classified as knees. Gee, now you got me wondering about something silly.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    Every few years a company arrives here to ensure no trees are threatening the overhead electricity lines. It is a visit I dread for they are not the most careful people in the garden with heads raised to look up while they trample all below. I generally stand watching them with a scowl on my face and that helps prevent some damage. I agree about the sedums – great plants.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says there’s a good reason for trimming trees below electrical lines: arcing. The insulation can rub off because of wind, over the years, and then when things get wet, the electrical line can arc to the tree. The guy I live with saw that once, back when it rained here more than it does now.
      It’s a general truism that people don’t take the care we hope they do, when work is done in the garden.

  3. Having lost a couple of new shrubs that I forgot to water while I was watering everything else, I sympathize. I hate to get something special and then immediately kill it. But it’s been that kind of a summer. I also like ‘Matrona’ much better and got rid of ‘Autumn Joy’ as a result.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s very frustrating. I can tell when I hear the self-recriminations.
      There’s a really nice-looking shorter sedum called ‘Hab Gray’ that the guy I live with would like for eithe The Enclosure or the border where ‘Matrona’ is.
      We also have ‘Xenox’ which is pretty nice, though a weird name.

  4. Mee-yow yore ‘Henss an Chickss’ are furry kewl…. An Guy you did a grate job cleerin away brush an stuff at back of yard….werkmen hopefully will not make a mess of anything!
    An THE seedum flowerss are so purrty! You sure DUE have alot of Bee’ss Mani!!!
    They are no guud to eat; they can sting innside your mouth….UCKY!
    BellaSita looked up orrygin of “Bee’ss Knee’ss” just fore youss’ an here it iss:

    “The origin of the expression “bee’s knee’s” comes from an 18th century fanciful phrase referring to something that doesn’t exist. Initially, the term means something that was a “spoof item,” such as a “left-handed hammer.”

    However, the modern use of the word appeared in the “Roaring Twenties.” The expression went on to mean something that was the best or ‘cool’.”

    This sayin iss so kewl it ISS “THE Bee’ss Knee’ss”!!! Mew mew mew…….
    BellaDharma an BellaSita Mum

  5. Elaine says:

    ‘Matrona’ is my favourite sedum by far. It always achieves a nice height, great foliage colour and just keeps getting bigger. I have started several others from cuttings off the original plant. You must have a honey bee hive nearby as all those bees are honey bees. You should ask for some of the honey as they seem to love your sedums.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with has no idea if there’s a hive here. Maybe across the highway where there are bigger lots, because hives have to be five feet inside the property line, and most of the lots here aren’t nearly as large as ours.
      ‘Matrona’ is pretty nice indeed. The guy I live with used to be more into perennials back in the old days, but this is one that survived. He gave away a lot of plants when his wife died.
      He says the one of the best things about the big sedums is how easily they divide in spring.

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