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 the excitement around here. You may remember me from such posts as “Nature Is Icky”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.
Maybe you can see that I got my pantaloons trimmed. The guy I live with got a trimmer, like the one he uses to cut his hair, except this one is for dogs, which I’m, and while it was scary at first, he was able to remove a bunch of large mats, so I feel more comfortable.
It’s that time of year again, featuring things both good and bad.
The other day, on my morning walk, the guy I live with suddenly realized that tomorrow would have been his fortieth wedding anniversary. He started to cry, but I made everything all better in my way, which is something I do.
And then (the good part) there are the cyclamen. These are mostly Cyclamen coum, but there are some C. cilicium mixed in, too, and they’re flowering, along with C. mirabile, though there are no pictures of those.
The leaves really are the thing, though some of the pictures turned out not to be as in focus as the guy I live with thought they were.
There are a lot of cyclamen in the garden here, which I think rather cleverly brings me to my next topic, though you’ll have to read a bit more to find out why.
A few days ago there was someone at our front door. I of course started barking in my most deadly and vicious guard dog way, but the person turned out to be a telephone repair person, and so not only did the guy I live with let him into my back yard, he started talking to him, because he used to do that very job.
What had happened was when the boring was done, the borer had cut through the buried telephone cable.
The guy I live with, if you didn’t know (and probably don’t), is a “catastrophizer”, and though he was something of one anyway, when his wife died without warning in his arms, it got worse. Much worse. He envisioned having to have the part of the garden, where the cyclamen are, dug up, and everything ruined, but, after hours of trying to locate the problem (which the guy I live with knew was often not all that easy), not only was the fault located, but he learned that what he thought was a cable running through his yard on the south side wasn’t one, but a pipe carrying just a single wire.
He also let me out, from time to time, to greet the guys doing the work. It was a little disappointing that they didn’t find me all that terrifying.
The next day, a pretty big hole was dug in the southwest corner of our yard.
(The guy I live with put those boards over the hole, because it hasn’t been filled in yet.)
So, there’s a gigantic (well, fairly gigantic) hole in our yard.
This is, if you didn’t know, the Employees Only section of our yard, and, being sort of an employee, in the rabbit-chasing and guard-dog kind of way, I get to go back there, even in the dark of night, but the guy I live with rarely does. (It’s 125 feet from the patio.)
If you remember, the guy I live with cleared out the area on the northwest corner of our yard, where the electrical transformer is, but it turned out that no one needed to go there, for the electrical part anyway, but the telephone repair people did, so that made all that work worthwhile, and, additonally, now there’s a path cleared through the Employees Only section.
A bunch of broken branches and stuff like that. At the left are leaves of the Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), which has been going downhill, this century, and so the guy I live with said he might saw it down, or at least prune the daylights out of it, since it’s nowhere near as “drought tolerant” as horticulture claims it is.
A lot of branches of New Mexican locust (Robinia neomexicana) and Siberian pea shrub (Caragana arborescens) had to be removed, or just plain broken, and I suppose most gardeners would totally freak out about this, but the guy I live with said that he’d always entertained the idea of having like a small woodland or shrubbery (not like in Monty Python), where there would be these shrubs, of course, and under them, a whole bunch of (you guessed it) cyclamen.
I could almost see the wheels turning in his mind. Imaginary wheels, turned by guinea pigs of course.
And now the guy I live with has yet another project. He’s going to clear out that whole area, leaving some of the New Mexican locusts of course, and order a bunch of cyclamen to plant there.
Well, whew. That’s our news for now. I’ll let you go, with a fancy portrait of me, doing something I do very well, after a long and strenuous day.
Until next time, then.
Cyclamen are such wonderful plants. Here, it is C. hederifolium and C. coum which do best and seed about generously. We have others in smaller number but not enough to make to make an impact in the garden. We were in a very old garden yesterday and it was interesting to see the vast numbers of C. hederifolium which had spread about over the years and were now, in a sense, almost lost as they were among so many other plants and not really easy to see and enjoy. We also have had a saga of repair work on our telephone wire to establish an internet connection but, thankfully, no digging in the garden. It has not had the desired results and we have changed to a mobile system which works much better. Fibre-optic cable has been laid along our road and we should be connected to that in coming months…whenever! Tell himself that less of the catastrophizing would make life easier – I run to occasional imagined disasters but not as far as catastrophies!
The guy I live with said having to dig up a bunch of corms of Crocus mathewii would have been a catastrophe, considering how much he’d have to pay for new ones if the dug-up ones died.
There are a lot of cyclamen here, but it might be nice to have the Employees Only section cleared out a bit, with more cyclamen growing among the remaining shrubs. It’s an area bigger than our kitchen.
The phone stuff, though, was really interesting to the guy I live with, and I enjoyed barking at everyone.
Our internet runs over the phone line that was installed when the house was built, about fifty years ago.
Goodness! Canine people certainly take their work very seriously. I sometimes ask Rhody about his work, but he does not like to talk about it. I suppose that I would not understand much of it anyway. Besides, I do not perceive the need for such work as efficiently as he does. He knows who needs his assistance, and he tends to it as immediately as possible. He makes it seem fun, as he gets petted and rubbed behind the ears while doing it. I think that I would be exhausted after working so hard all day to make people a bit happier or at least a bit less unhappy.
Anyway, your cyclamen are pretty. I do like their silvery foliage. I STILL lack any of those sorts of cyclamen here. I would like to get some from a neighbor if only I could justify it in one of the landscapes here. I will likely add some to my own garden, regardless of how appropriate they are. I believe that they would look nice on top of low stone retaining walls. I wanted to believe that the cyclamen in the neighbor’s garden are Cyclamen hederifolium, but I really do not know, and I have no pictures of them.
The guy I live with says I’m not doing a very good job of chasing the rabbit out of our back yard, but I think it lives here, somewhere.
He also says there are lots of cyclamen adapted to Mediterranean-type climates, because they grow along the Mediterranean. Both Cyclamen graecum and C. maritimum have fantastic leaves (they’re not really hardy here), and then there are C. balearicum, africanum Tunisia and Algeria), rohlfsianum (also great leaves, from Libya), creticum, persicum (from which the florist’s cyclamen was bred), etc.
They’re easy from seeds, if you can find them.
Perhaps the guy you live should chase the rabbit if he thinks it is so easy. When was the last time you gave him an employee review? Well, at least he grows interesting Cyclamen. I do not know, but I still think that I prefer the more angular foliage of Cyclamen hederifolium. I sometimes notice other species that are also very interesting, like yours, and all of them are likely hardy here.
The guy I live with says they probably are all hardy there. They germinate easily from seeds, even older seeds. Seeds in a pot, watered, covered with a baggie with the top folded over but not closed, and left in a dark place, checking the moisture every so often.
He’s also pretty good at chasing rabbits but I’m way faster.
What yawning hole! What necessary boarding! What cyclamen leaves! What trimmed pantaloons! What fancy portrait of vicious and fierce dog guard!
Thanks. The guy I live with said that trimmed pantaloons might help with the fearsome visage and stuff. (He also said no one was terrified by me, but I refuse to believe that.)
The hole was filled yesterday, and the people who did that even fixed the fence.
Oh those Cyclamen leaves. So beautiful. Mine are seeding around in-between rocks and hard places. Letting them stay there to see what happens. A shrubbery is always a good idea. Loved being reminded of the Pythons.
The leaves really are the thing, though there are some flowers that can be very special.
When the work with all the branches and stuff gets done, maybe this winter, the guy I live with said we’ll have a secret woodland. Not so secret to people who walk dogs outside the fence, but otherwise totally secret.
Yes, a shrubbery reminds him of Monty Python, but what it reminds him of even more is unrequited love.
Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann (“the only person I ever loved”), “I imagined your fingers playing over the third movement of my D-minor sonata, and then the two of us stealing through a shrubbery.”
You are a great friend and solace Mani. The detailed markings on the cyclamen are beautiful. I’ve always thought they enjoyed moister woodsier types of soil but seeing how beautiful they are in your garden I might give them a shot. You do know how to relax Mani. A real skill.
I agree. Though I sometimes need solace, too, when things get scary.
A lot of cyclamen species grow in places where it almost completely dries out in the summer, even though they inhabit woodlands in real life; some cyclamen have even self-sown here in very dry parts of the garden. Of course they do expect water at this time of year. The guy I live with has been watering kind of a lot. (For us, anyway.)
The lack of rain here has been very disappointing.