help wanted

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to show you some pictures from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Helping In The Garden”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
I was looking for a snake, which the guy I live with keeps telling me not to do, but I still do it.
You may notice that the snow is all gone. Nothing bad happened to the plants, but there are some plants that aren’t going to flower as well as usual because it was so dry for so long. And there are some surprises,too.

In the shade garden, hellebores are flowering. In years past they would start to flower in February, but things are different now.
There used to be more hellebores but the guy I live with dug a lot of them out because there were so many.

Erythroniums are in bud now.
In the front yard, Tulipa tarda is flowering. It seeds all over.
But let’s go into the back yard.

This is what you would see if you went into the back yard through the shade garden, though the guy I live with wouldn’t let anyone do that at this time of year. People step on plants even though they say they won’t. In summer it’s okay. The pile of dirt on the right is a sort of compost pile. Leaves and stuff get dug into the dirt.

The first Narcissus rupicola is flowering. This is a tiny narcissus that has also seeded all over the garden.
The guy I live with was surprised to see a pulsatilla; he thought these had all died after being devoured by blister beetles.
There are buds on Pediocactus simpsonii. This usually flowers in March, here. The flowers are scented like “old roses”.
The native bluebells, Mertensia lanceolata, are flowering, too. There are plants growing in the wild not too far away from here, in Red Rocks Park. This is a dryland mertensia, though I think it also grows at higher elevations, too.
This isn’t a very good picture, but the guy I live with really hopes that Cercocarpus breviflorus will do well. This is a big mountain-mahogany from central Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, and adjacent areas in northern Mexico.
It’s evergreen in its native habitat, but not really, here. It grows new leaves in spring.
We have another one, which may be a hybrid with our native Cercocarpus montanus, or it could be the real thing. You can see how big it is.
The guy I live with was very pleased to see that the Cedar of Lebanon looked very good after this awful winter. (It suffered some damage winter before last.)
It’s not a very big tree, and not really from Lebanon, but from southern Turkey. (Cedrus libani var. stenocoma.)
Hopefully it will get much bigger.

One of the biggest surprises here is the spring growth on the colchicums. It looks like they had a very enjoyable time over the winter.
If I haven’t said this before, the life cycle of autumn-flowering colchicums (there are spring-flowering ones, too) is kind of interesting. The corm grows over the summer, and then over time, the starch in the corm begins to degrade, and the corm flowers. Then it begins to form “daughter corms”, and the remaining starch is transferred to those corms, which then send up leaves in the spring. Last year’s corm withers away.
So when we see a whole lot of leaves, that’s a very good sign.
This is Colchicum speciosum (offered in the trade as C. bornmuelleri).
Well, okay, maybe I should talk about the title of today’s post.
Aside from the weeds, which are now growing like crazy, there’s a lot of work to be done in the garden.
The guy I live with spent quite a while clearing out dead branches from the “Employees Only” section of the back yard, because he hopes to plant some bulbs back there, but he said he could really use some help doing all this work.
I’m not sure he would trust anyone to work in the actual garden. His wife did all the weeding and a lot of the other work, but finding someone who “gets” the garden and its plants would be very unlikely. But he can still dream.

The fence in The Enclosure, which his wife built, needs to be redone. He’s been removing the cedar slats, which I guess you could also call pickets, and eventually the fence will be made to look like the fence on the right. He says that once all the materials are purchased and brought into the back yard, it won’t take more than one or two days to finish this, but he does get tired very quickly. (That’s because of the aftereffects of the hormone therapy he underwent, though he has completely recovered from that.)
The whiskey barrel is done for, obviously. It started to sag a few years ago.
His wife wanted that, and when they were at the garden center, the guy I live with tried to lift it, which he could do, but arthritis in his fingers wouldn’t let him hold on to it. So they got help to lift it into the pickup they had at the time.
The cages are for some new roses he planted there last year. They’re there to keep him from stepping on the little roses.
I realize The Enclosure looks pretty desolate right now. This has been a very difficult part of the garden for a variety of reasons, some of them emotional, some just trying to find plants that will do well, and new plantings were made last year, with more planned for this year.

Then there’s the seed frame.
There are a bunch of penstemons germinating in the pots on the far end, but the guy I live with suspects that most of the seeds in the pots closest to the near end, which have been there for a few years, will never germinate. He says that’s the way things are, and he’s okay with that.

So that’s our news for today. We’re really hoping that the forecast, which calls for rain and more rain, really comes true. We’ve been disappointed so often lately that some real rain would be very welcome. Even snow would be fine. This is normally a wet time of the year for us, but it’s been unusually dry; more like New Mexico than Colorado. (The situation is reversed in summer, with New Mexico getting more rain.)
The guy I live with has his fingers crossed. I don’t have fingers, so I have my paws crossed, because I want him to be happy, like I know he wants me to be happy.

Until next time, then.

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13 Responses to help wanted

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    Good help is so hard to find! We couldn’t imagine allowing anybody do any work in our garden – they simply would not do it as it should be done, as we have always done it!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    It took me a while to recognize the cedar of Lebanon. It did not look like a cedar to me. ‘Stenocoma’ is a compact variety, or just a columnar variety that is easily maintained as a compact specimen?

    • Mark Mazer says:

      Cedrus libani ssp. stenocoma becomes a large tree over time. In my former CT garden it grew over a foot per year once settled in.

      • tonytomeo says:

        It seems to me that even a normal cedar of Lebanon does not grow as fast as other cedars. I know that they eventually get big, but because they take their time doing so, I have never seen one actually do it.

      • paridevita says:

        This is said to be more upright than the regular species, but some people think it is just the regular species.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Some people do not think that it is a real cultivar? Well, the old and common deodar cedar is the same. Modern trees actually are cultivars (for conformity), but are not documented as such. Therefore, some consider them to be simple species.

      • paridevita says:

        No; it was considered to be a subspecies, and apparently grows some distance from the regular species.

  3. Mee-yow wow1!! Yore flowerss look furabuluss Mani an Guy!!
    Our fave iss THE Narcissius….so yellow an brite!
    Wee keep our pawss crossed fore youss’ two. Do you know today Fursday tHE 27th iss THE ferst day it has NOT rained in 13 dayss…this iss day 14….
    It lookss like wee gonna have a furry rainy weekend….maybee wee cuud ree-route rain to youss’ 😉
    Have a wunderfull cozy weekend Mani an Guy!
    ~~~head rubss~~~BellaDharma~~~ an {{{hugss}}} BellaSita Mum

  4. Mark Mazer says:

    FWIW: There are a half dozen or so large Cedrus libani ssp. stenocoma at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston that are well over 100 years old.

    • paridevita says:

      Big one at DBG, too. I understand it came from a local box store..

      • Mark Mazer says:

        “Big one at DBG” The ones at the Arnold Arboretum were seed grown from collections made at over 6000 feet in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey around 1900. Mine came from Bob Fincham’s Coenosium Gardens before he moved to the West Coast. He became friends with Jean Isili and I would imagine that’s where many of the plants currently in circulation originated.

      • paridevita says:

        Apparently nobody thought it would be hardy here until they were discovered at Home Depot.

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