snowdrops and stories

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 the latest news from our garden, which is really not very much at all, but the guy I live with said I should do a post anyway. You may remember me from such posts as “A Bit Of Work”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You can see that the snow has been slowly melting, or, as the guy I live with says, “It’s taking forever to go away”. This is because he remembers when snow wouldn’t be on the ground for more than a few days; the snow has been here since the end of October.

It’s been about forty-five to fifty degrees Fahrenheit every day here, freezing at night (sometimes just slightly), but no really warm days like we used to have at this time of year. The record high temperature for this day is sixty-nine degrees, which would definitely melt the snow, but the last two winter have featured just this steady temperature, with very little wind.

We’ve been doing some work out in the garden, though you probably couldn’t tell. Mostly filling bird feeders and stuff like that. And some raking. Here I am in kind of a show dog pose. I forget what I was looking at. I know the title of my post has snowdrops in it, so here are some. A few of these are very late; the guy I live with blames the one degree we had in October. Even the snowdrops growing in the frames were set back.

Okay, ready? This is a picture of Galanthus × valentinei nothosubspecies subplicatus.  No, really, that’s its name. This is a natural hybrid between Galanthus nivalis and G. plicatus subspecies byzantinus, found in, like, Thrace (Greece and Turkey).  Pretty much everyone knows Galanthus nivalis. The other species, G. plicatus, in its subspecies byzantinus, has been in flower in the guy I live with’s friend’s garden (to the north of here) for a couple of weeks now. (It’s only just up, here, because the soil was frozen.)

If you are wondering what the heck a “nothosubspecies” is, the guy I live with says that it designates a species, or in this case a subspecies, that’s the result of hybridization; in this case, in the wild.
Whew, huh? The next snowdrop is Galanthus fosteri. 

There are some other snowdrops almost in flower in the frames, but I thought it would be slightly interesting (the guy I live with said more interesting than that) to show some snowdrops out of flower, just because.
This is Galanthus peshmenii, which has been done flowering for quite some time. It’s an autumn-flowering snowdrop. You can see how long its leaves are; they come up after the snowdrop has almost finished flowering. This is Galanthus reginae-olgae ‘Cambridge’, which just finished flowering after being in flower since November (which was still late for it).
You can see that though both species have this grayish line down the middle of the leaves, this species has much shorter leaves.
DNA tests and stuff have shown that these two species are not very closely related at all.The only other interesting (not necessarily to me) snowdrop-frame-related subject is that the snowdrops near the front of the frame are still not up. I mean they’re up so we can see them, but normally some of them would have been up for a couple of months and already finished flowering. It must be because of that one-degree business.
All of the snowdrops that are not up were planted directly into the ground, instead of the gallon nursery pots that the others are planted in. You can see that most are barely up. I imagine that moving the bulbs into pots will be a spring project. I’ll watch. And, finally…there are snowdrops up in the garden. These are Galanthus elwesii ‘Theresa Stone’.It was a relief for me because I had to hear all this complaining about how cold it was, and frozen soil, and, well, whatever. There are snowdrops up in the garden now.

In other news, well, there isn’t much of any. The bed upstairs is pretty comfortable, and if I need to, I can look out the window to make sure no one is walking on my street. I do appreciate the fact that the guy I live with has been working on making this little bedroom extremely cozy. (He’s been fretting a lot about the downstairs bedroom and what to do about it.)

Just today I was lying up there, on the bed, as you can see, and the guy I live with came up there, sat on the bed with me, and said it might be nice if he read some stories to me.
See, most of the books there were his wife’s. When he looks at them, just sitting there on the shelves she built, he thinks things that I can’t even imagine. Sometimes he cries a little. He says, over the “lost magic”.  It sometimes gets to him. Losing something so infinitely precious. But then he says that’s the way of things, no matter how much he wishes it weren’t, in the same way that other humans do, and that maybe he could read something to me, and that would make things better. The books he picked out were his mom’s, though, and date from the late nineteen thirties.

The guy I live with said these would be good. I think I might like that. He said that he remembers seeing them in his grandparents’ house on Oakwood Avenue in Los Angeles, when he was a little kid. And now they’re here, in our house.
The one about the apple dumpling is about sharing, which the guy I live with says is very important, and, if you want, you can find a post about sharing on this blog, done by Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me.

That’s it, for today. My evening walks have been just a little chilly, at least according to the person who walks with me, but we did see the owl this evening. We go at around the same time every evening, after my dinner, and you can see by the sun on the pine needles that the days are getting longer, which is good.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me doing one of my most favorite things of all.

Until next time, then.

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still nothing

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here after rather a long absence just to say that we’re still around. You may remember me from such posts as “Selling Insurance”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Hardly anything has been happening here, which should explain the title of my post. It hasn’t been terribly cold, but not terribly warm, either. There was some wind, which the guy I live with said was weird, but also nice, and “Like the old days”, which I guess means way before I was born.

We mostly do just sit here. I go on walks, and the guy I live with cooks stuff, and activities like that, but mostly it’s nothing, which really is not bad at all.
In the evening we listen to music (at least he does); he sits on the couch with me. I usually drift off. We do go outside sometimes, though there isn’t much going on. The ice and snow is still here. Some of it was from the last week in October. This is not anywhere near like our “normal” winter weather, but it’s what we have now.
This is me surveying things. Sometimes there are things that need to be surveyed, and I’m the one to do it. I guess it’s kind of dreary. The soil is frozen, which I understand is not good at all; the cyclamen are certainly suffering. I know because I hear about it. I guess dreary really is the right word. Some of the little cactuses that the guy I live with grew from seed died after it got cold in October, even though they made it through the last couple of winters, but some others are still fine. They’re about the size of golf balls.

I forget if I told the story of all these seedlings, how he had like six hundred of them, and transplanted them into pure sand, then watered them, and they almost all died. (The water wicked back up into the pots.) These were the only ones that survived.
That was a while ago. I’m not sure why he doesn’t just give up; I think I would. You can see here that Sternbergia lutea is not suffering from frozen soil. 

It’s true that there are some snowdrops in flower in the frames. They’re hard to photograph, I guess, so you’ll just have to trust me. He goes out to look at the pots in the frames, which are “plunged” into ordinary garden soil.
There are some pots in which there are no snowdrops up, and there was a lot of discussion about this (he talks to himself, and to me, but I don’t know anything about snowdrops), and also a lot of digging around in the pots to try to figure out why some were up and some weren’t. He discovered that in the pots where snowdrops were up, the soil wasn’t frozen, and in pots where the soil was frozen, it was because the soil mix in the pots had what he calls “store bought gunk” in it. Stuff he bought that came in bags. His definition of gunk.
The pots where snowdrops are up, and some in flower, are ordinary garden soil, with some sand mixed in. No gunk.
You know, like the stuff you buy that’s called “compost” or “top soil”. It may be good for regular garden plants, but in cases where you need plants to grow and flower in winter, not good at all. It holds water which then freezes.

There are also some snowdrops which normally flower in November that aren’t even up yet, though they’re alive (he checked, by digging around). He said it might be because of where they are in the frames; they got too cold in October.

So, that’s the snowdrop story.
The guy I live with took a bunch of pictures of the hens and chicks in pots, because he likes the way they look in the winter. Maybe you will, too.
These are phone pictures and not super-focused, though they looked sharper before they were uploaded. It’s a mystery. There are some crocuses which look like they’re about to flower but I think they froze and are just standing there. Sometimes they do flower at this time of year if it’s warm enough, and if the soil isn’t frozen. (I keep hearing this refrain about frozen soil.)That’s pretty much it, though I suppose I should show owl pictures. We saw him today on our walk. His mate is in the tree next door but we didn’t see her. Forgot to look. The guy I live with said he finally figured out what was with the left eye. “Sleeping with one eye open”, he said.
So that really is a thing.

Now that definitely is all I have for today.


Until next time, then.


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