the tour guide

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Still Roasting”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. The guy I live with said I “looked like a loon”. I’d been naughty, and I was getting a lecture. Lectures are really tiresome, if you didn’t know.

The lecture wasn’t very long, because the guy I live with knew what a good boy I’d been yesterday, when the garden was on tour. In fact he used the term super-angelic to describe my behavior.

He fretted a lot about the tour before it happened, and worried that I might dash through the garage door, because everyone had to come through the garage, and that I wouldn’t like having a whole bunch of people in my back yard, and at first I thought it was pretty terrifying, but it turned out that I really enjoyed showing people around our garden. I’m really an excellent tour guide.

There were times when the guy I live with was on the patio, talking to his friend, who came over, too, or to other people on the patio, and he couldn’t see where I was, and started to wonder, and then he discovered that I was out in the “way back” with visitors, showing them various parts of the garden you can’t see from the patio. And also leading people away from the areas that hadn’t been weeded. The guy I live with said that Chess, the purebred border collie who live here before me, did that, too.

It was a lot of fun, but I was really tired at the end of the day. The tour lasted for eight hours. It was ninety-four degrees Fahrenheit (about thirty-four Celsius), with eight percent humidity. The guy I live with said that was “excellent weather” but it was really too hot for me.

Today was a little cooler, but overcast, and so there were complaints. The guy I live with said the weather was supposed to be dry all this coming week, and not as hot as it was yesterday. It was still pretty hot today, if you ask me. So he’s going to get his way with the weather, for a little while at least.

The garden is getting kind of jungly. You can probably see why the Asphodeline lutea stole the show yesterday.The area that’s called “the lawn” is being filled up with plants like sphaeralceas. This is one called…something. The guy I live with says it’s Sphaeralcea fendleri, or maybe a hybrid of it. It has another name, too, like “desert this” or “sunset that”. It will get much taller.

The big rose, Rosa kokanica, has completely blocked the little path called “Pooka’s Shortcut”. (The mulleins are Verbascum densiflorum.)It’s having a very good year, even if it is blocking the path, and you can smell it from anywhere in the garden. The guy I live with was very pleased with the way Salvia rosifolia looks, even if the flowers are pretty small. He grew this from seed he bought from one of the Czech seed collectors.

And this mystery salvia was identified by a salvia expert on Facebook.

It’s Salvia chrysophylla, from Turkey. Growing in “completely the wrong place”. Of course.

The biggest deal, though, and I realize it may seem like nothing, but it really is a big deal here, is how well the California poppies are doing this year. The guy I live with said he would be happy if the garden were filled with them, even if nothing much of anything else happened this summer. This one was supposed to be ‘Red Chief’, but maybe isn’t.It turns out that California poppies can be annuals or perennials, which is kind of weird. They’re mostly perennial here, but not very long-lived perennials (like most other perennials except for bindweed). We still think of them as annuals, though.

The guy I live with explained to me that annuals are really popular right now, but that he prefers the kind that just grow, without having to water them every single day.

I think that’s it for today. The patio is really cool and I like to lie outside at night after a hot day, and maybe chew on a pine cone (even though that’s technically something that I’m forbidden to do).

Until next time, then.



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some like it hot

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with (who’s supposed to be weeding), and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “A Two-Nap Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose. This picture was taken the other day.It wasn’t on the same day as the one where I was closer to the shed, but days here can seem a lot alike if we don’t do anything special, or if the weather is the way it can be. Every now and then we have a really nice day, but mostly it’s been dark here.

And, it looks like the gigantic ants are gone. The guy I live with said there were a total of seven ants, which sounded like a lot to me. He says it wasn’t.

Here are pictures were taken when it was “darker than it ought to be”. Asphodeline lutea, again. Eriophyllum lanatum, “Oregon sunshine”.  One of our favorite plants. The rock garden, with grass growing through everything.The guy I live with weeded there today, and got very frustrated. He says he’s going to find someone, like maybe in the phone book, who can come up with a curse he can put on the grass, and it will just wither away and die. Instead of trying to pull it out, one stubborn stalk at a time.

The lawn in the “way back” was newly reseeded with buffalo grass.  (The operating theory here is that if the grass seed is sown because it’s been raining so much, then the rain will stop….) The part on the right is too shady for buffalo grass, so more geraniums (Geranium macrorrhizum) will be planted there. Really, though, the guy I live with intensely dislikes cloudy, dark weather, and says it’s a “betrayal of the idea of summer”, which, according to him, should be hot and dry. Temperatures of ninety degrees (about thirty-two Celsius) are best, because then the chance of thunderstorms is zero, and the humidity goes down. It isn’t very humid here anyway, but the humidity does go down as the temperature rises. At ninety degrees Fahrenheit the humidity might be five percent.

We both realize that not liking something over which we have no control at all is pretty silly.

If it thunders a lot, I get frightened, and sometimes I go to the guy I live with for comfort.It’s been rainy and cool here so often that the hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii, got rust–again–and so the whole little tree was removed. Just like that. (The hawthorn was also planted too close to the juniper; we think this is cedar-hawthorn rust.) True, the guy I live with is a very fickle gardener, but the hawthorn got rust every spring.

Every now and then (I know I’m rambling a little), the sun is out, and these two pictures were taken when it was. Yesterday, I think. The wrought-iron thing that held the solar lamp (which apparently has given up the ghost) is indeed crooked.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ has started to flower. It usually stops during the summer, and then starts flowering again when autumn comes–if it rains. (If you enlarge this picture you can see the tiny bee on the bottom flower.)The guy I live with was going to order some more hens-and-chicks but didn’t get around to it, but he said he might order them later in the year. He took this picture of one growing in a pot. (I see the oxalis growing there….)And you know what? Remember my post, “A Sad Farewell”, where the guy I live with was certain that the big desert willow in the front yard had died? It started leafing out a few days ago, and not just down at the bottom like last year. The woody thing in the lower left is the old trunk. The guy I live with says that this plant (Chilopsis linearis) loves hot weather. I’ve already heard the rant about how summers are supposed to be hot, because we’re closer to the sun, and stuff like that.

Here, taken as the sun was going down, is a picture of Oenothera caespitosa.  Another favorite plant. The flowers open at dusk. In other words, they’re crepuscular. The flowers are scented of lemons.I really did ramble, didn’t I? You should see me on my walks, if you think this was super-rambling. I guess I’ll let you go now, with a picture of me looking a bit wistful.

Until next time, then.






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