Acorns, chipmunk and roses

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Autumn afternoon sun with long shadows–and almost Halloween.

autumn sun long shadows

I like the mood, but it can switch quickly to rain showers.

And, rather like the rain, acorns have also been falling. There are enough accumulated on the ground now to be a traction hazard when you walk around.


What are they thinking, those oak trees? Was it the hot, romantic summer, or just a sudden need to procreate which overwhelmed every tree all at once? Maybe only the chipmunk knows–because there is, for the first time, a chipmunk, and he is getting acorns while the getting is good.

The munk, as I call him, is lightning fast. Here is where he was four seconds ago:

no chipmunk

Really I don’t get too close to chipmunks since that time I was on a camping trip when I was six, and I cleverly cornered a chipmunk up against a pine tree so I could pet him. He sank two little teeth into my finger, just like a vampire…

But knowing how you like pictures (and I like pictures), I made a sketch for you. I took artistic license with the tail, which was wider than I expected but maybe not quite so wide as in the portrait. But note the smile, and the little tongue, which are absolutely accurate.

greedy chipmunk

Anyway, I suppose there will be billions of oak trees sprouting in all the flower beds next year.  (And you wanted to worry me over the uncontrolled offspring of my mimosa tree.)

Speaking of oak trees…

Here is one of the Round Beds. It already has three happily established little Oregon native oak trees in the center, a veritable grove.

pre-rose bed

I have recently (like last weekend) reset the rocks at the edge, cultivated around the little trees and worked compost into the soil, in preparation for roses:

Rose TuscanyI used to grow  this rose, called Tuscany, of the deepest dark red/black, velvety and fragrant, a 16th century variety. It was lovely but a frantic colonizer with a depth of ambition that would put Lady Macbeth to shame. (I have the one plant contained now, at the base of a maple tree, under 24-hour surveillance by a guard with pruning shears and a shovel.)

Then I had a thought: if bamboo can be coralled in an island bed, why not Tuscany?

So the oak tree bed is set to become covered in Tuscany roses, hemmed in by the lawn mower, a blanket of velvet red in spring and typically healthy, vibrant dark green foliage all summer. (Difficult to type with crossed fingers…)

To this end, I have potted some starts in the greenhouse:

Tuscany rose cuttings

Altogether I have about seven of these little rose beginnings, some are cuttings and some kidnapped volunteers, waiting to be planted out in the spring. With their speading tendencies, I calculate that in a couple of summers the bed will be filled. And then in only about 93 more years the three oaks will tower above it.  Won’t that be nice?

(I always get hopeful like this in the fall.)

greenhouse and October


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in greenhouse gardening, roses, trees and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Acorns, chipmunk and roses

  1. Thank you for providing a laughing distraction JUST when I’d cleared my desk (yes at 6:24 pm), having JUST insisted to myself that I had to stop procrastinating and get to work today (yes. at 6:24 pm). Now my monkish mind has skittered off to thoughts of roses and I CAN’T FIND IT.

    • linniew says:

      So happy to be of help Stephanie. Because a controlled and disciplined mind is a terrible thing, which actually can cause blindness, just like your mom said, or kinda like what your mom said…

  2. kininvie says:

    I do like your roses. Linnie. Every time you write about one, I think I Must have that. And then I remember that roses and I don’t really see eye to eye. But you know, I think you need bigger pictures. In fact I think your blog deserves bigger pictures. Because what’s the point in being a great writer unless you have big pictures too?

    • linniew says:

      That was my only and blurry photo of Tuscany, recycled from about June. WordPress muddies the images anyway it seems.

      I’m not sure how big pictures are tied to great writing Kininvie. Maybe when I accomplish great writing the pictures will improve as well. I’m actually thinking of making short Youtube garden movies to put in this blog. Might that benefit the word part, do you think, or at least distract from it?

  3. Holleygarden says:

    Love the pic of where the chipmunk had been! hahaha And that rose – oh, just gorgeous! And a great plan of keeping it contained with a lawnmower buzzing around her. I can imagine the bed just as you hope it will be.

  4. Katie says:

    93 years from now your toddler oaks and all those weedy oak seedlings might cast a little shade on the ‘Tuscany’ thicket that may be all that remains of your garden. If you had to pick, which plants would you choose to carry on the spirit of your garden? Just a thought.

  5. I like the idea of planting for future generations (or ourselves, if modern medicine suddenly finds a way for us all to reach 300 years without decrepitude), and I too have a) some small oak trees that I am grooming to look great in 100 years – or why not be ambitious; 1000 years! – as well as b) oak sapplings dotted across the lawn, the flower beds and wherever else the squirrels decide to dig down their acorn stashes and forget all about them. Really, my squirrels ought to pay mor attention to where they put their acorns!

    I do hope you vanishing chipmunks are more disciplined – and perhaps less ferocious than the one you met when you were 6.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Søren — Yes, someone should provide squirrels and chipmunks with maps and little marking pens so they might have some hope of relocating their buried picnics. But I am not surprised to hear of your thoughtful preservation of oak seedlings. The trees in the round bed will read as shrubs for quite a while, but already they are taller than the coming roses!

      • Oaks are native to this area, and the oldest oak tree around here is somewhere between 1500 and 2000 years old, so they have a certain claim to the land, I think. (Not so with the birch trees that sow themselves even more aggressively than the oaks; the oldest birch around here is probably not much more than 100 years old, so those new-comers had better know their place!)

  6. Hurray for your drawing!
    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes is my favourite Beatrix Potter book – and a chipmunk is its (sort of) hero.

  7. I love this posting. The message of planting for future generations is so.o.o important. P. x

    • linniew says:

      We gardeners are planting anyway, so why not include a few long-term commitments, right Pam? Then someday some future home buyer might walk around outside, wondering whether to make an offer, and that person might be a gardener or a potential gardener and might see those three oak trees, now tall and sacred looking, and the person might think that yes, this is the sort of garden where children could grow too, and then he or she would buy the property, and adore the Tuscany roses (which will outlive us all) and also the by-then ancient grape vines, and especially the ferns. (I just love how this is my blog and I can make stuff up here.)

  8. Alberto says:

    I love the mood and the filtered light of your garden! You already have a tapestry of yellow leaves to kick in the air when you have a walk. Here trees are still all green and some of them are setting new buds utterly out of season, somebody must have stolen the autumn here…
    Anyway remember it’s never (ever!) too late to plant a tree. Indeed it’s never too late to take some drawing classes too…. 😉 I love Tuscany rose, its fragrance, its deep colour… Planning a full bed of it was a grat idea!

    • linniew says:

      Alberto! Wonderful to hear from you. I knew you would appreciate the crop of Tuscany roses. And I couldn’t agree more about my lack of drawing ability. Really I’m not certain how that doodle got in there and I’m starting to suspect Tillie.

  9. Chipmunks are so cute but hide a destructive nature as our masonry bills can attest. Don’t lots of acorns mean a long cold winter?

    • linniew says:

      Oh Carolyn, you mystic you. But it sounds good to me– I have a lot of firewood on hand and could use a little snow. Maybe I’ll bring it up with the chipmunk if I see him again.

  10. I was thinking, if you trained the munk (of funk?) to gnaw at lady macbeths roses to keep them in check perhaps that might work. I do like your drawings, very life like and perhaps when your novel is published it will be both a literary and art feast? The gardens looking very autumnal, where’s Max’s Halloween costume? That would finish the scene nicely! Gorgeous pictures, mr o or your good self?

    • linniew says:

      Well my Fay, I just really like that chipmunk idea. I see maybe a brace of munks, in harness, moving round the bed nibbling at the earthy roots. But we can’t get our terriers to work like that so where’s the hope? I take the photos, with Mr O’s big complicated camera which I set to “auto” or else they all turn out white, or possibly black. Max is hiding from his costume.

  11. Grace says:

    Your hope is contagious. Your idea for a Tuscany grove is wonderful. I have ‘Rose de Rescht’ (sp?) “grove” already. When I planted it, as a rooted cutting, I had no idea how it would spread. Oh well. RdR is very to Tuscany in its spreading tendencies. I love it!

    Your banner photo is stupendous. I love the foliage colors and the hardscapes behind them. Very nice. I went out to take photos of trees during my lunch hour today. The blue sky and sunshine are just incredible, aren’t they? I think I appreciate the blue sky even more now that we’ve had a few dark, dreary days.

    I love chipmunks. They are so dang cute and their fur is so pretty with those dark stripes down the back. Unfortunately my outdoor cat has a palate for such delicacies so we don’t see them very often. When we do, I cheer for them and send my cat indoors, much to his consternation.

    Enjoy your sunshine and every other little thing!

    • linniew says:

      I am glad to give you hope, Gracie. (Not like the guilt of spreading a cold.) Yes this was a glorious day! I missed part of it taking the elderly step-parent to a doctor appointment, but he (the elderly) is doing Extreme Age (93) so I did the deal. Still I managed to plant two cedar trees and move a very large star jasmine, but I didn’t earn a dime doing it so you did better. Max loves the chipmunk too and wants so much to kill it. But like I said, it rockets around and the terrier can’t keep his eyes on it much less catch it.

  12. I love chipmunks but have never seen them here. Just obese squirrels barely faster than my dogs. That rose is gorgeous! We have tons of acorns, too. Maybe it’s a sign that we’re going to have a real winter instead of the Spring-ter we had last year, which was a giant pain in my sphincter since I didn’t get any snow days.

    • linniew says:

      Well I’m hoping for snow days too–nothing to do with school or teaching but rather an elevated cozy factor and quite a bit of hot chocolate with brandy in it. Not sure I’ve ever seen a fat squirrel here– but then they also often wear those spandex running outfits so I guess they are kind of into fitness.

  13. Roberta says:

    The season of long shadows is upon us, isn’t it? All of the things that thrive on cool temps are popping out of the ground and I can hardly keep up. I wish I had a mushroom collecting chipmunk or squirrel or grackle for that matter. I’m inundated with the things. Your art skills are impressive by the way. You might consider an entire post illustrated with your drawings!

    • linniew says:

      I cannot believe all the stuff you have growing for “winter” in Texas, more than I managed in summer. Google says grackle is a bird–it sounded like some kind of puffy granola… I guess we don’t have grackles here. If I ever post another drawing I will be certain to blame you Roberta, and I heartily thank you for that option.

  14. Alistair says:

    Hi Linnie, if there was an award for the happiest, cheeriest garden blogger I would nominate you, well I dont really know you but you always wash away the Monday blues for me. Alvin looks just as I remembered him from all those years ago, there I go, reminiscing again. Oh and your Autumn garden pics look fab.

    • linniew says:

      Such kind words Alistair, and appreciated. And of course I remember Alvin too, little trouble-maker 🙂

      We are all anxiety-ridden today, worrying about the hurricane that is dancing off our eastern seaboard. It’s far from me, but such a lot of power bearing down on a densely populated area. Keep all fingers crossed for that bit of our planet!

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