Thursday, 20 November 2014
I was shocked to awake this morning to nice-ish weather. The plan had been to do the Nelly bulbs project on a rainy day as it was a garden shed job. I wanted to get the Port and the Boreas done instead! I thought, however, that Nelly might have some outdoor projects in mind as well, and when we arrived at her house just two blocks down the street, I was right. The dahlias had gone down from frost and they and some other perennials needed clipping.
Nelly told me that someone had given her a start of the running blue aster years ago and she has been trying to get rid of it ever since.
Allan would also be the one to dig the flowerpots of bulbs back into the ground.
Nelly came out to the shed to show me her bulbing method, and also told us there had been a misunderstanding last time, one that is of a type so familiar to me. She asked her spouse, Don, to come out and tell us to cut down “the pink flowers”. He did so, and pointed to Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, in the center of the square bed, above. I said “Are you sure? Some poeple like to look at the dried flower heads all winter.” He was sure. Turns out what Nelly meant was to cut to the ground the two escallonia shrubs along the back that Don had partly pruned. Escallonias have pink flowers, too!
I’m tempted to find some flowerheads in my garden of the sedum and stick them in with the clipped plants in that center bed so that Nelly can see them from her kitchen window. It would be easy to do and a fun surprise. At first, I thought of adding whole plants, and then realized just the strong-stemmed flat flower heads would do.
I started the bulb project. Nelly showed me that she dumped out each pot of tulips or narcissi or hyacinth in a round plastic dish, removed the bulbs, then placed them back in the pot on top of some of the old soil mixed with bone meal, and filled in with new potting soil from a bag.
It did not take me long before the work area looked like this:
Nelly has good luck getting tulips to rebloom this way. The pots get pulled out of the ground after blooming, sit by the side of the garage on a plank all summer, and get put into the garden shed before fall rains come, ready to be resorted and placed back out in the garden again. They had been labeled “kitchen” (under kitchen window), “garage” (a narrow bed beside the garage) and “garden’; over the summer, a helper had pulled the labels out so there’s no telling what the colour mix will be.
Fortunately, I can at least tell tulips, narcissi and hyacinth bulbs apart.
I had enough spare narcissi bulbs (due to the way they multiply) to put some little ones along the narrow wooden planter by the back steps.
In the summer, perennials and dahlias blowse out and cover the spots where the bulb pots go in the fall through spring.
I had a client back in Seattle who did the same thing but replaced the pots of spring bulbs with pots of annuals in the summer.
Meanwhile, he had cut back the escallonia level with the ground. I think Don will just mow over it and turn it into a lawn path; the shrubs were placed where it would be more natural to have a walk- through.
I know from having done the same thing to two big escallonias at the Wiegardt Gallery that if they are cut level and then any new sprouts taken off, the shrubs will disappear. If left alone and not mowed over, they might resprout and grow again.
When I went in to say the job was done, Nelly was pleased at how quickly we had accomplished it. She showed me her latest quilt in progress.
Nelly has been a member of the Peninsula Quilt Guild for over 20 years.
I admired their wood stove. Although it is not an antique, it was built from an Amish design. I thought it would keep the kitchen warm when the power goes out in storms; Nelly said unfortunately, strong winds make the chimney backdraft so it’s not helpful in a windstorm power outage.
Port of Ilwaco
We still had some hours of daylight left and the predicted rain had not arrived, so we went down to finish the port gardens.
Meanwhile, I clipped a few plants in the garden bed on the south side of the port office.
In the photo below, you can see a black crane (not the bird) in the far distance, behind the boats.
That’s the US Army Corps of Engineers dredge, which is working on keeping the port channel deep enough for boats. Nancy Beesley, who works at the Port Office and co-administrates the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page with me, took some photos of the dredge yesterday, which I think you will like to see. You can read more about it in this recent article.
Back to today: Don Nisbett was at his art gallery next door to the Port Office, so I got a chance to deliver Jenna’s two bags of biochar soil right to his truck.
Ok, back to work. We drove east down Howerton to the garden by the Ilwaco Pavilion where I knew a gaura waited to be cut down.
While Allan went to the field east of the marina to dump debris, I did some weeding of maddening little grasses in the easternmost bed. There is still a little scrim of tiny green grass here and here. It can wait now till February; Allan commented that to him, it just looks like moss.
We were running out of daylight so I resisted scenic photo opportunities in order to try to get one more job done.
We had an hour and a half-ish till dark to drive up to Long Beach and do some clipping back and weeding at the Boreas Inn garden.
We worked like mad and managed to get the job done enough to say that the garden is put to bed for the winter.
I was so focused on finishing that I did not realize until we got into the van that it had been raining lightly.
Of course, we had to reward ourselves with our traditonal Thursday dinner at the Cove. I texted fellow gardener Ed Strange (Strange Landscape Services) who joined us.
Allan and I both got the Thai Beef Curry. It smelled so good that we both tucked in before I took a photo.
Because of living in a small town area, we saw Lisa of the Hydrangea House, Seaview Patti, and Basket Case Fred also out for dinner.
At home, I had the sheer delight of erasing almost all jobs from the work board:
We now can declare staycation can commence. We are due for some rainy days which may delay the final check up of Marilyn’s garden for a few days. The Depot window box clean up is contingent on the annuals finally dying. The planting of the memorial garden and the mulching of Golden Sands are projects for 2015, and the post office is volunteer, and here is home, so theose mulching projects don’t count as work.
Time to put our feet up and watch telly. We’d like to finish the Bill Nighy show (Page Eight) that we’ve been too tired to finish for the last two nights, and then there’s Hell’s Kitchen, a truly silly show and yet I will watch pretty much anything by Gordon Ramsay.
I see a problem, though. I’m not sure there is room in my chair.