After a rainy day off allowed my iPhoto organization project, I have put together a slide show of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.
After a rainy day off allowed my iPhoto organization project, I have put together a slide show of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.
I had a rainy day off today so worked on my iPhoto. Deleted 10,819 photos from 2013 and 2014 (leaving a mere 30,000 which need to be culled some more). In the process, I organized some into potential through- the-year slideshows, so here is Marilyn’s in 2014. I thought I’d been clever enough to take a photo every time from the back of the garden, looking northwest. I hadn’t been all that clever, and so the perspective jumps around. Keep in mind that deer are frequent visitors to this garden.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
In Ocean Park, we had to fuel up with some coffee at the Kiss of Mist espresso drive through.
Marilyn’s Garden, Surfside
I was curious just how long it takes to get to Marilyn’s, our furthest job from home, so I let Map My Walk map our drive.
This is a good time to sadly reveal that the blue line has NOT meant Allan’s walk as compared to mine. Turns out the blue line is just a “segment” of my walk (or ride) that appears if I run my cursor over a list of segments on the side of the app. Sorry to have misled you all!
Map My Walk is also a little weird in that it implies I hared around all over the place on this job, into the house, and over into the neighbours’ yards. I swear that never happened!
If I can trust the mapping distance, it says I walked 4.08 miles, 9,754 steps, in three and a half hours at Marilyn’s garden. It certainly felt like that long of a distance is possible with the backing and forthing to put debris in the trailer.
I was thrilled, upon wading into the garden to clip, to find that the akebia I planted two or more years ago has finally evaded the voracious deer and climbed up an old snag tree.
The neighbour had wanted us to take down that snag and I kept it as that akebia was struggling to hard to get going on it.
Today, the neighbour wanted us to get rid of the English Laurel that has sprouted up (probably from a seed from a big one in her yard) near the property line. I said if it was on her side, she was welcome to cut it down, but if it was on Marilyn’s side, I wanted to keep it. While I am no big fan of English Laurel, I am a huge fan of “blocking the eye” at a garden’s edge unless there is a gorgeous view beyond, and it has been very hard to get anything evergreen other than slow growing evergreen huckleberry to “take” along this line, what with the deer chomping down the escallonia and other solutions that I have tried. I said we would keep it clipped, and asked Allan if he would bring it down to the height of the gutters.
I was weeding by the driveway. Soon I was crying out “Noooooo!” as he clipped the first of the three sprouts much lower than I had wanted.
So who wins the battle of pruning, the one with the clippers or the one who protests the loudest? At least the other two uprights were clipped the way I wanted them.
As you can see, by then we were done cutting down the ornamental grasses, which all needed clipping. It was a joy to take down the Solidago ‘Fireworks’ and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ that just broke off easily at the base with no clipping required.
Nothing but the big ornamental grasses have been truly successful at making a visual wall at the back of the garden, and of course, they are only tall in summer. I had thought of leaving the Buddleia (a sterile kind) up…but I just couldn’t.
I was delighted to have time to do some weeding and still be out of there in time to make it to the dump. I had not that we would get done that soon and figured we would have to keep a trailer load of debris overnight and deal with disposal tomorrow.
I had a visitor while doing the final weeding.
You can see the fig tree on the left against the house.
We worked at blazing speed and we were done in time for a trip to the dump, a 14 mile, 42 minute drive.
I have thought of making a debris pile at the south end of Marilyn’s garden, just where the garden slopes down. That is always BEFORE I realize again just how much debris the spring clean up creates. The dump scale showed we offloaded 240 pounds of debris.
We had time to do one more job at the end of the day.
Long Beach: Sid Snyder Way beach approach
We had some planters to clean up along this road to the beach. The first one was so bothersome to me that I thought “I am gonna have to dig this one out…next time”) and then found myself walking back to the van (which was parked by planter number two, on which Allan was working) to get the pick.
I have friends who smoke who will pinch their cigarette butts out and carry them away in their pockets rather than litter like this.
By now, Allan had joined me and he took care of the second to last planter.
At home, I had the best news of the past week. Bob Nold, of the Miserable Gardener blog (one of my two most favourite blogs), has a new puppy. You can meet Mani the puppy right here.
Next: a slide show post of Marilyn’s garden in 2014.
Posted in journal, private gardens, spring clean up | Tagged cats, hellebore, Long Beach (Washington), Marilyn's garden, Sid Snyder beach approach, Skooter, spring clean up, World Kite Museum | 1 Comment »
Monday, 23 February 2015
Today I thought I would paddle the upper Naselle River. I had looked at it and its current several times. I wondered if I could successfully paddle back to the launch or whether I would be walking back from downstream. Because we’ve haven’t had a day off for a while, I had a bunch of chores but finally arrived at the launch about 3:30 with two hours before sunset. The tide was still rising from 6 to 7 feet and would drop to 5 before I left.
Last time I boated the Naselle River, I started at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge, went around Stanley Peninsula and had to turn around a little past the 101 bridge.
I fortunately didn’t need to back up a boat trailer but this stuff was sticky. Trying to keep mud out of the boat, I discovered that the water near that bank was indeed deeper than my 15 inch boots. After tying the muddy wheels on the boat in case they were needed, I headed upstream. If I couldn’t make headway I planned to go ashore at the bridge and walk back. The GPS later said the current was 1.4 mph which is slower than the 3-5 mph I can paddle.
The first heron I actually got a picture of. They are usually very still while they watch me, then sound like what the movies think is a pterodactyl sound as they fly off.
Heard lots of little birds but very little other noise. Only the occasional car as there was a small road paralleling the river for part of the way.
The water was very calm and made for great reflections.
After a little over a mile there was shallow gravel all the way across. After a tow there was deeper water upstream.
Our gardening and blogger friend, Ann, had shared pictures of her father’s place on the river up here somewhere. I remember it had a monkey puzzle tree near the river and it was also near a fish counting station with a cable & basket over the water. At this point. the current seemed to get faster and I would need to get out and tow again. Cars were visible ahead on Highway 4 but I wasn’t getting to any of these goals today. I turned around.
This could be the same heron I interrupted earlier.
Back to the launch. I remembered the van getting stuck in soft grass on a job last week and knew I would not have been able to pull out a boat trailer through the mud today. Fortunately, my boat is light enough to not need a trailer.
The GPS told me I had gone 1.5 miles upstream and that the boat had reached a speed of 5.6 mph going downstream. With an hour of sunlight to go I was able to go one more mile downstream.
Heading under the Lewis and Clark highway that comes north from the Columbia river.
On January 4, a major rain storm washed out part of Highway 4 nearby and parts of this riverbank still looked de-vegetated.
This was the closest point to highway 4 for a while so I got out for a look.
The water was over 15″ deep here too.
Reminds me that my dad once boated down the Cedar River through Kent, which is south of Seattle, into Lake Washington. He mentioned that the parking lots, stores and malls are hardly visible at all from the river and the car noises are much quieter. The deep trench of this river didn’t allow me to find Ann’s monkey puzzle tree that I mentioned earlier or to see much of this pasture.
I could be seen though.
Now it was five miles and two hours later. There is a house on the right of the photo that overlooks the launch and further safety is provided by…
I spotted the zombie response vehicle at the local grocery when I arrived and later photographed it on the way out. It’s clearly owned by a worker, on their shift, there to protect us all.
Monday, 23 February 2015
After nine hours of exhausted sleep, I still found it rather hard to get going on my day-off garden projects. Allan headed off in the early afternoon to float his boat around somewhere.
What to do? The back patio certainly could use a good weeding:
In the spirit of procrastination, I was propping up the front fence telling a passing friend, landscaper Steve Clarke, how I planned to pull many the shotweed out of the front garden today, when my neighbours Jared and Jessika (of Starvation Alley Farm organic cranberry fame) appeared. I asked them if they would mind if I made a half moon edger line down their side of my east fence and they said it would be fine. So there was my day’s project, even though I had originally meant to spend the time removing fiddly little weeds. Because Jared and Jessika were bundling their dogs into their vehicle, it would be a good time for me to dig the edge on their side of the fence without making the dogs feel trespassed upon.
I had a walkabout while questing for the red wheelbarrow.
Allan is lucky he went boating or I would have asked him to totally remove that fuchsia/montbretia combo for me. I found the red wheelbarrow (just the right size so I don’t overfill it) in the bogsy woods with some river rock that Allan had been gathering for the swale.
By the gate into the neighbouring yard, I saw another project that needs doing: In several areas of the garden, I need to remove the rampant seedlings of “touch me not”, AKA jewelweed, policeman’s helmet, or wild impatiens, before it smothers good things.
The project began at 1:30.
Jared and Jessika plan to till out a bed here for planting beans to grow on the fence. Digging out the strip along the edge will benefit them, and it also greatly benefits me as the grass grows under the fence and makes the narrow garden bed on my side very hard to weed. I did the same sort of edging outside the west fence (Nora’s back yard) earlier this year. I have hope that the edging will help the maintenance with or without a bean bed. Last summer, I edged along the fence down by the gear shed and the line has held up well since then.
When the edging was done, my big plans for the day went awry as I went into the house, sat down, and did not manage to get up again for an hour or more. By then, the sun’s angle was blinding for seeing little weeds. I did remove some shotweed from the front garden, since I’d said I would, and then tried to return to the mission of weeding my side of the east fence. By then, I’d missed the warm and balmy afternoon and the soil was cold and I was mad at myself for losing so much time to sitting (not even reading, just goofing around looking at Facebook on my iPhone!)
I was reminded of this poem:
Timothy Took His Time
by Frieda Wolfe
Timothy took his time to school and plenty of time he took
but some he lost at the tadpole pool and more at the stickleback brook
ever so much at the linnet’s nest and more at the five bar gate.
Timothy took his time to school but he lost it all and was late.
Timothy has a lot to do, how can it all be done?
He didn’t get home ’til close on 2 when he might have been home by 1.
There’s sums & writing & spelling too and an apple tree to climb.
Timothy has a lot to do, how shall he find the time?
Timothy sought it high and low, he looked in the tadpole pool
To see if they’d taken the time to grow, that he’d lost on the way to school.
He found the nest and he found the tree and he found the gate he’d crossed
But Timothy never shall find (ah me!) the time that Timothy lost!
I dawdled a bit more by walking around admiring plants.
I am embarrassed to say that when watering in the greenhouse, I found a dried up little Garnet Wiegela from Todd, in a little pot in which I had planted it to give it time to grow on, and which had gotten shoved behind another plant and dried up. Sorry, Todd! Very careless.
I pondered whether to cut the hardy fuchsia, below, all the way to the ground, or just trim the ends off since the branches are putting out new growth. I like fuchsias to be tall. But the new basal growth looks lush. Such musings can use a lot of time.
You may note a lot of twiggy debris on the soil. I’m influenced by two gardeners in that regard. Ann Lovejoy recommended the “chop and drop” method of garden clean up. And Anne Wareham’s book The Bad-Tempered Gardener firmly makes the point that it is senseless to haul debris to a compost heap, let it break down, and then haul it back into the garden. Unfortunately, I cannot use this brilliant method of gardening at work because most of our gardens are public and people expect to see neat and tidy soil in winter.
I ponder how I could get more garden space by narrowing the lawn, but there is something comfortable and expansive about the wide swathe of green.
By now, you can just imagine how much of the time that I took out into the garden today has been lost without much getting done. At five o clock, I entered the fray of weeding the narrow east bed.
The first bit I tackled had that horrible grass, not couch or quack grass but another one with tiny, tightly meshed roots. It is tightly matted around the base of an old lilac, and the soil feels tight, too.
Adding some mulch would help loosen this soil so that the roots slip out easier. Right now, it’s a misery to weed in cold, damp soil.
Allan said last night that he wondered why gardeners back east, when reading Pacific Northwest gardening blogs, don’t all move here when they see how mild our winters are.
Because I got so much less accomplished today than I had wished, I long for tomorrow off, as well. It cannot be, because there are still gardens where we have not even begun spring clean up. I swear that next year I will have more time to spend at home where I am happiest. I swore that last year, too, and the year before. Life is short and I simply must figure out how to make it happen.
Next: Allan’s day off on the water.
Posted in journal, our garden, perennials, plants, private gardens, spring clean up | Tagged Clematis 'Crystal Fountain, Corylopsis pauciflora, crocus, deer, Drymis winteri, gardening, gardens, Hamamelis mollis, our garden, Pulmonaria, Ribes speciosum, spring clean up | 1 Comment »
Sunday, 22 February 2015
I was sure we were going to have a windy day off, a perfect day to sit indoors and read. But no, when I woke the predicted windstorm had not arrived. It became instead be the perfect day to finish weeding at the port (which is a hellish job in rain or wind). The forecast for later in the week is for “chances of rain”. So, a bit after noon, we went to work.
Port of Ilwaco
We had two curbside gardens left to weed at the port, after getting the others done earlier this month. Today we started at the east end, just in case wind from the east arrived in the afternoon to make the job unbearable. It became a hard slog by the end of this section, which was the weediest. (We had abandoned it to procrastination at the end of last year’s work season and now paid the price.) We filled all 17 of our five gallon buckets with weeds and clippings twice from this garden bed alone. This bed had very few poppy seedling so I will sow some later.
Unfortunately, an unhappy amount of damp soil went away with the weeds. When we get some mulch for Mayor Mike’s garden soon, we’ll split the load between his nearby garden and this bed, which has long needed a good mulching. By the way, it is best when weeding to not disturb the soil and expose weed seeds to light. This soil got well disturbed because the tiny weeds (grass, shotweed, dandelions) were so thick. All too soon the thin scrimmy horsetail will appear and mess up the clean appearance.
When we part way through weeding that garden bed, and time still seemed on our side, Allan’s boating friend Chris drove by with his new trimaran, heading for the boat launch. Allan looked so wistful that I said he should go have a look at the boat, and I would keep weeding. So he did, and brought back these photos to enliven the blog.
Back to gardening:
I had run out of steam before combing out the three blue oat grass in the foreground, above. I have kind of gone off that grass as it gets so tatty looking and am going to try a new one this year that I saw at Rhone Street Gardens: Schizachyrium ‘Blue Heaven‘.
Here is the “Map My Walk” for the easternmost curbside garden.
You can see how exposed that garden is to marine weather and why we prefer to do it on nice days. I walked 1.71 miles back and forth and round and round a garden bed that is perhaps half a block long.
As we left the east end garden bed, the sun was low in the sky, the clouds were dramatic, and I was experiencing anxiety over whether or not I would get the huge satisfaction of crossing Port of Ilwaco off of the February work list.
At 4:15, I was horrified when we arrived at the westernmost two curbside beds to see how weedy they were. I had hoped they’d have held up better from having been weeded in late November just before staycation began.
Closer inspection showed that some of the blanket of green is from reseeded poppies. This particular bed also has the scourge of creeping sorrel. (The leaves of that common weed are delicious and lemony…for what it’s worth.) I can’t explain why it means so much to me to erase a job from a work list…but it does, and I felt some despair that I was not going to be able to do the erasure.
I was so punchy by now that I often over-threw weeds, missing the buckets entirely, and requiring more sweeping up at the end. Just before dark, Allan made another run to the dump site as all buckets were full again but for three. I kept weeding and clipping santolinas.
The results were not up to my usual standards but will do for February, when passersby seem to be surprised to see us out gardening at all. They think it is because of the weather, not realizing that an early weeding will save a lot of work later on.
As we got in the van to drive on, the sun was setting over the Peninsula Sanitation building (the garbage collection company).
We weren’t done yet, though. I wanted to cross Ilwaco off, as well, which meant checking three planters at First Avenue and Spruce. We parked on First by the old Doupé Hardware building, now empty. Its windows showed a fantastical double image of the sunset.
The building behind Allan has been derelict for a few years, and has recently been acquired by an enthusiastic couple who have plans to restore it. From the article: You can see how much more interesting the building used to look.
As we returned to our van, and went to the debris dump spot for one last small offload, the spectacular sky kept my attention all the way.
Next: a day off, and I really mean it this time! We need it. I was so tired last night that I sat down and couldn’t find it in me to get up and close the curtains. Allan did, and then lay down and went to sleep for awhile in the early evening. Tonight, it took me an hour to find the strength to open the computer. A day off will set things right. And I got to erase two jobs from the work board (and added “March” so I won’t feel bad if we don’t get the list done by Saturday).
Saturday, 21 February 2015
As I left four work, the cat family of mother and two brothers was hanging out by the south window.
The Ilwaco boatyard garden was today’s target. Allan got started on it straightaway. I digressed to one block of planters and street trees that had not had their first check up of the year yet. The planters looked good with narcissi blooming, and some chickweed and little grasses needing to be pulled.
The Portside Café recently acquired new new owners. One of our neighbours was leaving there with two family members while I weeded under a street tree. and told me that the food was so wonderful that she gave the chef himself an extra tip. I’ve always loved the exterior; now I need to find time to give the food a try.
Closer to the boatyard, at First and Eagle, passing deer have nipped the tulips in the planter. There are certain deer crossroads, like one intersection in Long Beach, where they eat more than they do elsewhere in town.
I won’t be planting tulips in those planters next fall.
At the corner of First and Eagle, I’ve been watching one street tree slowly lean. There is nowhere to stake it, as it is in a small square surrounded by concrete (and is too big to stake anyway).
Allan pointed out that it is solidly in position and does not budge at all when pushed.
In the course of the one block of planters, I picked up this much trash in the grass next to the sidewalks:
Does this mean no other walkers pick up trash on their journeys? (My noble plan to do trash walks this past winter was thwarted by my overwhelming desire to just stay home.)
Finally, after an hour and a half, I was done with the six trees and eight planters that had been on my agenda and joined Allan at the boatyard garden. As I got down to work, the Life Flight helicopter flew over the oil tanks kitty corner from the boatyard and I wished the best to whoever was having a scary awful day.
Meanwhile, I was fortunate enough to be having a pleasant day at work next to a boatyard full of interesting sights. A radio played country music, which I at least find preferable to classic rock.
Steve, who lives on a sailboat in the marina came by with his dog Aleutia (a certified search and rescue dog).
Allan had already made some progress.
I came along behind, clipping santolinas and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle':
See that stem of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ on the ground toward the bottom of the photo? If I clipped it short and stuck it in the ground, it would probably root and make a nice new plant. Same with the clippings from the Santolina. I get overwhelmed with armloads of clippings and don’t have time to make a santolina cutting nursery. I have started a lot of them right in the ground, though, over time.
We’d noticed earlier, on drive-bys, that the center (slightly wider) section of the garden had a smashed down rosemary and flattened Stipa gigantea. I tried to imagine what had caused it. I forgot to take an after photo, although this one, looking back, shows it looking tidier:
By now, it was 3 PM and I was concerned that we would not get to the end of the boatyard before dark.
I had many, many more santolinas to clip. I lost count. I have two different kinds of silver ones, and green ones, and “Lemon Fizz’, the gold one that loves to revert to green.
By now, Allan had already made one trip to dump a full cart of debris. I had removed, with a pick, some goldenrod that someone had planted during the dark years when the garden was not mine. (The other thing that got planted then was a long row of pampas grass, which soon blocked half the sidewalk! It got removed, by backhoe, when I got the garden back.) I’d left the goldenrod for years and it had stayed somewhat well behaved; now it is running and had to go. The goldenrod roots I bagged up to throw in the trash, because I don’t want it to get started elsewhere. (I still use Solidago ‘Fireworks’ because it stays in a polite and well-behaved clump.)
Brief history of the boatyard garden: I started it as a volunteer in 1997 when I had a shady garden behind the boatyard; I wanted to improve the town and also to have a place for sunloving plants. In 2003, a new electrical line was laid, which required the digging up of the whole garden. I had many gardening jobs by then and the garden had become a burden to me, so I did not mind letting it go. Also, there was a scary man who had a boat in the yard at that time. He was known to be…disturbed…and he would mutter, from behind the fence, the most horrible things to me like “They knew what to do with people like you in Nazi Germany.” It made me not want to go there to work on the garden. (The demented fellow is gone now…thank goodness.) In 2011, the port hired me to bring it back the garden back thing of beauty, and here we are.
I am sure the weeding was less thorough as we rushed to get to the end before dark. Allan made another run to the debris field while I did the last of the weeding.
Unfortunately, big old horsetail lurks under the garden and will start popping up soon and then we will have to deal with that.
As we finished up, boats were coming in and out of the harbour.
I used Map My Walk again today and the app says I walked 3.83 miles on this job. The visible route, as usual, does not quite line up with reality, as all of it took place outside the boatyard fence:
See the trees in the lower left, above? That’s where our old house is, the original Tangly Cottage Garden.
Around the curve of the road, where it turns into Howerton, just past the lower right corner, we have a curbside garden yet to weed.
At home, even though dusk was softening up the outlines, I took a photo of our pink tree to show its form. Tomorrow, we are said to be due for 40 mph east wind and we may lose some blossoms.
I thought I was going to get the deep satisfaction of erasing Ilwaco from the February work list…till I remembered there are still two planters unchecked over on Spruce Street. Drat! And the Port of Ilwaco remains on the list till we get the last two garden sections cleaned up along Howerton Way.
Posted in container gardens, journal, public gardens, spring clean up | Tagged Ankeny Street, Artemisia 'Powis Castle', boats, container gardens, gardening, gardens, Ilwaco, Ilwaco boatyard, Ilwaco boatyard garden, Port of Ilwaco, Portside Café, Santolina, spring clean up | 1 Comment »