Archive for Apr, 2007

Yesterday and today we worked on two of the three berms in Long Beach’s east parking lots.  Because we were able to plant all sorts of interesting shrubs and perennials there, the job, while tedious, felt enjoyable because we were able to examine and enjoy the plants close up.

We concluded the day with weeding the Ilwaco boatyard garden, formerly a volunteer project of mine.  Once upon a time it was thick with fascinating plants but had to be removed when a new fence and electrical lines were installed.  After that, it was redone by the port with round rocks over landscape fabric and, mostly, pampas grass.  While it was no harder to weed than the berms, I spent much time pondering how much pain I was in, and how bored…because there are few interesting plants there and while I adore river rock, I had again the revelation that if a garden offers no opportunity for the planting and observation of new plants, I find no pleasure in it other than the  “job well done” moment at the end.

There is one pleasant aspect of weeding the round endless rocks; the place where we dump the debris, at the east end of the port, offers lovely views.  [2012 note:  I’m happy to report that by 2012, the boatyard garden has been nicely revived and redone without the river rock!]

east side of port of Ilwaco

Back to a happier day in Long Beach: earlier this week while I “walked the trees” (checking all the street tree gardens), Allan did a lovely job of bringing the monument circle in Coulter Park back to an attractive look, including the planting of two Eryngium (sea hollies), one my favourite perennials.

before and after in Coulter Park

An excellent weeding job, before and after, with Tulip ‘Angelique’, backed with a ‘Helmond Pillar’ barberry and blue oat grass

(The World Kite Museum moved to Sid Snyder Drive)

And not too surprisingly, I close with yet more shots of the now waning Long Beach Tulip festival: The Tulip viridiflora in front of Dennis Company and two Rembrandt tulips  backed with the Long Beach ferris wheel.

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Today we bracketed Jo’s garden with a morning and afternoon visit to Discovery Heights.  Perhaps because I am not good at taking breaks while working, an enforced break whilst riding between jobs helps reduce the end of day soreness, and Jo had called with a special request that we help plant her geraniums.  Of course, as always, she had a lovely selection of annuals for her windowboxes and for the geranium borders along the guest cottage; Allan planted the ground level borders while I went around the garden weeding and pruning and Jo and Bob filled and planted containers.

Above left: Jo’s new plants and waiting containers.  Above right: Allan plants for Jo.

We had begun in the middle garden at Discovery Heights and ended in the lower garden.  Rich M, one of the “MSW” developers, had done a marvelous job of weedeating without whacking the siberian iris and daylilies planted at the base of the rock walls.

Discovery Heights

Finally, the lower garden is about to burst into exuberant growth. Hmm, I would like to plant that hill opposite with trailing cotoneaster and ceanothus and kinickkinick. Next fall I could do that with cuttings.

I am crazy about the way the plants are freely spilling over the rocks, three springtimes after planting 4 inch size cotoneasters, prostrate ceanothus, and my beloved pine-scented geranium macrorrhizum. The crevices contain interesting sedums and an increasing supply of Fragaria ‘Pink Panda’ and ‘Lipstick’ (pink flowered ornamental strawberry).  I am looking forward to getting back there on Sunday because we get to put a satisfactory rock edge along the back of the upper garden to finally give it some definition.

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Today we continued with an ongoing job that I have not mentioned much but which has taken at least a bit of time on several days: the continued pruning and moving things way from the fence at the Shelburne Inn to facilitate repair of the damage caused by the truck. Bill Clearman has made new pickets to match the old, and we are making way for him.  A brand new empty palette to fill with lovely plants will open up when he is done, but it might seem too disheartening to photograph the garden the way it is now.  There are plenty of other pretty areas to admire than just along the fence.

Then on to Joanne’s garden where we did extensive weeding and planted some bonus Siberian iris, either blue or white, along the stream.  Allan did a brilliant job of weeding the round rocks along the stream and pond edges; they did not show at all before under a mat of bird’s foot trefoil and small reeds.

And finally, a check for deadheading at the Red Barn whiskey barrels.  We had never been there in the late afternoon, and at five pm the barn was bustling with horselovers and parked with a line of trucks, some with amusing horse related bumper stickers. (Something about having spent all one’s money on one’s horses.)  I appreciate gardening with a horsey view.

In fact, I might prefer a horsey view even to a beautiful bay or ocean view.

 The day was tiresomely grey and drizzly despite promised clear weather.

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Monday at Mom’s garden: More talk about having a house built and moving there to help her out.  More thoughts about how much I love my pond and shady garden even though the sunniness of her garden appeals to me.

Mom’s springtime garden

She has collected some wonderful plants which i do not have: Fritillaria pallida (left, above) and Camassia (right, above). I would have to raise some beds in a naturalistic attempt to change elevations and would simply have to install a water feature.  And one must consider how my cats would adjust to the move. Would I be able to convince her to not plant gladioli in every bed? She said it will be MY garden if we move in, but she must have some of it to be her own. Allan might have a better workshop area there and I believe he would very much enjoy that her house is bigger than this one! At this point, there is no money for building a second house so it is just a fantasy.

Onward to the Long Beach beach approach where we transplanted some Verbascum, the woolly leaved yellow kind, of which mom had an overflow. Again I was obsessed with the beauty of those Tulip battalinii; here are only two views of them out of several studies in apricot.

Tulip battalinii

Tuesday the 24th:  Rain, and a meeting with Lorna of Andersen’s RV Park to discuss what to plant in a new blank area and around the sign.  Over the new septic field I am going to plant shallow rooted sweeps of daylilies, grasses, and bright perennials like Gaillardia and Rudbeckia and some late blooming Heleniums, I’ll keep adding to the daylily collection as I find new ones.  My inspiration for planting such a stalwart plant is that in the center of the sandy field, a daylily (Stella D’Oro no doubt) has popped up, surely from a tuber that got moved around while the new septic area was dug, and there she grows in the completely unimproved plain white sand, looking vigorous as can be. In the rain, we went to Seaside (with a stop at delicious Mexican cafe The Stand on the way) and shopped for that and other projects, finding most of the plants I needed although only seven cultivars of daylilies.  I might order a few special colourful daylily cultivars from Snow Creek Daylilies, and it may not be too late to divide a couple of mine: I have ‘Cranberry Baby’, and a dark maroon ‘Chicago’ one, and some pale lemony ones…’Ice Carnival’. I hope they can take dividing now that they are rather tall and vigorous. Also, I found that exciting new Echinacea ‘Double Decker’ (pricey!) and some Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ in wonderful condition.  And for myself, one plant (what willpower!): Thalictrum ‘Illuminator’ which I found years ago in Seattle but planted it too far under the huge shady spruce (the bane of my own lower garden’s design) where it dwindled away. Allan bought one small plant for his shady rockery, a darling early fairy-like pink flowered one whose name I have forgotten. (Allan is out riding his Moto Guzzi to see if it still works well since he is planning to go on a “Poker Run” up and down the Columbia River roads next Saturday.)

plant acquisitions

Perhaps we really do need a larger car for plant shopping….I loaded the dayliles first and then tucked all the small potted plants in and around their foliage.  After careful unloading and sorting, all survived the mishmash in excellent shape. Not a broken leaf!

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Friday we checked on a number of different gardens from Long Beach to Discovery Heights and weeded and cleaned up some of the streetside gardens along Howerton Way at the Ilwaco Harbour Village: the port gardens, the Port Bistro restaurant, and Time Enough Books.

(left) at the McD drivethrough in Long Beach, yellow Tulip ‘Big Smile’ has stood up well to all the recent storms. Note to self: plant them more thickly next year for a more vivid display.

(right) The same Tulip giving us a big smile from the boat in the Time Enough Books garden.

When we went into the bookstore to get Allan’s present for his sister Pam, we found something more exciting even than plants:  The owners are fostering a Boston Terrier puppy. Their sweet golden lab, Harper, loves the puppy and particularly enjoys trying to share the bottle, then carefully licks all the milk off of the well-fed sleepy puppy’s face.

Saturday morning Allan and I joined the Grassroots Garbage Gang’s beach clean up session.  The rain had slowed from an early morning storm and it did not occur to me to suit up in rain pants, a decision which I later regretted (as did Allan, who made the same ill-fated choice.) Indeed, the rain returned in force.  I had two winter scarves wrapped around my head because I do find hoods so uncomfortable and lacking in clear visibility.

Allan hauling soggy garbage…and a landscape design by mother nature

Because the beach between the Seaview approach and the creek had been well cleaned, we walked back via the Discovery Trail, where Allan pointed out the sort of naturescape that inspires the driftwood decoration of gardens.

We arrived at the Senior Center almost too late for the thank you lunch provided for the beach clean up volunteers; it had become quite absorbing to go just a little bit further up the beach for another cluster of bottles and cans. Then home, warmth and dry clothes and some email time and later a delicious dinner  at the Depot Restaurant.

At home the next morning I had a very slow start involving sitting in a chair by the pond for at least an hour, counting the new fish babies (fifteen or more!)  Later I pruned a large and overly rampant honeysuckle.  I found a baby offshoot of my Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’, just about my favourite plant of the year, which caused a greater shout of glee than even the baby fish because a Tetrapanax ‘SG’ costs about $30 to buy. A few more brief pond chair sitting sessions were necessary to get through the day, but I finally got my birthday present from Allan (five bales of compost!) spread in my new raised garden bed.

Allan pruning the last sword fern on the Big Rock

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All the public gardens of Long Beach are featuring tulips as the main floral attraction, a show that should continue into May. On the beach approach, the deer have thoughtfully backed off from munching every tulip bud so we finally have a bit of a show there.

Three beauties (left) in Fountain Park: Astilbe, Darmera peltata, and Gunnera manicata.  Angelique tulips (right) in Coulter Park.  These pink peony flowering tulips used to be my favourite until I became seduced by brighter and more startling (and less tasteful?) colour combinations.

It’s a pleasure to garden for a town whose administration values and supports having interesting gardens.  Thanks, Long Beach! for paying us to play in your gardens. And thanks to the locals and tourists passersby for all your words of appreciation.

[2012 note:  A couple of years ago we started doing all the street planters, too.  Some of the volunteers did a great job but the results were not consistent enough for a town which has year round tourism.]

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Back to Laurie’s garden, we found definite progress in the garden, nothing yet approaches the Jurassic height of midsummer; in fact, it’s hard to believe the plants will get that tall so soon, but the lushness is beginning to flourish.  We planted two Joy Creek vines: A Clematis tangutica ‘Lambton Park’ from County Durham, UK and a Billardia longiflora.  Last year I planted the latter but it turned out to be a mislabeled white-berried one; I want the cobalt blue berries. And we planted a Melianthus Major ‘Antenow’s Blue’ because like me, Laurie does love big dramatic foliage.

And then to KBC, home of the container tulip extravaganza. Because the tulips had seemed virused in the garden soil two years ago, we had avoided planted new ones directly in the garden.  Now, not only are some of the old ones coming back strong, but we have made about seven containers of select varieties and what a grand idea it turned out to be, as it raises them up and displays them closer to the eye.

tulips at Klipsan Beach Cottages

(left) A mixed pot of assorted Tulip viridflora (green tulips)

(right) fringed Tulip ‘Cummins’ or ‘Max Durand’ (I’m confused)

center: Check out the center of that fringed tulip….the blue!!!

I think it is Cummins, except that I thought Cummins would have more distinctively white fringing.

On the pond island a patch of Arisarum proboscideum is in bloom, although one would never know if one did not pull back the speared leaves and look.

No wonder it is called mouse plant, as the flowers are like little white tailed adorable brown mice diving into the ground.  Ann Lovejoy mentioned this plant in a lecture and I searched for a source for two years, but since acquiring it I now have enough to share.

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When we got home from the Rainyside trip, of course I immediately checked my email and found one entitled “Accident at the Shelburne”.  Imagine my shock to find photos, taken by owner Laurie Andersen, of a truck which had landed in the garden!  Repair of this garden catastrophe will involve replacement of the antique lightpost and the picket fences, so we spent hours digging out delicate plants (especially the Oriental Lilies) and putting them in other Shelburne garden beds so that Bill Clearman, carpenter extraordinaire, won’t have to worry about where to step while he effects the repairs. (Only plant life and structures were hurt in the accident.)

On the second day of digging and transplanting (having skipped Monday because it was simply too cold for me), we took a break for a lovely lunch in the Shoalwater Restaurant’s pub, where we were grateful to reflect that the truck did not enter the grounds on a trajectory which would have connected with the antique (imported from England) stained glass windows of the Shoalwater.  Thanks, friend J9, for the gift certificate to the restaurant!

…..the pub, after lunch………and the arched restaurant window, which was spared, and tulips, brought in from along the fence before repairs begin

In the quite late afternoon, we went down to China Beach Retreat (owned by the same people as the Shelburne) to transplant some of the rugosa roses which came from the garden bed the truck landed on.  While they survived, their stumps would have been hazardous for a carpenter to work around.  Glorious flowering cherries turned the road down to the garden into a bower of pink.

At the lower curve the the road, we again admired the river rock and driftwood hardscaping by Raymond Milner which so enhanced the creek as it swings past the Audubon Cottage.

On the grounds of China Beach are several windswept fruit trees in full glorious bloom. Last spring the deer went up the stairs onto the house deck and ate the tulips, but this year they decided to let the guests enjoy them instead. How kind!

[2012 note: We let both these gardens go in 2009 (I think.)  The Shoalwater Restaurant moved to Astoria and became The Bridgewater Bistro.]

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Onward to Cistus with the Rainysiders, CPNs all. (Certified Plant Nuts). From Scappoose we all drove to Portland and crossed the bridge to Sauvie Island’s bucolic farmland, where eventually a grove of Eucalyptus and the roofs of the interesting garden houses said Cistus! long before we could read the sign.  The nursery throws a spell of sparkling silver and grey all around itself. The first time I went there was before the garden houses were built, and I immediately realized I knew very few plant names for their exotic specimens.  I’ve never felt so out of my depth in a nursery, not even at Heronswood.  Of course, that meant I wanted one of everything.

Other than the overwhelming and intoxicating selection of plants, one thing I love about Cistus is that it abounds in cats and dogs.

This kitty knows where to lounge to maximize attention. Last year, Allan took a photo of the same white cat sleeping on the checkout desk computer (right).  A friendly orange cat twined around the plant sales tables….and a faithful lab  followed her owner worker from place to place and finally took a rest. Another old dog slept behind the counter.

but back to plants…

Looking toward the checkstand (L) and from the checkstand out toward more plants (R)

Cistus Nursery container display and shopping wagon

My plant haul starts to form up on a green cart…I got some trees for Solstice House and another Tetrapanax papirifer ‘Steroidal Giant’’, this one for my mom’s birthday present.  (I love mine.)

Finally, a comparison” both these vignettes grabbed me: the first is at Joy Creek, the second at Cistus…both with Euphorbia in front of a pink flowering tree!

Oh, and that flash of desire I had in winter for big blowsy colour in my garden?  I have totally returned to wanting my garden to be a tapestry of silver and structure a la Cistus.  (Cistus will have plenty of flowers through the season, but the structure is so strong and so intricate; it would be easier to achieve in my mom’s sunny garden than in my own.)

We returned home to the news of a large pick up truck having driven into the Shelburne garden….Well….garden accidents can lead to a clean slate for new planting.  Good thing I have a pile of new plants ready for new homes!

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Every now and then the Rainyside group has a get together where individuals meet to tour gardens or buy plants.  Saturday we met four others, including friend and former Peninsulite Sheila, for a shopping extravaganza at Joy Creek and Cistus.

First, Joy Creek…I can but post some photos here to explain the glories of their gravel mulched gardens:

Kim Pykorny’s blog recently rhapsodized about gravel.

From Joy Creek we all drove back to Scappoose for lunch at Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant to gather strength for more shopping, and of course to talk about online garden forums and other juicy topics. I was pleased to meet a woman who has a landscape design business in Scappoose.

Then, back toward Portland and Cistus, where I took so many photos that it needs its own page.

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