Archive for Nov, 2007

A clamming weekend here at the beach drew large crowds as always…wonderful for our tourism, and especially for our clients who have clam cleaning sheds (Klipsan Beach Cottages and Andersen’s RV Park).  Even though Allan has lived here for three years, we have never hit a late clam tide so he could see the the string of lanterns against the setting sun until this perfect late November evening.  It’s a beautiful sight that I’ve collected some photos of over the years.

(left) clammers and full moon, (right) sunset clamming in Seaview

clamming with lanterns

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Immediately upon my return from the Sylvia Beach Hotel, Allan and I plunged into three projects that had been pressing upon the schedule: A new bed at the World Kite Museum, a new bed at a private home in Vandalia, and helping with landscape installation at the new Willapa Behavioral Health Center.

WKM bed before and during; this will be a bright colour spot

World Kite Museum director Kay Buesing lined up volunteers to help us with stage one of the new gardens, designed by Kathleen Sayce.

volunteer gardeners at World Kite Museum

The volunteer crew did not sit down on the job despite how it looks.  Right, the bed finished, and thickly planted with narcissi from that very last bulb order from Colorblends.  (I’d never ordered from them before, and was thrilled to find a Colorblends coffee mug and a crumpled newspaper from Amsterdam in with the bags of tulips and narcissi.)

Next, we put in a new bed of grasses and perennials at a private home next to the small Ilwaco airport. The ground had already been tilled.    All we had to do was acquire the plants, rocks, and topsoil, and then mulch, make a decorative rock border, and plant.

Garden bed, before and after; the wee stakes mark clusters of bulbs.

That’s me working…and our client coming home in his plane.

Finally, for the last of the special fall projects, we helped install plants for the wetland mitigation landscape at the new Willapa Behavioral Health building.

Willapa Behavioral Health swale planting project designed by Kathleen Sayce and installed by Doug Ray of Carex Consulting

The wettest spots in the swale were planted with Redtwig Dogwood and Darmera Peltata.  All native plants in appropriate drainage areas should thrive and be restful to the eye.  Meanwhile, Allan and I had earlier planted a patch of narcissi by the front entry and roped it off.  We found the ropes down but after a little altercation (not quite fisticuffs!) with the builders, we got the ropes back up and an agreement that it would not be walked on any further!  I think the contractor fellow thought I was going to back down…ha!

[2012 note:  We have almost completely stopped taking any job where we plant up a garden and then don’t get to take care of it.  But after swearing I never would again, I have agreed to such a project in Long Beach because it’s small and interesting and I can tell the owners are real gardeners who WILL care for it.]

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The Sylvia Beach Hotel

With Carol, my friend of almost thirty years, I went for two nights to my favourite place, The Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon.  Each room of the hotel is named for an author.  We had been lucky to get the Agatha Christie room for one night; usually this requires reservations a year in advance, I’ve heard.  I’d stayed before in Agatha with even more longtime friend Mary (the webmistress of tanglycottage.com), but even though I like to try new rooms on each visit, I wanted Carol to experience the one I find the most charming.

The library with its ocean view, and the best place to read in the world

After a dauntingly foggy drive and the disturbing factor of the car’s “check engine” light coming on, we arrived in time to do some reading in the third floor library, and even snagged the best reading spot in the world all to ourselves for an hour: the corner of the library loft where the big pipes go through to the roof.

Both of us were a little nervous about playing The Game at dinner:  a gathering of communal tables where one is encouraged to play Two Truths and a Lie while consuming a delicious meal of several courses.  We actually enjoyed it so much that we (or at least I) very much looked forward to the next night’s game.  The truth I told both nights which almost everyone thought a lie was that I live in a 460 square foot house.  Is this one of the only countries in which that would be so very hard to believe? (We just discovered that if one includes the loft, it’s about 600 feet, but technically real estate measurements do not include rooms unless you can stand upright in more than just the center of them.).  I recommended the book Material World to our fellow diners.

evening in Agatha’s room; the fireplace is across from the couch

We spent the first night in E.B. White to save a little money, and because each room has its own room diaries so one finds more fascinating reading by staying in different rooms.  I was a little worried when I went up to the library at ten PM and found no mulled wine in the tea room.  Had this important ritual been dropped since my last visit?  But it was just late; a second excurision found that the mulled wine tradition is still kept, so I carried two cups down to E.B. White and settled in to read the diaries. The next morning we were efficiently moved into Agatha’s room.  We spent the day in the library, except for a brief stroll out to lunch.  (The noisy cafe was startling after the quiet murmurous environment of SBH.) My ideal visit to the SBH involves very little leaving of the hotel during the day, and much sipping of Earl Grey tea (free along with a wide selection of teas and coffee in a small room off the library) while reading journals and gazing at the ocean view.   I was able to read all the diaries from the library, the upstairs economy-priced dorms, and several rooms which were between guests for the day.

Carol in the library, and the view from the library deck

After another scrumptious dinner (and The Game0, we repaired to Agatha’s room and started a fire in the fireplace…a  bit tricky even for Carol, which led to some teasing about how a Montana girl should know rustic fire building skills. I was sad to find that most of the Agatha guest journals were missing.  Originally the room had many clues (such as a bottle of “poison” in the medicine cabinet) and a few remain.but it was a greater mystery what happened to the diaries.  I snuck down to the Hemingway room and snagged a stack of journals from there, careful to return them later before guests arrived. Had guests checked in before I replaced them, I would have hung them in a bag from the Hemingway doorknob…which would have seemed a mystery indeed..

Guests write humourously in the style of their room author…Some of the Hemingway journalers excelled at that game.  Others write movingly of their lives…of a healing retreat in the Jane Austen room after a marriage which had taken place in the library two years before had gone awry…Of a visit by a 92 year old who could no longer make it up the flights of stairs to the library….Of a woman whose husband had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and who on their latest visit could no longer play Two Truths and a Lie.

Dickens, one of two Hotel Cats, and the view from the Christie room..

Sunday morning neither Carol nor I wanted to leave, and we spent another poignant hour in the library where I polished off two more journals from the Jane Austen room.  Jane seems to inspire a quiet, thoughtful sort of writing.  As we were checking out, we saw the most amusing map by the main desk: a local neighbourhood map with pins marking each sighting of hotel cat Dickens, with a drinks tab attached from a local bistro; he had come home with it tied to his collar.

The drive home was clear and beautiful rather than terrifyingly foggy.  We got to actually see the ocean, forests, and towns…little knowing that the charming towns of Wheeler and Garibaldi would be painfully thrashed by a monster storm less than a month later.  I recommend a stop at Bear Creek Artichokes, just past Tillamook, for good espresso and treats and culinary gifts. The “check engine” light remained on, but nothing bad happened and it went off as soon as Carol returned to Seattle!

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By the end of the first week in November, most of the bulbs were in the ground while we awaited a second shipment.  It never fails that no matter how extravagant my bulb order, more will be needed as people see us planting them and request just a few more.

We embarked on a new project for a new client, Sharon, who we’d met during her quest for a Gunnera leaf; she teaches classes in making stained glass pavers and in the casting of sculptural leaves in concrete.  She’d stopped to talk with us while we worked by the giant Gunnera in downtown Long Beach.  When we went to look at her proposed project we enjoyed the tour of her garden with all its creative touches.

(above, left) Sharon’s “Koi pond” of stained glass pavers, and (right) two of a long path along the bay side of the house representing the birds she sees out on the water.

The project of making a vasty sweep of grasses on a mounded garden bed along the driveway involved no weeding, as the ground was already prepared.  We decided a dry river rock stream bed was called for to match up with the rest of the theme of the garden…and went on a trip to several nurseries to collect as wide as assortment as possible of interesting grasses…and we divided out the best of the grasses from different gardens of ours to add as much variety as possible,.  Our favourite is Stipa gigantea which does not seem to be readily available here, so we use our existing plantings as a source for more.

before and after, above

(Above) grasses under a picturesque old tree, and the “pond” at the “headwaters” of the stream, which was softened by planting some clumps of water-loving acorus right through the landscape fabric, with granules of Zeba Quench mixed in to keep them moist enough.

The completion of the job was interrupted by my taking a three day vacation (next entry) but as soon as I returned we got back to the planting.  The dry creek bed tied in with river rock areas on the west side of the house (the new bed is further west) and with a charming dry creek bed which seems to emerge from under the east side of the house near the bay.

(left) The original bay side dry creek bed; (right) our new dry creek bed, newly planted, which theoretically disappears “underground” and “reemerges” to join the eastward river rock features.

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