Archive for Mar, 2008

I proceeded in 2012 to write the history of my gardening life through 2008 and 2009, the non-blogging years….Because only through photos can I remember!

Late January of 2008 saw the rare coldness that iced over our pond…

fishing float

…in which I had cast to sea a fishing float (but I have to confess that I bought it at Marsh’s Free Museum).

Its colour nicely echoes a gazing ball that Allan had given me for Christmas.

gazing ball

Not quite the traditional silver reflective gazing ball, it nestles in an old copper tub that years ago used to sit planted up with ferns in my Grandma’s garden.

In January the Mahonia outside our cottage door bloomed spectacularly.  This one is either Faith, Hope, or Charity.


On February 1st we began the job of pruning the 300 hydrangeas on the bay.  The gorgeous setting assuaged the distress of seeing the condition the hydrangeas were in from a really bad pruning the year before.  Let me just advise garden owners to not let the lawn mower guy loose with a chainsaw in the hydrangea field, not unless he also loves plants and knows how to prune.

hydrangea field

All the hydrangeas had been chainsawed off at the same level and no old wood removed.

corner of hydrangea field

Much of last year’s prunings had been dropped in large pieces making for slippery footing and the need to clean up the mess before starting the job, and each hydrangea had ugly candelabras of wood where the chainsaw had cut with no respect to buds or branching.  We started by removing a third of the old wood.  It would be a three year project to get all the old wood and those ugly candelabras removed.  I would have chopped the poor things all low and sacrificed a year of bloom but the elderly owner did not have TIME to lose a year of beautiful blue blossoms, so our slower method sufficed.

Allan going in to prune

All the poky limbs cause pain when backed into or hit with one’s arm; the cold weather made for aching hands, and I fretted that the owner’s demand that the shrubs be pruned NOW meant that their buds would be frost nipped later.  Despite some miserable times standing under the eaves waiting for seriously dire hailstorms to pass, working right along the gorgeous Willapa Bay provided considerable compensation.

board path

This picturesque boardwalk went way out into the bay where the householders in younger days had kept a small boat tied up.

rainbow over Willapa Bay

Several rainbows appeared after chilling squalls of rain and hail.

The hydrangea results did not thrill us the first year.  So much distorted older branches remained, but we knew that if we could just get to do the job for three years in a row the results would be most satisfactory.

[2012 note:  We did get our three year pruning plan completed in 2010, and the fourth time we pruned the hydrangeas in 2011 I felt that they were completely revived.  The house is now for sale.  The hydrangeas are being passed on in good form.]

We took a break from pruning to go to Seattle for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

As usual because of my freeway phobia we took the longer route up back roads to the ferry from Bremerton.  The peaceful glide into the harbour is much more beautiful than speeding (or waiting in traffic jams) along crowded lanes of cars.

full moon over Seattle from ferry deck

I have no record of which garden designers made each of these displays at the garden show.  Here are the ones I found most inspirational.

small water feature


courtyard entryway


stone steps backed with a tall gabion (rocks caged in wire)

I love these slanted stacked rocks.

Each display garden is built in just a few days inside a cavernous, high-ceilinged room.

The cottage style is always my favourite.

interesting water…things…backed with gold twig dogwood

Oh, look! In the background, urban chickens!

Even though I don’t have the time for chickens, I love to see a coop in a garden.

…especially a coop with a clever green roof.

I’d been drawn back to the stacked rock structures…

detail of the scrumptious stacked rocks. My budget runs more to broken concrete.

Oh to have the skills AND materials to create this.

So from sleet, hail, rain, and the cold wind of the hydrangea pruning job to the luxurious surroundings, ambient (canned) bird song and lushly flowering gardens of the show, our February of 2008 was a warm up to the busy work season that would slam us as soon as we returned from Seattle to the beach.

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