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Archive for April, 2008

Springtime weather returned during the first week of April.  All the creatures rejoiced in it.

Moony, Dewey, Pinta and Elé

Laurie’s garden remained one of our favourites.  Her horse herd had grown and now included golden Moony, the Peruvian Pasos Pinta and Elé, grey Kachina (not pictured above) and the newest, the miniature Dewey, rescued from dire circumstances, nurtured back to health, and in possession of a dire temper.  The presence of horses required a bag of carrot and apple pieces (offered to Dewey with a toss from a safe distance).

At Klipsan Beach Cottages our idea of a couple of years back had been to use plastic window boxes as inserts in the wooden ones, thus making it possible to seasonally change out the 20 windowboxes on the cottages, A Frame, and office windows.  Each one is slightly different planted with the smallest of narcissi and the species tulips, the snowdrops, the Fritillaria meleagris, that bloom between February and Mother’s Day…Mother’s Day being the time when KBC owner Mary plants up the summer annual window boxes.

April windowboxes

In the woodland swale at KBC, we outwitted the deer by planting sweeps of Narcissi.  At Andersen’s RV Park deer had not yet discovered the tulips.  2008 would be the last year we got away with planting them in that garden; a deer herd must have increased or been displaced by housing development because nowadays they amble through regularly and have limited our planting choices.

narcissi at KBC, tulips at Andersen’s

In another garden rampant with ravenous deer we planted hundreds of a white narcissi mix.  Everything in the Discovery Heights garden has to pass the deer test.  Hellebore foetidus seems to thoroughly repel them and joins pale yellow new foliage to echo the touches of yellow on the assorted narcissi.

middle garden, Discovery Heights, 17 April

You can just get a glimpse of the ocean to the right of that treed hill.  On a grey day like this one, it blends with the sky.

Oman Builders Supply, 18 April

By mid April that new garden bed at Oman Builders Supply had enough colour to satisfy but in future I planned to have that colour come from bulbs rather than primroses.  They’d have to be moved for later flowering plants to settle in whereas bulbs can stay in place as their foliage dies down.

26 April, west end of beach approach garden

On the Bolstadt beach approach Armeria (sea thrift) flowered brightly in the windblown sandy outer garden.  In the thirteen sections of this garden there is a big difference between what thrives in section one, sheltered down by the arch, and section thirteen out by the buoy where drifts of sand come in over the garden in winter storms.

Arbour Day volunteer work party: Allan Fritz, Kathleen Sayce, Diane Carter

The end of April brought of the Ilwaco Tree Committee to plant some conifers into the Discovery Garden by the museum.

I felt ever increasing urge to shop for plants and we planned our yearly trip to Cistus and Joy Creek nurseries, but meanwhile…

…an adorable viola face at The Basket Case Greenhouse

…and tables full of spring flowers at Seven Dees, Seaside.

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The gardening tasks repeat from year to year.  I’d think no one would want to read the same story over and over, yet as a gardener I find it endlessly fascinating to watch the cycles repeat on Moosey’s Country Garden.

The hydrangea jobslowed the beginning of our rounds of spring clean up.  At last, at the beginning of March, we got to Klipsan Beach Cottages to cut back the many sword and deer ferns.

Don’t fall in!

Allan, being the agile one, balanced over the island pond to trim the fronds that dangle gracefully over the waterfalls.  This same task would be repeated at Discovery Heights, our own garden, Laurie’s garden, The Boreas Inn, and on a smaller scale at each job that had just a few ferns to clip.  The new fronds unfurling are a sure sign of spring and if one does not cut the old ones while the new are still dormant, it’s a tricky and finicky job that takes much longer.

Animals large and small can be a welcome distraction in chilly weather.

at the Red Barn Arena

George, in Suzanne’s garden

The Red Barn Arena always provided us with some equine entertainment.

And here’s the elusive George, so large and attractive but so practices at skittering out of the way whenever I got within hands-width of petting him.

I’m trying to firmly implement the revelation of June 2007 and only take on new jobs with CPNs (certified plant nuts) or with clients who will give me free reign.  Oman Builder’s Supply in Ocean Park hired us to do a little garden in front of their new store.  Opening day would honour the late David Fritts, longtime hardware store employee who had had a strong vision of the Ocean Park store remodel and longtime Ilwaco city councilman.  We had one day to get the new garden together and to fulfill the “lots of colour” request planted runs of primroses and violas from the Basket Case Greenhouse along with fresh little lavenders.

In late winter I fret about getting the clean-ups done especially since so many of our jobs are in the public eye.  Just when we thought we might have work under control, weather intervened.  In late March a surprise snow fall caught us while working at Klipsan Beach Cottages (here, light snow at the A Frame) and as we drove home we stopped at several jobs to take photos of whitened gardens.

increasing snow: (left) Mary’s new garden; (center) Andersen’s RV Park, halfway home (right) Jo’s garden in Long Beach

By the time we got to Long Beach, the snow had become thick enough to be photogenic.

(left) Jo’s garden (middle) Mom’s garden (right) Boreas Inn

Photographing the  Bolstadt Beach approach gave me a sharp, windy chill.

looking back toward Long Beach arch

The weeding of this long garden loomed ahead of us but we found it hard to imagine doing it anytime soon.

Giant snowflakes fell on the Shelburne garden in Seaview.  The bright fresh Hyacinth flowers looked well hunkered down as if their shoulders were cold.

Shelburne garden in snow

In Ilwaco the yellow narcissi we had planted to echo the exterior of the Portside Café barely showed under their heavy white burden.

the planter by the Portside Café always planted with yellow colour echoes

Usually a late snow melts before I can get home to photograph my own garden all white and pretty.  On this occasion, we made it home in good time.  Our lower entry garden was a study in brown and white.

(left) outside the lower gate (center) contorted filbert traced with snow (right) Phormium at the stream arbour entrance

By 2010 the Phormium by the entrance to the stream path had grown so large we had to remove it; the above photo reminds me of why I once loved Phormiums so.  This particular one had blades of a rich smoky hue.

Corylopsis pauciflora

the spring-fed pond

I still remember the cold pure smell of the spring water surrounded by snow.

Inside the house the temperature was perhaps even more bitter than outside.  After the removal in 2006 of a faulty and scary propane heat stove, we rarely managed to get the temperature above fifty in the winter and spent many a foul weather hour in front of the parabolic heater.  One step away from its arc and we might as well have been in a tent.  Only the earliest morning to early afternoon sun fell upon the house and shade drew in by two in the afternoon. But oh, the view from that arched window.

the pond…the boxwood balls…Paul’s Himalayan Musk over the old trailer…the spruce tree…and looking straight down from the attic window

From the loft window where Allan had his desk we could see over the spruce tree and the Ilwaco boatyard to the working end of town blanketed with snow.  Then with the heater pointed right at me, layered in softer clothes than for outside but just as many layers and with the fingerless gloves on, I settled into a welcome indoor afternoon of reading and the social internet (and probably some games of Scrabulous).

Ilwaco’s west end in snow

By the next day, spring had returned.

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