Archive for Dec, 2008

Snow is an unusual event here at the beach and one that has us out with our cameras recording every snow flake and drift.  On December 19th, Ilwaco and our garden were transformed.  Allan and I each walked around and around the garden taking photos from every angle while the huge falling snowflakes obliterated our footsteps.

Snow here is so much less stressful than when I worked in the city.  I don’t have to deal with getting to work because snow comes in our off season, and I certainly don’t have to suffer during the traffic problems that hilly Seattle has in any snowstorm.

 Someday, should I live so long, I will sit in my home (no longer this cottage home) or in my room at Golden Sands Assisted Living and be able to relive this snowy afternoon in our garden.

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We carry some apples, carrots, or at the very least a container of healthy horse treats from the feed store for our equine friends at work.

Kat and Moony

Kat and Moony were the friendliest of the five horses at Laurie’s garden. (11/19/08)


Miniature horse Dewey was not so friendly, so we tossed him his treats from a safe distance.  He thought he was a big fierce stallion.  Technically he was a stallion, and he was certainly strong enough to knock someone over and kick them and had an unpredictable tendency to bite.  He did not especially want to be told in baby talk how darned cute he was.

[2012 note:  All the above horses live in California now as Laurie moved a couple of years after this.]

On December 4th at Joanne’s garden, three of the five horses came to the fence for treats.

horses three


I had been told the buckskin acted out fiercely sometimes so I gave him his treat with caution.

Here’s the new little colt…Derby. Seven months old! The big horses kept him away from the fence, but when they wandered off I snuck over and gave him his treat.


Later some of the horses took a little nap.


Horses are definitely one of the reasons I am glad to be a gardener here rather than back in the city.

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One time jobs….One-off jobs….Occasionally we take them on although I much prefer gardens in which we’re involved in the ongoing process.

In mid October we took on a big weeding job just as one drives into Ilwaco from the east.  Health reasons had caused the owner to let her garden go dormant and she needed one clean sweep so that she could get back into it again.

before, with Allan weeding; after, weeded and mulched

If I were the ongoing gardener here, I would eventually have a bed running all along those trees and shrubs…

corner bed, before and after

We do pride ourselves in really getting the weeds out, not skimming them off like we’ve seen some jobbing gardeners do.

In the back yard, the owner had a big vegetable garden with some flowers and in it a spectacular dahlia.  I think she said its name is ‘Black Cat’ (but I might be mixing it up now with Scabiosa).  She gave me a bouquet after I admired it.


Then at Barbara’s home in Ocean Park we created a one day front garden a la Ground Force.  (They took two days but usually added a water feature and some decking.)

before…what to do?

We had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted.  We had to think of the deer problem as they would probably enter the garden.  At first, I thought of a bed all the way around the outside, then realized it would be hard to plant right up against the escallonia hedge and decided that would be an excellent spot for the bench to sit on gravel.  I rarely draw out a design so we just plunged in to see where the future garden led us.

The sweet dog kept us company most of the day.

The darling resident dog, Delilah, obsessed all day about getting us to play ball with her…which we did as time allowed.

end of day one

End day one: Lawn removed and hauled off, washed dairy manure applied to future beds. Tools: Ho-mi (Korean hand plow), half-moon edger, grub hoe, wheelbarrow. We got the gravel laid and rolled and the decorative touches made on the first day, with pots and rocks that were already there.  Finally it got too dark to take the final “after” at the end of day one.
The next morning we stopped by to get the after photos.


We had used some of the plants from her containers and also planted assorted spring bulbs.

This is the sort of garden I would have loved to follow through on….but by the time she wanted some veg. beds in her back yard we had become swamped with increasing hours from our regular jobs so had to recommend someone else (probably our capable friend Ed Strange) to take it on.

Meanwhile, autumnal beauty abounded at our regular jobs.

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’ at Klipsan Beach Cottages, 1 October. This is my favourite hydrangea of all time.

Ornamental grasses and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ carried the show at Sea Nest.

Sea Nest, 5 December

Gazanias from The Basket Case Greenhouse bloomed tirelessly into December in the Payson Hall planters at Andersen’s Rv Park (backed with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’).

at Andersen’s RV Park, 5 December

P.S.  In adding the link to Ground Force (my favourite gardening show ever), I ran across this, about the music.  The fact that the final song title is “Lament of the Dandelion” made me laugh out loud.

The theme music for the series was performed by the Black Dyke Band and included the following pieces:

  • Ground Force Theme—played during the show’s opening and closing.
  • The Titchmarsh Warbler—a fast tempo piece usually played during the rush to complete the garden.
  • Lament of the Dandelion—played near the end of the show as Titchmarsh surveyed the completed garden.  (Wikipedia)

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