On Wednesday, we started in Ilwaco for an hour, removing two more dratted Phormiums from the Time Enough Books landscape. One, in the old boat which we like to plant with tulips and, later, cosmos, is pictured here in 2007.
That’s because I forgot to take a 2010 before picture! Since 2007, the boat Phormium has at least doubled in size and was pitifully blasted by the early December 2009 freeze. It was flopping all over the flower area of the boat. Out in came…startling two little frogs, who we hope found a safe new place to hide…and in went some new potting soil and some transplanted narcissi. Now, the summer cosmos will show off better and the entire boat will be flowers.
I have my own names for some of the different parks in Long Beach, and the one by Marsh’s Free Museum I call “Obelisk Park” because of Renee O’Connor’s beautiful tiled obelisks. Last year, the city crew dug out a monster phormium from the north garden in Obelisk Park, and this week Allan dug out a truly hideous smaller one: small only because it has been mysteriously trampled for two years in a row. We cannot imagine why anyone would lie down in a Phormium, and could see no problem with drainage that would cause it to rot away, but whatever happened, it did not grow like its evilly huge brother and was fairly easy to remove.
You can probably guess that we will plant Cosmos and perhaps a Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ in the newly empty bed.
This park’s plantings were originally designed by a landscape architect who may not have realized how enormous Phormiums get…else why would he have chosen one to plant right behind the drinking fountain? We were not about to kill ourselves (er, Allan) trying to dig this one out, although I would not mind it the city crew had a go at it.
These are not easy to prune as the leaves are like slippery leather. The dump here does not even want this stuff in yard waste because it binds their chipper.
Paul of the city crew said his neighbour has a huge Phormium and wraps rope around it to contain the blades, then severs the base with a chainsaw. Our little rechargeable chain saw is not up to this, and I think even a large chainsaw would need a thorough cleaning of fibers after running through a Phormium of this size.
Thursday, we were back to this park pruning down and dragging the debris of “dwarf” pampas grass from two sides of the rest room building…Otherwise the woman who reads the electric meter way in the back corner will joke that we do not like her anymore. Thanks, landscape architect of yore, for another not so brilliant planting choice. He also chose ‘Dorothy Perkins’ rose to climb on the fences, a rose which is horribly susceptible to mildew. The parks manager and I got ‘Super Dorothy’ at Heirloom Roses for one side of the park and it does much better.
While generally weeding, pruning a hydrangea, and tidying up the rest of the beds in Obelisk Park and the other two parks across the street (Fountain Park and Frying Pan Park), I loved every moment of working around our narcissi. These are surely my favourite flower.
The one above is charmingly known as ‘Yellow Hoop Petticoats’
Today we started on the Sid Snyder beach approach, tackling more Phormiums which earlier volunteers had planted. Last year, the city pretty much took over doing all the planters because the volunteer program was not entirely working out. You can see how truly dreadful a Phormium can look after a winter of cold and wind; yes, one could just cut them back, but this is a plant that gets way too big for one of these planters. (I think this will be my last entry obsessing about the horrors of Phormium, as we will have removed all of those that offend us!)
Allan hard at work with the trusty heavy-duty pick. Something better will replace these plants.
I have a rant regarding finger blight to share, but have decided that on those sad occasions, I will place a finger blight note at the bottom of the blog entry. I don’t want to be a downer, so those of you who don’t want to read me whingeing on bout vandalism can skip those bits.
So on we go to the tiny pocket park in front of Long Beach’s Pacific Realty, where Allan is always the one to balance bravely on the rocks while cutting back the sword ferns’ old growth.
It would be terribly embarrassing to fall into the pond here, as one is on the Heron Cam and someone would be sure to be watching. The rain had been a steady light drizzle all day while we worked on the beach approach planters and another pocket park, but by the time we were halfway through with this project it had turned into a cold and uncomfortable downpour. Allan never had quite admitted it was raining enough to require a raincoat. The chill factor required a quick trip down the street for two Tiger Paws from the Cottage Bakery (chocolate and maple and enormous). Of course, I then saw a street tree garden that needed weeding. Many cars were pouring into town for the clamming weekend, and I wish the clammers better weather than we had for gardening.
Thanks to the LB Pharmacy and Post Office for an attractive window display and for a glorious bed of narcissi to cheer us at the end of a wet day.
And now: today’s sad tale of finger blight. On the Sid Snyder beach approach, some yobbo had picked almost every flower off of the narcissi and just dropped them. Not even the excuse of a bouquet.
Narcissi picked and cast onto the ground to wilt
Meanwhile, right, on the Bolstadt beach approach, this is what the Sid Snyder planters SHOULD look like.