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Archive for March, 2010

I recently sent to Scancafe over 800 old slides to be scanned, many of them from a trip I took to England, Scotland and Wales in 1975: the sort of trip involving sleeping at youth hostels, a Britrail pass, hitchhiking, and eating cold beans from a can while sitting on a park bench. Despite my grandma’s influence, I was clearly not a gardener at age 20.  Can you imagine being in the land of glorious gardens and not visiting one single famous garden?  Yet I am glad now that the trip was so clearly uninfluenced by garden madness; without it, the twenty year old me was able to focus just on scenery and on my mission to travel to the Isle of Skye and around the coast of Wales and Cornwall.

The garden photos that I did get were almost by accident.

Fishguard garden

garden overlooking harbour, Fishguard, Wales

Aviemore

nature’s garden, Aviemore, Scotland

Cornish garden

back garden in Cornwall

The Cornish garden belonged to much older distant cousins, thus my entry to the back garden. I remember they were so proud of their vegetable patch.

Battersea Park

Battersea Park, London

Victoria Embankment, London

Victoria Embankment, London

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

flowery railing, Chelsea

Chelsea Embankment, London

Inverness

a bit of a garden at Inverness Castle, Scotland

Scottish rhodos

A natural landscape on the train to Thurso, Scotland

Out of hundreds of photos from that trip, there is only one more with flowers… the one that stuck in my mind all these years from the trip 35 years ago.  I was so hoping it would be as glorious as I remembered.

Llanbedr, Wales

walls of roses, Llanbedr, Wales

And it is.

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Saturday did not go well.  When we arrived at Andersen’s RV Park, I could not for the life of me find the rest of the packet of ‘Black Knight’ sweet peas from my friend Sonya, out of which I had saved a few seeds to add to the sweet pea display along the Andersen picket fence.  I hope to track down the packet by next time. A wind two nights before had swept through the park and knocked down the old bamboo sweet pea tee-pee and we did not notice till time to leave.  (It will need a stronger replacement.) We found a peculiar skull in the west garden: an omen that the day was not going to improve?

skull

skull

We went onward to tidy up and weed the garden at The Wiegardt Gallery, where a neighbour told us three deer had been browsing the night before.  As with Andersen’s, a garden where the deer have full access has little to offer at this time of year, although many deer resistant plants will be beautiful later on.  Oh well, Andersen’s has the ocean to offer and Wiegardt Gallery has wonderful art, so I guess they can survive without tulips!  We started to weed at a private garden further north; I wanted to plant California poppy seeds of assorted colours but a rising wind was making us testy and I became concerned about finishing a couple of public garden projects before the forecasted storm, so we headed back south before removing enough rampant beach strawberry for my poppy patch.

In the early evening, a fierce wind blew up while we were weeding the garden at Raymond Federal Bank.  I walked two blocks down to deadhead the Long Beach welcome sign; so much clamming season and spring break traffic clogged the road that I was not sure we could get the car across to the sign.  Walking back, wearing three mismatched shirts to keep warm, hunched against the wind, dragging one leg because it gets sore at the end of the day, and carrying a huge bunch of wilted and dead narcissi, all I needed was some tattered wisps of lace to look like an ancient zombie bride. All the passersby here for the weekend clam dig were treated to this spectacle.

LB welcome sign

Long Beach welcome sign

The peach coloured tulips were swaying in the wind.  When I returned to the Raymond garden, I was comforted by the sheer adorability of Tulip linifolia whose fat buds almost start to bloom before they leave the earth.

Utterly chilled, we headed back to Ilwaco with me looking forward to some Facebook and a nice hot cuppa. At the very last corner before we turn to our house, I screeched because I saw the tragic and too common site of a vandalized planter.  The question is: what did it?  The peculiar sight of a planter with 1/3 of its soil removed with bulbs and soil piled under the street tree next to it leads to many questions.  Did a squirrel do it and a human push the soil into a pile? Did a drunk do it and a good samaritan push the soil under the tree? Did an RV make a bad turn, knock it over, and its driver then lift the heavy planter back up?  This is the third time this planter has been damaged; once, the planter itself was completely destroyed (by a vehicle)? and then replaced by the city.  I remain mystified and am just hoping that no street trees get deliberately vandalized this year…because that has happened the past two years in a row.

planter trauma

planter with soil removed

soil under tree

soil pushed under tree

I am just so grateful that Allan got out of the car and put the soil back in because I was so cold (and annoyed) that I did not think I could bear it.  This falls into my category of finger blight, whether it be human or squirrel (or raccoon?) fingers that did it.

We did have quite the late season storm…74 mile an hour wind gust recorded at the Port of Ilwaco…the sort of wind that keeps one awake all night.  Rain most of Sunday and Monday gave us two days off so I could fuss without guilt with my old photos of a trip to the UK in 1975 and Allan could putter on a min-guest-cottage project of his. Today we could maybe have worked a bit but I seem to have shifted back into vacation (staycation) mode.  Woe betide my neglected garden. Tomorrow I must get me arse in gear and get back in action.

P.S. Speaking of finger blight, last week while weeding the beach approach, I saw a middle aged man pick two narcissi and place one behind each of his girlfriend’s ears.  He was only a quarter of a block away from me.  As he went to pick the third one I yelled (not TOO loudly or aggressively) “Are you picking the flowers?”  As they approached, his girlfriend (also middle aged) pulled her hood over her ears to hide the flowers!  I gave my usual spiel about how if every passerby picked a flower, especially at this time of year, within a day there would be none left for any walker to enjoy. At first he denied it, and she shuffled her feet, then he admitted it and said he blamed his mother, who had gone to cemeteries and taken flowers for bouquets!  I said “She taught you wrong” and he agreed and said he would never pick public flowers again.

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After a week of being completely distracted by creating that Discover Ilwaco page and by sorting through over 800 old slides that came back from India via Scancafe, I’m back to blogging.

Friday we worked at Klipsan Beach Cottages where all sorts of springtime wonders made us happy.

new fence

new fence

KBC owner Denny has build a new fence to give us an enclosed fruit and vegetable area; we moved four roses inside the fence to thwart the deer and planted sweet peas.

mouseplant

Arisarum proboscideum

Tulip sylvestris

Tulip sylvestris

Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant) is so called because its flower, which hides under the leaves, looks like a little mouse diving into the ground.

Tulip sylvestris is my favourite species tulip.  I get it from a catalog called Colorblends.

deer fern

deer fern

hostas

hostas unfurling

The deer and sword ferns visibly unfurling is the reward for cutting back the old foliage.

My favourite moment for the hostas is when they first emerge (before slugs have a chance to turn them into lace leaf variety).

golden comfrey

golden comfrey

tulip

early tulip

Love the colour of the golden comfrey, which is not too invasive (unlike the Japanese anemone which I am desperately trying to eliminate from that same bed.

That pink tulip should not be out yet!

A frame narcissi

A Frame narcissi

Narcissi in the newly cleared A Frame garden.  We hope to have ten times that many planted in there next year.

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Finally.  There was a moment on the last of the thirteen sections (and if you walk along counting, there are twelve full sections and two partial sections) when I suddenly said “That’s it! I have hit the wall!”.  The battle with weedy grass and rugosa roses had taken its toll and for a few moments I thought I was going to have to be wheelbarrowed back to the car, but then a second wind kicked in and we managed to finish.  This is not the sort of high quality weeding job I would do in a private garden. However, in years past I realized this particular garden would have to be a bit wild to stay within my budget of time for Long Beach.

beach approach this morning

beach approach this morning

beach approach evening

beach approach 6 p.m.

FINALLY we reached the arch!

Sometimes I am so sorry we planted innocent looking rugosa roses there. The garden looked so delightful back in its first years when it was all pretty little flowers.

beach approach

Here’s what the beach approach garden looked like in its first year, probably 1999 0r 2000.  My idea was wildflowers interspersed with vignettes of special plants such as Dianthus, Eryingium, Santolina, Lavender….and it all worked very well until the week of Kite Festival, a yearly event which I had loved since moving to the beach in 1993.

Unfortunately, having booths of crafts on one side of the garden and booth of food on the other side led to continual trampling back and  forth during the seven days of the festival, and by the second day the garden became nothing but scuffled dirt, so of course it got walked on even more.  Thus we eventually decided to plant the roses, and the approach is now much more of a monoculture…but one that is able to defend itself and continue to look good into the autumn season with the huge orange hips of the roses.  AND I can once again enjoy kite festival.

during kite festival

where poppies once grew

Above, during kite festival before the rugosa roses.  Now the roses more than hold their own!   I do miss the delicate old garden of poppies and pinks….

On to happy spring thoughts: Here are some of the flowers blooming around our towns.  Driving through Long Beach and Ilwaco and knowing that pretty much every spring flowering bulb was planted by us is extraordinarily satisifying.

LB planter

Long Beach planter

early tulip

in Long Beach planter

Jelly Bean tulips

Ilwaco planter

tree garden

Long Beach street tree

trillium

and trillium at Anchorage Cottages

Long Beach police station

Long Beach police station

While I would so love to format the position of these photos more elegantly, I am completely out of steam!  That last photo of “trillium at Anchorage Cottages” has a mind of its own and simply will not go where I want it.  How many more minutes am I willing to spend editing? None! It’s time to get ready to watch Lost instead!

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Er, except for in my own garden.  Distracted  by my birthday and by working on the creation of a Facebook page for my town, I have been working but not blogging.

approach morning

approach 10 A.M.

approach afternoon

approach 5 P.M.

You can see our progress on the Bolstadt beach approach garden by how much closer the Long Beach arch was by the end of last Thursday’s weeding day. We are halfway done. Two more workdays there and only one private garden will be awaiting its first spring cleanup.

We finally got to Discovery Heights where four garden awaited us: an entry garden just off the lighthouse loop road, a garden halfway up the road to the neighbourhood, and two smaller upper gardens.  The first day was a huge push to get three of the gardens done, and I only remembered to photograph the middle one; the second day was completely devoted to the lower garden, where I photographed just one side.

middle garden before

middle garden before

middle garden after

middle garden after

The middle garden is not as windswept as the top two gardens but still gets strong force of winter storms.  There is a little view of ocean waves to the left of the big tree.  I was surprised how well the ceanothus had survived December’s harsh freeze and pleased that the deer had not chomped the gold twig dogwood as much as usual.

middle garden gold

golden barberry and dogwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am surprised at how well this Hellebore does in “middle garden”. The golden barberry is just about my favourite thing there at this time of year…along with the sweeps of white Narcissi, of course. There is still much detailed weeding to be done in this area but I am calling spring cleanup done!

Salix yezo-alpina (nakamurana) - Dwarf Japanese Willow

Salix yezo-alpina (nakamurana) - Dwarf Japanese Willow

size comparison

size comparison

A detail from the lower garden; I love this groundcover willow.  You can see the size compared to my clippers. It is adorably fuzzy.

Salix yezo-alpina (nakamurana) - Dwarf Japanese Willow

Salix yezo-alpina (nakamurana) - Dwarf Japanese Willow

lower garden textures

lower garden textures

Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra

More vignettes from the Discovery Heights entry garden just off Ilwaco’s loop 101 road. One odd thing: we found a bag with two large bottles of unopened Miller High Life beer (aka swill) at the back of the garden and could only picture someone running away and leaving their prized liquor behind. Peculiar!

white narcissi

white narcissi in lower garden

I’ll save the photo of gorgeous tulips and narcissi blooming around the towns for a later entry, as am taking a day off for a change and am feeling the urgent need to do something in my own poor neglected garden before the entire afternoon is gone…

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If the journal entries seem to pile up on certain days, it’s because rainy days are my best days to catch up! Otherwise, we are working or gardening at home, and as the days get longer, evening blogging time gets shorter.

Along with the big clean up day at Laurie’s garden, we have been doing some of the usual rushing from place to place. Blogging helps me remember to appreciate the gardening sights along the way instead of just being overwhelmed by the stress of a few too many jobs.

Iris chrysographes

Iris chrysographes at KBC

Narcissi

Narcissi at Boreas Inn

Saturday we unexpectedly ended up at Klipsan Beach Cottages after digging some plants from my mother’s old garden to move to the new garden we are making outside her window at Golden Sands Assisted Living.  Her house and its garden that I designed and created is for sale and danged if I don’t feel selfish enough to want to get some more of the choice plants out of there rather than have them go to whoever buys the place, a stranger who might even strip out the garden to put a new house on the second lot.  So I ended up with four buckets of Erythronium (dogtooth violets) to pass around to favourite clients and of course KBC is at the top of that list.

We found that Denny was almost done building the new fence which will add a new deer-proof area for vegetables, fruit trees, and inevitably more roses:

new fence

new fence

rhodo and pulmonaria

rhodo and pulmonaria

By the pond, a short and sprawling rhododendron (perhaps formerly known as an azalea) was fronted with the deep blue flowers of Pulmonaria (lungwort or spotted dog), one of my favourite early blooming perennials.

road sign

Narcissi at the KBC road sign

narcissi

Narcissi: A Frame garden

A Frame woods

A Frame garden

Along with eight ocean view cottages, KBC offers an A-Frame  with its own surround of woodsy garden.  Right, you can just see Allan at the left edge of the photo doing some weeding (with one of the cottages in the background).  We’ll add lots more narcissi to this wooded area next year.

At Andersen’s RV Park, we worked on preparing the picket fence garden for sweet pea planting later this week. Although this is a garden mostly focused on summer bloom,  I was disappointed earlier this month to find that some narcissi that I had in gallon pots to be plunged into the whiskey barrel planters for temporary spring bloom had simply rotted away in our wet cold winter.  I think the bulbs froze in early December.

freaky narcissi

freaky narcissi

freaky allium

freaky allium

Two weird things in the Andersen’s garden:
(left) Two identically planted ‘Ice Follies’ narcissi, one normal, one blooming right at ground level.
(right) Although the other Alliums are just breaking ground, this one grew and formed its bud, which I think is now frozen. Freaky!

Sunday, we did a clean up all day Long at The Boreas Inn in Long Beach.  I got pretty tired of hearing myself whine about how cold my hands were, yet I could not seem to stop. Finally came the happy moment when I realized I was warm enough, and comfortable. We weeded lawn beds, pruned sword ferns, and still did not manage to get the big wildflower bed weeded.

Boreas reflected

Boreas Inn (and me at work)

Yesterday, we did the once a year job of cleaning up the garden at the Wade Gallery at the Port of Ilwaco.

Wade Gallery before

Wade Gallery before

Wade Gallery after

Wade Gallery after

We were able to get rid of two more Phormiums…fortunately not the size of monsters yet…and replaced them with two Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ which I had sitting in buckets.  I cannot imagine where I got those two nice grasses for free…glad to find them a home.  Threw in some California poppy seeds, too: Dusty Rose, Buttercream, Tequila Sunrise, Tropical Sunset.

And here is an example, at the west end of the sidewalk gardens that run all the way down Howerton at the port, of why I did NOT want to leave those two Phormiums.

monster phormium

monster phormium taking over sidewalk…still not full grown!

After the Wade Gallery, we finally got a start on the weeding of the Bolstadt beach approach garden in Long Beach: thirteen long narrow sections…not narrow enough for one person to reach across, and as always full of tiny little maddening grasses.  A few years ago we planted rugosa roses from a native plant nursery (even though they are not native) and they have pretty much taken over this strip which used to have lots more variety.  I kind of hate them at weeding time (ouch!) but during the summer they are the only thing that will protect the garden from being totally trampled during Kite Festival, and they do thrill the passersby, first with flowers and then with cherry tomato-sized bright red hips.

beach approach

a long way to go

You can get an idea how far we have to go to get to the Long Beach arch at the eastward end of this garden, and this is how close we are to the beach (below, end of the road, where the cars are parked).  I will no doubt be whingeing on about the horrors of this initial beach approach weeding for the next week and a half, since it took us 11 hours total just to weed the first two sections in an imperfect manner.

Bolstadt beach approach

to the beach

Here’s what cheered me up from the daunting feeling that the beach approach garden gets longer and more difficult every year:

Narcissi

Narcissi in beach approach planter

tulip in downtown planter

tulip in downtown planter 

tulip in downtown planter

Tulip in downtown planter

crocus in downtown planter

crocus in downtown planter

Tulip sylvestris

Tulip sylvestris at LB City Hall

Tulips in downtown planter

Tulips in downtown planter

You can see the deer ate tulips leaves but not flowers (yet)

Muscari plumosum

Muscari plumosum

In closing here’s a non-gardening shout out to the delicious little containers of ceviche-like calamari that you can buy for $2 from Ole Bob’s fish shop in Ilwaco; it’s wonderful and helps me keep going almost as much as my chocolate covered coffee beans:

calamari

fortifying calamari snack

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lilyAt the request of a dear friend, the author of the Yummy Montana blog, here is the poem by Laurie, the owner of the previous entry’s garden, about how she and I together created a garden full of lilies: trumpet, oriental, species, asiatic.  The lilies themselves are from Van Engelen and B&D Lilies.  Laurie likes to publish her poem under the name L Ann Buscher.

*****************************************************

My Lily Maker by L. Ann Buscher

I told her it would be her ownlily
this garden of mine so overgrown
that even the gardener I had before
climbed back in his truck
and slammed the door
with woods and every exotic thing
that ever once existed
then unseen.

She knew the garden and loved the spotlily
and gave her all, for all she got
and soon we had a piece of pie
sliced for the sweetest gardener’s eye
and me in my uncertainty
could not tell a weed from a wannabe
so when she asked what my favorite was
I untied my tongue, said “the purple one”
and so she knew
she had herself a doozey.
By chance she planted bulbs I liked
the size of dinner plates that
made me think of Great Aunt Lily
and how she showed me
the Empress of Japan in the
bottom of her tea cup.

lilyI was five, and magic happened.
Then, as I got ill, I found a friend
so frail and tired herself
but when we shared
she took the time to greet me,
with her heart
her name was lily too.  I think of them
lilywhen finding porcelain painted on long
stalks in the garden.

So Skyler’s garden it is called, when
horses are not trampling
and does with fawns are happening.
Although I do not know the names
of blossoms reaching, snarled, untamed
lilyI know the gardener, just the same, who
loves the land as I do.
And should her interests ever stray
I hope she find her inner fortitude
encouraging sun on a cloudy day
My Lily Maker

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lily and dahlialily Notes: I think the flowers “the size of dinner plates” to which the poem refers are the dahlias given to me by my friend Sheila.  I planted them at Laurie’s as my own garden did not have enough sun.

My lack of WordPress formatting skills prevent me from laying out the poem quite as Laurie herself did; below is a photo of the framed copy she gave me after the garden tour.

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