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Archive for February, 2013

I must have started caring for the Shelburne Inn garden before 1999, because I have a polaroid of its sister establishment, The China Beach Retreat, from spring 1999:

before, by the house

before, by the house

the same area in summer '99

the same area in summer ’99

I do recall that when I began to care for the Shelburne garden, it had four main perennials in the front garden:  Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan), hardy geranium, Shasta daisies and Campanula (bellflower).  From a small area, I removed a bushel basket of creeping buttercup.  Once the weeds were gone, I thinned out some of the four perennials and added some more to make the garden more diverse.

in my early days at the Shelburne

Shelburne garden, 2000

The owner loved gladiolas and bought a big bag of them from Costco for me to plant each year.

herb beds, Shelburne back garden, 2000

herb beds, Shelburne back garden, 2000

(Above) The square herb beds had been all taken over with orange montbretia, and I was making it my mission to make them more interesting.

spring, Shelburne 2000

spring, Shelburne 2000

late summer, Shelburne 2000

late summer, Shelburne 2000

I still worked at Carol’s garden on the bay:

Carol's on the bay

Carol’s on the bay

I still tended my volunteer garden at the Ilwaco boatyard.

boatyard garden summer '99

boatyard garden summer ’99

Euphorbia, boatyard, 2000

Euphorbia, boatyard, 2000

boatyard garden, 2000

Oriental poppy, boatyard, 2000

Oriental poppy, boatyard, 2000

According to the dates on my photos, this is also the year I started taking care of the gardens at the Anchorage Cottages just north of Long Beach, a job that had a connection to the famous Heronswood Nursery. I had been ordering plants from Heronswood since before I left Seattle, but had never been there. The Anchorage had been previously owned by the sister of Robert Jones, partner of plantsman Dan Hinkley, so Heronswood had done some redesign of the Anchorage gardens.

Anchorage garden, summer '99

Anchorage garden, summer ’99

I added perennials along the front of the courtyard garden.

Anchorage container by the office

Anchorage container by the office

February 1999, we started redoing the old herb garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages into a deer-proof garden.

February 1999

February 1999, looking out of the garden

Robert is the one who made the garden level by using rocks and railroad ties to build up where the land sloped.  Over a couple of years, Robert build three rebar gates for the fence.

fenced garden, first summer

fenced garden, first summer

sweet peas, KBC 1999

sweet peas, KBC 1999

KBC birdbath

KBC birdbath

Oh!  There is some white Salvia viridis (painted sage); I must have heard, by then, the lecture by Lucy Hardiman at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, and seen her slide of this plant, and gotten The Planter Box to start to grow it for me. In one lecture, she had shown both painted sage AND Cerinthe purpurascens, two annuals that I simply had to have.  Yes, I remember the excitement of a new friend, Tamara, who worked with me sometimes that summer, as we both fell in love with those two new (to us) plants.

below:  Spencer, the KBC cat, and catmint. The scrim of garden bed outside the fence was planted in deer-resistant plants to soften up the edge, an idea I had seen in Horticulture magazine.

Spencer and catmint

Spencer and catmint

Although we were trying to make time for Robert to do ironwork by me working part time with Tamara, photos show that we also began to make a grass garden for Bill P. who had a summer house in the Klipsan area.  The thing is, we needed to make money, and the ironwork was only paying pennies per hour.  I also needed Robert’s talent at making things level on a job like this.

Bills' beach garden, before

Bills’ beach garden, before

southwest corner of house, before

southwest corner of house, before

Bill wanted simple paths with square pavers.

making paths

making paths

fall '99, looking west

fall ’99, looking west

Much of the garden was right on the foredunes, and gave me much thought about how wonderful it would be to have an ocean view, but then I would envision a tsunami, so never mind.

dune garden

dune garden

southwest corner, summer

southwest corner, summer

and in summer 2000

and in summer 2000

I was still doing my four volunteer planters in Long Beach. I heard that city manager Nabiel Shawa had said in a council meeting that my particular planters were “magnificent.”

one of my planters.  Eventually I got sick of the Crocosmia in the planters.

one of my planters. Eventually I got sick of the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in the planters.  It got too rampant.

In ’98, the city had hired me to water the city planters once a week.  The next thing I knew, the city had hired me to care for the gardens in all the city parks, including a new one which was just then being created by Marsh’s Free Museum. I had thought parks manager Mike Kitzman would have been sick of me always pestering his crew to keep their feet out of the planters when putting Christmas lights on the poles, but he told me he realized it just meant I really cared about the gardens.

Mike and his wonderful crew started making popout gardens along Ocean Beach Boulevard; below is a young planting in its first year of my making gardens for the city.  This one is just south of Boo Boo’s Putt Putt Golf.

big popout

big popout

Over by the playing field, there used to be a fence along which I planted godetia (one of Mike’s favourite flowers) alternated with Salvia viridis, painted sage, which I had gotten the Planter Box to grow for me.

painted sage and godetia

painted sage and godetia

(The yellow edge is from the crew using Round-up.)

I planted up this big planter in Lewis and Clark Square:

Lewis and Clark Square planter

Lewis and Clark Square planter

Later,  I changed the look to ornamental grasses and perennials,  but when I found this old photo in 2010, I changed it back to the above look of annuals! I think a tourist town should have less tasteful planting and more cheery colour.  But that the colour should be provided by unusual and interesting annuals.

We (and by “we” in ’99, I often mean me and Tamara)  planted up a little corner garden in the patio belonging to Don Woodcock, Glennie’s brother in law, who summered at the Sandcastle, that gorgeous house with the tower just west of the Shelburne Inn.  He had bought this fountain at the Planter Box and just loved it.

Don's courtyard corner

Don’s courtyard corner

Sharon’s garden on the bay had gotten even more lush and glorious:

Sharon's

Sharon’s

I told the story of that garden in my previous entry.

Another job with a Heronswood connection came along in ’99, creating a rock walled semi circle in a clearing by the house of Cynthia, another sister of Dan Hinkley’s partner, Robert Jones. She was able to get an exciting discount on mail order plants from the nursery.

I definitely needed Robert’s help on this one.

Cynthia's, before

Cynthia’s, before

during

during

We had a load of supposedly one man rocks dumped off by Ollie Oman. I don’t know if Robert was imagining this, but he always thought Ollie was impressed that we managed to handle these large rocks and turn them into a garden on our own, with no machinery but a pry bar and a hand truck.

The semi circle of rocks in spring of 2000:

Cynthia's new garden

Cynthia’s new garden

This was one of those rather maddening jobs that I try never to do now, where we made a garden whose owner had the intention of maintaining it herself so we did not see how it turned out in the end.  The middle was intended to become a patio and firepit.

Cynthia's new garden, spring 2000

Cynthia’s new garden, spring 2000

She said we could come back and look at it any time, but as usual life became extraordinarily busy…

More of work 2000 coming up…

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Way back in 1998, my friend and then-client Sharon and I went to a Haystack Rock summer weekend in Cannon Beach for which Ann Lovejoy and Lucy Hardiman taught a garden design workshop on Saturday and took us garden touring on Sunday.  (Sharon and I had become fast friends when we had created a garden for her earlier in the year; a few years later she moved away and the garden faded back into lawn.)

Digression:  Making Sharon’s Garden

In 1998 we created this garden around Sharon's house where once had been just three scraggly rosebushes.

In 1998 we created this garden around Sharon’s house where once had been just three scraggly rosebushes.

..and we made a rock wall garden along the bayside of her lot.

..and we made a rock wall garden along the bay side of her lot.

above: back in the days before the “straighten”button!

...and turned a mound into a little pond waterfall area.

…and turned a mound into a little pond waterfall area.

Sharon's beautiful bird bath.

Sharon’s beautiful bird bath.

And here is Sharon’s garden in 1999:

Shaz garden with pineapple sage

Shaz garden with pineapple sage

Shaz' garden

Shaz’ garden with new arbour by my former partner, Robert Sullivan

Back to the tour story:

On the weekend of the Haystack Rock garden design workshop, we toured the big country garden of Cannon Beach garden designer Beth Holland first, just on the other side of Highway 101 and down a short quiet road..

Beth Holland's garden just outside Cannon Beach.

Beth Holland’s garden just outside Cannon Beach.

Beth's greenhouse was constructed with large old windows from a school.

Beth’s greenhouse was constructed with large old windows from a school.

In Beth's garden

In Beth’s garden

After the lovely tour of Beth’s estate, we drove to the Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach and saw this lovely sight by the sea.

a Cannon Beach garden

a Cannon Beach garden overlooking the sea

garden detail

garden detail

in Cannon Beach

in Cannon Beach

One of the gardens had a train layout.

train garden

train garden

train layout in ocean view garden, Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach.

train layout in ocean view garden, Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach.

My favourite garden was that of local writer and quilter and gardener June Kroft.  (I was deeply saddened in 2010 to learn that the one year (2009)  when I had forgotten due to my mother’s ill health to go to the Cannon Beach Cottage tour, June’s cottage had been on it. I would love to see the inside.)

in June Kroft's garden

in June Kroft’s garden

In June's garden (left, Lucy Hardiman)

In June’s garden (left, in blue, Lucy Hardiman)

June's glorious garden shed

June’s glorious garden shed

I have an old book from the Cannon Beach Historical Society, a bit worse for wear from years in my old damp cottage.  I got it when the society had a photo exhibit called “A Village of Flowers”  at their museum in 1999.  The booklet is created from a manuscript by June Kroft and I share here a few pages from it in hope that perhaps you may be inspired to find yourselves a copy.

From the book:  Old Timer: Throw out a bunch of nasturtium seeds around a piece of driftwood.  That’s a beach garden.”

cover

Hinoki

sharing

historic

Tommy's garden

paths

vegetables

Now that’s my idea of a garden tour.

For my next birthday after the garden design workshop, Sharon gave me this framed sketch that Ann Lovejoy had made in Sharon’s notebook to illustrate the design concept of “bubble and flow”.  I treasure it to this day.

Ann Lovejoy: bubble and flow

Ann Lovejoy: bubble and flow

It helped a great deal with my garden design confidence, that while Lucy Hardiman makes design drawings that are intricate and scaled to the inch, Ann’s a more of a sketch, an idea, a chicken scratch….like mine.

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I have shared this photo from 1998 when Robert first started welding garden art:

Robert's rebar arbours, lower garden

Robert’s rebar arbours, lower garden

He had been a professional welder and soon his designs became intricate, symmetrical, and, we thought, salable.    Below (again), a double gate in Donna’s garden.

in the west side of Donna's garden

in the west side of Donna’s garden

In ’98, The Planter Box garden center carried some of his work, but it failed to sell;  the competition was fierce from cheap mail order abours from China.

arbour at the Planter Box

arbour at the Planter Box

arbour side view

arbour side view

his one and only spider sculpture.  Donna bought it.

his one and only spider sculpture. Donna bought it.

In 1999, he made gates for a new fenced garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages.

KBC gate and, in the background, tuteur

KBC gate and, in the background, tuteur

KBC gate detail

KBC gate detail

a real dragonfly on top of the KBC tuteur

a real dragonfly on top of the KBC tuteur

Sharon commissioned a spiderweb tuteur for her garden on the bay.  When her soon to be ex husband refused to let her take it in the divorce (and believe me, he did not want it, he just wanted to be mean!), because it had been attached to the porch railing by two screws (thus legally part of the house), she commissioned a second one for her new home in Portland!

Sharon's first arbour being installed.

Sharon’s first arbour being installed.

He built two trellis panels to provide a Long Beach friend with some window privacy:

trellis panel

trellis panel

trellis detail with dragonfly

trellis detail with dragonfly

He had begun to assemble his work with creative fastenings:

spiral fastener

spiral fastener

I still have the arbour that he gave to my mother with a spiral fastener like that, and the arbour still neatly comes apart in three pieces for moving.

This cute little tuteur did sell at the Planter Box;  I called it the Dalek tuteur.

Dalek tuteur

Dalek tuteur

By this time, I was doing as much of the gardening maintenance work as I could to give Robert more time to weld, although I did need his help when we would create a new garden area somewhere.  (As you will see soon.)  But care of the Long Beach parks and planters and suchlike I did as much as possible with the help of a friend.

In 2000, he sold a tuteur to the Shelburne Inn for their back garden (a place where by then I had been working as gardeners for a couple of years.)

Shelburne tuteur from a hotel balcony

Shelburne tuteur from a hotel balcony

Shelburne tuteur

Shelburne tuteur with glass fishing float topper

He made the pergola for Lynn and Donna:

the pergola

the pergola

and fancy hardware with which to attach it.

fastener

fastener

Donna, his best customer, commissioned a tuteur for her front garden.

Robert with Donna's tuteur

Robert with Donna’s tuteur

We met…somehow…a writer who lived in Ocean Park, and she commissioned a new style of tuteur that would cradle the rampant growth of her Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose:

at Seagarden

at Seagarden

Through 1999, Robert welded under our back porch by the stone wall of the house.

welding under the deck

welding under the deck

In 2000, I ran up a credit card bill to buy materials so that he could built his dream:  a big welding shed in the middle of the garden.  It seemed like surely, the business would take off.

building the shed

building the shed

It seemed to me that if he made a lot of one thing, like the spider web arbour, it would go faster, but he would always want to make fabulous new designs…from arbours to gates to tuteurs, and in late 2000 he came up with a new idea:  hose hangers, something that he could make quickly, each with a different pattern to keep from getting bored.  His best patron, Donna, bought one for each member of her large family that Christmas.

hose hangers, all different

hose hangers, all different

Klipsan Beach Cottages bought three hose hangers for the garden and one for each of the eight cabins.  This was looking promising.

Robert with a hosehanger at KBC.

Robert with a hosehanger at KBC.

Might I add that these have held up and are still there over 12 years later.

In 2001, he made a hanger for the China Beach Retreat, after researching the Chinese symbol for water.   As happened too often, he gave it away instead of selling it.

"water" hose hanger

“water” hose hanger

He branched out into bulrush and dragonfly sculptures:

dragonfly

dragonfly

by 2001, Klipsan Beach Cottages had three rebar gates on their fenced garden.  The fastenings were even more intricate and clever.

 

attachment

attachment

fish gate

fish gate at KBC

the third gate at KBC

the third gate at KBC

a simple plant holder

a simple plant holder

One of the major downs in Robert’s ironworks career came when he installed this protective rail around the Lewis and Clark square garden in Long Beach.

planter rail

planter rail

He set a piece down and accidentally drove over it when moving our van, and (although really it was just a couple of hours work to fix it) had a stormy mood that involved spray painting over the part of our business sign that said “Ironworks”.   He said, not for the first time, that he was going to quit and sell his tanks, but I stubbornly painted the word “Ironworks” back in.  I saw more joy when he was creating than at any other time.  Within a couple of days, he had cheered up and again was on a high that the business was about to take off.

He made two hose hangers for the Shelburne Inn and the Shoalwater Restaurant, which coexisted in the same building at that time.  (The Shoalwater’s hose was warm water.)  Making smaller things was better for his health, which was precarious.   It seemed he might be getting Post Polio Syndrome, and he had a small heart attack in 2002 and was not supposed to be hefting heavy things.
S for Shelburne and Shoalwater

S for Shelburne and Shoalwater

I recall that once again, he gave them away rather than charging, or charged such a low price that he had only made a couple of dollars per hour of labour.

In the fall he made another water symbol hose hanger, which I think Donna bought.

water symbol

water symbol

the last gates he made for Donna

the last gates he made for Donna

 

Perhaps, he thought in 2002, welded garden furniture would be the way to go.

dragonfly table

dragonfly table

another table which a friend in Long Beach bought

another table which a friend in Long Beach bought

a table and chair.  The chair was very comfortable.

a table and chair. The chair was very comfortable.

2002 was the last year of the ironworks.  In the midst of the upheaval of 2003, he sold the tanks.  I still think it is a tragedy that nothing but these pieces came from such a talent.  I often thought that if we had had enough money so that he did not have to do any work BUT creative work, or if he could have charged enough to make at least a modest wage while welding…perhaps there could have been success.   Sometimes people wanted to commission items but wanted to pay such a low price that he would have been averaging fifty cents an hour!

In 2005, it almost seemed like he would revive the ironworks, as he had a relationship with someone with money who was going to set him up with new tanks and a workshop, but it was not to be and he left the Peninsula.

sculpture

sculpture

I still wonder….Why was this not a great success?  Everyone who saw the pieces loved them, some people wanted to buy them and yet….there are no more to be had.   At least here I can preserve them.  And in my garden I have two of the creations:

arbour

spiderweb arbour

and a tuteur

and a tuteur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We had met Lynn and Donna Ryan of Seaview through their neighbour, Bev, and Donna’s garden design skills were a great inspiration to me. Lynn, a retired dentist, had added all sorts of clever touches to the home interior, and as we got to know them, he hired Robert to help out with projects.

Below:   Donna in her back garden, which was 25 feet wide and expanded ever westward on property that ran to the mean high tide line.

1995

Donna's back garden

Donna’s back garden

looking down at the west side garden from the second story deck on the house

looking down at the west side garden from the second story deck on the house

Through the arch was a garden shed. Later we would help create a pond where the curved bench is and we helped build garden beds further west.

second story deck view

second story deck view

outside Donna's garden shed

outside Donna’s garden shed

in Donna's garden

in Donna’s garden

Donna’s example taught me how to fill every space with interest.

planting under a bench

planting under a bench

side porch of the house

side porch of the house

1998

new hedge of Cistus 'Elma'

new hedge of Cistus ‘Elma’

I loved that hedge of evergreen white bloomed Cistus, and then the winter after this photo was taken the whole thing died.  We never knew quite why…too cold?  Or did the run off from the parking lot make their feet too wet?

Robert helped Lynn install this huge new window on the north side of their house.

window being installed

window being installed

Below, Robert and one of Donna’s cats by the new window. I wish I had photographed the interior of the house, because it was gorgeously decorated with art, antiques, old quilts and a paint theme of blue and yellow.

the new window

the new window

Robert and Lynn built a pond in the back garden with a waterfall made of driftwood.

new pond

new pond

When Robert began his ironworks business, Donna commissioned this dragonfly gate.

in the west side garden

in the west side garden

Beyond the gate, before the fence, you can perhaps see two trees with their trunks woven together.  Both of Donna’s parents (still active farmers in their 90s) had been murdered the year before by a small band of teenagers on their eastern Washington town.  Donna had had to spend many days in the courtroom during the trial.  Those two trees were the centerpiece of a memorial garden that she created in the memory of her parents.

2000

Donna’s garden was always interesting in every detail.

on the back door

on the back door

She and Lynn went garage saling every Saturday and she cleverly repurposed her finds.

old wagon planter

old wagon planter

container garden heaven

container garden heaven

at the garden entrance

at the garden entrance

another yard sale find

another yard sale find

The south side fence at Donna’s was falling down so Robert welded an ironwork top and Lynn attached it all to these posts to make a long covered pergola.

the pergola

the pergola, looking east

Robert and Lynn enclosed a sunporch with old windows at Donna and Lynn’s Seaview house in spring of 2000.   I have no photos of it but what a wonderful, lightfilled place it was to sit.

below: Donna’s porch, outside the south facing French doors. I learned from her the idea that some indoors objects can be used on shelves outside.

on Donna's porch

on Donna’s porch

She commissioned a tuteur from Robert and had it in her front garden.

tuteur

tuteur

And then, much to my amazement, Lynn and Donna divorced and off she went to Ridgefield to establish a new home and garden near her daughter and grandchildren.  I regret that I have never been to see it as I am sure it is wonderful.    Lyn relocated to Vancouver, Washington and remarried; he and his new wife came to visit my Spring Street house once looking for Robert, but by then Robert and I had also parted ways.

I learned from this that no matter how perfect another couple’s life looks from the outside….you just never know.  My only hint was when she would go upstairs to read in order to avoid Lynn watching boxing on tv….and that occasionally he would call Robert and dramatically say he needed Robert’s help on a project in order to avoid a divorce.  We thought he was joking.

The last thing Robert made for Donna was a double gate for her new cottage in Ridgefield:

gates destined for Gypsy Cottage

gates destined for Gypsy Cottage

I still miss Donna’s gentle company, and her garden; it would have been perfect for the Peninsula garden tour.

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Kate and Dan

Kate and Dan

One day in 1996 we went to visit our friends Kate and Dan who lived in Gray’s River, whom we had met when they stopped by in 1993 to look at the Sou’wester. While we worked there, we had no time to visit them, so this was our first trip to their old farmhouse. Bertie immediately disgraced himself by chasing a chicken.  (He caught it but did not hurt it, thank goodness.)  Kate was already not fond of dogs, and he did nothing to improve her opinion.

Kate's cat on the patio

Kate’s cat on the patio

I’m not sure what Kate and Robert were doing (below), but I think it was that thing where you try to imagine the height of a fence or arbour.

planning and imagining?

planning and imagining?

Kate was a genius at decorating and hardscaping. She would have the ideas and Dan, when he came home from his job on a tugboat, would do the work.  Note to self: steal this idea:

Kate's concrete block chair

Kate’s concrete block chair

Kate's patio

Kate’s patio

water feature on patio

water feature on patio

Kate’s garden was soon to be featured as the cover story of the Oregonian’s gardening section.

Kate's patio

Kate’s patio

Below, a corner of Kate’s house with driftwood sculpture; she said she had gotten the driftwood idea from us.

driftwood

driftwood

arbour

arbour and gate

old barn on the property, with pile of decorating ingredients

old barn on the property, with pile of decorating ingredients

Inside, Kate painted her house with Mary Engelbreit-ish checks..

inside

inside

and painted designs on furniture.  I was in awe of her talent.

Kate's furniture painting

Kate’s furniture painting

We visited Kate one more time, and I may find a photo to add here later, but Robert did not like to visit without Bertie the wild dog, and after The Chicken Incident, he was no long welcome.

When Kate and Dan parted ways, she moved to Astoria and created another amazing garden, and then to a town further north.  When a friend told me that she had seen a glorious garden in that town and been shown around by the gardener, I asked “Was her name Kate?” and my friend said yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long Beach

By autumn of 1996, planters had been installed along the main street in Long Beach, and citizen volunteers adopted them. I had taken four near the Whale’s Tale Motel and the Old Salt Gallery. Below, the bulbs and plants start coming up in spring. That old house to the north is not there anymore.

planter by Whale's Tale; now it's by Home at the Beach, a wonderful shop!

planter by Whale’s Tale; now it’s by Home at the Beach, a wonderful shop!

planter by Whale's Tale bookshop in summer

planter by Whale’s Tale bookshop in summer

my planter across the street from the Whale's Tale

my planter across the street from the Whale’s Tale

Nabiel Shawa, city administrator at the time, said that my four planters were “Magnificent!” and within a year he had hired me to walk around downtown once a week and make sure that the other volunteer planters got watered.  (Each one had to have its faucet turned on and, later, off.)  Thus, in a very small way, began my City of Long Beach job.  By 1998, we were doing more garden work for the city of Long Beach, including planting up this new garden to the north of city hall.

city hall garden

city hall garden

By 2008, the city had decided that the volunteer planter program was not working.  The planters did not look wonderful.  So Allan and I now care for all of them as part of our city job.

Port of Ilwaco

In fall of 1997 I had gotten the idea to imperialize (with permission) a strip of land along the Ilwaco boatyard, one block east of my house, and make a long narrow volunteer flower garden.   Looking back, this seems crazy as I did not even have enough time for my own garden.   Perhaps I wanted a sunny border, or perhaps I just wanted to do good.  I might not have had I know it was infested with bindweed and horsetail, which weren’t visible till I started digging out the grass. Here it is in early spring 1998…

Ilwaco boatyard garden

Ilwaco boatyard garden

The Port provided a big pile of soil, and port worker Jaime helped me move some of it with her backhoe.  I provided all the plants, mostly from divisions from my own garden.

When I first started digging out the beds, assorted would be volunteers popped up, from the then-mayor’s wife to nearby residents.  I was thrilled and pictured a “Friday Tidy” sort of group like Ann Lovejoy had at the Bainbridge Island library.  It was not to be.  In several years of doing this volunteer garden, I had six hours of volunteer help, once from an Oysterville resident named Honor Seed who wheelbarrowed soil for me one day while he waited for a work shift at Jessie’s and once from my client and friend Sharon who helped me weed.

boatyard garden, early summer

boatyard garden, early summer

I spent perhaps two days a month weeding, and shorter times watering and grooming the garden.   It became a blessing when a neighbour went backhoe crazy up the hill from us, as it was a way to escape the incessant noise (trading it in for the more interesting noise of people working on boats).

boatyard flowers

boatyard flowers

The boatyard garden gave much gratification.  Folks walking to Jessie’s Fish Co told me how it brightened their day while they walked to their shifts.

Every Labour Day, the Peninsula hosted “Rod Run to the End of the World.” (Now it is the weekend after Labour Day). 1997, the end of the Rod Run parade of cars went by my boatyard garden.

fall '97, Rod Run
Labour Day ’97, Rod Run
September '97

Labour Day ’97

The boatyard garden continued as my volunteer project through 1992, although as my garden jobs (paid) increased, and as the backhoe frenzy died down near my house so that I enjoyed time at home more, it began to be something of an albatross around my neck.  In 2003, the garden was bulldozed to make room for a new electrical line and fence.  In 2011, we were hired by the Port of Ilwaco to bring the glory of the Boatyard Garden back, and we have done so, so although it took years and years to happen, this project did segue into being a job.

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For clarity in these prequels, I’m going to call our OLD Tangly Cottage garden the Spring Street garden (and our new garden since autumn 2010 is the Lake Street garden).

1996

Orson loved to bask on the big rock above the pond.

Orson on his rock, 1996

Orson on his rock, 1996

He loved basking in general.  His fur would bleach to brown in the summer.

my twenty-pounder

my twenty-pounder

Looking north (below) from the backside of the pond, you could still see across to the neighbour’s garage and hill opposite, a view that would soon start to disappear as the garden grew. I always wished the previous owners had planted those columnar trees closer together, which is just what they themselves said one time when they came to visit.

by the pond, '96

by the pond, ’96

Below, Orson snoozing on the wicker chaise lounge which I had no room for in the tiny house. I had bought this item for Carol to have her own telly and reading space when she lived with me and Wilum in Seattle, and now it was to molder away outside.

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

pond in May '96 with rhodos in bloom

pond in May ’96 with rhodos in bloom

I felt we were not making much progress with our own garden, being so busy with work.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

pond '96, still quite wild

pond ’96, still quite wild (although the irises were new)

In ’96, we started making concrete garden paths with a plastic pattern called Rock’n’Mold that we had got at the garden show. It made faux-paving stone paths; below, looking toward the house is the first section we made by mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow. We urgently needed hardscape paths because in winter the grass paths were so muddy that our feet would sink in to shoetop level. With the going back and forth to Seattle (a four and a half hour trip each way with the ferry) we did not get any further than this strip of path in summer 1996.

the first strip of path

the first strip of path

1997

The tiny cottage was finally coming together, helped enormously by Robert having enclosed the front porch in winter ’95.  In winter ’96 he finished the trim and I had some bookshelves at last and room to acquire a desk (even though in the photo below, I’m still using the window area to pile stuff.)

a new room, '97

a new room, ’97

bookshelvesIt was a tiny house, so tiny.  I had bookshelves now and had been able to unpack my books, but over the years the damp air did them no good.  We replaced the scary big old propane stove with a fancy new one, but every time the wind blew the pilot light went out; the manufacturer suggested disconnecting the safety

stove

stove

feature, but that idea did not appeal to me.  Oh well, I spent most of the time outside anyway!

I read books about Tiny Houses for inspiration.

tiny

tiny

lower path

lower path

In our own garden, we were working hard on the Rock’n’Mold paths with the aid of a home sized cement mixer from Costco.

Our Tangly Cottage sign, made by our friend John (who had been a renter in the cottage when we bought it in ’94) was getting framed by climbers.

at the lower gate

at the lower gate

I took the photo of the sign with ‘Bobbie James’ rose that would become our logo and avatar:

Tangly Cottage sign

Tangly Cottage sign

Making the paths helped define the lower garden.  Below, I had dug out a little pond at the bottom of the garden over the winter to collect water run off from the big pond.

lower pond

lower pond

Below, Lower garden, 1997, with paths. It looks so perfect, but the path idea was not one I would recommend. Despite using landscape fabric underneath, weeds got into every crack. By 2008 I had replaced almost all these paths with gravel and used the cement pavers for making low walls. Only toward the end of the project did Robert and I figure out that you could pour the concrete and then just stamp the pattern on the top of it, thus elimated those pesky weedy cracks.

lower garden summer '97

lower garden spring ’97

Below:  The twig arbours in the lower garden, midsummer 1997. Around this time, our truck’s tie rod completely broke…a very big problem. We bought a Voyager van which turned out to be a complete lemon and plagued us with repairs and crises for the rest of the year.

arbours

arbours

Meanwhile, the upper garden paths and the lower gardens paths had a long way to go to meet in the middle of the garden which was still undeveloped.  The enormous spruce tree two third of the way down daunted me.  Oddly, when I first looked at the property in spring of  ’94, I had been so entranced by the pond I had not even noticed the monster tree!

upper garden path 1997

upper garden path spring 1997

1998

In winter of ’97-’98, I messed around with river rock around the pond.  Why do we always think that a look like this will last?

river rock

river rock by the pond overflow stream

It was always very pretty when I cleaned up fallen leaves and weeds, but never again looked as perfect as this…

We started to come up the north side of the garden into the middle section.  The shrubs on the north side had still not filled in enough to hide the neighbour’s house.

north middle path

north middle path, spring ’98

Here’s the view  from our upper back yard across to the trailer park two houses away. The hill was still clothed in trees; this would change within a couple of years.

RV park view

RV park view

Throughout all my years in this garden, deer kept breaking in despite our best fencing efforts.

another break in!

another break in!

May 1998:  Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose starting to cover the old trailer in our garden.  I had spray painted the trailer green with Rustoleum.

Rose of May

Rose of May

view from loft window, May 1998

view from loft window, May 1998: middle path finally done!

J9 and me, 1998

J9 and me, 1998

Our friend J9 came to visit us and took this photo of me by our new garden shed that Robert had built over the winter.  We had been in a hurry to get it built before the city council changed the setback law for commercial property.  (Our lots were zoned commercial.)  It got built in time to sit right on the property line instead of five feet back.

the purple shed, summer '98

the purple shed, summer ’98

I wrote on the shed wall: “This used to be among my prayers, a piece of land not so very large, which would contain a garden, near the house, a spring of everflowing water, and beyond these, a bit of woods”, which perfectly described our property with its spring fed pond and the woods by the dirt road that ran along the south side.

street side of the purple shed

 

front door, early summer '98

front door, early summer ’98

My friend Elissa (a former Moby Dick innkeeper) and I found a tiny feral kitten in Long Beach and I brought her home.  I named her Madeline (“The stars are God’s daisy chain”) to go with our dog, Bertie Woofter.

Maddie as a kitten

Maddie as a kitten

I thought Orson would be pleased, as he had been fond of our orange cat Valene, she who had gone missing while we were at Shakti Cove Cottages.  I was terribly wrong, and he sulked up in the loft for most of the winter.

Maddie  by the front window

Maddie by the front window

I have only once mentioned the fact that we had rescued parakeets; the first two needed a home, then one would die, the other would be lonely, we would get another, and so on. Robert had turned one of our windows into this aviary, but Maddie (unlike the more placid Orson) was so obsessed with the birds that we found better homes for them where they had more room to fly.

goodbye to the birds

goodbye to the birds

Having her cling to the wire of the cage must have been unsettling for them.

While this journal skims over most of the personal events, I should say (so it won’t be a big shock later) that signs of discontent were brewing in my personal life.    But by the end of 1998, Robert said that, as a former welder, he thought he could make garden art from rebar with oxygen and acetyline tanks, so we got some…(more on his wonderful projects soon).  I hoped that a major creative outlet of his own would make him happy at last.  His first creation, at the end of 1998, were twin arbours to replace the rotting twig ones in the lower garden.  He felt they were rough and unsatisfactory but I loved them (as did the man who bought the cottage and garden from me in 2011).

Robert's rebar arbours, lower garden

Robert’s rebar arbours, lower garden

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