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Archive for March, 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

We could have worked on yet another beautiful day.  However, I am trying to take some nice days off so that Allan can enjoy his new little boat (and of course, I can weed my garden).  Life is exceedingly short and fragile and can change or end at pretty much any moment, I fear, and at the risk of disappointing our clients, I’m determined to take some more time for ourselves.

early afternoon:  Allan lashes his boat onto the trailer

early afternoon: Allan lashes his boat onto the trailer

While I did accomplish several oyster baskets (bushel basket sized) and one wheelbarrow full of weeding and clipping, I did go in and out of the house quite a lot.  Not my most productive day.  My best idea was to put an old crab pot in place as part of a future fence, whose purpose will be just to keep dogs out of the front garden.  I love dogs, especially Gracie across the street, but am not thrilled when she runs through the garden beds.  I also want to protect any cat sleeping in the garden from a dog who may not be friendly.

idea

I posted on Facebook about finding one or two more old crab pots and it seems I might be able to acquire a couple from the port tomorrow.

I was too busy when outside to take more than a few garden photos.

Pulmonaria, less blue than the one I photographed yesterday

Pulmonaria, less blue than the one I photographed yesterday

Fritillaria meleagris (guinea hen flower, checkered lily)

Fritillaria meleagris (guinea hen flower, checkered lily)

I planted some small (I hope) columnar evergreens from Back Alley Gardens in the west and east beds in the back garden.  The east bed has no great view because of the gear shed.  The west bed is where I don’t want to lose a view.  It will be years before said little evergreens are big enough to steal any view, and I suppose I can always cut them down later if they turn out to not be the sort that takes to pruning.  (I left the tags out in the greenhouse so can’t tell you what they are yet.)

back garden, east side

back garden, east side

back garden, center and west beds

back garden, center and west beds

Meanwhile, Allan took some photos while boating on Ilwaco’s Black Lake.

Black Lake

From our home on Lake Street, it's a short drive.

From our home on Lake Street, it’s a short drive.

Black Lake

 

pleasant viewing benches

Pleasant viewing benches are placed along the lake.

Black Lake dock

Black Lake dock

 

Allan's boat

Allan’s boat

This time, the sail worked!

This time, the sail worked!

sailing

At one point, it sailed him right into the shoreline.

At one point, it sailed him right into the shoreline.

view from north end of Lake

view from north end of Black Lake

Just north of the lake is Ilwaco’s cranberry farm.

CranMac

CranMac

CranMac farm

CranMac farm

cranberry bogs

cranberry bogs

From the excellent book Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula by Oysterville author and blogger Sydney Stevens:

McPhails

Next:  Back to work on Monday.

 

 

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

No, not that kind of high.

I was expecting rain all weekend and was so looking forward to reading. At 6 AM Saturday morning, thunder and a startlingly torrential downpour promised a great day. When I awoke again midmorning on Saturday, the weather still looked ideal.

south window view

south window view

north window view...bliss

north window view…bliss

indoor flowers

indoor flowers

begonia flower

begonia flower

Yes, it looked like I could have one ideal day of rain and not even leave the house. I just craved ONE more day like that before buckling down to work for the next eight months. And yet, before I had even finished my coffee, out came the sun. I would have to weed instead, preceded by taking some photos of lovely backlit flowers. First, the gardens in front of the house and the workshop:

tulips in the front garden

tulips in the front garden

pulmonaria

Pulmonaria in Allan’s garden

Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant) in Allan's garden

Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant) in Allan’s garden

Can you see how much the flowers look like little mice diving into the ground?

Can you see how much the flowers look like little mice diving into the ground?

"black" hellebore

“black” hellebore

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII'

Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’

That barberry that I got from Cistus Nursery

That barberry that I got from Cistus Nursery

If only I could remember the name.

If only I could remember the name.

Edited to add: Not a barberry! Alison of the Bonney Lassie blog has enlightened me that it is Ribes speciosum. Googling informs me that Ribes speciosum is a gooseberry with small fruits. I will have to watch for then.

Tulips and Dicentra spectabilis

Tulips and Dicentra spectabilis

My so fragrant gift Hebe from Charlene

My so fragrant gift Daphne from Charlene

more tulips in front garden

more tulips in front garden

tulips

Then, into the back garden:

the center bed with Geranium 'Rozanne'

the center bed with Geranium ‘Rozanne’

sweet peas in containers protected from sitting cats

sweet peas in containers protected from sitting cats

the garden boat...with less sunshine!

the garden boat…with less sunshine!

south end of garden under a darkening sky!

south end of garden under a darkening sky

Oh joy, the sun had gone, the wind had kicked up, and I could go back in and read!

In my comfy chair, all ready to read High and Dry at last!

In my comfy chair, all ready to read High and Dry at last!

I had recently acquired this out of print book about gardening in Colorado. It’s by the author of one of my two favourite blogs, The Miserable Gardener. (The other is, of course, the Tootlepedal blog.) I had been waiting for over a week for a rainy day at home to read High and Dry from cover to cover. I delved with a feeling of great satisfaction into the introduction by Panayoti Kelaidis.

introduction

from the introduction

As he suggests, I was sure I would get some new ideas for planting the summer dry gardens along the Howerton Way at the Port of Ilwaco (a block south of our house). However, the biggest reason I had sought out the book was because Robert Nold’s sense of humour has often made me chortle as I read his blog.

Smokey decided that he simply must join me as I read.

slowing me down

slowing me down

After we had negotiated that he could not sit right on the book, I began the first chapter and was most pleased to read that my expectation of pleasant reading were sure to be fulfilled:

nold

dream

I was lost in pure delight….And then….I saw a horrible sight from the corner of my left eye. Sunshine outside the windows.

Noooooo!!!!

Noooooo!!!!

Thoroughly disheartened, I had to put the book down and go outside.

Three dutiful hours and several bushel baskets of weeds later, the cold south wind finally picked up and at three thirty I permitted myself to return to the house and the book day that I had planned. I’ll share with you some of my very favourite parts, and urge you to find the book for yourself. The paperback cost me $30; I wish I had known that in it, the illustrations and photos by Cindy Nold-Nelson are black and white. Bob Nold tells me that they are in colour in the hardcover version, which seems more difficult to find (and of course more expensive). She was such a good photographer and illustrator that even in black and white, the art is interesting and informative.

illo

would be more magnificent in colour

would be more magnificent in colour

front and back cover in colour

front and back cover in colour

Robert Nold’s writing was my main reason for seeking out the book, though, so I was well satisfied. Here, he says what I also feel about designing gardens.

on designing gardens

on designing gardens

 

Just the other day at the Boreas Inn, a friend of the owner asked me if I could help her design her front garden and I had to say no. I am out of ideas for gardens other than my own, and I think of ideas for my own garden almost only while I am actively working in it. As Nold says above, “I start digging and see what happens.”

This made me chortle.

This made me chortle.

I was pleased to read his thoughts about trees:

trees

I wanted only a very few favourite trees in my new garden and then succumbed to two apples (Cox’s Orange Pippen and Pink Lady) and one pear tree (in memory of my grandma’s garden, and now I may need a second pear for pollenation) and am already worried that I will lose too much light.

a book recommendation

a book recommendation

Now I must get the shade book by George Schenk, an author whose book Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces gave me all sorts of good ideas.

I got two spectacularly exciting tips from High and Dry, both of which made me exclaim “Why didn’t I think of that??!” First, Nold writes about raised beds, and how they always sink:

raised beds

Brilliant!! If only I had thought to make a “spine” (as he recently described the concept in his blog) of rubble and junk under raised beds I’ve created.

I was even more excited about a new to me method of planting.

remove the soilless mix!!!

remove the soilless mix!!!

planting

Of course! We always “burble” plants in a bucket of water before planting but have always done so with the pot on. What an amazing idea to do it with the pot already removed. I tried it the very next day, in fact, and the roots sighed with relief. So many plants that we’ve planted end up looking like this after awhile:

a hebe in my garden with its "shoulders" showing above the ground

a hebe in my garden with its “shoulders” showing above the ground

I think I finally can stop this from happening, thanks to High and Dry.

The other suggestion that thrilled me was in a passage about how the latest most favoured method of planting pots is to not fill the bottoms with crocking or gravel. His simple suggestion to place a paper towel over the drainage hole flabbergasted me with its elegant simplicity.

perfection!

perfection!

(I don’t paint the wounds on pruned tree branches, though.)

His passage on botanical names was useful, succinct, and informative:

botanical

And I thought, What?? He does not recommend Agastaches, one of my favourite plants? Which brings us to the plant chapters. (Turns out Agastaches need more water than provided in his almost completely unsupplemented gardens.)

I have to admit I lightly skimmed the chapters on Cacti and Agaves and Yuccas as they would just look silly in my lush gardens. Reading about all the other plants rewarded me with the sort of drollery that is my favourite sort of humour.

helianthus

rhamnus

salvia

I don’t know about you, but the dry humour in the descriptions above made me almost want to laugh out loud.

When I read a comment on Nold’s blog that someone had read High and Dry because he could not resist a gardening book with the word “despair” in the index, I knew I simply had to own it.

despair

And here is the paragraph to which “despair” refers:

the definition of despair

the definition of despair

Even here in the Pacific Northwest, we can learn from the plant descriptions in High and Dry what plants might work well on our hell strips (parking strip garden beds). I hope I’ve inspired you to seek out this book. I can’t imagine why such a helpful resource has gone out of print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Today’s rain lacked gloriousness because we chose to work in it.  We thought, when we woke to light drizzle, that we would enjoy the accomplishment of checking a couple of hauling jobs off of our list.  We grabbed the opportunity to chop down a couple of plants in our front garden and divest ourselves of the resulting debris.  My Rubus lineatus may not even return after this past winter’s hard freezes, and the Australian mint shrub in the foreground had a tattered look and had also got bigger than I thought it would.

before

before

after...much better view of the Hellebores

after…much better view of the Hellebores

Off we drove in a light drizzle to the Depot Restaurant in Seaview, the next beach town north.  We had two piles of debris there from previous work days to pick up, and I went along because I had three more pruning tasks in mind there.

at the Depot: forgot to take a before

at the Depot: forgot to take a before

during...native Spiraea douglasii

during…native Spiraea douglasii

after....old stems removed to encourage new growth

after….old stems removed to encourage new growth

I tackled the Escallonia that had caught my attention a few days earlier.  Not only did it have a bald top, but it is so much the wrong plant for that spot.  It would like to get huge and block the window entirely.  Now, my plan is that it will come back from the base and will then be easier to keep low.

Escallonia before

Escallonia before

and after!

and after!

You may observe that as I pruned, the skies opened and heavy rain began to fall.  It was not pleasant.

with debris loaded and ready to go

with debris loaded and ready to go

Our plan was to pick up the pile we had left after pruning a tree at The Anchorage Cottages.  We swung by Garden Tour Nancy’s on the way to leave a container of mixed sweet pea seeds on her porch, a trade for some purple podded edible peas that she’d dropped off on my porch.  She saw us and beckoned us in.  I left my dripping raincoat and wet shoes on her porch, although my hair was streaming water as I can’t bear to wear a hat while working.  That’s when the day turned better.  Not only did we have a good visit with Nancy and Phil; we were invited to a delicious impromptu lunch!

a tableau in Nancy and Phil's new powder room

a tableau in Nancy and Phil’s new powder room

view from the east windows

view from the east window

view from the south window

view from the south window

and a wonderful lunch with Nancy's homemade pasta sauce, freshly grated Parmesan, and basil

and a wonderful lunch with Nancy’s homemade pasta sauce, freshly grated Parmesan, and basil

After lunch and garden talk, the rain had stopped so we had a quick tour of the garden.

a chicken coop from a kit; soon to be occupied

a chicken coop from a kit; soon to be occupied

garlic rows

garlic rows

the flower border we made a year and a half ago

the flower border we made a year and a half ago

Muscari 'Ocean Magic'

Muscari ‘Ocean Magic’

In the lack of rain, we continued our work day by collecting our branch pile from the Anchorage Cottages just north of Long Beach.

The Anchorage

The Anchorage

Sunday's pruning job looks more defined with the branches removed from behind the tree.

Sunday’s pruning job looks more defined with the branches removed from behind the tree.

On the way to the transfer station (AKA the dump), we stopped at Dennis Company so I could buy more sweet pea seeds.  The tulips in the planter just north of the store looked promising.  A sharp eye can see chickweed underneath them.  We did not have time to deal with it because the local dump closes at four thirty.

city planter: to be weeded later

city planter: to be weeded later

The dump is located east of Sandridge Road.  We could have taken to debris to Peninsula Landscape Supply but I thought they might have closed their gates in discouragement over the torrential rain.  On the way to the dump, we drove past cranberry bogs and saw we were not the only ones working in bad weather.

cran

digging out a bog

digging out a bog

entering the transfer station road

entering the transfer station road

up and over a little hill

up and over a little hill

and here we are; we dump yard waste behind the big blue building.

and here we are; we dump yard waste behind the big blue building.

4:25 PM: On the way back home down Sandridge Road, we were cheered by the sight of our client Diane’s nice display of Narcissi.

heading south past Diane's garden

heading south past Diane’s garden

Oddly, when we got home the weather had almost completely cleared and yet…the power was out.  Our plans to have dinner with visiting friend Kathleen Shaw looked perilous, as we learned that the power had gone out all the way to Klipsan Beach, encompassing every dinner restaurant that we like.  Even stranger, our telephone internet (4G) also disappeared just after I’d managed to learn from the local Facebookers how widespread the outage was.

I’m so happy to tell you that the power returned at 5:45 PM, just in time to fulfil our plan to dine at Mexican Fiesta night at the Lightship Restaurant in Long Beach…the last fiesta night of the winter.

at the Lightship:  Guacamole made tableside

at the Lightship: Guacamole made tableside

We were joined by local artists Don Nisbett and Jenna (Queen LaDeDa) and their son Joe for an even more festive fiesta night.

Kathleen and Jenna

Kathleen and Jenna

I had a feeling that the next day would turn out to be another work day.  I’m still hoping for a storm this weekend that will permit me to read High and Dry!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Still with the halfway decent weather and no rainy reading day!  (Does all this wanting to stay home and read mean I want to retire?  Maybe.  I spend some time at work these days wondering why we are working so hard when we could afford to partially retire.  The problem is, we really like all of our jobs.)

So we began at the Port, weeding a bit and planting some assorted California poppy seeds in the Howerton Street gardens.

West end of Howerton, looking east

West end of Howerton, looking east

detail

detail

While Allan weeded the Howerton Way beds on the north side of the Port Office, I weeded the little bed on the south side.

Port Office, south side

Port Office, south side

Muscari and Anemone blanda

Muscari and Anemone blanda along Howerton

Muscari 'Ocean Magic' backed with tulips

Muscari ‘Ocean Magic’ backed with tulips

early tulips

early tulips

peacock

I had hoped to have a rainy day get together at Olde Towne Café with our friend Kathleen before she drove back north.  The good weather intervened.  We finally made it there, after Judy (four doors down) had been and gone and Kathleen was done with her lunch.  A half an hour did pass before we got back to work.

the view from our Olde Towne table; I was very taken with that brown coffeepot even though brown is "not my colour"

the view from our Olde Towne table; I was very taken with that brown coffeepot even though brown is “not my colour”.

other patrons at Olde Towne

other patrons at Olde Towne

one of our city planters right outside Olde Towne Café

one of our city planters right outside Olde Towne Café

To further our mission of getting sweet pea and poppy seeds planted, we went to the next (and last!) sweet pea job, the Boreas Inn in Long Beach.  I was pleased to see some of my mom’s dogtooth violets coming up….  I had transplanted them here and there when my mother left her garden.

Erythronium at Boreas Inn garden

Erythronium at Boreas Inn garden

Because grass always creeps under the fence from the neighbour’s lawn into the area where Susie likes to plant sweet peas, I had decided to try a new method: planting them in long, narrow containers.

project, before

project, before

And then I began to plant poppy seeds and noticed that the hole where Ed Strange had removed a Phormium a few weeks before still had no new soil added.  I decided that we should go get a yard of soil as I knew Ed was running behind in his landscape and mowing business because of rain.  Part of what he does so excellently is mowing lawns, and that’s not a job that can wait for very long.  So off we went.  As we departed the Boreas property, a heavy rain began to fall and I felt sunk in gloom, being determined to do the soil job but expecting to be thoroughly and miserably drenched.

On the way to Peninsula Landscape Supply, we stopped at The Basket Case Greenhouse to pick up a few more santolinas and an Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’.

Eryngium' Jade Frost'...I love it so much I always want more.

Eryngium’ Jade Frost’…I love it so much I always want more.

By then, I could see a lighter cast to the southwest sky and got some hope that the rain might stop.

still raining at Peninsula Landscape Supply while our soil was being loaded into the trailer

still raining at Peninsula Landscape Supply while our soil was being loaded into the trailer

While sitting in the van hoping for the rain to stop, I realized I needed MORE Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ and a few other cool perennials for a long bed next to the squirting clam in Fifth Street Park.  Fred and Nancy were not terribly surprised when we pulled back into the Basket Case parking lot and bought another two trays of perennials.

at the Basket Case

at the Basket Case

the perennial greenhouse

the perennial and herb greenhouse

On the way back to Boreas, we swung by Long Beach City Hall to drop off a plant bill.  The north side display of mostly white flowers is looking even better than last week.  And the rain had stopped!

Long Beach City Hall

Long Beach City Hall

With our yard of soil, Allan fluffed up the Boreas’ Garden Suite bed where he had positioned the new sweet pea planters.

after

after

We added soil to various spots in the lawn beds and, at Susie’s request, used to rest to level out some dips in the lawn itself.

looking west

looking west

It looks rather odd now.

It looks rather odd now.

Brown sand might have been better; I’m wondering if the lawn will now have areas that are too happy because of being in better soil.  However, it needed to be done, and now it’s done, and Ed is happy that he does not have to find time to do it.

looking east toward the inn and the hot tub gazebo

looking east toward the inn and the hot tub gazebo

As we drove off, Susie herself was happily broadcasting some lawn seed.

Susie seeding

Susie seeding

I had high hopes for a big storm coming in the next day so that I would have time to sit down and read High and Dry.

Friday, 28 March 2014

At last…after a good long sleep, I awoke to the sound of pelting rain.  I celebrated with rain photos from every window.

Allan took this photo, from his window, of a robin on the wheelbarrow.

Allan took this photo, from his window, of a robin on the wheelbarrow.

from the kitchen window

from the kitchen window

delicious rain

delicious rain

rain to the east

rain to the east

and the south

and to the south

The work board was peacefully almost empty of first time garden clean ups.

soon the next round of work will be added...

soon the next round of work will be added…but for now there is little guilt.

While breakfasting, before settling down to read High and Dry, I checked my Facebook feed on my phone.  There, I saw that it was Olde Towne Café owner Luanne’s birthday.  That changed the day’s plan.

Allan and I went to the new fiber arts shop at the Port, Purly Shell, to get her a gift certificate for yarn.

Purly Shell, right next to Time Enough Books

Purly Shell, right next to Time Enough Books, with art by Don Nisbett

inside Purly Shell

inside Purly Shell

a cosy place for knitting and crocheting

a cosy place for knitting and crocheting

We popped next door to Time Enough Books.  I had a certain kind of book in mind for Luanne, one that speaks to the joys and strengths of solitude and self discovery.  I was thinking SARK or May Sarton (Plant Dreaming Deep).  Although bookshop owner Karla did not have those on such short notice, she knew exactly what I meant and picked up a copy of Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman.  I had read it oh so recently on a rainy day and it was the perfect choice.

I also quite liked the “I dress this way…” magnet as it reminded me of the passage I had read just yesterday (in Sing Them Home) about a woman, new to a small town, being critiqued for the way she dressed.

dressing

On the board where customers can recommend a good book, I added Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, another wonderful recent read.

book recommendations

book recommendations

And then…Olde Towne Café.  At first, Luanne was too busy cooking and serving to join her own birthday party!

Luanne on the move at Olde Towne

Luanne on the move at Olde Towne

After we sat visiting with Jenna, Cat, and Rosemary for awhile, the lunch crowd thinned and Luanne’s son and coworker Michael took over so she could relax for a bit.

Luanne with a bouquet sent by her daughter back east

Luanne with a bouquet sent by her daughter back east

Luanne opens some tiny buttons from Cat.

Luanne opens some tiny buttons from Cat.

Cat's gift: inspirational mug and buttons

Cat’s gift: inspirational mug and buttons

“Wild and beautiful heart”, ‘Soul sisters teach us how to fly”, “Put on your brave girl boots”.

birthday book and cards

birthday book and cards

Just as the party was almost ending, our friend J9 arrived to get a cup of coffee.

J9 and Luanne

J9 and Luanne

Meanwhile, in the background, Allan talked with Chris about the new Black Lake Yacht Club, which apparently is a real plan (for really small boats), not just a joke.  If Allan’s going to join a “yacht club”, we really will have to find a way to cut back on work.

By the time we got home, the rain had stopped and instead of reading, I had to go out and plant my own damn sweet peas, which led to some weeding, and to another day gone without reading.  Rain is predicted for tomorrow.  Could I possibly be so lucky?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

from east living room window

from east living room window

This is the kind of day I like best these days, as I have a strong craving to just read while cold rain sluices down outside and the wind blows so intensely that there can be no idea of working. I even prefer such days to a day off in my own garden. I think winter staycation was not long enough.

east window

east window

north window

north window

I even had flowers inside; the Clivia that once was my mother’s had bloomed.

clivia

Clivia

Clivia

I'm surprised because I did not think the northern exposure would give it enough light to bloom.

I’m surprised because I did not think the northern exposure would give it enough light to bloom.

Instead of immediately returning to the reading of my novel, I accomplished the amazing task of cleaning off the dining table; the birthday mirror from friend J9 had inspired me to get a better reflection.

reflect

 

From my reading chair, the view is better than a mound of papers, newspapers and magazines. Will it last? Indoor tidiness is not in my nature.

a better view from the reading chair

a better view from the reading chair

colette

My mood, even about reading, was procrastinatory. I had made myself a note, after reading a biography of Nick Drake, to listen to some songs of his that had faded from my memory. Somewhere I have a boxed vinyl set of all his records. So I listened to a few on Vimeo on my iPhone, leading to a melancholy mood, as was to be expected.

drake

It’s “Black Eyed Dog”.

Pink, pink, pink, pink moon....

Pink, pink, pink, pink moon….

Mary slept....on the back of my reading chair.

Mary slept….on the back of my reading chair.

Smokey and Frosty watched the rainy windows.

Smokey and Frosty watched the rainy windows.

Finally I settled down to attempt to finish the very long novel Sing Them Home, whose author, Stephanie Kallos, had written one of my very favourite novels, Broken for You. The latter book was set in Seattle and I expected more of that setting, so was surprised to find myself in Nebraska and even more surprised as a “Wales-o-phile” to learn that small town Nebraska has a strong Welsh tradition, with residents speaking Welsh, singing Welsh hymns, replicating Welsh festivals and funerals. I was delighted.

one

two

three

 

While I read, Allan ran his own errands and also switched compost buckets at Olde Towne Café. There he found the local window washing crew being far more industrious than we were, working in the rain.

Café window cleaning

Café window cleaning

He also brought back some photos of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco post office.

po po2 po3 po4

Meanwhile, I came across a charming passage about birdsong.

birdsone

birdstwo

 

birdsthree

 

Allan returned and puttered in his shop. He later commented that he had built something for himself for a change instead of for me or J9. Hmm. Something to do with his little boat, I’ll wager. Meanwhile, I ran across a passage in Sing Them Home that deeply reminded me of my own experience with a former resident of our small town. I felt relieved that it was not an experience unique to me being a fashion misfit!

looksone

lookstwo

looksthree

Moral: Be kind to people!

I read on till dinner time (ten-ish for us; we’re very European according to our well traveled friend Lisa) and still did not finish the novel, for which I blame the long session of procrastination in the morning and early afternoon. Perhaps the next day I would finally get to my new garden book, High and Dry.

 

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Monday, 24 March 2014

After yesterday’s perfect day….Well, it would be rare to get two perfect days in a row.  As we were getting ready to go to work, with a peaceful little plan of spending all day in Ilwaco (first at Ann’s garden and then at the Port if we had extra time), Ed Strange drove by.  He paused and commented about several days of rain being due.  What??  I had neglected to check the weather and had been counting on tomorrow being good for planting sweet peas at Klipsan Beach Cottages.  The previous evening, we had been just 30 blocks away at the end of the day, at J9’s new digs.  If only I could have pulled out one half hour more of energy, we could have gone to KBC and got the sweet peas done.  A glance, after Ed drove off, at the forecast of rain and 30 mph winds for days made me realize that I had to totally change the plan and go way up north just to get those sweet peas in.

rain

our front garden:  I would rather have stayed home.

our front garden: I would rather have stayed home.

First, we’d dug up some plants to share, so we stopped at Larry and Robert’s (where Ed was mowing) and planted a Pulmonaria (white) and a …plant with brown feathery foliage.  I wonder if whacking my head hard on a tree at the end of the day is why I can’t remember the name? (A few minutes later, with a surge of relief:  Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’!!)

Larry and Robert's garden boat

Larry and Robert’s garden boat

by the boat: needs weeding!

by the boat: needs weeding!

If our plans had not changed, we could have spent half an hour here weeding (and getting in the way of Ed and his employee as they mowed).

Some dead narcissi flowers in the Ilwaco street planters had been bothering me.  We stopped to pluck them and admired the new display in a downtown window.

Wendi's window

Wendi’s window

And then, the long drive north.

eleven miles

eleven miles

We worked for a short time at Golden Sands Assisted Living to make the drive more worthwhile,   weeding and then planting some assorted colours of California poppies (‘Copper Pot’, ‘Tequila Sunrise’ ‘Dusky Rose’, ‘Buttercream’).

The Golden Sands courtyard garden is filled with promise and as I weeded and planted, my thoughts ran like this:  Might it be be garden tour worthy this year after all?

Golden Sands courtyard

Golden Sands courtyard

If only I can keep other workers from doing any more pruning like this:

Rhodos pruned last fall before I cried "Stop!"

Rhodos pruned last fall before I cried “Stop!”

With the sprinkler system working and the dairy manure mulch, the garden could be fabulous this year.  By the end of April, I’ll know if it would be worthy.  It would be fun for the assisted living residents to have the garden on tour, I think.  It would have to be described as a grandma-style cottage flower garden full of passalong plants.  But  wait…We have two out of town garden events to attend in the month before the garden tour and I don’t know if we’ll have time to get a garden ready…

Golden Sands: early tulips

Golden Sands: peacock  tulips

more peacock tulips

more peacock tulips

The northwest quadrant, a neglected one last year, looking wonderful with mulch.

The northwest quadrant, a neglected one last year, looking wonderful with mulch.

On we went to Klipsan Beach Cottages to plant sweet peas.  When we pulled into our parking space we saw a glorious sight:  Denny had removed a hideous old Phormium and replaced it with a new length of fence.

Denny's project: deer fence extension

Denny’s project: deer fence extension

Last time we worked there I had given the Phormium the evil eye but hadn’t expressed my derision to anyone but Allan.  Now it’s on the debris pile, as if Denny had read my mind.  He had a heck of a time getting it out with a pick and shovel.

good riddance

good riddance

Considering that he is ten years older than us, it’s a bit embarrassing that lately I’ve been advising people to hire a backhoe to get rid of big old Phormiums.

Bella had been keeping Denny company while he worked.

Bella had been keeping Denny company while he worked.

I planted sweet peas along the fence here.

I planted sweet peas along the fence here (with Denny mowing in background)

more sweet peas went here

more sweet peas went here

Allan did some weeding; I had hoped he would put magnesium sulfate on the roses while I planted sweet peas.  However, it was one of THOSE days and that bucket had been left at home.  And the temperature was 66 degrees and we both found it considerably too hot; even Denny complained about it.

We headed the eleven miles back to Ilwaco with two Long Beach stops on the way.  On the trip north, I’d noticed some dead narcissi flowers in the planter in front of the Cottage Bakery.  This could not stand!

before deadheading: tattered old blooms

before deadheading: tattered old blooms

We also planted sweet peas around the second of two planter tuteurs, this one by the Paws by the Sea pet supply shop.

paws

The storefront used to be the Liquor Store, which was apparently very important for folks to find, so it got its own special planter tower to help them find it.  Paws by the Sea was lucky to inherit it.

As we passed through Seaview, I made a sudden decision to check the Depot garden for deadheading and indeed, some narcissi needed it.  I would hate for a diner to have to look at dead flowers on the way in.

The Depot Restaurant

The Depot Restaurant

Allan checks the kitchen garden.

Allan checks the kitchen garden.

If the Escallonia at the corner of the building were mine, it would be cut to the ground by now.  The winter hit it hard.

escallonia2

I did not have time to deal with at all as we wanted to get to Ann’s garden.  Later this week, we are taking a friend to the Depot for a celebration and I can then find out if we can cut the escallonia all the way and let it re-sprout.

Finally at last we got to Ann’s garden.  She and Butch had done some good gardening work already this spring; we went over all the beds on the front, west side, and back garden and got more weeds.  I planted starts of Anthriscus and Pulmonaria and some California poppy seeds (‘Dusky Rose’ and ‘Copper Pot’) and two plants from the Basket Case Greenhouse:  Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ and Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’.  I hope all are of no interest to the deer who frequent this garden.

in the midst of weeding the back garden

in the midst of weeding the back garden

Ann and Butch do all the work inside the vegetable gardens, fenced with old windows

Ann and Butch do all the work inside the vegetable gardens, fenced with old windows

The weather had turned cold and windy (and we complained a bit about that).  I stood up and slammed my head hard when weeding under the front garden tree.  I always hurt myself on that tree even though I always tell myself I will know better this time.

that mean tree

that mean tree

Being a hypochondriac, I fretted for awhile that I might have a concussion or, far worse, a hematoma.  (The latter recently, shockingly, happened to a friend.)  So far, I’ve survived.

The garden is full of frustrating scilla (bluebells)….and lily of the valley and wild garlic (or some kind of allium) and is very up and down, on a steepish slope, so is quite a challenge.

peonies swamped with scilla

peonies swamped with scilla

It has made a wonderful difference having most of the beds mulched with dairy manure.  Even the big creeping buttercups sometimes pull out easily as if they were in butter; the base soil is heavy clay.

Ann has a good collection of hellebores.

Ann has a good collection of hellebores.

The cottagey charm of the garden had inspired my admiration for years and keeps drawing me back to work there even th0ugh it is far from the easiest garden t0 tackle.

Ann's charming front garden

Ann’s charming front garden

Even though we got a late start, we got enough done so that we can relax and enjoy the rainy days that are said to be just about upon us.  I hope for a few breaks in wind and rain so that I can get my own sweet peas planted.  Other than that, I’ve just purchased a new book and am hoping for a day to sit and read it from cover to cover.

hoping for a rainy day!

Ironically, hoping for a rainy day to read this!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

back garden, freshly mowed

back garden, freshly mowed

Fritillaria by our driveway.  A day at home was not to be.

Fritillaria by our driveway. A day at home was not to be.

Yes, the weather was perfect all day.  Not too warm, not too cold.  54 degrees F with only the lightest of winds, and a slight haze over the sun so no glare.  We started by planting some sweet pea seeds in the northwest quadrant of Fifth Street Park in Long Beach; while I did that, Allan put magnesium sulfate around the roses to encourage basal breaks.  I believe in certain of these early spring fertilizing rituals even if it might be magical thinking.

one corner of Fifth Street Park

one corner of Fifth Street Park

Two and three years ago, the sweet peas in this park were glorious.  Last year, they did bupkis.  Cold, wet, or slugs got them.

sweet peas

I am hoping for this again:  glorious sweet peas in 2012

this year's selection

this year’s selection

Streamers mix, Saltwater Taffy Swirls, Zinfandel, Pastel Sunset, Strawberry Fields, Watermelon, Old Spice Blend, Lipstick, Spencer Ruffled Mix, Cupani’s Original, Painted Lady, In the Pink mix

Signs of spring:  The town was full of visitors, with one group after another posing by the frying pan.

spring

The manager of the carousel was just putting on the finishing touches, as it was fully assembled again with children already waiting in line.

Long Beach Carousel

Long Beach Carousel

Next to the carousel, a brand new gazebo to replace a weather beaten one.  I hope the interesting old photos are returned.

Next to the carousel, a brand new kiosk to replace a weather beaten one. I hope the interesting old photos of beach treasures are returned.

Tulip sylvestris in one of the planters

Tulip sylvestris in one of the planters

Narcissi in the frying pan park

Narcissi in the frying pan park

We would have liked lunch at Captain Bob's Chowder, right behind Fifth Street Park...but had to move on.

We would have liked lunch at Captain Bob’s Chowder, right behind Fifth Street Park…but had to move on.

Having gotten worried about the Gunnera in the southeast quadrant of the park, I gave it a good look.  There are two little leaves coming up…but it sure looks nothing like the good growth on the one we saw in our friend Ed’s garden yesterday.

Gunnera, is there hope?

Gunnera, is there hope?  It would be a bugger to dig out the old one.

The progress of Ed's Gunnera made me suddenly very worried about mine.

The progress of Ed’s Gunnera has made me very worried.

I had decided to plant annual poppy seeds (mostly California poppy) in the big pop out instead of a delightful selection of rock garden plants.  I know that the roots of Rugosa rose and couch grass lurk in wait; it will be easier to maintain if we can clean it all out once or twice a year.

One Stop Poppy Shop seeds

One Stop Poppy Shoppe seeds

I have poppy seeds from Renee’s Garden and from the One Stop Poppy Shoppe.  You can see, above, how small the packets of the sweet One Stop shoppe are; one feels they are home packaged with love and care.  Her selection is the best I’ve seen anywhere.

the world's tiniest zip lock bags

the world’s tiniest zip lock bags are inside each packet

I find my hands are too clumsy to open those little bags, so I cut them with scissors and then put the unused portions back in the larger packet.

getting ready to plant in the big pop out

getting ready to plant in the big pop out

California Poppy seeds are easy to broadcast.  Some of the finer Papaver seeds, like Flanders Field Poppy, are so tiny that I use another method.  First, I put the seeds in my palm.

seeds1

Then I blow, like blowing out a birthday candle.  This broadcasts the seeds over a good arc (provided nature’s wind is not competing with me).

whoosh!

whoosh!

Then we very lightly rake or sometimes even use a broom to even out the soil and get the seeds in good contact without covering them.  I’ve heard of mixing the seeds with granules of this and that to make them show up better, but I haven’t the patience.

I think I spilled part of a packet by holding it upside down over the sidewalk.  Will I never learn?  One of many reasons I don’t especially enjoy seed planting.  (Another reason is that I do not have deep faith that they will come up.  California poppies are almost foolproof.)

I had a few plants for the westernmost planter of the Bolstadt Beach approach.  Each got two Armeria (sea thrift) and two Santolina (lavender cotton).

near the boardwalk

near the boardwalk

Narcissi against beach grass

Narcissi against beach grass

Even this close to the shore, we had no appreciable wind today.  Happy tourists used different methods to get around.

bikes and horses

bikes and horses

While I checked on all the planters, Allan cut down the few ornamental grasses along the beach approach garden.  We still have to get out here and weed this monster.

grass cutting befores and afters

grass cutting befores and afters

We did a little more work downtown, planting sweet peas in the planter that has a tuteur in it (displaying signs for shops that are off the main street).  Allan weeded the Veterans Field garden, I chopped some Fuchsias back behind Lewis and Clark Square and then checked Dennis Company’s selection of flower seeds.

Out side Dennis Co:  We'll re-do this planter after bulb time; I'm sick of the vinca.

Outside Dennis Co: We’ll re-do this planter after bulb time; I’m sick of the vinca.

the tree planter outside Dennis Co

the tree planter outside Dennis Co

Across the street from Dennis:  That's not a conifer, it's Hebe 'Boughton's Dome', several years old.

Across the street from Dennis: That’s not a conifer on the right, it’s Hebe ‘Boughton Dome’, several years old.

In a planter one block south, we had cut the Escallonia to the ground.  A volunteer had once planted these shrubs in two of the planters.  They would like to be over ten feet tall.  I am determined this time to keep them well pruned to preserve the traffic sightlines.  Would that I could remove them; I fear we would hit the electrical line for the lamp post if we dug that deep.

Escallonia coming back

Escallonia coming back

A stop at the Cottage Bakery for tiger paws figured into our schedule.  They pastries were eaten in haste on the way to do two short but effective projects at the Anchorage Cottages.

courtyard sweet pea trellis

Anchorage courtyard sweet pea trellis

flowersAllan built the string and bamboo sweet pea trellis in the office courtyard.  While he did that, I tackled some pruning.  Manager Beth had spoken of perhaps having a tree removed from the southeast corner of the resort.  I had pointed out that without the tree, the lawn area and cottages would lose a sense of enclosure and we would be able to see right through to cars passing on the main street, a block away.  She agreed (because she is agreeable) to just let me limb it up.

tree before and after, with pile of branches behind

tree before and after, with pile of branches behind

done with these quiet tools (rechargable electric Makita chain saw, very quiet)

done with these quiet tools (rechargable electric Makita chain saw, very quiet)

It all went well except when the chainsaw got stuck and I needed some help getting it out of a pinching branch. (I had gotten cocky and not cut the branch further out to take the weight off.)

Anchorage: some hosta spears saying "Spring!"

Anchorage: some hosta spears saying “Spring!”

We had to leave the pile of tree boughs behind because our trailer had a large item in it to deliver to our friend J9’s new home.  On the way, we put in a couple of hours of work at Andersen’s RV Park:  planting more sweet peas and weeding couch grass out of a bed so I could plant California poppies.

now weeded and planted with California poppies

now weeded and planted with California poppies

looking west to the RV sites (with the ocean just beyond)

looking west to the RV sites (with the ocean just beyond)

Andersen's: Muscari latifolium

Andersen’s: Muscari latifolium

At last, we made our delivery to J9: a rebuilt and strengthened two tiered platform for her cat Buddy to climb to the cat door.  I briefly walked around and further admired her darling new place.

all moved in!

all moved in!

on the back porch

on the back porch

garden relics

garden relics

J9 and Buddy

J9 and Buddy

We took a different road out of her Tides West neighbourhood.  I made Allan back up after we had driven past a compound (two houses) so cute that I had to have a photo.  He took it from the driver’s seat so it does not show very well the detail of the staggered shakes decorating the top part of the houses.  I will be watching this promising place to see what the garden looks like in summer.

so very cute!

so very cute!

The evening chill had come on at home and I was draggin’ leg so did not plant any more sweet peas.  Maybe tomorrow.

This is about all I saw of my garden at home.  Cardamine (from the old Heronswood nursery) and Narcissi

This is about all I saw of my garden at home. Cardamine (from the old Heronswood nursery) and Narcissi, backed with Nora’s house

That cardamine is a delight.  It’s in the same family as shotweed but so much nicer.  You’ll also see much of the irksome shotweed in our garden.

I had one big plan for the evening, if only we had gotten home sooner.  For my birthday, J9 gave me a vintage mirror that she thought I would put in the garden.  I decided it had to go in the house.  It will reflect the dining room table, so if only I could clear all the papers and other detritus and put a nice bouquet of flowers there (and keep it that way!), I’d have a wonderful picture.  Didn’t happen, so here’s a smaller view.

thanks, J9!

thanks, J9!

In the mail a few days ago, I got another birthday present from my old friend Shaz, who well knows my fondness for Mary Engelbreit and for little boxes.  A former Peninsulite and garden client, Shaz talks of visiting here from her Oregon home this year, and I think of her so often….I hope we don’t let life go by without a visit in either direction.

a little box from Shaz

a little box from a much loved friend

Speaking of birthdays, we want to wish a very happy one to Garden Tour Nancy’s husband Phil, an architect and a food-gatherer extraordinaire.  Nancy texted me this photo of him getting oysters on the shores of Willapa Bay during that cold windy day we had last Friday.

Happy birthday, Phil!

Happy birthday, Phil!

Tomorrow I think we will finally get to that one private garden that has not yet seen a glimpse of us this year.

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

bowls

This event benefits local soup kitchens.

We just made it to the line for Empty Bowls 2014 in time to hear the end of the drumming performance.

the line at 11 AM

the line at 11 AM

I must remember to go see this garden in summer sometime.

I must remember to go see this garden in summer sometime.

entering

 

inside: the room of bowls

inside: the room of bowls

Local potter Karen Brownlee spearheads this event, organizing the creation, firing and glazing. Professional and amateur adult potters and students from local schools make the bowls.

bowls

sign

Allan picked the duck bowl.

Allan picked the duck bowl.

star bowls

star bowls

picking a bowl

picking a bowl

picking

raffle table.  We tried to win the set of three but no luck!

raffle table. We tried to win the set of three but no luck!

Soup donated by local restaurants.

Soup donated by local restaurants. Egg flower was our favourite.

soup

soup

soup

 

volunteer servers

volunteer servers

Our bowls (I bought two).

Our bowls (I bought two). I like the grown up bowls because they fit well in the cupboard.

second from left:  Pam, activities director from Golden Sands Assisted Living

second from left: Pam, activities director from Golden Sands Assisted Living

comparing bowls

comparing bowls

diners

our gardening client Cheri of Discovery Coast Real Estate

our gardening client Cheri of Discovery Coast Real Estate

friend and local artist Joe Chasse

friend and local artist Joe Chasse

Jamie arrives!

Jamie arrives!

Jamie picking a bowl

Jamie picking a bowl

We would like to have sat with Jamie for awhile, but we had to go help J9 move into her new rental. She’s an old friend who left the beach for two years, could not bear to be away and recently returned. We met her at the storage unit next door to Larry’s antique store in Ilwaco, and I nipped into the shop for a moment to get some photos for the Antique Gallery Facebook page.

Antique Gallery Too! on Spruce; Larry and Robert's other shop is on Lake.

Antique Gallery Too! on Spruce; Larry and Robert’s other shop is on Lake.

in the antique shop

in the antique shop

I then joined Allan and J9 in loading. Here, we were almost ready for our first trip, and I’m happy to report that we made it halfway up the Peninsula to J9’s new digs without incident.

van

 

Between the first and second, smaller load, we stopped at home to pick up a large planter that J9 had left behind when she moved away. It struck me how perfectly springlike our front garden looked at that moment.

looking in from Lake Street

looking in from Lake Street

Disporum catoniense 'Night Heron' in our garden today

Disporum catoniense ‘Night Heron’ in our garden today

I tore myself away so we could finish with the moving project. J9’s new place is a single wide manufactured home less than half a block from Loomis Lake, in a neighbourhood called Tides West.

Tides West, ocean on one side, Loomis Lake on the other

Tides West, ocean on one side, Loomis Lake on the other

The long body of Loomis Lake runs up the mid-center of the Peninsula, as do smaller lakes and sloughs.

the wetland center of the 'Ninsula

the wetland center of the ‘Ninsula

Except for the wealthier houses right on the lake and on the ocean side, Tides West is an affordable neighbourhood including many single and double wide manufactured (modular) homes. I remember a local story in which someone asked a city person why in the world she had bought a manufactured home here. Then the questioner visited and said “I understand now,” seeing that in all but the historic districts of the local towns, manufactured homes are common here.

J9's new abode

J9’s new abode

J9’s place has a charming yard, not a garden, a simple green landscape with decks and one of my favourite yard accoutrements, rustic outbuildings.

view from east side porch with large evergreen huckleberry

view from east side porch with large evergreen huckleberry

covered west side deck

covered west side deck

view from west side porch

view from west side porch

garden shack

garden shack

"Welcome to our nook of the woods."

“Welcome to our nook of the woods.”

Someone loved, enjoyed, and decorated this place and I find it terribly poignant that they’ve had to leave it.

There's a fireplace and a fire circle.

There’s a fireplace and a fire circle.

wood for campfires

wood for campfires

porch, chairs, bottle tree, fire circle

porch, chairs, bottle tree, fire circle

Inside, the landlords won’t allow J9 to paint the panelling…

the hallway

the hallway

The kitchen is painted white and it makes such a huge difference. Painting the panelling was the first thing we did when we moved into our dark old manufactured house. J9 came up with a good solution: She gently affixed white trellises to the walls.

how to brighten up paneling if you can't paint it.

how to brighten up paneling if you can’t paint it.

While Allan installed the cat door he’d made and helped adjust some of the trellis pieces, I took a walk to the lake, less than a minute away. Just at the end of J9’s street sit some modern, boxy lakeside homes that didn’t thrill me as much as her humble single wide did.

Overwhelmingly garage-y

Overwhelmingly garage-y

a house more to my liking

a house much more to my liking

This house has a prime position next to the community park.

This house has a prime position next to the community park.

J9 can walk here in about one minute.

J9 can walk here in about one minute.

boats at the ready in the park

boats at the ready in the park

community park

community park

picnics

community park dock

community park dock

Loomis Lake looking south

Loomis Lake looking south

and north to private docks

and north to private docks

Magnolia tree on the way back to J9's

Magnolia tree on the way back to J9’s

When I got back to our friend’s house, I found Allan very pleased as the cat door he had built fit perfectly. (It’s a purchased cat door fitted into a clear wood framed panel to go into a sliding window space.)

cat door

success!

 

cat door

cat door

With the move done, we stopped by the home where J9 has been staying. It happens to be right across the street from our friend Ed Strange’s garden. We took ourselves on a tour (with his permission; he was out working.)

Ed's abode

Ed’s abode

Ed's front garden

Ed’s front garden

eds

The progress of Ed's Gunnera made me suddenly very worried about mine.

The progress of Ed’s Gunnera made me suddenly very worried about mine.

Buddy, J9's cat, walked with us and explored Ed's front porch.

Buddy, J9’s cat, walked with us and explored Ed’s front porch.

between house and garage

between house and garage

an excellent company

an excellent company

And then we went home, where I walked straight out to the edge of the bogsy wood to look at my own Gunnera.

Oh dear, I think I need a new one.

Oh dear, I think I need a new one.

I managed to prune the dead tips off of the Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ and then I felt quite done with gardening for the evening. As usual, Allan had more energy than I and he mowed the lawn.

a bed of gold

a bed of gold

Indoors, I examined an intriguing belated birthday present from Lisa and Buzz; Lisa (former client of Crank’s Roost garden, now of the bayside house of 300 hydrangeas) had dropped it off earlier in the day as we were on our way out. (It’s not her fault the present was belated; I was secretive about my birthday this year.)

a package

a package

beautifully wrapped

beautifully wrapped

card

with a delightful card. The inscription inside was so sweet and flattering that I would seem to be boasting if I shared it 😉

From the shape of the present (which was wrapped in lovely calendar pages), I thought it might be a nice bottle of wine, but LOOK! My very favourite tipple!

happy, and soon to be happier, me!

happy, and soon to be happier, me!

Tomorrow: back to the planting of sweet peas here and there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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