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Archive for Apr, 2014

Friday, 11 April 2014

We almost got everything done today that was on the list.  One significant failure was that we did not find time to weed the 42nd Street Café garden.  Yesterday evening, on the way home, I was idly thinking that it would be nice to go out to dinner and glanced at the 42nd Street as we drove by and suddenly remembered that the last time we ate there  (March 17th), or maybe even the time before, owner Blaine had asked me to weed, and I said yes, and absolutely nothing has come of it.

It will be first on next week’s agenda.

Nora's house, and bluebells, from our east window this morning.

Nora’s house, and bluebells, from our east window this morning.

I was planning our day around the delivery truck arriving at the Basket Case Greenhouse, so we started in Ilwaco by planting one new Phygelius in the boatyard garden and replacing the flower protection signs.  Let me just get the whining out of the way:  The cold wind blew all the day long.

Ilwaco boatyard

Ilwaco boatyard

The old style sign stuck in the ground and could be hidden by tall plants.

The old style sign stuck in the ground and could be hidden by tall plants.

same sign, new height

same sign, new height

The boatyard garden needs our attention.  It is terribly full of horsetail sprouts.

but we don't have time....

but we don’t have time….

and even some mushrooms (or toadstools?)

shrooms

I am happy to say that, unlike the five that died down by the port office, all the santolinas look very healthy in the boatyard garden.

a happy sight among the dang blang horsetails

a happy sight among the dang blang horsetails

narcissi

narcissi

I hope all the pretty narcissi distract folks from the weeds.  I figure any gardeners will see what we are up against and sympathize, and local gardeners will know the weather has not been conducive to being caught up.

We then turned out attention to the Ilwaco planters and street trees. We want them to look as good as can be because tomorrow, the Peninsula cash mob will be in downtown Ilwaco.

bulb foliage had lifted a Cape Blanco sedum up into the air....

Bulb foliage had lifted a Cape Blanco sedum up into the air….

Bulbs with delicate foliage, like these Narcissi bulbicodium 'Golden Bells' are the best for these planters.

Bulbs with delicate foliage, like these Narcissi bulbicodium ‘Golden Bells’ are the best for these planters.  I wish I had always remembered that.

I go for a yellow theme in the four planters on the intersection by Don's Portside Café.

I go for a yellow theme in the four planters on the intersection by Don’s Portside Café.

two yellow flowered planters

two yellow flowered planters

Every now and then we do a little bit of pruning on the street trees lower branches.

Is there a difference?

Is there a difference?

Just after that little project, look who stopped for a little chat!

Our good friend and brilliant carpenter, Bill Clearman.  (Hi, Carol!)

Our good friend and brilliant carpenter, Bill Clearman, on his way to a job. (Hi, Carol!)

Next, we encountered Penny Treat, whose new art gallery is opening soon.  Her window will have displays showing her different styles of painting and printmaking.

She'll be there Saturday, 4-12, between 11 and 12:30 during the cash mob event.

She’ll be there Saturday, 4-12, between 11 and 12:30 during the cash mob event.

When we got to the last planter, which happened to be outside Olde Towne Café, we rewarded ourselves with a sit down lunch.

I had both the items on these signs.

I had both the items on these signs.

a vignette at Olde Towne

a vignette at Olde Towne

Rousting ourselves back out to work, we deadheaded tulips and narcissi at The Depot Restaurant in Seaview (between Ilwaco and Long Beach).

Depot Restaurant garden

Depot Restaurant garden

And then the Long Beach welcome sign, with a hot mix of tulips on the front side…

lb

Tulip mix 'Triathlon' from Colorblends

Tulip mix ‘Triathlon’ from Colorblends

and a cool mix on the back…

signlb

Triple Play tulip mix from Colorblends

Triple Play tulip mix from Colorblends

And then…the weeding and deadheading of the Long Beach trees and planters.  We got to all but one block of them…

Long Beach street tree with tulips and narcissi

Long Beach street tree with tulips and narcissi

in a planter: Tulip bakeri 'Lilac Wonder'; it multiplies!

in a planter: Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’; it multiplies!

We treat the tall, showy tulips as annuals.

We treat the tall, showy tulips as annuals and pull them out, as they do not multiply and the flower size decreases each year and eventually peters out altogether.

in front of Home at the Beach gift shop

in front of Home at the Beach gift shop

Tulip 'Rococo' with an old bulb of 'Black Hero'

Tulip ‘Rococo’ with an old bulb of ‘Black Hero’ (much smaller flower than three years ago); it’s hard to get all the bulbs pulled…

street tree primulas

street tree primulas

Fifth Street Park:  Joy! the Gunnera leaves are bigger.

Fifth Street Park: Joy! the Gunnera leaves are bigger.

(Last week, Ed Strange taunted me with this recent photo of HIS gunnera, shown here with his neighbour, Judy:)

It's just not fair!

It’s just not fair!

Mine and the one in Fifth Street Park were in standing water and I think they just plain froze, after coming through several winters just fine.

Fifth Street Park: a strip of spring bulbs

Fifth Street Park: a strip of spring bulbs

Further up the street, I found an annoying sight in one of the planters: evidence of finger blight.  I think.

The tulips look familiar but the scilla (bluebells) are not from a Long Beach city garden.

The tulips look familiar but the scilla (bluebells) are not from a Long Beach city garden.

Tulip 'Princess Irene'

Tulip ‘Princess Irene’

4-11-14

Tulip ‘Apricot Parrot’

Apricot Parrot

Apricot Parrot

She's one of my favourites.

She’s one of my favourites.

I found a woman mesmerized by these tulips and she asked where she could get some.  I told her they were from Van Engelen, and that she could just remember ‘Beauty from Bulbs’ to find Van Engelen’s retail catalog.  She told me she’s 86 and might have a hard time remembering, and neither of us had a pen so I do hope her quest is successful.  And I hope I am still planning next year’s spring garden at age 86.

street tree in front of Dennis Company

street tree in front of Dennis Company

tulip flowers and a deadhead; picking off the deadheads is supposed to make the bulb stronger for next year.

tulip flowers and a deadhead; picking off the deadheads is supposed to make the bulb stronger for next year.

I popped quickly into the NIVA green gift shop to get my birch trunk shower curtain…

one of Heather Ramsay's lovely shop displays

one of Heather Ramsay’s lovely shop displays

We drove a couple of blocks south to deadhead the narcissi at the Veterans Field garden…

white narcissi in the Veterans Field Garden

white narcissi in the Veterans Field Garden

And then we got a call from Fred at the Basket Case Greenhouse that the delivery truck from Blooming Nursery had arrived, much much later than expected.  We zoomed (at speed limit) up there even though it was almost their closing time.   We had plans other than gardening for Saturday, and I did not want to risk missing first choice of plants.  Also we wanted to help Fred and Nancy out because a new shipment is a lot to deal with at the end of a long workday and none of us are getting any younger!

The last flat was off the truck when we arrived...

The last flat was off the truck when we arrived…

and we helped carry some into the greenhouse while Nancy did the pricing.

and we helped carry some into the greenhouse while Nancy did the pricing.

I got some of the choice plants that I wanted….and I have to admit I only left two Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ for other customers.  Well, I NEED them.

Nancy suggested we all go out to dinner.  She and Fred needed about twenty minutes to close down the shop, so Allan and I rushed back to park by Veterans Field and check on one little park in Long Beach.

pocket park behind Lewis and Clark Square

pocket park behind Lewis and Clark Square

A quick trimming and weeding got it ready for Monday, when a new restaurant is opening up just to the east of it.  Now we won’t have to do that on Sunday.

Finally we arrived at El Compadre Mexican Restaurant in north Long Beach.  We could see Fred through the window about to call us to see if we had changed our minds about coming!

Fred and Nancy, two of the hardworking plantspeople I know.

Fred and Nancy, two of the hardworking plantspeople I know.  Nancy creates the amazing hanging baskets for the towns of Long Beach and Ilwaco.

After dinner, we drove home in the fading light and, in the one block of planters we had not had time to check, I saw two dead narcissi.  “Two deadheads aren’t going to ruin any tourist’s weekend,” I said hopefully…and then, “Okay, four….okay, TWELVE deadheads won’t ruin anybody’s weekend.”  I certainly hope not, because we were out of time.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Peninsula Cash Mob in Ilwaco, at the Antique Gallery and Olde Towne Café on First Avenue..  That will thoroughly occupy the mid-part of my day while Allan goes kayaking upriver in Skamokawa.   That last block of planters will have to wait for perfection.

P.S.: our new birch trunk shower curtain from NIVA green:

curtain

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Before we left for work, Allan helped New Judy (three doors down) measure for a new screen door.  Her new home is coming right along with her latest project, painting the picket fence.

newjudy

New Judy's Bella

New Judy’s Bella

Then we were off, first with what was planned to be a quick stop at The Anchorage Cottages just to plant the windowboxes.

our route for the day

our route for the day; we started and ended at “G”

Anchorage window box refreshed with violas

Anchorage window box refreshed with violas

two

While Allan planted, I weeded and deadheaded.  (If possible, I always connive to get out of planting.)

Anchorage courtyard tulips

Anchorage courtyard tulips

A sad tulip container blighted by rain...

A sad tulip container blighted by rain…

happy parrot tulips by the Anchorage office

happy parrot tulips by the Anchorage office

I note that parrot tulips tolerate rain better than peony flowering tulips...

I note that parrot tulips tolerate rain better than peony flowering tulips…

Just as we were about to leave, I saw a catastrophe: lots of dead on one of the Ceanothus.

This is after we cut down one big dead trunk.

This is after we cut down one big dead trunk.

I don't like making cuts like these...but had no choice.

I don’t like making cuts like these…but had no choice.

I’d cut the whole shrub to near the ground and let it regrow, were it not for the fact that it balances out another tall ceanothus on the other end of this bed.

after removing some more small dead branches and running out of time...

after removing some more small dead branches and running out of time…

Our second job was at Golden Sands Assisted Living: weeding in the courtyard.

one of four quadrants: not much excitement yet

one of four quadrants: not much excitement yet

I was so, so right about the bad pruning of the rhododendrons last fall.  Thank goodness we showed up that day and stopped it so only three got The Treatment.  Next time we work here, we will cut out the dead trunks.

We didn't do it, and the person who did is not going to do it this way again...

We didn’t do it, and the person who did is not going to do it this way again…

I planted some wildflower seeds in an area outside the quadrant gardens.  They are from a cute roll of seed coins that Garden Tour Nancy gave me last year.  I had to bury the coins just slightly, because they look so real I was afraid someone would be trying to pick them up off the ground.

seed money

seed money

We made a quick weed and deadheading stop at Oman Builders Supply’s little entry garden.

Oman Builders Supply

Oman Builders Supply

detail: OBS

detail: OBS

And then, we weeded and deadheaded at Wiegardt Gallery in Ocean Park.  I had just received the check for March’s work there, enclosed with a beautiful card of one of Eric’s paintings.

poppies by Eric Wiegardt

poppies by Eric Wiegardt

This inspired me to plant some more poppy seeds in the garden:  California “poppies” mostly:  Coppery Pot, Dusky Rose, Tequila Sunrise, Buttercream….and some Shirley poppies ‘Angel’s Choir ‘ and ‘Falling in Love’.  There were only a few seeds left of the latter two, so my hopes for them are not high.

Just as we were about to leave, we learned that Eric’s brother, a landscaper, is going to move here and will be taking over the garden sometime this summer.  You might think I would be sad, but I’m afraid my reaction was “YES!”, almost with a jig and a fist pump.    I had to explain:  We are overbooked, and yet it is so hard to quit jobs because I feel attached to every garden.  I did manage to quit three last year, with great difficulty, only by telling myself that in ten years, I’ll be almost 70, and surely by then will not be gardening full time, so since the jobs won’t be mine in ten years, I might as well quit them now.  But even with dropping those three last year, we still don’t have time to keep up, especially not if we want to spend any time in our own garden (me), or boating (Allan).  In fact, as I was preparing ground for poppy seeds today, I had been worrying over the fact that we have not had time to even start weeding the Long Beach beach approach garden.  Thus, my glee at knowing we’ll soon be down one job.

The new gardener will inherit the badaster challenge by the front entry!

The new gardener will inherit the badaster challenge by the front entry!

While in the past, I’ve been laid off to hire cheaper labour, and then usually hired back after two years of people pulling the wrong plants, this time I KNOW the garden will be in good hands, because the new gardener has the amazing pedigree of having worked for the very famous Plant Delights Nursery…   Now we just have to keep the garden going till he completes his move to the Peninsula.  (Another great thing:  if he is starting a gardening biz, we’ll have someone else to whom to refer extra jobs.  We’ve been sending them to Ed Strange and he’s in the same time pickle as we are!)

Can I point out the coincidence that the song I am obsessed with right now (Luckiest Man Alive) is set in Asheville, North Carolina, and Plant Delights is in Raleigh, North Carolina?  How cosmic is that?

North Carolina

North Carolina

The only thing I would not have done today if I had found out about the job change ten minutes sooner was I’d have saved for myself all the seeds in this packet that friend J9 brought back from Scotland:

Oh well, what a nice farewell present to the garden!

Oh well, what a nice advance-farewell present to the Wiegardt garden!

By the way, all the poppies should have been planted sooner; that’s the problem with being short on time.

After Wiegardt’s, we went north to check on Marilyn’s garden.  I felt we would only have time to deadhead her narcissi.  Of course, we found weeds to pull as well and we really need several hours to spend there.

It's hard to believe that by midsummer, the garage to the right will be almost hidden.

It’s hard to believe that by midsummer, the neighbours’ garage to the right will be almost hidden.

in Marilyn's garden

in Marilyn’s garden

and another

and another

We ended the workday deadheading and weeding at Andersen’s RV Park.

the road box after deadheading

the road box after deadheading

Andersen's tulips

Andersen’s tulips

and more

and more

We need a full day here to weed the west side garden.  At least we got most of the couch grass out of the garden by the clam cleaning room.

by the clam cleaning shed and restroom buildings

by the clam cleaning room and restroom building

We stopped when the angle of the sun got so low that we could not see well what plants we were pulling.

looking north from the clam cleaning shed toward Payson Hall clubhouse

looking north from the clam cleaning room toward Payson Hall clubhouse

Andersen's:  in the picket fence garden

Andersen’s: in the picket fence garden

and more

and more

and another

and another

I forgot to whinge in  today’s entry about the hardn and cold north wind that blew all day long.  It was most annoying at every job except for Marilyn’s, so I was ever so glad to be home and looking out the south window at Allan’s mowing job from yesterday evening.

home

When I took another photo to the southeast, I saw, on the round table, a potted plant blown over and had absolutely no desire to go back out in the wind to right it.  Tomorrow is another day.

southeast

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

new growth on Pieris at Bank of the Pacific

new growth on Pieris at Bank of the Pacific

After a stop at The Bank of the Pacific (and some admiration of their patch of Pieris) and at Olde Towne Café to switch compost buckets, we headed on up the Peninsula to get a yard of Soil Energy for Nellie’s Ilwaco garden.

Near the bank, someone had placed a ball as a fence finial.

Near the bank, someone had placed a ball as a fence finial.

In order to make the trip be more productive, we worked at Klipsan Beach Cottages first. We usually try to include a north end job when picking up Soil Energy so that the recipient does not have to pay for our time on the whole trip there and back.

fenced garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

fenced garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Denny, manager and one of the owners at KBC, has been having endless trouble with the lady fountain leaking. Allan helped him dismantle it and replace it with new one. Meanwhile, I weeded out a large amount of dead aster and did some further pruning of damaged tips on hydrangeas and roses. This made me think that the 250 or so hydrangeas at the bayside hydrangea job probably need tip pruning also, after the winter’s hard frosts. The thought did not make me at all inclined do go do so (for lack of time), but I hoped maybe someone else would.

new fountain....Only a few narcissi were casualties.

new fountain….Only a few narcissi were casualties.

The lady fountain is now by the driveway and will become a planter.

The lady fountain is now by the driveway and will become a planter.

Mary of KBC asked what she could do about that electrical box below the deck lattice; I suggested painting it the same grey as the wall. Genius (and simple).

KBC: viridflora tulips

KBC: viridflora tulips

sunny day tulip

sunny day tulip

more tulips

more tulips

These tulips have returned for at least five years.

These tulips have returned for at least five years.

I think the Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant' is finally going to do something this year.

I think the Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’ is finally going to do something this year.

sword ferns unfurling

sword ferns unfurling

sword fern and deer fern

sword fern and deer fern

I love the slow reward for all the fern pruning we did earlier this year.

The A Frame garden and the wooded garden surrounded it are showing the reward for the planting of hundreds of narcissi last fall.

A frame garden

A frame garden

narcissi

pink cupped narcissus

pink cupped narcissus

bright orange cup

bright orange cup

Almost all of the narcissi are from the Van Engelen catalog. I deadheaded the ones that were done, and only got one large zombie bride bouquet of dead flowers, as most of them are at their peak of beauty or just coming on.

entry road woods

entry road woods with cottages in background

A Frame woods

A Frame woods

After two PM, we went over to Sandridge Road and Peninsula Landscape Supply and got our yard of Soil Energy mulch.

At Peninsula Landscape Supply

At Peninsula Landscape Supply

One of the former workers for Long Beach, now retired, was there to get a yard of mulch for his garden. We chatted a bit about the job, retirement, and our dilemma that we could afford to cut back on work but can’t bear to let go of any of our beloved gardens (and clients). I overheard him say to Allan, in a kind way, “She’s going to wear herself out.” It feels like a possibility some days.

As we were leaving for Ilwaco, I checked my email on my phone. If any of you were as moved by Bill Dale’s song, “Happiest Man Alive”, about which I wrote on Saturday, you may like to know that I wrote him a fan letter and entered an email correspondence in which I learned that the man in the song is, indeed, Bill’s father. Bill wrote,

“Yes, as you suspected, the song is about my own father with some poetic license thrown in. He never worked for the railroad but was the parts manager at a Pontiac/Cadillac in Asheville for almost fifty years. He died in 1999 but not before hearing “Luckiest Man Alive”. I think he was quietly proud. The song has been kicking about for a while now, and about once a year I hear from a bluegrass band who wants permission to put it on a cd. A North Carolina friend told me last Memorial Weekend he had heard on a radio program playing songs on the theme of vets.” I was all choked up and almost weeping all the way south. (I added that, and a better transcript of the lyrics, and a bit more from Bill Dale to my original blog post.)

I had tried to express why the song affects me so much. I am still trying to figure that out.

from an email to Bill Dale: I know one factor is the verse where you wrote “he did a lot of overtime” (and graveyard shift) and then says he’s lucky. I love that.

I also love the way you subtly make clear what a great dad he is. The fact that his son, returning from Vietnam, holds a sign with his dad’s saying gets that across perfectly.

Maybe it gets to me because I wish I had a dad like that. Or because he values happiness without riches. Or because I wish my friends who got PTSD from Vietnam had been so happy. Or because I believe a study that says we are all born with a certain level of happiness that we return to no matter what and some of us just have a higher level of being able to appreciate life. Anyway, I keep thinking about the song while I am working.

Yesterday we gardened for a man in his late 80s, and I thought he’d be the right age for the protagonist of that song.

That is one thing that gets to me: that WWII generation is almost gone.

Who knew a song could be so thought provoking?

You can listen to the song here.

But I digress (again) from gardening.

I got all weepy and just managed to get unweepy enough to make a dignified stop at The Basket Case Greenhouse to get some violas for the Anchorage Cottages windowboxes (to be planted tomorrow).

in the annuals house

in the annuals house

Then, back to Ilwaco and Nellie’s garden. I did some last minute detailed weeding while Allan scooped the mulch into buckets and the wheelbarrow and then we fluffed up the whole garden.

mulched

main garden mulched

with a bit left over for the west side of the house

with a bit left over for the west side of the house

some of Nellie's tulips

some of Nellie’s tulips

A chilly wind had come up. I found just enough energy to get us down to the port to add five santolinas to the Howerton Street gardens by the port office, to replace five that died by too-early clipping. The little garden on the west side of the office had some narcissi deadheads and some bright tulips.

port office garden

port office garden

Some had scattered birdseed for the crows. I think it was Don Nisbett as it was outside his gallery.

happy crows at the marina

happy crows at the marina

Back at home, I was almost out of steam. I managed to cut back the old, dead growth from some scented geraniums in the greenhouse. Seems like only one survived. I know where I can get more: The Basket Case.

in the garden:  I'd forgotten this bergenia would colour up so nicely

in the garden: I’d forgotten this bergenia would colour up so nicely

I disturbed a Pacific Tree Frog

I disturbed a Pacific Tree Frog

Allan found much more energy than I did, or perhaps had more determination. He mowed the entire lawn.

before...and it will look great for an "after" tomorrow

before…and it will look great for an “after” tomorrow

on my way back indoors: the old rhodo in Allan's garden

on my way back indoors: the old rhodo in Allan’s garden

and from my window...just before I plop down into my desk chair...

and from my window…just before I plop down into my desk chair…

My rhubarb plant, one of the few plants original to this yard (it was in a whiskey barrel) has put on massive growth in the past two weeks. Does anyone want to make a rhubarb pie?

We closed our day considerably later with a lovely tasty piece of fish from our neighbour, Jeff, two doors down.

20140410-000738.jpg

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On our way to work, we stopped at Olde Towne Café as I had some current issues of Hipfish Newspaper to drop off there. As we procured snacks for later and then departed, Luanne called out “Don’t get wet!” I wondered what she meant. I had not checked the weather report, and had assumed last week’s projection of good weather all week had held, and that my big plan of getting topsoil for Nellie’s garden was a go. By the time we began our drive north, drizzle had begun. Clearly, Luanne was more in tune with the weather than I. We debated continuing our plan, then decided it would be too miserable to move soil and that we would just go to Long Beach city hall to pick up our cheque.

On our way through town, I saw the shocking sight of tall dwarf fireweeds in one of the planters; we pulled over to address the emergency.

We parked right behind this cute RV (caravan).

We parked right behind this cute RV (caravan).

The planter that had caught my eye also had some unsightly bulb foliage.

not at all nice

not at all nice

and some good things, too:

Primrose 'Drumcliff' (I think)

Primrose ‘Drumcliff’ (I think)

parrot tulip bud

parrot tulip bud

and more buds

and more buds

We then had to address the issue of weeds under one of the street trees. Weather, and too much work on our plate, has prevented a thorough weeding under all the trees. Most of them look much better than this one.

a veritable lawn of small grass

a veritable lawn of small grass

Could that be because it is the tree closest to The Cottage Bakery and that we get distracted by pastries at this point in our rounds of Long Beach town?

looking better

looking better

back in the van; city hall is through the intersection and one block to the left.

back in the van; city hall is through the intersection and one block to the left.

north side garden, Long Beach city hall

north side garden, Long Beach city hall

white narcissi with a delightfully small cup, and pulmonaria

white narcissi with a delightfully small cup, and pulmonaria

more white narcissi

more white narcissi

and more

and more

Even though I had not even put on a raincoat, we started weeding and deadheading, first the north side and then “Peggy’s Park”, a little memorial garden to Peggy Miles that is on the east side of the building. She and her husband Gene planted it a few years ago. There, a blue perennial Brunnera (forget me not) blooms just about one year after her death, a present from the office staff to her husband, Gene.

Brunnera 'Looking Glass'

Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’

We then did a lot of weeding on the west side. I still did not take the (not cold) rain seriously enough to put on a raincoat and due to weather discomfort did not bother with before and after photos. Just as we got the job done fairly well and were ready to dump our debris, the rain increased. I was so glad that we got most of the weeds out before becoming truly miserable.

looking west toward the Bolstadt beach approach.

looking west toward the Bolstadt beach approach.

a lovely sight by the baseball field as we drove to the city works yard (and stopped to deadhead some narcissi)

a lovely sight by the baseball field as we drove to the city works yard (and stopped to deadhead some narcissi)

I had forgotten to return yesterday’s call from our accountant; when the memory surfaced, I was thrilled that she could complete our tax return (have us sign it) during this rainy spell. As we drove back to Ilwaco, Allan commented, “Just think, we could have a trailer full of dirt right now!” Whew.

fierce rain outside Jennifer's office

fierce rain outside Jennifer’s office

Who can feel sad about paying taxes with Helen offering comfort?

Who can feel sad about paying taxes with Helen offering comfort?

And then…lunch at Olde Towne Café. I announced our imminent arrival on Facebook, hoping that our friend Jamie could join us. We found out later than she had just left! Nellie, whose garden we’ve been working on lately, arrived with her lunch bunch and I was thus able to tell her that her mulching day would not be till tomorrow. This, because of the weather, came as no surprise.

That's Nellie approaching the table

That’s Nellie in the background, approaching the table, with a white coffee mug and a blue sweater

We deposited our cheque, to the sight of even harder rain.

I do love banking at "Bank of the Pacific".

I do love banking at “Bank of the Pacific”.

My plan for the rest of the day was to read…and at home, just as I began to sink into my comfy chair, the phone rang. Nancy from the Port Office was asking for a firm ID on the plants that were to be removed from the entrance to Time Enough Books. Yes, two phormiums, of course, the ones with the big, messy, strappy leaves. I looked out our south window and saw the port backhoe already at work. This I had to see, so off we went to the bookstore, two blocks away. By the time we got there, the two big plants had been pulled out with the claw end of the backhoe. Allan started to take photos, as I was on the phone talking with Ed Strange about sources for the ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ trees that Allan and I are going to plant here to replace the phormiums.

Mark rolls one of the Phormiums into the scoop.

Mark rolls one of the Phormiums into the scoop.

loaded

loaded

Before I got out of the van, I saw the backhoe heading down the street with the first plant in its maw. I cheered, “Goodbye, you #*^*#@%!” Really, my glee was almost unseemly.

Pulled out

Mark examining the second corpse

scooping the second plant; Allan's photo

scooping the second plant; Allan’s photo

rolling the second one into the scoop

rolling the second one into the scoop: Allan’s photo

and mine

and mine

The crew probably does not get photographed from two angles during most of their jobs.

I have to savor this moment (all photos by Allan because by then I was raking):

one two three four

There go the very last of the portside phormiums, and good riddance!

I had not put on a coat or even changed back into outdoor shoes, but we had to fix the holes.

hole

making it nice

making it nice

I am so glad we got that call so I could revel in machine assisted phormium destruction. Also, I had been looking every morning from my window to see if they had been removed yet, and if I had seen them gone tomorrow morning, our work schedule would have been thrown off from getting that soil for Nellie’s garden.

at home again, I know just where to look in this south window view to see that the phormiums are gone.

At home again, I know just where to look in the distance of this south window view to see that the phormiums are gone.

Now, at last, my book, which arrived today via interlibrary loan, a great service of the Ilwaco Timberland Library system. I’ve gotten books from libraries all around the country this way.

one of Hornby's series about books he's read

The introduction of the book, one of a series in which Hornby writes about books he has read, already had me adding a new author to my books to read list. She starts with the words “I like to like things.”

by Sarah Vowell

 

Mary was determined to help me enjoy the book.

Mary was determined to help me enjoy the book.

I’ve been thinking of rereading some old favourite books (Joan Aiken’s Foul Matter and Marge Piercy’s Small Changes and Zoe Fairbairns’ Benefits come to mind). But what if:

Nick Horby on revisiting favourites

Nick Horby on revisiting favourites

Having just, with sadness, finished watching the great New Orleans television show Treme, I think I am going to have to read this book:

new orleans

I often have forgotten the plots all the previous books when I get a new one of a series. I am not alone.

forgetting

I was pleased to read that Nick enjoyed The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer. It’s a novel I loved in my 20s. But I was shocked to read that Mortimer has gone out of print, almost as shocked as when I read recently that many books by my favourite author, Iris Murdoch, have also gone out of print. Fortunately, I own most of the books by both authors, and some winter I may re read them.

mortimer

Hornby devotes two pages to The Road…which I have not read, and still do not much want to read. I like his hint of optimism about human nature:

road

I laughed at this:

cinema

I’m grateful for DVDs.

At the end of the book, a shocking bit of news from the editors of The Believer magazine, from which his writing columns came:

end

Fortunately, he started again…I think…with his Stuff I’ve Been Reading series that saw a new book in 2012.

As usual, I collected (casually typed into Notes) a whole new list of books. I’m baffled about how I’ll ever find the time…

notes

 

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Monday, 7 April 2014

I do like an all Ilwaco work day.  If only we did not have several well loved gardens up past 220th Street, I would like to keep all the work to Long Beach and Ilwaco.

We began just down the block at Larry and Robert’s garden.  Seeing the old grass covered garden bed along the west wall of the house reminded me that clearing it was supposed to be one of our spring projects.  Oops.  We had not budgeted that much time.  While I weeded the rest of the garden, Allan got halfway through that neglected task.

beforeafter

before (noon) and after (1:15)

revealed:  gravel and a nice brick edge

revealed: gravel and a nice brick edge

Possibly the gravel area that Allan discovered is supposed to be a spot for the wheelie bin!

Meanwhile, I weeded.

east side corner

east side corner

I do hope that tree, Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia. at the back of this sheltered area, comes back from the winter okay.  It looks a little peaked and lost two small lower branches. I’m worried.

I added a few violas and an Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’…so fragrant!…to the garden boat.

boat

Erysimum 'Winter Orchid'

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’

Before departing, I had to take a few photos of Tom and Judy’s “back forty”, the little sunny spot by their driveway.

Hornbuckle back forty

Hornbuckle back forty, across Pearl to the east of Larry and Robert’s garden

Judy's tulips

Judy’s tulips

one of their 30? or so Japanese maples

one of their 30? or so Japanese maples

artful rocks and driftwood

artful rocks and driftwood

more tulips

more tulips

The day, as you can see, had turned bright, sunny and warm.  When I went home (just half a block’s walk) to get some violas for the boat, I had to change into cooler clothes.   And yet, the whole time we were at Larry and Robert’s garden, we could hear the foghorns blowing and could see, between the port buildings two blocks away, white fog hanging low over the Columbia River.

We moved on to Don and Nellie’s garden just two blocks away.  Our goal was to get the rest of the garden weeded so that we can get a yard of soil for it later this week, and then move on to the boatyard garden.  It look longer than we thought.

tulips still blooming

tulips still blooming

shady bed against neighbour's fence, before and after

shady bed against neighbour’s fence, before and after

enclosed garden, west side of house, weeded and raked

enclosed garden, west side of house, weeded and raked

I also weeded on the shrub bed on the north side of the house and a couple of pocket gardens here and there.  The boatyard garden would have to wait for another day.

We did get to the Howerton Way garden, at the Port of Ilwaco, next to the Powell Gallery and Pelicano Restaurant.  While driving home Sunday after helping Jenna move, I had noticed some shockingly large shotweeds in there.  And then, pulling the shotweed Monday evening, I became increasingly irked by the last of the Howerton Way phormiums.

phormium (New Zealand flax)

phormium (New Zealand flax)

So ugly!  So beat up by winter.  And planted right next to the sidewalk, where it will want to get big as a bus and poke everyone in the eye.  We did not do any of the original plantings along Howerton.  It seems no thought was given to pokiness of certain plants, or to sight lines for people pulling out of driveways.  Over the course of time, we have removed all but this one of the flax.  Last fall, we got the port crew with a backhoe to pull a huge one out of this very garden, along with a pampas grass and, further down Howerton, two other giant grasses.

I poke around the phormium with our best shovel, saying to Allan that NEXT time we weeded here, it had to go.  Imagine my delight when he went after it with the pick.

triumph!

triumph!

Now there are only two horrible Phormiums at the port.  Ironically, they are ones we moved, with great difficulty, from the Time Enough Books parking strip garden to stand on either side of the bookstore entrance.  Back in the day, people could not bear to throw the darn things out, and always wanted us to reposition them somewhere else. Now they are each the size of a garden hut and we’ve called upon the port crew to remove them.  I no longer let myself get talked into saving any of that accursed plant.

As we gardened, fog rolled into the port parking lots.

looking west over the boat storage yard

looking west over the boat storage yard

We did a bit more weeding in the gardens by Don Nisbett Gallery and the Port Office.  I found four dead as can be santolinas, and I think I know why.  I had pruned four of them in the fall, since they had the most lovely rosettes of silver foliage down low.  I believe that exposed them to the frost, with no old foliage to protect them, and so they plotzed.  The ones I pruned in late winter all look fine…

I did not think to photograph the corpses.

Tulip 'The First' cheered me up.

Tulip ‘The First’ cheered me up.

We urgently need to get back to all of the Howerton (and the boatyard) gardens for more weeding.  I’m trying not to get all stressed out about work, and spring clean up is easier since we quit one big, one medium, and one little job since last year (and then took on two new medium jobs….but still….)

The rain has put us behind, and yet I have cherished all the good reading weather.

the lovely view to the east from where we dump our port debris

the lovely view to the east from where we dump our port debris

Tomorrow, we hope to do one north end job and then pick up a yard of Soil Energy and mulch Nellie’s garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Today was the day we helped Jenna move her Queen La De Da shop from the Port of Ilwaco to downtown Ilwaco.  Fortunately, the start time was not till after noon, as I had been up into the small hours finishing yesterday’s novel, The Husband’s Secret.  I have now found out it was a New York Times best seller, a well deserved honour.

Smokey and Mary, when we departed.

Smokey and Mary, when we departed.

At noon, we went to Jenna’s new shop and potted up two trees to enhance her entry, and then dropped the extra potting soil back home again.

Not much had happened in cat land.

Not much had happened in cat land.

Drizzle would have kept me from gardening.  The garden did look grand in the soft light.

from the front gate

from the front gate

tulips in the front garden

tulips in the front garden (the fuzzy things on the soil are last year’s cardoon flowers)

pulsatilla 'Red Clock'

pulsatilla ‘Red Clock’

Tulip 'Leo', one of my favourites with its raggedy edge.

Tulip ‘Leo’, one of my favourites with its raggedy edge.

The young Bartlett pear tree in Allan’s garden has enough blossoms this year to evoke, with its sharp clean scent,  memories of the huge Bartlett tree in my Grandma’s garden.  I hope to live long enough to see it get this big:

pear tree from my back roof, Seattle 1989

pear tree from my back roof, “Gram’s garden”, Seattle 1989

The hellebores, still blooming, and someday to be under a pear tree’s shade, are fading to an interesting array of colours.

fade to black

fade to black

I’m hoping Allan will crawl under the old apple tree trunk behind that hellebore and pull all this shotweed and touch me not:

needs someone agile!

needs someone agile!

On to moving.  We started earlier than the rest of the friends so that Allan could dismantle Jenna’s big desk.  At one o clock, several others arrived.  I had the van almost loaded with handy same size cardboard moving boxes as other helpers went up and down the ramp into the Uhaul.

The owners of Heidi's Inn, Ilwaco, pitching in.

The owners of Heidi’s Inn, Ilwaco, pitching in.

unloading at Jenna's new shop on Spruce Street.

unloading at Jenna’s new shop on Spruce Street.  (The twisty tree is the one she wanted for her entrance.)

She’s losing the water view, but gaining lots more vehicle traffic, as everyone who drives through town from Astoria to Long Beach will pass her art gallery/studio.  It’s right across a small parking lot from the Antique Gallery, Too!   I took the opportunity to get some more photos for The Antique Gallery Facebook page.

Antique Gallery Too!

Antique Gallery Too!

inside Antique Gallery Too!

inside Antique Gallery Too!

While Allan reassembled Jenna’s desk (so large it had had to be dismantled for moving), I visited the Antique Gallery on Lake Street to talk with owner Robert about next Saturday’s cash mob.  If you are in town, you might attend our antiques extravaganza between the two Antique Gallery shops, the thrift store on Lake Street, and Olde Towne Trading Post Cafe, from 11-4 on Saturday, April 12.  I hope a good number of locals descend on the shops and spend at least a few dollars each.  (The Antique Gallery has the littlest  sea green glass floats for only $9.00 each.)

the little fishing floats are a good cash mob purchase...

the little fishing floats are a good cash mob purchase…

I pulled a few weeds from under the street trees while progressing from one shop to the other.

trees

By four thirty, I was home again, quite pooped.  I managed to take a few garden photos before sitting down to blog about Saturday’s events.

our garden boat

our garden boat

parrot tulips in the boat

‘Apricot Parrot’ tulips in the boat

more tulips in the back garden, bowed by rain

more tulips in the back garden, bowed by rain and wind

in the back garden

in the back garden

tulips backed with Leycesteria 'Golden Lanterns'

tulips backed with Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’

Backing up the photo a little bit gives the real story of the back garden:  I need to have a thorough weeding session for the thready little horsetail and the shotweed.

soon, I hope!

soon, I hope!

The shotweed is a satisfying weed to pull (as long as its seeds don’t shoot into my eyes).  The horsetail feels hopeless because one can never get all the roots.  If I were retired, I would be able to discourage it with constant removal.  (Ann Lovejoy says the best method is to break it off at the base rather than pull it.  I don’t have time for that in my life as it is now.)

Meanwhile, at the former shop of Queen La De Da, Allan helped return the hallway to its original blue paint.  The map of Ilwaco and its historic depiction of Tangly Cottage Gardening is no more!

We're in the lower left corner.

We were  in the lower left corner.

We were flattered to be on the map.

We were flattered to be on the map.

but there we go under dark blue paint...

but there we go under the dark blue paint that had coated the hallway when Jenna moved in…

We’re confident that Jenna’s new digs will have the same magic as the old shop.

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Weekends are not guaranteed leisure time when one is self employed and feeling a bit behind on work. However, I had no intention of working in the light rain on Saturday and thought Allan and I had come to an agreement on that.

Frosty did not want to go out.  Too cold!

Frosty did not want to go out. Too cold!

Then I heard the distinctive clanking of the utility trailer being hooked up to our van. Huh. Apparently we were going to work after all. Ok, we could start to deadhead the Ilwaco planters, and if the weather did not worsen, we could weed Larry and Robert’s garden, and….

I saw small weeds at the post office and ignored them for now.

I saw a few small weeds at the post office and ignored them for now.

By the time we got to our first parking spot for deadheading, the weather had changed for the worse. We got the planters near our parking spot done….

intersection

And then the wind increased and we took refuge at Olde Towne Café. I think we worked for five whole minutes.

in Olde Towne Café

in Olde Towne Café

No one was at Olde Towne except for owner Luanne and her son and co-worker Michael, so Allan and I had a good, long natter with Luanne. Then, back home for me, while Allan went to our friend Jenna’s Queen La De Da’s soon to be former shop to help with some painting. (She is a responsible sort who is going to leave the space in better condition then when she leased it.)

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

At home, the cats welcomed my return and were soon on my lap while I began to read a well written, witty, and surprisingly good thriller called The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Even with a late start, I got part of an ideal bad weather reading day.

outside: wind and rain

outside: wind and rain

rain

As I was firmly stuck into the novel, figuring I could have it finished by 8 o clock, my phone rang at about 6 PM. It was Pam from Back Alley Gardens invited us to join her and her friend Leslie (Sweaterheads!) McCray to hear their husbands perform in a musical duo at The Cove Restaurant in North Long Beach. Could I really manage to wrest myself away from the book, the cats, and my recliner? I did manage, not without a bit of grumping and moaning. (Allan was happy to go out, no grumping from that end at all.) It turned out, as I inwardly knew it would, to be an excellent evening.

musical duo

Brad Griswold and Dave Clinton at The Cove

Brad Griswold and Dave Clinton at The Cove

The Cove has just recently started serving dinners on the weekends. The food lived up to its delicious reputation. We had a table by the fire with a good view of the little stage area.

cozy fireplace

cozy fireplace with (lower right) the remnants of Pam”s delicious clam appetizer.

The old timey and bluegrass music took me back to Folk Lab in high school and hours spent at Folk Life Festival in Seattle.

Folk Lab, 1971; class requirement was simply listening to one's fellow more talented students.

Folk Lab, 1971; class requirement was simply listening to one’s fellow more talented students.

Back to the present day: The Clinton-Griswold (unnamed) duo sang a few songs, and when they sang, I turned away from dinner conversation to listen.

musical duo

musical duo

During their second set, they performed a number I had not heard before. By the time the song was done, I was weeping not very subtle tears. It was introduced as a song that anyone who’d had a dad in WWII might be able to relate to. I don’t know what got me so choked up by the song, but when I got home I had to Google diligently to find out its source and the words.

It’s called “Luckiest Man Alive” by Bill Dale of Little Laurel Music. I downloaded a version by the Nashville Bluegrass Band and then today, I finally tracked down a version by the songwriter himself.

Bill Dale on MySpace

Bill Dale on MySpace

I found a review of the Nashville Bluegrass Band album in which the song appears that well describes its appeal:

“Bill Dale’s “The Luckiest Man Alive” is a strikingly unordinary treatment of its subject, the postwar life of a World War II veteran. If you have imagination enough and your knowledge of country music extends that far back, you might even conceive of it as a sequel to Ernest Tubb’s classic “Rainbow at Midnight.” Or maybe as a hopeful counterpart to Paul Siebel’s bleak late-1960s song “Bride 1945.” Whatever it is, it is one hell of a good tune, and it stands out even amid some pretty stiff competition here.” -Jerome Clark, Bluegrass Works

Coming through a scathingly hard time, being happy even while working the graveyard shift, being a good spouse and father (clearly loved by his children and I would assume by his wife), and just the joy and appreciation of life touched something in me that’s had me thinking of the song and pursuing its lyrics since I heard it.

I got the lyrics the old fashioned way, by hitting pause and writing them down, so I think the song might be an obscure one. (Not being a follower of that genre of music, for all I know it was a top hit on country radio.)

There must have been twenty five hundred men standing at the rail port side,

Laughing and throwing their hats in the air; sweethearts and babies and wives.

When my daddy came home, it was after the bomb in 1945.

He said “I’m lucky, the luckiest man alive.”

He left the sawmill and  moved into Asheville soon after I turned five.

They put him on graveyard down at the railroad; he worked a lot of overtime.

We bought a home with a veterans loan in 1959.

He said “I’m lucky, the luckiest man alive.”

His old uniform used to hang in the closet till one day it just disappeared.

And when my mother asked him about it, he said he gave it to Goodwill.

But still through the years just the word Okinawa would put a fire in his eyes,

He’d say, “I’m lucky, the luckiest man alive.”

Then came the years when the darkest of fears covered up the brightest skies.

His youngest son went to South Vietnam. He and my mother cried.

When my brother came home, he was holding a sign in 1965.

It said I’m lucky, the luckiest man alive.

Now his children’s children all ask him to tell them what was the Big War like.

He said it makes him sad to remember how many millions died.

And shaking his head, he says “If life’s a gamble, I must have won first prize.

I guess I’m lucky, oh yes, I’m lucky.

Just call me lucky, I’m the luckiest man alive.”

Postscript added a week later:  I struck up a correspondence with the songwriter, Bill Dale, via his website.  He told me:

“Songwriters like me can go a long time without a pat on the back.  Your kind words yesterday lit up an otherwise gloomy spring day here in Nashville.  Thanks so much for your kind compliment.  It means a lot.

Yes, as you suspected, the song is about my own father with some poetic license thrown in.  He never worked for the railroad but was the parts manager at a Pontiac/Cadillac in Asheville for almost fifty years.  He died in 1999 but not before hearing “Luckiest Man Alive”.  I think he was quietly proud.  The song has been kicking about for a while now, and about once a year I hear from a bluegrass band who wants permission to put it on a cd.  A North Carolina friend told me last Memorial Weekend he had heard on a radio program playing songs on the theme of vets.  I do appreciate your interest. “

You can see the influence of his very kind and wonderful dad there.  I so appreciated hearing that his dad inspired the song.

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Friday, 4 April 2014

While I was listening for rain, trying to figure out the weather but too sleepy to look out the window, I got a cat weather report: Mary-cat jumped into bed with wet fur, so I could sleep a little longer. Meanwhile, Allan took a few photos.

Frosty, from Allan's study window.

Frosty, from Allan’s study window.

Allan tapped on the window.  Frosty has his BirdsBeSafe collar on.

Allan tapped on the window. Frosty has his BirdsBeSafe collar on.

The first flower on the old rhodendron by Allan's shop

The first flower on the old rhodendron by Allan’s shop

And then the sun was out.

looking into our back garden as I loaded up some plants...

looking into our back garden as I loaded up some plants…

the good ship 'Ann Lovejoy'

the good ship ‘Ann Lovejoy’

I’ve been thinning out of the middle garden bed because Geranium ‘Rozanne’ takes up much more room than I thought she would. The first thing I noticed when I looked south was a haze of green: the salmonberries have suddenly leafed out and our wintertime port view is gone, and privacy from the parking lots is in place for the summer.

middle garden

middle garden bed

We went a few blocks down Lake Street to start work at Mayor Mike’s garden. It is strongly white and blue this month.

with pesky blue scilla and lovely pulmonaria

with pesky blue scilla and lovely pulmonaria

street corner of Mike's garden

street corner of Mike’s garden

When we took on this job in early spring of 2013, I realized the garden had no narcissi whatsoever. Last fall, we planted several different white ones, and some muscari, and some white lilies for later on.

Kitty corner across the street is Cheri’s garden of hot colours and two boxer dogs. She and Charlie have come up with an excellent raised bed design in which I assume they are going to grow salad greens and such above the heads of Porsche and Beamer, the dogs.

brilliant!

brilliant!

By the time we got to Cheri’s, rain had been falling on us for awhile. We had much to do today in public gardens today and so we only concentrated on the front garden bed.

I removed the dead Erysimum and Lavender in this bed.  Put in a small new Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve.'

I removed the dead Erysimum and Lavender in this bed. Put in a small new Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve.’

before...a twinberry had seeded into the front bed

before…a twinberry had seeded into the front bed

After Allan tackled it, it is gone.

After Allan tackled it, it is gone.

Feeling fairly miserable with the rain, we took a break at Olde Towne Café. While we were there, Heather of NIVA green (our favorite shop) brought a gift to Luanne from Jenna (Queen La De Da). It was wrapped in the charming NIVA style. (New-Inspired-Vintage-Artful and green.)

Luanne's present from Jenna

Luanne’s present from Jenna

birch trunk shower curtains!  Now I must have some as well as soon as Heather gets more!  So lovely!

birch trunk shower curtains! Now I must have some as well as soon as Heather gets more! So lovely!

olde book decor at Olde Towne Coffee Café

olde book decor at Olde Towne Coffee Café

After our visit with Luanne and Heather, and just as the rain stopped (for awhile), a crowd of lunchers arrived, making it easier to tear ourselves away as Luanne had to get back to work also.

We had a mission in Long Beach: to deadhead narcissi throughout the town.

This planter has tulips mostly just on one side, as the deer stroll down the east-west street next to it and eat the ones on the curb side! They don’t stroll the north-south street (Pacific), so only the tulips next to certain quiet intersections get chomped.

tulips

Long Beach: tulip buds full of promise

Long Beach: tulip buds full of promise

tulip bud, primroses, muscari

tulip bud, primroses, muscari

frilly parrot tulip buds

frilly parrot tulip buds

tulips

Tulip ‘New Design’ (with white edged leaves)

After weeding and deadheading the south two blocks downtown, we dumped our buckets of debris in the city works yard. The rain continued, but the Dark Sky app on my phone gave me some hope:

darksky

and...light rain in the city works yard

and…light rain in the city works yard

Driving on to Andersen’s RV Park gave us time to wait out part of the 30 minutes predicted by Dark Sky. Rain or not, I knew that the road box would need deadheading and I could not bear to leave it messy over the weekend.

andersen's

Andersen's RV Park

Andersen’s RV Park (or, in the UK, Caravan Park)

Below, we have the big west side garden, the long boxes along the clubhouse, the picket fence garden to the east of the house, the garden on south side of the garden shed (upper right), and the rugosa rose border along the street.

our various gardens at Andersen's

our various gardens at Andersen’s

the road box before

the road box before

Hallelujah: The nasturtiums reseeded!

Hallelujah: The nasturtiums reseeded!

after

after

The rain did stop, and Dark Sky told us, quite accurately, that we had 40 minutes before its return.

Narcissi by Payson Hall (the clubhouse)

Narcissi by Payson Hall (the clubhouse)

Payson Hall planters

Payson Hall planters

Last year, Lorna did not think the narcissi in front of Payson were bright enough, so we moved the pale ones that were there, and replaced them last fall with ones that sounded very bright to me. However, looks like we have troubles, as the cup is the bright part and so they probably still won’t be bright enough! Next year, ALL YELLOW here to make Lorna happy!

These are probably bright enough!

These are probably bright enough!

Meanwhile, the west garden has the big bag of King Alfreds that Lorna ordered.

Meanwhile, the west garden has the big bag of King Alfreds that Lorna ordered.

looking west by one of six whiskey barrels

looking west by one of six whiskey barrels

The west garden has two especially annoying weeds, the BadAster (blue running aster) and couch grass; the photo shows one of the areas where that darn grass came back after last month’s weeding.

Argh.  Next time...

Argh. Next time…

Today, we had no time to address the entire west garden weed problem. That would take a whole day, and we will give it a whole day soon. Today, we had to check on the picket fence garden….

tulip buds by the office

tulip buds by the office

and by the picket fence

and by the picket fence

picket fence garden....no sweet peas up yet.

picket fence garden….no sweet peas up yet.

As one drives up, one gets a fresh impression of spring by all the narcissi along the picket fence. I found it impossible to capture in a photograph.

picket garden; you can see the overhang of one of the staff fifth-wheels.

picket garden; you can see the overhang of one of the staff fifth-wheels.

picket fence and office

picket fence and office

narcissi

Nature put a ring on it.

inside the fenced garden

We weeded and then planted two Phygelius in the garden shed garden: ‘Winchester Fanfare’ and ‘Lemon Spritzer’. The bed needs a good edge put on the front but that will have to wait.

garden shed garden

garden shed garden

On our way to our next destination, we ambled our van down sweet, narrow N Alley that runs parallel to the highway for a few blocks just south of Andersen’s.

N Alley, just west of Pacific Highway

N Alley, just west of Pacific Highway

Several charming houses and gardens along the one lane road need to be checked on now and again.

Kudos to this terraced garden.

Kudos to this terraced garden.

and next to it, one of the three? remaining train cars of the Clamshell Railway, converted to a rustic cabin.

and next to it, one of the three? remaining train cars of the Clamshell Railway, converted to a rustic cabin. How I long to get in there. I should have looked when it was for sale!

a bit further south, a bowling ball display

a bit further south, a bowling ball display

and then a Berberis darwinii and a contorted filbert (Harry Lauder's Walking Stick)

and then a Berberis darwinii and a contorted filbert (Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick)

Almost at the south end of N Alley is one of the gardens that was on last year’s Music in the Gardens tour, now with a new owner. I suppose I should have/could have looked over the fence, but I I felt that would be too conspicuous of us.

After our brief N Alley excursion, we stopped at The Anchorage Cottages for a brief deadheading and weeding session.

At The Anchorage: small cupped narcissi are my favourites.

At The Anchorage: small cupped poeticus narcissi are my favourites.

trilllums fading to pink

trilllums fading to pink

brick planter in the office courtyard

brick planter in the office courtyard (no sweet pea sprouts as yet)

Tulip 'Gavota' in its third year

Tulip ‘Gavota’ in its third year

a pot of fresh new tulips

a pot of fresh new tulips with perfect foliage (unusual after so much rain)

more spectacularly frilly parrot tulip buds

more spectacularly frilly parrot tulip buds

Finally, we returned to Long Beach. On the way north, I had seen two dead narcissi flowers RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE MERRY GO ROUND! They could not be left to shock tourists all weekend long.

sodden and dead!

sodden and dead!

To make the trip worthwhile, we did some more deadheading along that block.

one of the tree gardens and a view of the Hungry Harbor Grille

one of the tree gardens and a view of the Hungry Harbor Grille

With work over, we had a quick visit with Linda at The Wooden Horse (another favourite gift shop of ours).

in The Wooden Horse

in The Wooden Horse

a new collection of frogs

a new collection of frogs

I know someone who should have this.

I know someone who should have this.

And Allan saw this sign, perfect for a subject I think of often.

happy

Speaking of happiness, there is more rain predicted and if tomorrow should be rainy, we could take the day off instead of working in it.

 

 

 

 

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3 April: rainy day out

Thursday, 3 April 2014

When I awoke, after re-snoozing till very late morning to the sound of rain, I thought at first of maybe going to Olde Towne Café. Perhaps I could message a friend to meet me there. Then I thought no, I have been saying for two weeks that I just need one more rainy day at home to simply read, and it looks like this is it!

to the south...pouring!

to the south…pouring!

to the east...it was raining sideways.

to the east…it was raining sideways.

eastview

to the north...torrential!

to the north…torrential!

I saw from the north window that I had planted the new-to-me-this-year Iris bucharica where I could see it, and, from my mother’s old garden, some Erythronium (dogtooth violet). Today, I thought, this blurred rainy view is as close as I would get to any outdoor plants.

Iris bucharica

Iris bucharica

Erythronium

Erythronium

I still had my indoor clivia to enjoy.

in full bloom in the north window

in full bloom in the north window

Frosty showed his ecstasy that I would provide a lap all day long.

Frosty

Frosty

a blur of joy

a blur of joy

I sat at the table and had my coffee and a look, on my phone, at Facebook and there I saw…our dear friend Jenna (Queen La De Da) calling out for some help with the packing for her move. She is relocating from the port to an art studio space downtown. This was not a request we could blithely ignore, so pretty soon we were out of the house and down to the port after all.

We have had some wonderful times at her old event center, and in her new, almost as large space, there will be wonderful times again. No one throws at art happening like Jenna does. While I packed art supplies, I remembered the fun of the last two (or has it been three) years.

q1 q2 q3 q4 q5 q6 q7 q8 q10 q11 q12 q13 q14

During the packing, I made a sweet art trade. We had acquired a topiary tree for Jenna’s new place, and I traded it for a piece of art by one of my favourite local artists, Wendy Murry. It can join the Wendy art that I’ve won at the 6X6 auctions at the museum.

 by Wendy Murry :  "Queen Mum ~ 1952 Town & County magazine, 1900's childrens story book, thrifted items & GLITTER! "

by Wendy Murry : “Queen Mum ~ 1952 Town & County magazine, 1900’s childrens story book, thrifted items & GLITTER! “

Another piece of art at the former Queen La De Da’s is not moveable, as it is a wall mural. Here’s a photo of how we were immortalized…till it gets painted over.

We're in the lower left corner.

We’re in the lower left corner.

We moved a few things over to the new shop and got home around 6. The rain had ceased, inspiring a quick photo tour of highlights of the front garden.

The heavy rain and wind broke both stems of Disporum 'Night Heron'.  It has new sprouts at the base.

The heavy rain and wind broke both stems of Disporum ‘Night Heron’. It has new sprouts at the base.

Two of my favourite tulips:  T sylvestris (yellow) and 'Leo' (red)

Two of my favourite tulips: T sylvestris (yellow) and ‘Leo’ (red)

Tulip 'Leo' in bud

Tulip ‘Leo’ in bud

essence of spring

essence of spring

Iris bucharica 'Juno'

Iris bucharica ‘Juno’

Fritallaria meleagris 'Alba' backed with gold Dicentra and some hellebores

Fritallaria meleagris ‘Alba’ backed with Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ and some hellebores

tulip bowed by rain

tulip bowed by rain

front border...That Carex 'Ice Dance' on the edge needs some clipping.

front border…That Carex ‘Ice Dance’ on the edge needs some clipping of frost damaged foliage.

I am wondering, will there by any completely stay at home rainy day between now and our next staycation?

 

 

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I had a plan for today that involved a pleasant assortment of work: an interesting little project, then some garden visits and planting (but not too much planting), then a nursery trip and some more (light) planting. It worked out even better than I had hoped it would.

Just down the street from the Ilwaco Post Office, Helen posed in front of our accountant’s office. Petting a nice dog is a great way to start the day.

Helen at Jennifer Hopkins' office

Helen at Jennifer Hopkins’ office

helen

We stopped by Olde Towne to switch compost buckets. The additional perfection of having time for more coffee was not to be, as we had to hustle on to work.

Olde Towne Coffee Café

Olde Towne Coffee Café

Our first job: to prune the fuchsias in Coulter Park, which like hardy fuchsias in all our gardens have died back to the base. Usually we can count on mild enough winters so that they leaf out all along the stems, but not this year. While Allan got started on that, I checked on deadheading in the trees and planters on the Dennis Company block just south of Coulter Park. The first thing I saw made me glad I’d checked:

dandelions in a street tree garden...how embarassing!

dandelions in a street tree garden…how embarassing!

street tree narcissi across the street from Dennis Company

street tree narcissi across the street from Dennis Company

narcissi

and narcissi under the street tree in front of Dennis Co

and narcissi under the street tree in front of Dennis Co

another view of that little garden

another view of that little garden

I did a brief shopping excursion into Dennis Co’s gardening section to buy some different kinds of sunflower seeds to try at the Ilwaco Post Office garden and maybe Fifth Street Park.

When I joined Allan in Coulter Park, I was pleased to see a brand new sign on the old train depot building there.

Long Beach Depot

Long Beach Depot

The new sign is just under the oval sign in above photo from last year.

driving tour of the Clamshell Railway

driving tour of the Clamshell Railway

detail

detail

Another Clamshell Railroad train depot would figure into the end of our day.

In the area of the park behind the depot building, Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’ was in full bloom. I had two back here; one died and I could/should add a new a pink flowered variety to make an even better show.

flowering currant, with Pieris japonica

flowering currant, with Pieris japonica

from both sides now

from both sides now

I was thrilled to see that the city crew had mulched the row of roses on the other side of the park. I had expressed to the parks manager my despair about the bindweed and salmonberry that keep coming under the fence from the neighboring yard. Our motto is “Just say no to barkscapes”, but this is a desperate situation.

roses, mulched

roses, mulched

A closer look revealed bindweed popping up everywhere.

A closer look revealed bindweed popping up everywhere.

and a rose with its base infested with birds foot trefoil!

and a rose with its base infested with birds foot trefoil!

These weeds were not on our agenda. All we were there for was pruning and weeding around the fuchsias. I did add one thing: It had gotten very difficult to get in and out of the back entrance of the park due to two trees planted too closely together. We pruned up the underskirt and widened the pathway, a fun project that I think left the trees looking natural. The next time the crew brings the lawn mower in that way, I hope they notice that it is much better. Didn’t take a before photo:

after

after

after, looking into the park from the back entrance

after, looking into the park from the back entrance

a pocket garden, on our way to dump debris

a pocket garden, on our way to dump debris; next year must plant lots of white narcissi here!

Our city dump site is on 6th N and so is the Boreas Inn, so Boreas became our next convenient stop for planting a couple of penstemons and some more California poppy seeds.

Boreas Inn garden, with Allan way in the background weeding

Boreas Inn garden, with Allan way in the background weeding

Boreas narcissi

Boreas narcissi

Boreas narcissi and the hot tub gazebo

Boreas narcissi and the hot tub gazebo

Next, we made a quick stop at Erin’s garden to add three plants: Penstemon ‘Raven’, Penstemon ‘Blue Midnight’, and Agastache ‘Sangria’. Look who got right up in my face to say hi.

Felix, standing atop a stone wall

Felix, standing atop a stone wall

Although there were deer tracks in the new garden bed, none of the plants we recently added had been pulled out. The boat still sang with massed narcissi.

a chorus of narcissi

a chorus of narcissi

narcissi

AND an exciting plant I’ve never grown before this year; I did not expect such lush foliage:

Iris bucharica 'Juno', a wowzer!

Iris bucharica ‘Juno’, a wowzer!

Leaving Erin’s, we drove across Pioneer Road to get to the Basket Case Greenhouse. Contrary to logic, the Cranberry Museum and Cranberry Research Station is on Pioneer rather than Cranberry Road. (Cranberry is the next west to east road north of Pioneer.)

Cranberry Research Station

Cranberry Research Station

passing cranberry bogs on Pioneer Road

passing cranberry bogs on Pioneer Road, heading east

At the Basket Case, I took some photos for their Facebook page (of which these are but a few):

colourful tomato cages

colourful tomato cages

How had I not noticed this Phygelius 'Lemon Spritzer' last time or the time before?

How had I not noticed this Phygelius ‘Lemon Spritzer’ last time or the time before?

I love the foliage...Allan said "like a painter dripped paint on it".

I love the foliage…Allan said “like a painter dripped paint on it”.

I bought some violas (blues and pastels) for Diane’s garden and some yellow ones for the Red Barn. Usually I avoid the big flowered pansies because they get so beaten by weather. Diane likes them so I did get three.

a selection of violas with three pansies

a selection of violas with two of the pansies

Just as we were leaving, Jayne Bailey of Bailey’s Café arrived to select some herbs for her kitchen garden.

Jayne shops for herbs.

Jayne shops for herbs.

Basket Case owners Fred and Nancy suggested we join them for dinner out later in the early evening and we readily agreed. Meanwhile, we drove south to the Red Barn Arena.

Red Barn Arena

Red Barn Arena

Allan planted up a container while I did some narcissi deadheading.

Erysimum 'Winter Orchid' and yellow violas

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’ and yellow violas

in the Red Barn garden

in the Red Barn garden

Past the ditch where I dumped the deadheads, skunk cabbage bloomed.

Past the ditch where I dumped the deadheads, skunk cabbage bloomed.

swamp lanterns?  I read somewhere that that's the name for skunk cabbage in the UK.

swamp lanterns? I read somewhere that that’s the name for skunk cabbage in the UK.

Behind the barn, heading west, is a trail for horse riding. As you can see (sort of), it enables horse riders to get all the way to the beach.

Red Barn

The trail leads through the woods, then onto roads through Long Beach and thence to the ocean.

This horse did not look in the mood for a ride.

This horse did not look in the mood for a ride.

Allan planted violas in containers in Diane’s garden north of the barn. I planted some pink and white and buttercream California poppies in the roadside garden and we both did a little weeding along the edges.

some violas and pansies

some violas and pansies by Diane’s garage and back porch

in a shade container

in a shade container

red barberry in a whiskey barrel

red barberry in a whiskey barrel…

with Fritillaria meleagris

with Fritillaria meleagris

The roadside garden, in its second year, is starting to fill in and be the eyecatcher I hoped it would be. It got two Penstemon’s and a Verbascum ‘Eleanor’s Blush’.

looking south

looking south

looking north

looking north

I had acquired three more Geum ‘Sangria’ for Long Beach; they and one more Gaura and three blue Catananche (Cupid’s Dart) got planted at Veterans Field, by Allan, when I did some deadheading along the main street. Do you notice how, since I don’t like planting, I make it more of a perfect day for me by getting Allan to do that part? He looked for our narrow shovel to plant the gallon sized plants and it was not to be found. I remembered the last photo taken in Nellie’s garden yesterday:

4:50 PM

Yesterday: shovel with round yellow handle!

Veterans Field half circle garden

Veterans Field half circle garden; Allan managed to plant without the narrow shovel.

Fifth Street Park then got three more plants, two penstemons and an agastache, and I got a photo of an artifact one block east of there.

car

And then…dinner at 5:30 with Fred and Nancy at The Depot Restaurant’s burger night.

depot

showing about one fourth of the garden's narcissi

showing about one fourth of the garden’s narcissi (and tulips)

In good company, we feasted on burgers (stacked so high with ingredients that they can barely be held) and apple cobbler a la mode and a beer each (Total Domination IPA for me and a Guinness for Allan). It seemed to make us so sleepy that when we got home I only had strength to look out the back window instead of going out there…

view from south window

view from south window

looking southeast

looking southeast

…and Allan snoozed while I wrote this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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