Thursday, 31 March 2016
This productive day included a bad experience with finger blight, which will be told at the end of the post.
With the plan of getting another section of beach approach garden done, we began with a couple of small jobs, because we have to keep up with all the gardens even when focused on a big job.
The Red Barn
When we drove up just intending to deadhead the barrels at the Red Barn, I saw…horrors!..the blocks that Amy had mentioned getting to make a new edge for the garden.When I saw barn owner Amy and told her that we could not embark on this project till the beach approach weeding is done, she was fine with that and even said she would use her tractor to clear along the edge of the three garden sections to make placement of the blocks easy. Whew!
After deadheading and a tiny bit of weeding at the Red Barn, we did the same next door at Diane’s garden.
Basket Case Greenhouse
We needed a few plants for the Ilwaco planters so a small buying trip was next, mainly motivated by the fact that our friend Basket Case Nancy had returned from her mum’s place in Arizona.
The sad thing is that when we got to the beach approach garden, Fred called to say that very box of violas and two Geum ‘Mai Tai’ had been left behind on the counter. He will babysit them till next week.
Allan photographed today’s progress on the Bolstad approach garden.Buried in the soil of the beach approach garden, I found treasure: I took a break to go to the city hall restroom and to check one half block of downtown planters, and while in town I experienced what felt like the Finger Blight of the Century incident. The story was told during dinner, later today. It was such a bad experience that I was still reeling. It helped when the usual assortment of friendly people and dogs passed by, including a young couple who admired our work and said “You guys ROCK.” We had finished the section in jig time, at five PM, and decided we could get just a bit done on the next section.
We dumped debris and came back with two buckets of soil to raise up the level in a beach approach planter.
The Cove Restaurant
Brilliant chef Jason Lancaster is back cooking dinners at the Cove from Thursday to Saturday. I felt bad to not go to Salt, as has been our new tradition since the Cove closed for dinners, especially when I got an email from Lorna, former owner of Andersen’s RV Park and longtime client (now living in Seattle). She wrote that SHE was at Salt, having read about it in the blog! I would love to have seen her. The Cove is a much shorter drive for Dave and Melissa so we may be having our weekly garden club meetings here again, at least every other week. And, of course, Chef Jason’s food is a big draw.Sondra has a beautiful garden at the restaurant entry.
Finger Blight of the Century
Dave, Melissa, Allan and I were joined tonight by Todd and by Susie and Bill of the Boreas Inn. After we had ordered, I got everyone’s attention and told them my Finger Blight of the Century story.
(I am in THIS retelling hiding details that would point a finger right at the business in question.)
Yesterday on the way home from the beach approach, I had noticed one planter looking fabulous with many tulips. Too tired to take a photo, I resolved to take a photo today. It is a prime location planter for which I had planned a big and beautiful tulip show that had fulfilled my dreams and expectation. The tulip was a strong variety that would last and put on a great show all during next week and probably up to next weekend’s Clam Festival.
Today, I went to the planter and…Huh! Had I been imagining the wonderful display? Because it did not look full of brilliant tulips after all. It did not look special or thrilling. As I was doing some clipping of dead fuchsia stems and looking flummoxed, the keeper of the adjacent shop, a person I had not met before, emerged and said to me cheerfully, “I picked some tulips!”
The rest of the exchange went as follows:
Me (quietly shocked): “Oh. I wish you had not done that. Please don’t do it again.”
Shopkeeper: You aren’t serious…or you’re kidding me….(something like that)
Me: I’m very serious, these flowers are for everyone, not just to go in your shop.
Shopkeeper: (snorts derisively)
Me (still speaking quietly, which I manage to do in confrontations): I really would appreciate it if you don’t pick the flowers. This is my form of art, and I planned a picture here, and yesterday it looked just like I wanted it to, and today it’s been made less. It is my art, and it’s like someone scribbled out part of a painting. I plan this, like a picture, a year in advance; I plan out the colours and the bulbs, and the city buys them and pays me to plant them.
Shopkeeper clearly has no intention of taking my request to heart. I can see over shopkeeper’s shoulder into the shop counter on which is a bouquet of at least six bright glowing tulips.
Me: I really would appreciate it if you respect my art. We are trying to beautify the town for everyone and we don’t want the flowers picked.
Shopkeeper: Well! I’ve NEVER seen you shopping in my store!
Me (flabbergasted but still with a modulated tone): Do I really have to buy something from your store in order to have you respect my work? I promote local businesses in a lot of ways but I can’t afford to shop everywhere.
By now I am completely frustrated and flabbergasted and upset, and tears form in my eyes as I again as this person to PLEASE stop picking the flowers.
Shopkeeper (laughing with a bullying tone): Are you CRYING now?
Me (astounded at this attitude): As a matter of fact yes, I do have tears in my eyes because I’m upset and it makes me sad to have my work so disrespected. I’m going to have to talk to city hall about this.
Shopkeeper: You go right ahead, send Jerry Phillips [the mayor] to talk to me.
I get the implication that shopkeeper thinks the mayor will say the flowers are there for the picking.
Without actually throwing my hands in the air, I walk away to keep deadheading planters on the block, but then I turn back. In my mind, I see that bouquet of glowing tulips on the shop counter and I want a photo of it, so I enter the shop, able, by now, to speak with no tears in my eyes.
Me: I came to actually see the bouquet. But I see it is gone! (Later I think that shopkeeper must feel less confident than it seemed, to have immediately removed the bouquet from view).
Shopkeeper: I only picked two tulips.
Me: It sure looked like a big bouquet from the doorway.
Shopkeeper: I have a sick [family member] and I picked the tulips to take to her because she loves tulips.
Me (moved by this tender tale): If you had asked me, I would have gone to a park and found some tulips in the background somewhere and brought them to you. I would have brought you a big bouquet from my own garden. But I still have to ask that you don’t pick from the planter because it is one of the most important ones and we need it to look great. [Later, I think to myself that shopkeeper looked well able to afford supporting local business by purchasing a bouquet of tulips from Artistic Bouquets.]
Shopkeeper: That planter never looked very good anyway. I have to go out and work on it. And [previous shopkeeper] had to work on it. It’s looked a LITTLE better this past year but it’s not very good.
Me: The problem with this planter in the past was that [previous shopkeeper, back in volunteer days] planted the wrong plants in it. I go on to explain how some of the planters have shrubs planted in them that want to be huge, that we cannot remove because the roots are down in the wiring and plumbing. I say that the planter in question was stuffed with tall plants that blocked sight lines (Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and a tall spiky yucca sort of thing!) and that we had removed most of those plants a year before but are still having to clip back this particular large plant that was planted there years ago. I think to myself that if shopkeeper “works on” the planter, why do I never see any signs of it? And by the way, that planter was fabulous last year, one of the best, and I have photos to prove it…but they would give away which shop it is.
Shopkeeper: Well, you don’t do that good of a job.
Me (head quietly exploding): I am done here.
Shopkeeper laughs derisively as I leave, in front of a customer who has just entered.
Of course, I went straight to city hall, where I was promised that the shopkeeper would be told from the mayor on down that the flowers are to be left for everyone in town to enjoy. The parks manager, whom I saw later in the day, says he will talk to the staff about it, too. He was in agreement with me that the flowers are for all, not to disappear into a shop. If the city did not back me up in situations like this, I wouldn’t even do the job anymore. The city manager said I do a wonderful job (bless him!) and he remembers what the planters used to look like! A couple of the powers that be referred to flower picking as thievery and one said that it’s regrettably expected that tourists will sometimes pick the flowers, but not a merchant!
I was deeply shaken by this event. In the past, there was one shopkeeper, long gone from town, who was hostile toward the planters in general and would emerge to loudly rant at me that he thought they were a waste of taxpayers money, but this was the first time that I have been individually treated with such contempt. Did today’s shopkeeper, who is relatively new to town, think I was a volunteer? Or that I am just a working class schlub who means nothing? Does shopkeeper not even think about the fact that a person on the street is often asked which shops are the best? I used to recommend three shops as the best for the sort of thing shopkeeper’s shop sells. From now on, when a passerby asks, I will only be recommending two.
I also thought about my mother, and how her whole life she was plagued with the problem of planning out a firm and dignifeid speech, and then getting emotional tears in her eyes. Like mother, like daughter.
Of course, our gardening friends at dinner were simply shocked and appalled (and unlikely to ever shop at that shop again). And so we went on with our meal.
I do recommend that you try Jason’s culinary genius! Melissa gave us some eggs from “the girls”!
Todd gave us some flowers of Narcissus ‘Sweet Love’.The dinner, good friends, eggs and flowers was exactly the prescription for cheering me up after a disturbing day.