Monday, 23 May 2016
During gardening season, picking up our mail always involves a bit of weeding and deadheading at our volunteer garden at the post office.
We drove to the fire station to check on the water needs of the planter there, which is under the eaves and gets no rain. I looked again at the garden areas that I keep thinking of taking over as a volunteer…especially now that we have been fired (or I suppose I could say REPLACED) at Golden Sands and therefore have an extra two hours a week. I walked all round looking for a hose faucet and found none anywhere near the gardens, except for one down in a hole in the sidewalk that is turned off. The lack of water, and the thought that I might be crazy to take on a new project while needing a new knee, put the kibosh on the idea for now…along with the fact that it is getting late to transplant free plants.
The station deserves a volunteer garden because the firefighters themselves are volunteers.
Today was the first day for liquid fertilizing of the Long Beach planters.
As we secured an excellent parking spot by Fifth Street Park, my eyes zoomed in on something that really bugged me.
The old lavender in the planter kitty corner, that I had cut back to improve traffic sight lines earlier this spring, is so dead inside. So ugly. I planted another small lavender in front of it in hopes of hiding the horror. I can’t wait, so I asked Allan if he could dig the big old one out after he did his portion of the watering rounds.
In the first planter that I watered, I found half of the Lollipop lilies broken off.
I just philosophically picked them up and threw them out. Now the planter is all out of symmetry.
This is one of the planters with a planting scheme left over from volunteer days, with an aggressively running rose that is too vigorous for the planter (beautiful right now when in its once-blooming stage). I don’t plant lilies in the planters because their foliage, while dying back, is unattractive. To have them broken off just in full bud is a darn shame. Oh well!
Right about that time, Todd drove by and called out “You guys rock!”. That was nice.
In Fish Alley, I came upon the city crew hard at work making a big sandbox. There will be sand castles built here by expert builders every weekend this summer.
While bucket watering the four barrels in Fish Alley, I discovered that the two barrels at the west end of the alley had once again had every edging plant stolen. I told Mike it’s not from lack of trying that those barrels look blah. One of the crew pointed out that all the lower light bulbs on the poles at the alley entrance had been stolen. You can see the results in the first photo of the crew, above, and below.
This is not a crazy crime ridden town. Yet things like this are so frustrating. I told the crew that I had just had a brainstorm: I am going to stuff the back two barrels with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ which is easily replaced with divisions if the plants get stolen. It is the perfect plant for that: drought tolerant, so divisible, and yet not invasive or impolite toward other plants. No more special plants for whomever is repeatedly stealing there.
Outside Wind World Kites, I joined in on petting the Mighty Quinn, whose tail never stopped wagging. Quinn is so big and only two years old.
Quinn’s predecessor was a good friend of Tank, the kite shop mascot dog, and after Tank died of old age, his buddy used to check out Tank’s “office” in the back of the shop to see if maybe Tank was there.
Allan finished watering and accomplished his lavender removal project. His photos:
I’d like to redo that whole planter and get the curly teucrium and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ out of it—both too invasive—but not this spring.
Walking by the park on Third Street reminded me that Mike had asked me to prune the hydrangeas by the bench. After watering, Allan and I parked by there and did so.
A fellow smoking by the fence told me he had picked some flowers (rhododendrons, I believe) from the park and then felt he had done something wrong. I was touched by his confession and gave him the hydrangea flowers I had needed to cut. He was ever so pleased.
We have a lot of little things to remember to do in Long Beach in order to keep plants alive and happy.
We had saved the northern two blocks of planter fertilizing till late afternoon. I took a break to go into NIVA green and get some more photos for the shop’s Facebook page.
Heather has the most artistic selection of greeting cards around. I had a birthday gift certificate from Todd burning a hole in my wallet and I decided a wide selection of cards would be the perfect things to spend it on.
Back to Fifth Street Park Allan and I went to get some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. I planted all the rest of my sweet pea seeds, tired of packets floating around the house with just a few seeds in each. It is crazy late to plant, I know.
When I took the above photo, I did not even remember that it was the planter whose lilies had been broken off on the north side. That’s because I was being all philosophical about plant damage today.
We dumped our debris and got some soil from the city yard and went to Fish Alley to replant the stripped out two barrels.
Because we still had time in our day, we went to the Bolstad approach to remove some of the clover that had turned out to have boring, lax white flowers.
I worked on pulling grasses from among the roses. As I approached the nearby planter, I let out a bellow and all thoughts of being philosophical flew away.
That hole marks where a brand new perfectly shaped santolina had been planted within the past month, to match its brother on the other side of the planter.
The fairy door at the base of the planter had not protected it nor had the little green soldier that Allan found in the planter itself.
I looked around to make sure no tourists or children were nearby and then let out a string of swearing and imprecations against plant thieves. To anyone looking from the distant hotel windows, I must have looked like a cartoon character hopping about and waving my arms in rage.
This is why the beach approach planters look so sparse. I plant repeatedly, and choice new additions are repeatedly stolen. I suspect it might be just one person, maybe the same one also stealing in Fish Alley, who is furnishing quite a nice little garden somewhere. I have no idea who. Someone who knows good plants and only takes the choicest ones. Perhaps they think I will just replace the plant. Well, no, because now every nursery on the Peninsula is sold out of it. I found a small specimen of a different santolina cultivar at ground level, where I had stuck in some cuttings earlier this year.
On the other side of the sidewalk, I noticed that someone had stolen one of the fairy doors, breaking it off in the process of prying it from the driftwood.
All thoughts of being philosophical had disappeared and I was back to being a crabby gardener.
In better news: The beach approach was so easy to weed now that we got two sections done in less than an hour and stopped work at the eight hour day mark.
I moved my kitty statue from near the greenhouse over to Mary’s grave after suddenly realizing how much it looks like Mary.
Ginger’s Garden Diaries
from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago
On this day in 1995, my father went into the hospital with a heart problem. The diary entries from May 23 through June of that year will appear in one post at the end of this month.
1997 (age 73):
May 23: Don [her neighbor helping get ready for a garage sale] 12:00-3:00. We sorted the rest of the boxes from garage shelves. I found some pink dishes that might match Skyler’s dishes and several pieces of colored glass to put on kitchen shelf over sink. Sorted through flower seeds for ones to direct seed.
1998 (age 74):
May 23: Cool wet dreary—too lousy weather to go outside so I planted seeds—for several hours. I keep switching trays between heating mats on the card table and Floralight. The Jazz swept the Lakers.