Tuesday, 7 June 2016
The Depot Restaurant
We began by watering and planting one plant (a Chelone ‘Hot Lips’, excellent fall bloomer) at the Depot.
This cat entertained me:
This well fed cat liked to be petted, so am fairly sure it is a neighbourhood resident and not a stray.
When we arrived in Fifth Street Park, we found Debbie Teashon there adding to her collection of Peninsula garden photos.
After a brief visit and a farewell as she left to take more photos at city hall and then drive a few hours north to her home, Allan and I buckled down to watering and grooming the Long Beach planters.
The planters are all of a sudden well filled in and looking fine.
To water, we use a bayonet fitting to hook up the hose. We often find snails, baby slugs, or loads of earwigs under the plastic cap. I kill the slugs, relocate the snails, but tend to give the earwigs a pass just because there are so MANY and I don’t want to use poisons.
The Crabby Gardener
an occasion feature when public gardening goes badAllan noticed a big hole when watering the northernmost planter by Dennis Company. I went to have a look. Someone had pulled out a full sized Agastache ‘Fragrant Delight’, left the hole, and had broken off at the base a Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ (probably while trying to steal it, too). The knautia was left behind, dead. Neither of these plants are available on the Peninsula at this time and so I cannot fix this properly.
It is so important to me to have symmetry in the planters that I almost wish people would just damn well steal BOTH sides so I could start over with new matching plants. Why does symmetry matter to me when our business name is “Tangly”? Because a little symmetry tames the wildness, just like the boxwoods in the Oysterville garden add a frame to an exuberant garden. I spent the time while watering six more planters and weeding a park fretting over how I was going to fix that space when there are no Agastaches of that colour, and certainly not an exact match, available here. I texted Melissa in my despair and she replied that she had a pink Agastache, so I planned to acquire it from her. I have to keep trying even though the Finger Blighter strikes so frequently. Debbie had even wondered earlier if it could be someone who reads this blog, and knows where the good plants are. I assured her that because I like to have the blog running at least five days behind (takes the pressure off writing it), and the thefts often happen the day after a new plant goes in (although not in the case of this incident), I am pretty sure there is no connection.
Cheeringly, when Allan and I reunited after watering, he gave me a present from the Kite Guy at Wind World Kites.
We moved on after our watering to weed the Veterans Field garden beds because the Columbia Pacific Farmers Market is due to open on Friday afternoons there starting this week.
I asked Allan to take some photos of the narrow, arced garden that goes halfway around the flag pavilion, my version of a red white and blue theme:
Nearby, a silver, white, and pink streetside garden is one I often admire and is now at its peak.
On the way south, we watered the edge plants at the Long Beach welcome sign. The soaker hoses don’t help them enough till their roots are well established. Allan feels the sign is getting battered by people standing in it, especially the back side.
I had read somewhere that Geranium ‘Orion’ is even better than Geranium ‘Rozanne’, that its flower size is bigger and a deeper blue. Based on growing both of them in the welcome sign bed, ‘Rozanne’ remains the strong winner.
We planted a few new curbside plants in this bed that is now back in the fold of watering. If you water it, the gardeners will come. This garden might even get more watering than it needs, since we are not the ones watering, and we are the ones who know which plants are utterly drought tolerant and which are not. (Most drought tolerant plants do need good watering until they get established.)Then Allan went off to water the Ilwaco planters and street trees.
Meanwhile, I planted a few more plants and then started watering near the west end. As I began, a couple of staff members at Salt said how much they appreciate the flowers and to use their hose anytime. It was the first time this year that I had gotten out the Salt Hotel hose for their curbside garden. It’s a long thin hose with a big leak patched with electric tape that spews water from the middle.
I struggled to get it undone enough to get to the further west garden bed and I was eventually in despair, thinking it would be embarrassing to go home and watch Deadliest Catch tonight after giving up in a hose. I kept trying. But I was stumped. I have no sense of how to untangle knots, chains, and hoses.A kind middle aged man, a guest at Salt Hotel, quickly assessed the situation and in a trice had the hose untangled. Otherwise, I might still be there.
The whole time I was struggling with hoses, I was aware on a level beyond exhaustion and frustration of how much I love these gardens. Curbside gardens, parking strips, also known as “hellstrips“, are one of my favourite challenges and I think that these at the port are the only ones on the entire Peninsula, which is not known for parking strips along the streets. My life is given meaning by these beds along the port and that is why I will work so hard at getting them watered.
After watering as far west as I could with the Salt hose, I switched to the one at the new Ilwaco Freedom Market. The Port had permission to use it from the owner of the building. The business whose manager would not permit us to water last year has gone! The hose, though high quality, was still a struggle for me.Between the two hoses, Salt’s and Freedom Market, there is still a section in the middle of that stretch of gardens that cannot be reached, whose plants remained dry and will be that way until the adjacent building that has sat vacant for two years (former home of Queen La De Da’s gallery) is in use again. My plan is to just pull the most stressed plants out on Thursday.
Of course, I had to coil both hoses up again all nicey nice, not my favourite task. The Salt one got stuck under a planter and I almost fell over tugging it out. Some ladies of a clique of which I was formerly a member had gone up to the pub (without a word, of course…it’s a dangerous social choice to leave a clique). I thought great, I’ll be all fallen over tangled in this hose and stuck when they come out. Fortunately, I made my escape unscathed.
I then walked up to the port office gardens and hooked up our long hose, also an untangling nightmare.
I doubled up the hose and dragged it past four or five buildings to get to the next water hook up at the Ilwaco pavilion.
I watered as far east as I could reach in the Craft 3 bank beds. They don’t thrill me because they are mostly kinnickinnick ground cover, pretty boring to me. If there is no rain soon, I’ll try harder to get some water onto them. I could see Allan way way down at the easternmost garden, watering with three hoses stretched from the docks.
Meanwhile, I doubled up the hose again and did another drag with high hopes that the water at the old Wade Gallery, now owned by Fort George Brewery, would be turned on by now. (Fort George has given us permission to water.)
I was tired and the water was not on at Fort George building and the garden was dry and Allan did not hear my four phone calls asking him to bring buckets and he didn’t have the work trailer anyway, as it turned out, and I sat on a utility box and felt exhausted and decided that TOMORROW we would bucket water that little garden. By now it was 8:30 PM, we had been working for 9.5 hours, and I couldn’t face waiting for the trailer, driving to the boatyard, filling buckets, and coming back to dump them. At home, I watered my own containers.
Later, watching the hard and dangerous work on Deadliest Catch, I was glad I hadn’t given up on the tangled hoses. Tomorrow: the north end rounds of gardeners where the garden owners do the watering…thank heavens.
Ginger’s Garden Diaries
from my mother’s gardening diaries of two decades ago
1997 (age 73):
June 7: Two years have gone by since Bruce died.
I picked the weeds I pulled using the garden cart from Don. Then I weeded in front of compost box, next to raspberry row (both sides) and picked strawberries. The Ft Laramie plants have huge berries like the ones from California but they are hollow in the inside. I went to bed at 10:00.
1998 (age 74):
June 7: Al’s birthday [her older brother who lived in Seattle] and 3 years since Bruce died. I still miss him so much.
The Jazz were getting blown out when Mary Anne came over. She put on Tabby’s halter and we went out on the porch by the shop. However, Erik and a friend came over and Tabby bolted. I figured she was under the shop. Mary Anne and I kept calling and she came out from under the shed. I think she was glad to see us. Mary Anne said I should get another halter with a wider strap. I called Al to wish him happy birthday.
On the 21st anniversary of my dad’s death, mom and dad camping in the early 1950s:
and at home in the 1950s: