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Archive for October, 2017

Thursday, 26 October 2017

At midnight, just as the clock turned to Thursday, a crisis struck.  My best beloved cat, Smoky, had been sleeping in my room and then sitting on my lap.  All seemed normal until I saw him walking…He looked enormous.  He had somehow bloated up all through his sides and belly, so quickly, since he had looked normal two days ago.  Yet he was eating, drinking, purring.  I called the vet and heard the “Please call the emergency vet only in a real emergency” message and felt I should wait till morning.  But I started shaking, as hard as any cliché you can think of, teeth chattering, while I tried to look up causes of cat bloating.  Dr Google was not reassuring.

I managed to get five hours of broken sleep, with Smoky sleeping and purring on my feet.  This in itself is unusual; he usually sleeps in the living room, lately curled up with Calvin, the neurotic black cat who finally has a friend to cuddle with.

At 7:30, I woke and bided my time till exactly 8 when I called the Oceanside Animal Clinic and got a 9:15 appointment.  Smoky was still purring and eating a bit of food, but he could hardly walk.  He would take a few steps, find his hind legs burdened by his increased size, and he’d just stop, like this:

I was frantic inside; I love this cat so very much.  We got him and his brother Frosty and mother Mary (who died of lung cancer last year) from a neighbour of our old house.  The cats’ first seven years were well loved and lived inside a moldy broken down motor home with a heavy smoker who doted on them. Before he died of lung cancer, he asked me to take his three cats.

At the vet, Smoky’s abdomen was tapped and drained of some fluid, which was sent off for a test that will take a week.  He had blood tests and X rays which showed a lot of internal fluid and reasonably good heart and liver, so the tentative diagnosis is a serious cancer.

a little dog to pet while we waited for the blood test results

We got to take Smoky home, with some pain medication, and we could take him back to be “tapped and drained” when the fluid builds up again.  He’s only 12.  I have been worried about him being 12, after his mother’s death at 13.  I wanted at least two more years with my best little friend. (Later I realized that he is either recently turned thirteen or is almost thirteen.)

Smoky back at home, on a sheet covering the bed blankets, because his abdomen would be “leaking”.

We went to work, bulbing.  If we could get three jobs done, we could take four or five days off.  I had been so looking forward to that time off of planting my own bulbs, decorating for Halloween, and cleaning the house for Halloween company.  Now I wish I had nothing to do other than just spending time with Smoky.  (Maybe he will feel well enough to come outdoors with me.)  The house is a tip, though. The better I clean it, the more time I’ll be indoors with my precious cat.

Today we were back to beautiful summer-like weather.  We started by planting some white narcissi and tulips at Mike’s garden.  When we stopped back at home, a package of the second round of bulbs (shipped later) had arrived, and we distributed some to Time Enough Books, the boatyard garden, and the community building garden.

Boatyard got Narcissi ‘Green Eyed Lady’ and ‘Latvian Freedom’.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; new blooms from the Echinops I had cut back to the ground.

Sweet peas are still blooming.  I asked Allan to take these sweet pea photos.

I was going to make an end of season sale order of more narcissi for the boatyard, but after a $400 vet bill, I don’t want to tempt my budget with any more bulb purchases this fall.  I also feel somewhat tentative about planting more narcissi here, since last spring someone picked about a hundred (that is, all of them) overnight.  (The local vet is reasonably priced.  The $400 included expensive tests and x rays.)

We planted some more bulbs at the Ilwaco Community Building.

Ilwaco Community Building

a test planting of tulips. We have seen deer in this tiered garden so….it is only a test.

autumn blooming crocus

Allan’s photo

We then got back to our planned planting and clean up at

The Depot Restaurant

where Allan cleared the hops from the dining deck lattice while I planted bulbs.

tulips and narcissi set up to plant

Allan’s befores and afters of the hops project:

the hops project, before, showing the door that leads from restaurant to dining deck

after

before, the ramp to the dining deck

after

a Pacific tree frog in the lattice

After today’s work. More fall clean up will be done after frost. 

Long Beach

We now had five more white narcissi for the Vet Field corner.  While Allan planted them, I planted a combination of yellow tulips in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter.

L&C planter; Allan helped me by pulling the bad asters that had appeared, as they seem to blow in from the dunes or other gardens.

Then on to the last of today’s planned jobs,

Diane’s garden.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, bulbs laid out to plant

bulb tossing

All done…Planting bulbs in the soft soil of the septic box was so easy.

Red Barn in the background.

Diane was pleased to see all the bulbs go on, and of course she was sympathetic about Smoky.  I got to give good dog Misty a good belly rub.

Allan also planted clumps of narcissi in the newly restored roadside garden.

The recent heavy rain had not washed out the new garden strip.

Last thing: cutting back some short (due to lack of frequent watering) Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ at the Red Barn.

our little Red Barn garden

As you can imagine, my bulbing today was done in a somber and anxious mood.

At home

There was little joy in erasing bulbing jobs from the work board.

I sat with Smoky, who purred while I wept, trying and failing not to cry because I don’t want to upset him.  I fretted about whether he was again retaining fluid and mourned over the thought of soon losing my softest, plushest, kindest cat ever.

Allan heard the sounds of the big homecoming football game up on School Hill. He walked up the hill to watch the halftime show which he’s always missed before.  The marching band often does a Halloween themed show which he wished to see.

halftime fireworks

They did not disappoint.

This year included music from Nightmare Before Christmas.

The score was Ilwaco 39, guest 0 when Allan left after the show.

The most comforting thing for me about Smoky’s dire prognosis was the support of Facebook friends.  After writing about the visit to the vet, I changed my profile photo to one of me and Smoky at one of our backyard campfires.

The comment that got to me the most was when I wrote how much I had been looking forward to my staycation reading with my best friend, Smoky.  Shannon, friend of Tony, wrote, His book says “Dear Mama — you’re the best one.” He reads it over and over.

 

 

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

As we prepared to leave for work, a drizzle began, turning to light rain.  We decided to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, slingshot around the sun, and do the day in reverse order, with errands and socializing first.

We did make one gardening stop in Long Beach, just a friendly gesture of delivering two free clumps of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to the red tattoo cottage.  The owner had asked me what I would recommend to put in front of his shop in two little beds, where he had planted lady’s mantle.  I said I have a wealth of Sedum AJ and could give him a couple of clumps, so we did.

He did not quite have the proper planting tools.

So we quickly did the planting, putting two lady’s mantle on the outside of each bed with the Sedum in the middle.  We managed to do it quickly enough to not get drenched.

I was promised that he would fix me up with a tattoo anytime I am ready. I’m not a tattoo type of gal, and that would be way too generous for a couple of common Sedum AJ.

The Planter Box

I had realized that my new bulbs did not include any Iris reticulata, which would be ideal for Diane’s septic box garden, and I was pleased that Planter Box’s good selection of bulbs included just what I needed.

We bought one more pumpkin for Halloween decor, a pale one that will make a good head atop our front garden tuteur.

Planter Box has lots of pumpkins and gourds.

This one is called Bloody Eyeball. Or something like that.

Also, beautiful metal pumpkin luminaries

An artist’s cottage

We next went to the cottage in north Ocean Park of a friend who is moving to Mexico.  Michele was the host of the political postcard parties earlier this year.  Now her studio is being set up for a final garage sale, and her cottage inside is dismantled, with most of her possessions sold or given away.

fireplace with Spanish book

She built the cottage herself and did all the beautiful tile door frames and faux shutters.

back porch

Allan’s photo

Michele’s garden (Allan’s photo)

Inside, we admired the art pieces still on the walls.

one of Michele’s early scratchboard paintings, the one that she is keeping

Michele had invited us in order to give us one of her paintings.  I chose this one of garlic.

Some art that she found and liked because her name was spelled right

I bought two old watering cans and two mosaic plates (for our Great Wall of China) at her garage sale, and enjoyed the look of this pig mixer.

Even though the rain had not slowed much (despite my optimism), we decided to follow through with planting the KBC bulbs because we were all the way up at the north end.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

water pouring from garage gutter

It helped that I was able to set up the bulbs in the garage and then go out and place them where I wanted them planted.

a dry work station (Allan’s photo)

tulips set up in pots (Allan’s photo)

I tried to keep the bags dry enough to reuse next year.

placing narcissi outside the deer fence

Bella staying dry in the basement (Allan’s photo)

Mary had cleared out the driveway garden since we had last visited.

After we planted tulips in containers in the fenced garden and narcissi here and there, along with a small bit of garden clean up, I took some photos in the drizzle.  Mr. Tootlepedal would describe the weather as dreich.

rainy day rose

pots planted with tulips

in the fenced garden

birdbath view

hydrangea

looking east over the upper fenced garden

the dog memorial garden (Misty and Debbie, the Great Pyrenees mother and daughter, and good black lab Raven are buried here.)

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’

Even though the rain continued, I wanted to get more bulbing done, and we agreed that we would plant a smallish batch in the World Kite Museum in

Long Beach.

kite museum garden

Allan’s photo

Patty popped out to see what we were up to. (Allan’s photo)

The wind had picked up and the rainy work was more miserable than it had been at the more sheltered KBC.

bringing some Narcissus ‘Minnow’ for the blue pots

adding a bit of soil to each pot after planting some narcissi

We found a rock.

Wanting the satisfaction of another empty bulb crate, we went on to pull cosmos and plant bulbs in the corner garden of Veterans Field.

one of the parking lot berms with fall colour

Veterans Field before planting white narcissi, some white crocus, and some Allium nigrum:

and after pulling cosmos and planting bulbs:

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ still blooming

At home, I was able to erase some bulbing from the work board…

…and was then inspired to start writing the fall clean up list, although most of that must wait till we have had a good frost.

After writing a couple of blog posts, we had a pleasant late evening of dinner with telly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Today, I was prepared for hot weather.  I’d put my lightweight summer clothes away, and out they came again.

at home: a leaf dangles from a spider web (Allan’s photo)

The Depot Restaurant

We pulled cosmos at the Depot, prepping for bulb planting later this week.  Dave and Melissa met us there to pick up some bulbs I had ordered for them.

We did not do the complete bulb prep clean up at the Depot, just pulled the cosmos and cut back lilies.

before


after (Allan’s photos)

Long Beach

We began by pulling cosmos at the welcome sign, and by replacing the disappointing Geranium ‘Orion’ with Geranium ‘Rozanne’.  Orion just did not bloom enough.

Geranium ‘Orion’


replaced with new Rozannes (Allan’s photos)


before, side view


after (Later, the Rozanne will be cut all the way down.)


before


after


While checking to make sure the water to the planter was turned off, Allan found this critter.

It was so hot planting along the front of the sign, 70 unseasonable degrees fahrenheit. I felt that I would rather be planting in a light autumnal rain, except that rain planting is messy and muddy and I do sit on the edge of the welcome sign planter while planting bulbs.

This year, I tried a new mix called Big Ups for the front of the sign.  Usually, I have used a Colorblends mix of red and yellow tulips.  The name of their mix called Big Ups has always appealed to me so I am giving it a go.

Big Ups

I always use soothing pastel shades on the back of the sign with its blue color and the words “Thank You.”  This year, I picked a mix called Trident, deeper in colour scheme than usual.

Trident from Colorblends

While planting, I felt that we were making such good time that we should drive home with our big load of cosmos debris, drop it off for my compost bins, grab the Depot bulbs, and plant up the Depot today instead of tomorrow, and then do the original day’s plan of the two remaining blocks of Long Beach planters, and then the Anchorage and then the Kite Museum garden.  It all seemed so possible.

Our friend Keith, a Rotarian, stopped by to remind us of an event at 5:30.  I had thought it was last night and that I had forgotten it.  Ok, I thought, maybe we won’t get the kite museum done today….

When we had 200 bulbs planted in the welcome sign (pulling out horrible scrimmy horsetail all the way along; it had been hidden by the big plants), we set off to finish the Long Beach downtown planters.  Or rather we tried to set off.  The van was completely dead.

Even though I hated to ask them to leave a big gardening job, I called Dave and Melissa for a possible battery jump rescue.  Melissa knew it was something urgent because I rarely make actual phone calls.  They agreed, and Dave was about to leave their job when I looked over my shoulder and saw…

We were just half a block from Napa Auto Parts.  I cancelled the rescue.  We asked for a jump from the Napa work garage, but none of their chargers were charged.  I was terribly anxious that it might be something worse than a drained battery.  A vehicle full of bulbs with a trailer full of debris is a bad breakdown and tow.

Fortunately, the actual Napa supply store was but one block away, and after a brief discussion we decided a new battery was in order.  Thanks be, they had one in stock and Allan handily installed it and it proved to be the solution.

Almost an hour had been lost, so the plan to go home for Depot bulbs got discarded and we went on to Long Beach.

Halloween in the window of the Elks Lodge (Allan’s photo)


in the window of NIVA green, our favourite shop (Allan’s photo)


tulip bulbs set out for planting (Allan’s photo)

I hoped that Allan could dig out another Rose Glow barberry that was planted on the street side in a planter and constantly has to be chopped back.  (As I wrote yesterday, it wants to be the size of a VW bug.) It was harder to remove than the one he took out yesterday, but he did prevail.

a glorious empty space….


….where this barberry once was

Once again, I did not have the energy to offer up the barberry to a new home, so we discarded it when we dumped at City Works.

I thought because we were running late, we’d dump all our debris, even the clean compostable cosmos.  That was not to be.  A backhoe was flattening the debris pile so all we got rid of were three buckets of horsetail and the barberry.

The Anchorage Cottages

We now had one hour to plant bulbs, switch window boxes, and re do a container at The Anchorage.

Mitzu greeted us (Allan’s photo)


curiosity about the bulb bags

Allan took a gold leafed fuchsia out of a big pot and put it in the garden.  (Its dropped flowers in the office courtyard make a clean up mess for Beth.)

In the ground; probably Fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’, next to Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’

That might not be the best spot.  It will do for today.

The contents of the summer window boxes went into our trailer, to end up in our compost bins.

Allan’s photo

The empty window boxes went behind the office to wait for next May, and the boxes that are planted with tiny early spring bulbs went in their place, with three violas added to each.

the former fuchsia planter, replanted with what ingredients I can get here at this time of year. Also chock full o’ tulip bulbs. (Allan’s photo)

We got done just in time to get to our early evening event:

Attorney General Bob Ferguson at the Adrift

Allan’s photo


I always admire the planters at the Adrift.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is a hero to the liberal community here on the peninsula for his Washington State lawsuit against the Trump administration’s travel ban and for his defense of DACA (the Dreamers).  It was a thrill to hear him speak.

One reason he is our hero:  September 6 in the Seattle Times:

Charging President Donald Trump with violating promises and discriminating against young Mexican immigrants, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Wednesday that 15 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“It’s outrageous. It is. It’s outrageous. I’m not going to put up with it,” Ferguson said at a morning news conference in Seattle, where he was joined by Gov. Jay Inslee and a half-dozen DACA recipients. The attorney general called this a “dark time for our country.”

Another reason, his opposition to the travel ban.

He answered everyone’s questions thoughtfully.  One particular thing stuck with me: He told us that his office has kept the same staff throughout changes in the AG’s political party, and that this is common in Washington State, instead of sweeping out the experienced staff members every time a new AG is elected.

Bob Ferguson at the Adrift

Sitting in a room of like minded people and listening to an hour of such interesting information was an excellent end to a rather difficult day of gardening.

 

 

 

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Monday, 23 October 2017

Long Beach

My brain was so bulbed out today that I took not a single photo, so all of them are by Allan.

We started planting up the planters, and some of the street tree pocket gardens, on Pacific Way in Long Beach, working south to north.  I did not expect to get all 36 planters and 18 trees done today.

In the middle of the first block, I decided the escallonia in one of the planters, formerly planted by a volunteer, had to be be chopped to the base for traffic sight lines.  It wants to be at least eight feet tall and wide, and is too firmly entrenched for us to dig it out without being afraid of hurting the plumbing and electrical works in the planter.  Later in the day, I saw Parks Manager Mike in town and asked him if the city crew could remove the four escallonias, in two planters, and he agreed; not sure when this will happen.

Meanwhile, we pruned these two, as we do about once a year.  What you see is one season’s growth, already pruned many times.

DSC05247

I was a bit miserable for awhile because I’d dressed for autumnal weather with my warm pants, and it was like a summer day.

The other menace in the above planter is the vicious barberry ‘Rose Glow’ that the volunteer shoved in between lamp post and street.  It wants to be the size of a VW bug.  Allan cut it to the base, knowing it would soon come back.  When I noticed it was rocking slightly, I asked him to dig out the whole thing, and it popped out pretty easily.

DSC05249

barberry and escallonia chopped


DSC05251

barberry out

I’m sure someone would have liked to adopt the barberry.  I did not have the mental energy to find it a new home.

DSC05252

escallonia planter after

While planting bulbs, we sheared back some of the wind battered perennials and pulled almost all of the Cosmos ‘Sonata’ and painted sage.

DSC07594

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ before a haircut


DSC05254

and after

I appreciated the sight of Zauschneria californica and wished that it did not take so long to bloom; it would like more heat than our weather offers.

DSC05258

Zauschneria californica


DSC05257

Zauschneria californica

We digressed from planters at the end of the second block to plant some bulbs on the west and east sides of Fifth Street park.

DSC07596

east side, before


DSC07598

tulip bulbs and bulb food


DSC05264

after


DSC07599

tulip bulbs set up on a planter bench

I walked to all four planters on this intersection, placing two sets of yellow tulips (‘Strong Gold’) on the planter benches, while some park bench sitters idly watched.  Then I looked at the restroom building’s blue green trim and took the yellow tulip bag back around, bagged them up, and did the whole routine again with Tulip ‘Palestrina’.  I’m glad I had that thought before planting.

tul_triumph_palestrina_main

Tulip Palestrina from Van Engelen bulbs

Most of the planters get 10-12 tulips bulbs.  Some that are thickly planted with shrubs, from volunteer days, don’t have soil room to jam more than 3 tulips in.

DSC07600

Allan found a rock.

Fifth Street west side got some camassia and some narcissus.  Tulips do not do well in the ground there, possibly because it is too wet and heavy.

In the fourth block, I sicced Allan on the wire plant in the planter by Stormin’ Norman’s.  Last year, we dug out the two original plants that had taken over the whole planter.  I had a feeling then that we should dig out every bit of soil, which goes halfway down into the planter before meeting landscape fabric and rocks.  We did not, hoping instead that we could pull every scrap that came back.  (The roots had even gone under the fabric.

That did not work!

DSC05265

little scrim of wire plant all through the planter

Before we dug it out, the wire plant (which I had foolishly thought was a tender houseplant) had made huge mounds on either side, enveloping two big lavenders.

DSC07602

It’s a pernicious little thing.

He dug and pulled and got most of it, and did not take an “after”.  We worked until almost dark.  There is still a section of the wire plant to pull, and I am sure it will come back.

We still had two blocks of trees and planters left to do.

I tried something new this year which I now fear will not make for as exciting a tulip display.  I decided to use, in the first and third blocks, a continuing theme of a 100 of a varied tulip bulb, just because i would like to see all the variations it has.  Now I think it won’t be as interesting to people as a lot of different kinds of tulips.  (On alternating blocks, I used assorted colours.)  I also love this tulip’s name, Silverstream.

t_silverstream

Tulip ‘Silverstream’ from Van Engelen

“A magical sport of Jewel of Spring, fragrant Silverstream ranges from creamy-yellow to deep yellow with red feathering, to red with every combination in between. But the surprise garden party doesn’t stop there: it has showy, attractive foliage with silver-white margins. (Did you know that the phenomena of marginated foliage occurs due to a lack of or insufficient pigmentation and chlorophyll in the plant cells on the outer petal edges?) Tulip Class: Giant Darwin Hybrid”

On the other hand, for people driving through, it might make a beautiful impact.  I did the same on the fourth block with a tulip called ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’.

t_rhapsody_of_smiles_1_

Tulip ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’ from Van Engelen

“New! Registered by W. van Lierop & Zonen in 2011, this shapely Big Smile sport is a luscious blend of yellows and reds with variable flames, flushes and stripes. Tulip Class: Single Late.”

I have always found Big Smile to be a very strong yellow tulip.  After years of preferring pink and purple tulips (Angelique was a big favourite of mine), I now prefer yellows and oranges…except for the viridiflora (green) tulips, which are still my favourites.  It is a real shocker that I did not add my favourite, Green Wave, this year.

15 May, Tulip 'Green Wave'

weird and wonderful Tulip ‘Green Wave’

In planters on alternate blocks, I have some of my usual favourites: Only three green tulips this year instead of a dozen (China Town, Palestrina, Night Rider), and also Black Hero, Cool Crystal, Sensual Touch, Strong Gold, Akebono, Madonna, Rococo, Texas Gold, Formosa, Cummins.  If springtime has heavy rain, I’ll regret planting the fancy fringed and double tulips. 

I use a lot of late blooming ones in hope that they will be in bloom for the early May parade.   I use many and many of the late blooming Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ for the same reason. Last year, a warm early spring had them all bloomed out by parade day (first weekend in May).    One of these years, if the warm weather trend continues as it has for the past two springs, I might just use all tulips that are shorter and supposed to bloom in April rather than May.  Being cheered by tulips earlier would not be a bad thing, and the parade can stand on its own without tuliperous enhancement. 

This year, I am adding more species tulips to each planter, as well, for (mostly) earlier bloom. The species tulips will often multiply and reliably return.  The big tulips dwindle after the first year, which is why we replant them annually.

Tomorrow: onward with the Long Beach planters and more bulbing beyond that.

 

 

 

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Despite a forecast of rain on and off all day, I woke to fine weather and decided we must go plant bulbs.  Typing up the spreadsheets would have to wait for evenings.

Onyx, our east side neighbour (Allan’s photo). He and Skooter are mortal enemies.

Skooter (Allan’s photo)

The wheelbarrows showed the amazing amount of rain we had received over the past four days.

the final storm rain tally

 

old chair used as plant stand; its time is over.

many leaves down but only two chairs blown over

I shouldn’t have left this board propped up.

alder branch spear driven into the ground

where we are trying to raise the lawn with sod patches

The newly cleared swale did fill up.

the old swale, now with water.

Here is how it looked on Oct 14, 2016, when it filled earlier than usual.

The south end swale is full…but they all will drain soon.

Outside the fence, at our south property edge, this seasonal pond will now probably have water all winter.

looking back to the house

In the front garden, I admired windblown sanguisorba.

with cardoon overhead

Pretty sure that is S. ‘Pink Elephant’, which grows to about eight feet tall.

It is even towers over the towering Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’.

After that home garden tour, we were off to work.

Ilwaco Post Office Garden

We did a thorough clean up of toppled cosmos, tried to eliminate the volunteer perennials sweet pea that would like to infest our volunteer garden, and planted a selection of bulbs.

before (Allan’s photo)

the damnable sweet pea (Allan’s photo)

bulbing

after

has an austere look now

I put in a row of cuttings from the silver santolina, as I would like it to run all along the front.

I leave my garden much wilder in the winter, but here I needed room for bulbs, and generally people do not understand the wild winter look.

Because we had dug out the non-draining planter at the fire station, we replaced its bulbs.  I was pleased that it still looks so good; the station sheltered it from our recent windstorms.

red plants for the fire station

Allan pulled this crocosmia. I would still like to take over the fire station garden.

Ilwaco Community Building

I was pleased to find that the community building garden, cared for by Allan, needed no weeding.  This gave me time to do some pruning while Allan planted bulbs (and time to help him finish planting them).

I thinned and lowered a tree-like red twig dogwood near the library entrance.

Allan hauling my debris.

Even though this was not my intention, I realized the long red stems will make excellent Halloween decor.

entrance garden today after pruning

Compare to the photo Allan took last week:

Even though it was not the right time of year to prune the mugo pines (which would like to be tree-like), I noticed that one might soon be unable to  read the whole sign.

I was pleased enough with the pruning to clearly reveal the address number…

But the covering of the word Ilwaco had to be fixed.

I don’t want to lose any more pretty red leaves.

I do long to lose this, one of three remaining tatty invasive patches of salal.

Fall crocus knocked down by rain (Allan’s photo)

Port of Ilwaco

Much to my surprise, we had time to plant bulbs in the curbside gardens at the port, as well, even though one rain squall made me think we would not finish.  Yet we did.  We had stopped at home to get a Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to divide and put in a curbside bed where two huge shrubs had recently been removed.

brief, light rain

planting narcissi in former shrub area

We only plant narcissi at the port (except for tulips in the Time Enough Books garden boat).  Deer would eat tulips in the curbsides, and birds (crows or gulls) pull up most of the little bulbs such as crocus and miniature iris.

Time Enough Books boat before (Allan’s photos)

and after

more bulbing

not a bulb (Allan’s photo)

On the way home, we got some photos of the Halloween preparations going on around the flatlands of Ilwaco.

Spruce Street

The spookiest house on Spruce had skipped Halloween last year. I am thrilled that they are baaaack.

The guy will be in motion on Halloween night.

a block up the hill…I love this front garden.

on top of the hill

The higher one lives on the hill, the less likely one is to get the 400 trick or treaters that we flat landers can expect.

At home, I was able to erase three bulbing jobs from the work board.


 

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

HuffPost headline:

A 5,000-mile-long belt of rain is battering the Northwest this week, an “atmospheric river” stretching across the Pacific Ocean from China to British Columbia.

The storm system, which some weather officials have described as “The Big Dark,” is expected to drop 10 to 15 inches of rain and snow over high elevations and 2 to 5 inches of rain over the Puget Sound region in Washington state.”

storm graphic from China to our west coast

In the rain, UPS delivered Colorblends bulbs (two sets of mixed bulbs for the Long Beach welcome sign).  All photos by Allan today

All I remember of Wednesday is that the expected really big windstorm must have veered north and hit the Seattle Tacoma area much worse than us.  Later, Melissa told me that the wind had been fierce at her home in Oysterville, too. I was in the garage all afternoon getting it ready for Bulb Time.  The rain never ceased.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

My morning began by being awakened by the tsunami siren. Its sound is so much spookier than the regular fire siren.  I had a vague memory that maybe there had been news of a “Great Shakeout” drill.  As I looked on Facebook to see if the siren was a drill or real, I wondered if maybe I should be grabbing my go bag, my laptop, my phone, and hobbling up the hill instead. Fortunately, it was a drill.

You can hear the terrifying siren sound here, after the talking, which I slept through.  How very much I hope I never hear the real thing.  It is a possibility that weighs on our minds here at the beach, and I have a go bag right next to my bed.

Yesterday’s rain:

Storm rain is the amount that comes with each storm; I don’t know how the meteorologists tell when one storm ends and the next begins.

rain gauge at 1 PM

The biggest shipment of bulbs arrived, yet with more to come next week.  I am thrilled that most of them arrived this early (by request).  I will have to use extra brainpower to imagine how I am going to sort the stragglers.

Allan’s photo

Crows were all over the apple tree.  The family (Pink Poppy Bakery and Farm) who usually pick the apples for cider were rather busy, having just had a darling new daughter and granddaughter arrive last weekend, so the apples are still on the tree.  Not for long, it seems.  Allan’s photos:

I went into the garden during a lessening of rain to pick a lot of flowers and foliage for a Friday night event: a fundraiser for local Hispanic families.  I would be in the midst of bulb sorting hell by then, and because my most productive time is evening, I would not be attending the event.  It also sounded to me like too much peopling for someone with bulb brain. But at least I could provide bouquets.  The cosmos had been terribly battered by yesterday’s rain and so I was only able to find a few stems with unsodden flowers.

The swale had not filled with water yet.

our biggest windfall from yesterday’s storm

and a small but deadly spear into the ground

I was in a downpour by the time I finished picking.

Bouquet ingredients in the garage to dry out. I will pick the leaves off of the redtwig dogwood, foreground.

view from inside the garage

The city crew drove by, stopping at each storm drain to clean the leaves out.

Allan’s photo

Allan set up the long tables on sawhorses.  These will be dismantled each night so the van can go back into the garage.  The small card tables in the background can stay up throughout the sorting process.

I laid out newspaper and spray painted some dry eryngiums with purple and blue paint.

spray painting at the end of the bulbs boxes

After a complete change of clothes, I started sorting bulbs.  I like to keep the big door open to get light and air.  It is hard to get my brain in gear for this part of the job.  Before an evening engagement, I managed to at least get the bulbs sorted by kind (big and small narcissi, big and small tulips, alliums, lilies, muscari, and assorted little bulbs).

In the late afternoon, the garden pickings had started to dry out a bit and I made the bouquets.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Because of my determination to finish the bouquets (which turned out to be five), we were a few minutes late to our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner at Salt Pub.

This week, we were joined by Teresa of The Planter Box garden centre.

feasting (Allan’s photo)

Our garden club meeting are soothing because none of us has to be “on”, or perky, or talking about anything other than gardening.

Home again, I clustered all the bouquets on one of the inward tables overnight.

Allan’s photo, flowers backed with bulbs

Friday, 20 October 2017

I picked some more light colored flowers to one of the bouquets because it did not have enough pizzazz.

the red rain gauge

the yellow rain gauge

The only photos I got of the bouquets were indoors, with messy garage backgrounds, due to bulb sorting priorities and bad weather.

The one that I improved with more colour.

I later learned that this one raised $60 at the auction to benefit local Hispanic families whose family members have been taken by ICE.

The other bouquets were “bundled” at the auction with piñatas that were filled with local treats and gift certificates from businesses.  I was glad that the flowers helped to raise some money.

One of the local activists who was involved with tonight’s event came to pick them up in the mid afternoon.  She got them all into her little car, amazingly!  We had a half an hour visit before she left, and then I finally got down to some serious bulb sorting. The sorting task ahead of me:

Allan kept me going with snacks and Builders Tea:

Allan’s photo

I did my best, and by 9 PM I had gotten all the tulips large and small sorted, all of the alliums, and most of the little bulbs.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

We had a high wind watch.

I hoped the power would stay on; sorting by flashlights would be difficult.

I had a nice break when Jenna came to visit, wearing her new boots.

Jenna’s nautical new boots (Jenna’s photo)

I sorted for hours.  By 8 PM, I was down to the last of the narcissi and was sorting by dumping bulbs on the floor.  My brain was fried.

A number of friends pool money with me; each wants to spend a certain amount so I have to make each batch of bulbs come to the right amount per person.  This also enables me to get a cool selection of a lot of different bulbs for my garden.

9:30 PM, all sorted, and the work board adjusted to just planting.  Round 2 (much smaller) of sorting will come with the next delivery.

There had been a few short stretches of time when the sun came out today, but mostly the rain went on fiercely.  At 9 o clock, I had seen water coming under the back door of the garage, even though there is a lean to structure enclosing it on the outside.  Allan put towels under the door frame and a shower curtain and tarp over the bulbs in case the garage roof leaked as it sometimes does, a bit.

bulbs tucked in for the night

I expected more rain tomorrow, not as much but enough to spend the day at home typing out proper spread sheets for each recipient from my scrawled lists.  Only I can read my hand written lists because of the abbreviations I use for familiar bulbs.

Calvin and Smoky waiting for me to join them to watch telly. (Scott and Bailey, season three)

Today’s rain:

The top wind gust was 83 mph at Radar Ridge (a high hill to the north of the bridge to Astoria, always gets the biggest gusts).  The gusts howled, the rain came under the door, and yet we kept electrical power all day and evening long, thank goodness.

This had been the most perfect bulb sorting weather.  Other years, nice weather had coincided with bulb arrival, and so I had to sort by night and plant by day, keeping only one batch ahead of the game.  It has been glorious to get round one all sorted at once.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

After hearing rain pelting and strong wind at night and this morning, I was surprised when the weather turned sunny.

I must remember now that on sunny days, the greenhouse door must get opened.

It would be too easy to go to work and leave the plants to bake.

Greenhouse spider had wisely made a web off to the side today.

this much rain overnight

My plan to get the garage ready today for bulbs changed.  Because of the sun emerging, I happily decided that I could re-do a garden corner by digging out Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and making a space for interesting new plants.  Then I looked at the weather and saw that 54 mph winds were predicted for tomorrow, along with 1-2 inches of rain.  The most telling point was when I looked at UPS tracking and saw my bulbs are now due to arrive on Thursday, not Wednesday, affecting my work plans for later in the week.

The work board is full of bulbing now. And some at home projects have appeared.

I asked Allan if he would mind going to work to do some pre-emptive storm clean up at two resorts.  He agreed so off we went.

In the driveway, I looked at my agastache and cosmos, hoping some flowers will survive the storm.  I’m planning to make bouquets on Friday to decorate for a charity auction that will benefit local Hispanic families affected by ICE (my way of contributing without actually having to people).  Both cosmos and some (not all) agastaches originate in Mexico so it would be special to add them to the arrangements.

left, Agastaches, right, cosmos, far upper left, Skooter

Because I am eager for compost, we made a quick detour to the city works yard and nabbed two of the hanging basket plants from the debris pile…

They are big loose basket shaped mounds. Not organic because of Miracle Gro use. Never mind that, I want them.

…and then went on to…

The Anchorage Cottages

Mitzu!

center courtyard

decided to leave these window boxes for one more week

Allan installed the spring bulb window boxes and I added yellow violas.

We pulled tall cosmos in the bed above.  This area gets lots of wind that would knock them over by the weekend.

We started the project of re-doing two out of three pots at the Anchorage.  One was just full of Lamium, probably ‘White Nancy’, leaving no room for other plants.

before, last week

Because we needed more soil and plants for the two pots, we went on to

The Planter Box.

autumn colour on trees for sale

autumn display

We got lavenders, violas, a lemon cypress, potting soil, pumpkins, bulb food, and some pavers for a project at home.

our three pumpkins

Then on to

Klipsan Beach Cottages

While Allan planted some aruncus (goatsbeard) starts in the woodsy swale by the clam cleaning shed and pulled crocosmia and iris leaves, I pulled tall cosmos out of the fenced garden.  Perhaps because of being over-fertilized, several of them shot up to great height without many flowers.

before

after.  The cosmos were just silly this year.

before

after

More prolific, shorter, flowering cosmos can stay for awhile.

late honeysuckle flowers

bright hamamelis foliage

blueberry fall colour

blueberry

blueberry and tetrapanax

tetrapanax flower buds

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’ had few flowers this year.

Iris foetidissima

Fuchsia ‘Debron’s Black Cherry’

Eupatorum rugosum ‘Chocolate’

Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’

looking in east gate

birdbath view

roses

Rose ‘Bow Bells’

I had been collecting cosmos and other clean clippings to take home for my empty compost bin.

I am 5’6″. Look how ridiculously tall the Cosmos ‘Sensation’ is.

We finished at KBC with some dumping of pots of annuals to make space for incoming bulbs.  (Must remember to buy potting soil.)

Anchorage Cottages again

We finished dealing with the two empty pots.  Allan’s photos:

Long Beach

We were pleased to get done in time to nip into Dennis Company during their last fifteen minutes to buy some more Halloween lights.  The clerk tested out two so-called purple lights that turned out to be reddish. Another spider lights string and a cool ghost-projector made up for that.

We did a bit of deadheading and weeding on the Dennis block.

Port of Ilwaco

I pulled some cosmos out of the south facing Port Office garden, first garden to be battered by wind.

I left the ones at the far end in case the storm does not come.

Allan took photos from the Port Office deck.

gale warning flags are up

 

Almost in the dark, with Allan’s help, I added today’s compost treasures to my third compost bin, layering the green material with brown from the second bin.  The third bin is already almost full.

Across the street, early morning wind had already knocked the J’s decor around.  Allan fixed it, for now.

The only change to the work board is that I remembered more bulb clients, and now we have only one pot to re-do at the Anchorage, this one:

Beth finds the fuchsia messy and I don’t like that it got infested with columbines.




reading

I found that popular book about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up more annoying that instructive or amusing, and yet the author intrigues me so I have just read the sequel.

This time, because of her honesty, I find her more endearing than annoying.

She admits to having “very few interests other than tidying.”

She shares how she got into trouble tidying her family’s possessions.

The same thing that made me reject her first book is repeated in this one.  Books do not belong in a closet!

Just no! No, no.

My library is one wall of the living room, and the gardening books take up another shorter wall.

And I still reject the belief that socks have feelings.

My socks have never once complained about being rolled into balls to keep pairs together.

Marie Kondo is awfully sweet, though, and while I would never let her loose on my stuff, I’ll agree that she has some good ideas.  I need inspiration, because there will be people coming for Halloween.  In fact, if you are a local liberal Halloween lover, you, too, are welcome to stop by.  I need to clean the house for company (which might include friends of Tony and Scott whom I do not know).  From the dust, you would never think I had been a professional self employed housecleaner in Seattle for 18 years.

 

 

 

 

 

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