Archive for Mar, 2019

Monday, 18 March 2019

I woke to wind battering the house, sounding like a winter storm.

I so wanted to stay home with Frosty and Skooter.  Frosty wanted nothing to do with the outdoors.

We resolved to try to finish the center parking lot berm in Long Beach, the one that mostly involves just string trimming.

The Veterans Field flags nearby showed the strong east wind.  The temperature was warm and the east wind, usually icy cold, was just a bit cool.

Allan’s photo

I started work a half hour later than Allan because Jenna (Queen La De Da) was taking some items to her new Mermaid Sandcastle just across the parking lot.


After Jenna and I put the world to right, I joined Allan on the job.

Some of the mess of the center berm, with more of the miserable-to-weed crocosmia and rugosa rose combination:

Allan’s photo

The wind blew our wheelbarrow right over.

Allan’s photo

string trimmed and tidied (Allan’s photo)

Despite the wind, I wanted so much to erase santolinas AND berms from the work board that we went out to the Bolstad beach approach to trim the santolinas in the planters.

In the westernmost planter, I found that just in the last couple of weeks, someone had removed one of the large old santolinas, a project that would require standing on the bench or the dune wielding a shovel.


the hole

Most of the small plants have already been stolen. Now the big ones are the prey.

As I walked along, I found more large plants had been dug out. Up till now, most of the plants stolen could have been removed with hand tools.

This planter is also off balance with a big santolina removed from one side:

trimmed, for what it is worth (Allan’s photos)

Santolinas that size would not even transplant well and so probably the thief ended up with dead plants.  The plants LIKED it out here in the salty wind and open air.  They wanted to be left to live their quiet lives.

windy and fuming

trimming some ground level santolinas

Of course, the many blocks long ground level garden needs weeding….but not in lousy weather of any sort.

finding another planter with large stolen santolina…or rather, without it

Just every OTHER grape hyacinth dug up and stolen…how thoughtful to leave some.

A sea thrift used to be where that hole is.

This poor fella got replanted.

These planters used to all have a lot more plants. Even most of the little sea thrifts that the Basket Case Greenhouse donated last fall have been taken.

gesturing in outrage with The Toy at more holes.

Don’t even ask why there are so very few narcissi out in these planters; they have been dug and stolen batch by batch over the past few years along Bolstad.  I don’t bother to plant them anymore; it would be a waste of time and money.

Another planter, this one with our name on it from volunteer days, had its big old green santolina missing.

We stopped at city hall because I had an urgent need to kvetch and whinge to the city staff while Allan watered the entry ramp garden that gets no rain (being under wide eaves).

One brilliant staffer had the idea that the planters could just have landscape fabric and river rock put down (by the city crew, as if they have time for that….) around the few existing plants.  I said that would be a good solution.  What plants remain would look scree-garden-y and not so annoyingly off balance.  (A layer of small pea gravel would have to go down first and then the larger river rock, so that the underwear did not show).  I just cannot imagine how the city crew could find the time. And I feel too arthritic to haul bucket after bucket of rock at a work pace.   We are 64 and 66 years old, fer-cryin’-out-loud!!

[update: That idea was rejected because people might throw the rocks. Wildflowers were suggested, but they get stolen, too, and they won’t thrive in summer unless someone has time to water them with the Long Beach water truck.)

Regarding another common couple of suggestions: There is nowhere to put cameras, no one to monitor the footage, and thorny plants like barberries have been stolen as readily as plants without thorns.

I told the nice office staffers that once upon a time, I imagined keeping the Long Beach job till I was doddering along with a walker.  Now, I just think “two more years” (what counts as full retirement age for social security), because the thievery has sapped some of the joy out of the job.  The beach approach planters used to be beautiful, before whatever happened that brought on so much thieving.

From the glory days:

one of the beach planters in 2015

Allan weeding one of the western Bolstadt planters in 2015

3 Aug, beach approach; these planters have to be relatively drought tolerant and very salt wind tolerant.

It makes me sad to compare photos of how good they once looked to how they look today.

A reader of my instagram had a suggestion that had already crossed my mind, that each hole could have a sign that said “This empty space courtesy of a plant thief.”  That wouldn’t look appealing to the tourists.

Now….I will keep my focus on the downtown planters and parks.  I am done with even trying to replant on Bolstad. I have to stop my blood from boiling about this or I won’t make another two years of living, much less working.

We went home early because the wind was unbearable at 35 mph.

A block and a bit away from home, we applied some water from big green jugs (formerly kitty litter containers) to our newly planted bed at the fire station, under a wide eave so not getting much rain.

not much going on yet (Allan’s photo)

Frosty was thrilled to have me home early.

I calmed down by making about fifty santolina cuttings (feeling just like Carol Klein!), potting up some plant sale starts, and writing four blog posts.

Berms and santolinas got erased from the work board. Sweet peas and poppies have appeared as the next round of tasks. The beach approach weeding will have to wait.

Next day I realized I must add Boreas Inn to both sweet peas and poppy lists. Susie hasn’t had sweet peas since we passed the job to someone else two years ago. One of the reasons I took it back. I hope I can have sweet pea success like I used to there.







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Sunday, 17 March 2019

I had a tiny bit of birthday in the morning when I opened two cards from two friends I’ve known since we were all age 12.

from Montana Mary and Roberta

Whenever I see that garden and library quotation, my literal mind says, “But we need food and drink, also.”  Mary’s card and gift addressed this:

A cozy cat mystery is something of a tradition….as long as the cats don’t talk!

Then there was no getting around going to work, because of nice weather and because of having missed a couple of days to the Shingrix vaccine.

Long Beach

The weather forecast called for big wind on Monday and Tuesday.  We drove out to the beach approach to see if it would be too busy and crowded to work there today; it is the worst place in the wind.  The whole stretch was bustling with cars and pedestrians so we returned to the parking lot berms on the east side of downtown.

I had thought it would be moderately easy to do the south berm, based on the north berm going quite swimmingly yesterday.  It turned out to be much thornier and more hard-packed with weeds than the north berm and was a fairly miserable work session in weather that felt uncomfortably warm.

We found all sorts of trash in the beds.

Getting the crocosmia out from the rugosa roses was most unpleasant.

Allan’s photo

Years ago, an alternative school had its student parking in this lot, and there was so much backing and forthing across the beds than anything delicate got crushed, leading to the decision to plant rugosa roses.  The school has moved but the thorns are still there.

using The Toy to trim the edges


after (Allan’s photo)

clamshells in the garden (Allan’s photo) from a parking lot feast, perhaps by a gull? or humans.

tight quarters

a fasciated stem of…something (Allan’s photo)

We acquired a full trailer load of thorny and otherwise debris (Allan’s photo)


We have not had any mulch left over for the berms for years, so not only is this not a raised berm, it is sunken down to pavement level and extremely hard to weed.  I finally decided we would just string trim the open areas and they can darn well just be lawn. These three beds get no supplemental water so in late spring and summer, the short grasses will stop growing anyway.


another walk through after the strimmer


When we left to dump our debris after four unpleasant hours, our van thermometer said the temperature was 76 degrees.  It felt like 76 to me.  No wonder I was so miserable.  I then looked at the weather apps and saw it was actually 62.

After a short turn around time at home, we drove back to

The Depot Restaurant

where we were joined by J9 and Our Kathleen for a birthday feast.

wilted spinach salad

Allan’s halibut special

the famous crab mac for J9

Cinghiale for me

birthday flan

I have now entered my 65th year (turning 64).

chocolate espresso pot de creme for Kathleen

salted caramel brownie

At home, I opened the rest of my presents.  I got a haul of wonderful gardening books from Allan, all ones I especially wanted, along with a book about punk rock in Eastern Germany from Kathleen and the cat mystery from Montana Mary, and an insulated lunch bag from Mary and Denny.  (They had found us in Long Beach on Friday and their other present, chocolate dipped shortbread cookies made by Mary, was already consumed!)

Allan might enjoy Alys Fowler’s book as it is about boating as well as her own life.

The Christine Walkden book has me burning for a rainy day.  Just opening it, I could see it is a wonderful diary of JUST the sort that I adore.  Fortunately, we are due for some rain by Friday…I hope.

Allan also found for me a proper English watering can (I had told him that the metal one was too expensive) and soil sifter for topping off seed flats. The can has a push on rose rather than screw on and a place to store the rose on the can. The flat end of the rose snaps off for cleaning. It is perfect. I’ve lost all the roses on my cheap watering cans years ago by removing them in annoyance when they get clogged.

Another special birthday treat was that so many of my friends on Facebook donated to my birthday fundraiser for Pacific County Immigrant Support that by today, the amount was $251 for this important local cause.










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Saturday, 16 March 2019

The annual Peninsula Quilt Guild show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco had over 100 quilts this year.

As always, my favourites are the ones with floral and garden and nature themes.

Here they are.

Flowers by Maureen Bittner

My Machine Quilting Sampler by Judy Kraft

Dream Big by Claudia Menzia

Gloria by Toni Tweedle Healy

Fall Pumpkins by Joe Ann Reidesel

Hummingbird Wreath Banner by Joe Ann Reidesel

I liked this one because it reminded me of teatime.

Vintage Farm Girl by Kathy Averett

Wonky Pentagon by Beth Tripp

…featuring ornamental cabbages.

Fabric Frolic by Maureen Bittner

…with floral details

Flowers on Silk by Toni Tweedle Healy

This one was almost my favourite mini; I love the languid petals:

Sunflower by Janet Darcher

left: Quatro Color by Claudia Menza

Grandma’s News! by Becky Olson Evans

My grandmother made several quilts with flowers like these:

Grandma’s News! by Becky Olson Evans

A Year in the Garden by Becky Olson Evans

Nature themed quilts:

Wings Over Willapa by Toni Tweedle Healy (an amazing quilter of all styles!)

Under the Sea by Toni Tweedle Healy

Dancing with Dragonflies by Joanie Chapel

Autumn at Sunset Beach by Joanie Chapel

Got crabs? by Beth Tripp

Pelicans by Judy Kraft

Puffins by Beth Tripp

We got to pick our favourites for best mini, small, medium, and large quilt.

My pick for medium was Grandma’s House.

Grandma’s House by Toni Tweedle Healy

My first thought was that, though impressive, it was so impractical…and then I read the description and got tears in my eyes.

Looking at the details, I did think of my grandma’s house, so of course it had to be my favourite because I had a wonderful grandma whom I still miss daily.

Grandma’s sewing machine

She loved cats….

…and her little house.

My favourite small quilt (and my favourite in the whole show) was Goofy Garden by Toni Tweedle Healy, and here it is with its creator.

photo courtesy Peninsula Quilt Guild

Native Plants by Joe Ann Reidesel came just barely after Goofy Garden (only because I love the garden theme with seeds and hose and secateurs), so I am including it here as what would have been a tie had that been allowed:

Native Plants by Joe Ann Reidesel

California poppies

skunk cabbage and trillium

My favourite mini quilt just barely edged out the sunflower.

Shooting Star by Maureen Bittner.

Wildflower Album by Becky Olson Evans was my favourite large quilt.

Finally, here are three more glorious quilts that we must include even though they are not at all on the gardening and nature theme.

La Dio de Los Muertos by Diane Duprez

The Lewiston Express by the inimitable Toni Tweedle Healy

Sorenson Work Wall Hanging by Judy Kraft

I am putting photos of most of the rest of the quilts on the Our Ilwaco blog, so avid quilters might want to have a look over there.

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Clatskanie River

Allan has written up his latest boating adventure!

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

8 March 2019: Logging & a Paddle on the Clatskanie River

Clatskanie, Oregon is located about three quarter the distance from Astoria to the Interstate 5 corridor. It’s just over two miles south of the Columbia River on a farming and dairy delta that I figure has over sixteen miles of rivers and diked waterways suitable for paddling.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 10.07.16 PM.jpg

I loaded up the boat the night before to get an early start. It was definitely cold when I looked out but figured if I unpacked and waited for a nicer day, that would be another trip later. If I left now, it would be one cold trip AND one nice trip later, twice as many.

DSC03591.JPG Time for a second cuppa while I considered the fun factor.

The Beaver Creek boat ramp across from the Safeway charges $5 and was the only launch point I had known in the area until I…

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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Before work, Allan helped me plant my new stachyurus.

front garden, east side, before

To the right is a Dan Hinkley selection of a different stachyurus, a willow leafed form, whose flowers do not show off as well.

I moved a young Descaisnea fargessii into a sunnier back garden spot to make room.  If it plotzes, it will not be too terribly hard to find a mail order replacement, and it has not liked this spot.

Here is my gorgeous Descaisnea from my old garden:

Decaisnea fargessii

It had blue beans, thus its common name. the blue bean shrub. From this blog years ago, the photos below also show another shrub that I want to regain in my now not to new garden.

In our own garden, the powdery blue edible beans of the Chinese blue bean tree, Deicasnea fargessii…also known, I recently learned, as Dead Man’s Fingers! And a truly astonishing colour combinaton from a Euonymous shrub.


Frosty wanted me to stay home.

And I wanted to stay home with him.

On the way to work, we toured the annual Peninsula Quilt Guild Show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum just three and a bit blocks east.  That will be our next post, which may or may not be tomorrow morning…or the next day.

We stopped off for a book exchange at the library, where we admired the garden (a project that is mostly Allan’s). I reflected that our Stihl electric shears would finally make it possible to trim the heathers, the main feature of the garden (which we did not design; we have just managed to squeeze some other plants in amongst the heather and salal).

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo (the blue is Anemone blanda)

entry garden

We added the hellebores…(Allan’s photo)

…and the pulmonarias and more.

The entry garden from the corridor windows:


The Master Gardeners were setting up for a seminar in the community room.

Allan’s photo

It looked like a plant giveaway was part of the event, but work called on this pleasantly warm spring-like day.

stocking the plant table

Allan’s photo

Long Beach

the welcome sign

When we arrived at the north parking lot berm, I suddenly felt so incredibly sore that I had to take the magic combo of advil and tylenol.

The berms are at the bottom of this satellite view.

I felt that The Toy (we each have one to wield) considerably speeding up the first clean up and trimming of the north parking lot “berm”.  (The three so called berms are barely raised, thus not really berms, but they have had that name since they were installed by the city almost two decades ago).


Someone had dropped a treasure trove for my compost bins:

a veg assortment

Allan found an egg:

Allan took one side of the berm and I took the other.

Allan’s photo

This is not a job where we have time to strive for complete perfection.

Not one but two big trucks came and parked on our debris.  The first one’s driver heard my muttering even though I was yards away and cheerfully moved the truck back when I said that it was preventing us from cleaning up.  She laughed (in a friendly way) when I said, “Don’t write about the crazy gardener on TripAdvisor!”  The second huge raised big tire truck drove onto some debris while I was raking it off the pavement.  I held up my hand and walked forward, making it back up, while the young driver looked like he just did not understand why.

My mind boggled.  I also must be careful of my muttering during tourist season. Next time, we will set up a cone or a line of buckets to define our work area.

After, trimmed but not yet completely picked up:

Between the two truck incidents, I got a message from a friend that teenagers were picking daffodils in Fifth Street Park.  (They got yelled at to stop by said friend.) Also that day, a friend’s own planter by her business suffered from a child picking the flowers while a mother indulgently observed and said, “Thank you”.  Friend’s mind also boggled.

The Toy made easier work of trimming small branches back from over the pavement.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, Saint Patrick’s Day (Sunday), is my birthday.  My wish was to get one section of the beach approach weeded; that dreaded job (that takes at least ten days) is hanging over my head like the axe of doom. However, I’ve decided the other berms would be wiser because, with such nice weather, a Sunday on the beach approach might have a great deal of vehicular traffic.  My nerves are being worked hard by the picking of flowers and parking on debris so I had better work somewhere other than by a busy road tomorrow.  Maybe getting older is making me more crotchety.  As a rule, when my gardens are not being damaged, I LOVE tourists; I remember being one.






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Friday, 15 March 2019

Before work, I had an exciting delivery from Gossler Farms, a Stachyurus praecox.  I have been looking for this plant since I left my old garden and had to leave a large one behind.  (It probably got crushed when the new owner had some danger trees felled from the slope above it.)  It is a winter blooming shrub that I adore.

Allan’s photos

It is gorgeous.  Now I just have to figure out how to squeeze it in to a garden bed that I can see from my living room desk in early spring.

I dug up several clumps of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and one clump each of a couple of more special sedums (“Strawberries and Cream’ and one with more glaucous foliage whose name I forget) to plant as the new center plant in the

Ilwaco planters.

Allan took most of the photos for this first part of the day.

in the boatyard

My hope is to make the small round easily-baked-in-the-sun planters need watering only once a week…or even just once every five days, or even four, would be an improvement.  We had removed the winter battered Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ which have been the centerpieces for years.

loads of snails in a planter near the boatyard

under a street tree

I admired both the south facing window and the garden bed below it at the Col Pacific Motel.

One of three erysimums that we had left because they looked ok looked so bad close up that I was sorry I had left it.

A variegated sedum had been taken over by a green reversion.  I axed all the green parts off and I do hope it will stay the handsome variegated form.

Just look how much it had reverted!  I had all but forgotten that it was anything but the plain green form.

The offending green parts in a bucket will be welcome elsewhere.

Long Beach

We began with a quick check up and some tidying at the city hall garden….

a corner at city hall before…

and after

The old lavatera in the west side garden beds that were planted by Gene and Peggy Miles has become so worn that this is probably its last year.  I will need to plant something low there because the office staff likes to be able to see out the window.

And then we trimmed santolinas and did some other grooming on the planters on the Sid Snyder approach and the six downtown blocks.

Sid Snyder Drive

The trimming will inspire the santolinas to have a nice round shape instead of getting raggedy.

before…this one took a lot of hand trimming rather than the speedy Stihl trimmer….

…because it was so intertwined with narcissi.

Allan took on the truly horrid job of clipping the rugosa roses that volunteered itself under one of the trees and then weeding it for the first time this year.



I walked back and forth between planters and street trees, heading north and trimming santolinas as I went.

This is the planter that started it all, one of four that I did back in about 1998 when they were all done by different volunteers.  The city administrator at the time said it was “magnificent”.  It still has the original santolinas.


A few years ago, I got so bored while hand trimming the furthest one that I suddenly cut it back to the trunk! It took it two years to come back.  I am glad I have The Toy now which makes the job fun rather than high pressure and tedious.

after (I blocked part of the photo with my thumb, oops)

Allan caught up to me halfway through town and removed the protective old leaves from the Fifth Street Park gunnera…

…and then trimmed a couple of blocks of planters himself.

The carousel is back, a sure sign of the tourist season.

I love small cupped narcissi.

I realized I would not have the satisfaction of erasing santolinas from the work board because we still have the ten or so planters on Bolstad beach approach to trim.  At five o clock, I was too exhausted to do it even though in past years I’d have gone on till dark to get it done.  I blamed the after effects of the Shingrix vaccine (whose side effects can last 3-5 days) rather than aging.

I did not even think I could muster the energy for the last two untrimmed planters north of the stoplight that I saw when we were on our way to dump debris. But I did (which means Allan did, too) because those blocks would be more crowded on a Saturday.

one of the last two planters

The downtown santolina trimming used to take all day, with sore hands from clipping afterwards.  The Toy made it take just the afternoon.

The work board tonight:





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Thursday, 14 March 2019

During the cloudy morning, the species tulips in the scree garden stayed closed.

Skooter captained the good ship Ann Lovejoy.

When we arrived at the post office, I remembered that the quilt show at the museum would mean lots of extra foot traffic Friday through Sunday, so we spent about an hour spiffing up our volunteer garden. A before photo is lacking and would have shown that Allan dug out a big self sown red grass that was right by the sidewalk. The garden shows off better now.

The grass was just past the fifth stepping stone.

Then we could get on to our paid work, taking up where we had left off on Monday with the trimming of santolinas, vastly speeded up with The Toy. We worked from Salt Hotel to the Freedom Market.

Almost all the photos today are Allan’s.

I had been eager to get the Salt sword ferns trimmed before they started to unfurl.

Allan strimmed the grassy verge by the Freedom Market because no one else does. (It’s port property next to a sidewalk between businesses.)

Almost to the west end:

Some Hermodactylus iris in the curbside garden:

The Van Engelen bulb catalog says, “Commonly referred to as the Snakes Head Iris, this graceful 1597 Mediterranean heirloom has lightly scented flowers comprised of taupe standards with yellowish-green striations and taupe-edged purplish-brown falls. A terrific garden variety, its finger-shaped tubers can multiply underground, yielding more flowering shoots as it matures over time.”

We took a load of clipped santolina home to our compost bins. The tulips had opened more as the day has brightened.

Frosty told Allan which bin to use.

Our neighbours got their daily biscuits.

The entire front garden smelled of apricots from the hamamelis.

When we arrived at the boatyard garden, the free wood bin across the street (where last week’s dozens of pallets had been taken by someone) had a cool piece of driftwood that Allan snagged and took back to our place.

We trimmed the many santolinas and did some weeding all along the boatyard.

I planted some phlomis and some tall yellow achillea, dug up from my garden, at the boatyard and the curbside gardens.

I had had an absurd fantasy that we might also have time to plant Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ starts in all of the Ilwaco Street planters. Ha. Didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday.

Back at home, while Allan offloaded our compostable debris and went off to dump the weeds, I unpacked an exciting box from Annie’s Annuals. The packing from Annie’s is the best and easiest to unpack of any mail order nursery of my experience.

Box of healthy plants…

Each of the three plants has its own removable box…

And that box easily deconstructs to reveal the potted plants.

So easy, especially compared to that nursery whose order last year was packed in so much shredded paper that it was hard to not damage the plants while unpacking.

The Annie’s plants are beautiful. She sells perennials as well as annuals.

Here’s what I got. I am showing you the prices, too, because they are competitive with buying in person at nurseries, and the plants are such a good size.

I got the rose ‘Grandmother’s Hat’ because of the name. The rose I want most is ‘Special Grandma’, which I have seen in the Tootlepedal blog and which seems to only be available in the U.K.

I had an exceptionally special grandma.

I was able to erase two santolina tasks from the work board. My hope is to get Long Beach santolinas done by the end of this week. I’m trying to remember if there are any left at the Boreas Inn that might need doing.

Soon (I hope) nothing will stand in the way of starting the beach approach weeding.

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Real Time Alert:

The annual quilt show will feature approximately 100 quilts. Admission is free!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Allan continued to languish from the Shingrix jab. I was worried. I felt considerably better so did some gardening at home while I fretted both about his health and about falling behind at work. I pondered on the idea that retirement would eliminate a lot of work stress, a conundrum because I feel that our work is valuable to the local world.

My friends next door got their midmorning biscuits.

Frosty loves dogs and very much wants to be friends.

Cota and Bentley are good with the neighbor cat, Onyx. I don’t want to risk an introduction to Frosty. He might eventually decided to introduce himself.

Skooter helped me way too much, keeping right underfoot…until I got out The Toy. Then the buzzing noise kept him at a distance but always in view.

I trimmed many the plant with The Toy. It is great for the Chop and Drop gardening method beloved of garden writers Ann Lovejoy and Anne Wareham. I have noticed that when I chop and drop at work, Allan comes behind and rakes the clipped material up. At home, I can get away with it.

It is also wonderful for chopping plant material into the compost bins. I had the opportunity not long ago to ask my neighbours if the sound of the Toy annoys them. I am relieved to know that it does not.

I found a round garden thingie so hidden by a shrub and some Stipa gigantea that I had completely forgotten about it. Now it is out in the open.

While potting up some Siberian iris and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ for my plant sale, I pondered that I’m beginning to have anxiety that it will be so very people-y. I wondered about where I am going to actually HAVE it. Should I let strangers into my yard? Will it turn out to be a waste of time? Maybe when I figure out the time I’ve spent and the cost of potting soil, I’ll have made negative dollars per hour. Fortunately, Pam and Prissy are coming (with plants) which will make it much more fun.

When Allan finally stopped sleeping languishing, I stopped worrying about him and enjoyed my garden much more. Still feeling the Shingrix effects myself a bit, I had gotten mighty tired. And yet there were two more things I longed to get done, and so I did them while Allan drilled some holes into a plastic drawer or bin that will make a good shallow pond planter.

The big Melianthus major in the front garden had been hard hit by frost and needed cutting back.

A few pieces have layered themselves so that I think I can get new plants. I’ll try them out when I am less tired…and can figure out where to put them.

Possible new plant starts to be had

With my last bit of fast vanishing oomph, I cut eight willow branches, took them to the back corner of the Bogsy Wood, and stuck them in the ground along the fence in a sort of arc. If they root and grow, I can train them into a cave or grotto kind of thingie. I would rather they were the nice long narrow leaf kind that Ann Amato (the third Ann today) uses for her willow arbor. I am using the local willow with bigger leaves because it’s here and easy to get.

Above, eight branches stuck in. Fingers crossed. It would make a good feature and a reward for anyone who walks that far back. I am impatient and hope it grows quickly. At my former garden, I stuck in year-old pruned willow trunks to make a simple arbor and they rooted despite having been out of the ground for so long.

I saw two more ornamental grasses that I just had to trim and then collapsed in my comfy chair by five thirty to have a nice cuppa Builders, write this and now to watch some more episodes of A to Z of TV Gardening and some Fork to Fork, an early kitchen garden series by Monty and Sarah Don which actually shows them gardening together. Sarah never appears on Gardeners’ World, not even in the background. The early series also features their old black dog, Beaufort.

The shows have inspired me, between watching Monty Don and Carol Klein, to make cutting when I trim up a desirable plant. Today, I made some from dianthus and from penstemon.

I do hope we can go back to work tomorrow.

Later: I found an old Christmas special from Gardeners’ World…

and here is good old Beaufort from Fork to Fork.

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12 March: languishing

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

I slept till all hours, I think because of Shingrix vaccine reaction. We sort of tried to go to work at the port but couldn’t get it together to actually go.

I got a delivery from Cistus Nursery. I have never grown hardy cacti. My idea was to plant them in the barrels at The Red Barn, the ones by the entry road that rarely get watered. One of the plants was amusingly mislabeled.

Did an oxalis purchaser get my opuntia label? The second plant is actually Opuntia polyacantha ‘Imnaha Blue’.

I was excited to have a fun, Wild West look to the barn planters. Now I am worried that the opuntia will hurt someone who pokes a finger at them in a well-meaning, curious way. Not quite sure what to do about that. Or a nose. Dogs cannot read signage. On the other hand, the barrels are right by the highway entrance. I have rarely seen anyone walk by them.

Winds of about 20-30 mph made me feel better about not going to work. I moved some trays of assorted hardy perennials out of the greenhouse because I do believe we have had our last below freezing night. I was then able to organize a bit of the greenhouse mess, followed by an ambitious look at compost bin two.

Despite a strong desire to sift the whole bin, I simply could not. I managed to layer green and brown into bin three, and that is all.

Back in the house, I could barely manage to sort out all my various orders from seed catalogs. Not feeling well made me especially glum about my lack of success with any seeds that require more than just planting outdoors with no special treatment. But do look at the quite wonderful cultural instructions that come with the Seedaholic order, a catalog recommended to me by blog reader Lillian.

Seeing a table covered with piles of seed packets makes me anxious even though I think I have learned some better seed starting practices from Gardeners’ World. I should perhaps have waited till we partially retire before going seed crazy….but then where would I put the plants if I can indeed successfully grow them?

Allan, after a few errands, had taken to his bed, and I embarked on watching British gardening telly. I began with a series about Bodnant Garden in Wales, which starts with revitalizing the garden.

A stern garden writer, Stephen Anderson, makes a critical visit. “I think passion is bollocks,” he tells the head gardener.

More excitement attends a visit from Prince Charles.

Twenty gardeners are sent out to deadhead every daffodil, and much mulch is applied to the garden beds.

My only brush with preparing for a royal visit was when Paul Bonine of Xera Plants came to my garden last summer.

While I would not want Mr. Anderton to critique my garden, I will read one of his books. On now to parts to and three of the Bodnant series and then more of the A to Z of Garden TV.

Christine Walkden did one of her tours of Bodnant years later in Glorious Gardens From Above. By then, it looked completely enchanting to me.

In a later episode of the Bodnant series, I reflected that I was glad that when we used to prune 300 hydrangeas at one garden, at least the work was not like this:

I felt bad for the head gardener when he has to discard 350 yew trees that were not even out of their pots yet and had root weevil.

It brought back bad memories of my Agastache Catastrophe last year.

I hope we are able to work tomorrow as the wind should be gone by then. If we continue to languish (Shingrix side effects can last 3-5 days. I really believed I would escape them, but no….), I won’t have much to say here.

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Monday, 11 March 2019

At last, after being on the waiting list since November, we were able to get part one of our two part Shingrix vaccinations. We had intended to languish about at home after the anti-shingles jabs, until the pharmacist said that we would have less pain if we kept our arms moving. So we went to work trimming santolinas at the port. Using The Toy made the job so fast that we got from the east end to Time Enough Books in just two hours. Amazing. Rain and wind arrived on schedule and drove us home with the west port gardens and the boatyard garden still to do.

Allan’s photos:

Some of the santolinas in this end have gotten too woody to cut back hard.

We transplanted some uppy red grasses to the fire station garden.

At home, I added santolina clippings to the compost and potted some chives for my plant sale. Allan shredded some of the debris from yesterday in The Pencil Sharpener.

The pampas grass did not shred well and will get hand chopped later.

Earlier today, before the jabs, I had taken some photos of our floriferous garden. I managed to accidentally get this post in reverse chronological order, too hard to fix on my iPad, so here are the morning photos. I really must stop blogging from my lazy chair and must start using my new camera instead of my phone. Soon, as I keep promising.

The front garden:

Poor Melianthus major got cold.

Iris unguicularis aka stylosa.

Ribes speciosum about to flower. It is summer deciduous so looks at its best now.

East side garden:

I keep forgetting to trim this epimedium so that the flowers will show.

Back garden:

The rain gauge had ice on it the first time I went outdoors today.

Sweet pea did not make it through this last set of freezing nights.

Corylopsis pauciflora

I must come up with a feature for the very back corner of the Bogsy Wood. I have some ideas.

Tomorrow should be a good day to languish because of wind and rain.

I am almost sorry to say that I found a source for Monty and Sarah Don’s old gardening show, Fork to Fork, AND a new to me show called The A to Z of TV Gardening…pronounced Zed, because it is British tv with excerpts from all sorts of shows featuring many of my favourites British telly gardeners.

My stack of books to read is dwindling terribly slowly, although I just finished a great one that I must recommend.

Her thoughts about medical testing were of great interest to me. I share her feelings about going to the doctor…even though I know of people who have been saved by medical tests.

I could personally relate to the problems of reduced attention span brought on by social media.

……and so on.

My favourite chapter was about the pressure to exercise and diet in order to grow very old (even though many successful exercisers have died far too young).

I was especially amused when I later read a yoga instructor’s self-described “rant” on social media about how his clients must find “satisfaction in the sacrifice” even though it’s “no fun”. I thought yoga was supposed to be soothing and perhaps prevent the urge to rant?

I appreciate that, as always, this author of Nickel and Dimed addresses the classism of health advice.

Finally, the author ponders death itself and shared a poem that speaks exactly to some thoughts I have been having about appreciating that life will eventually go on without me, with frogs in the pond and flowers blooming just as pleasantly without me around to enjoy them. Here it is:

 When in my white room at the Charité

I woke towards morning

And heard the blackbird, I understood

Better. Already for some time

I had lost all fear of death. For nothing

Can be wrong with me if I myself

Am nothing. Now

I managed to enjoy

The song of every blackbird after me too.

**Bertolt Brecht

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