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Archive for Apr, 2020

Friday, 24 April 2020

I was inspired to look again at the website of the Washington State Nursery and Landscaping Association, hoping that the big news that home construction could resume in our state would also apply to landscape care. I hasn’t looked at the website for a couple of weeks even though I had regularly checked their Facebook page for hopeful news, to no avail.

On the website, I found an update from April 9th that I had missed, with a letter they had written to governor explaining all the bad things that can happen to lawns without regular mowing (damage, weeds, fungal diseases) and these very pertinent paragraphs.

Wait a minute. Did this mean we could work all along?

I spent the majority of the afternoon messaging back and forth with clients and gardeners about this scintillating information only to learn, toward the end of the afternoon, that supposedly local law enforcement was no longer going to stop gardeners from working, although we are not allowed to have a regular schedule, implying we can only do necessary things. (?) Some gardeners and lawn mowers had even been contacted to be apprised of this news. But not us, maybe because we had not been actively complaining to the powers that be. (Signed, Ms. Chopped Liver.)

We printed out the page with the exciting paragraphs to carry with us in case of trouble and promised four clients we would see them next week. As far as I am concerned, these visits are essential to “avoid spoliation of greenery.” !!

My day had sped by with lots of typing and no other accomplishments that I can remember.

Allan took three photos of his garden while taking breaks from working on his boat project. I haven’t seen a photo of the boat project for awhile.

Terran of BeeKissed Gardening came by briefly to get some calendula seeds for her new veg garden.

And she is going to save the day on this blog post, because…

Meanwhile, in Ocean Park

she has been creating a veg garden. (photos by Terran Bruinier)

The garden bed, says Terran, will eventually be a white border, but during these pandemic times it will be for veg. The magnolia tree is the one she recently bought to commemorate her darling cat, Gabby, who died of cancer at an age far too young. Here they are cuddling in Gabby’s last days.

Meanwhile elsewhere, farmworkers are working hard to grow the food needed by people without veg gardens. And some people are finding ways to thanks them.

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More pandemic news

Portland, Oregon and the 1918 flu pandemic

And

How to provide services while social distancing

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A book: Out of Time

For over twenty days, I read a little bit each day of this excellent book.

My concentration was shot because of the pandemic, and reading the news interfered with reading books, and good weather and long daylight hours made garden projects take precedence.

Here are some of my favourite bits in this book about ageing.

I like being old at least as much as I liked being middle-aged and a good deal more than I liked being young.” Jane Miller in Crazy Age

Agreed!

Ageism in political movements has been going on for decades.

But in the 70s, when I helped with a radio show, Surviving in the Patriarchy, we did a show and held study groups about ageism, even though we were all in our 20s and 30s. It has always been on my radar because of loving being with old people as a result of all the time I spent with my grandma and her friends.

Now I think ageism is even worse than it used to be. One evening this month, I read an essay in The New Yorker (Getting On by Tad Friend) with this scintillating passage.

It especially spoke to me because of some particularly unpleasant “boomer” stereotyping I had seen on a Facebook post. I will be using it as a comment on such things in the future, even though I usually give myself a stern reminder that I don’t have to attend every argument I am invited to. (I’ve been known to defend Millennials and Gen Xers from negative stereotyping, too.)

Back to the book:

The media foments this divide between young and old.

…generational discontent.”

This theme continues for several fascinating pages that those who bash members of other generations should heed. We are being encouraged by these manufactured conflicts from paying attention to the true inequities which should bond us together across generations.

Meanwhile, the old are given credit for continued activism, something I have certainly noticed in the area where I live.

I was pleased to find several pages about my beloved May Sarton…

I have always wanted to be old. The first time I was aware of my grandma’s age as a number, she was 66, and I am a year away from that.

Other favorite authors of mine are also mentioned, including Mark Doty (in a chapter about mourning losses), Carolyn Heilbrun, Diana Athill, and Derek Jarman….but not Christopher Isherwood who wrote so eloquently of aging. I was pleased to see a mention of the lesbian novel Sister Gin, about an inter-generational romance, which I read in my early 20s and loved and (because I still own it) keep meaning to read again.

In a chapter about caring for loved ones with dementia, the author mentions a book that I read years ago.

Constance was a working gardener who for awhile had a memory board in her work truck where she wrote down the names of plants that she could no longer remember. That image has stuck with me for years.

The mention of a mysteriously lost friendship made me think –oh, you too! which is always comforting.

Doris Lessing is quoted at age 73, “The great secret that all old people share is that you haven’t really changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” Surely we do change, though. I hardly recognize the person I was at age 30.

For myself, I saved many more passages than the ones I added here. I can’t go too far with sharing as I never want to annoy the author, just to inspire friends with similar interests to read the book.

I got from Out of Time a long list of more books to read:

A Fragile Union by Joan Nestle

Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Ageing and Ageism by Adrienne Rich

Alix Shulman. Drinking the Rain

Memory Board by Jane Rule

Making an Exit by Elinor Fuchs

Do you Remember Me? by Judith Levine

Endnotes by Ruth Ray

A Dialogue on Love by Eve Sedgwick

Julian Barnes: Nothing to be Frightened Of

Pulse

The sense of an Ending

Penelope Lively

The summer Book by Tove Jansson

Rosalind Belben

The Empty Family by Toibin

Tales from Facebook by Daniel Miller

Making Trouble by Lynne Segal **

Paper Houses by Michele Roberts **both about collective living

Queer Domesticities by Matt Cook

Now I just need time, which I have had plenty of, concentration, which I almost completely lack these days, rainy days, and either a library which is open instead of closed for a pandemic or the ability to work enough to make money to buy books.

Meanwhile, this was the very last of the library books checked out before the closure. I have a big pile of unread books of my own and will now turn to the second memoir by Diana Athill.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Reading news and local Facebook comments about the news used up a couple of hours of the late morning-early afternoon, as usual these days. Even though it was raining, I did not take a full day of reading the book I’ve been reading since early April. My concentration is pitifully lacking.

Skooter had no desire to go outside in the rain.

I managed to trim the geraniums in the greenhouse, as Monty Don suggested two weeks ago, and put cuttings in water on the kitchen window sill in hopes of roots.

The greenhouse entry is still a mess.

I took a few rainy garden photo with the Lumix camera, most of which turned out blurry because it was on the wrong setting.

Front garden:

Back garden:

And Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ in Allan’s garden.

I had planned to finish my book but read only fifty pages and then wrote a couple of blog posts instead.

For dessert, Allan made cinnamon crusties out of flour tortillas.

Thursday, April 2020

Allan found some old tomato seeds in the van, a gift at last year’s Surfside garden tour, and I planted them in the greenhouse even though they have most decidedly not been kept in a cool place. I also found some black scabiosa from Floret Farms to plant. None of the Floret packages have any depth-of-planting instructions that I can see so I pretty much choose a light covering of soil for all of them.

My cosmos are up in greenhouse flats already! Now I worry about them damping off because the seed starting mix was so wet.

I got a bit teary-eyed with amazement when I saw some of the old lettuce seeds coming up in the garden. I don’t have much faith in a seed so am amazed when they work.

I dared to go two doors down, through the back yards, and check on the Norwood garden for spoliation, the one excuse I knew of to allow for checking on gardens these days. And I found a good reason to have looked, a huge velvet grass that was starting to get rust and could have spread the disease to other plants.

The creeping sorrel was about to infest perennials in the north end, so I dealt with that, too, definitely another spoliation issue.

Epimedium is in flower…

…and pink pulmonaria…

…and Dutch iris on the south side of the house.

If the lawn doesn’t get mowed, spoliation will occur from all the sorrel in it going to seed. I told Allan that as far as I am concerned, it is urgent that it be done when the rain stops. And speaking of spoliation, Jody of the J’s sent me photos of her roses.

This is the sort of thing that wouldn’t have got too bad if we were allowed to work in private gardens. I said that is spoliation for sure, to knock the aphids off with a jet of hose water, and that we will come soon to do some soapy bug spray whether or not it is allowed. It’s a darn shame some birds did not discover this feast.

Allan went out in the late afternoon to get gas for mowing. He drove past Black Lake and, as an amateur photo historian of our town, stopped for a few photos.

In further wallowing in comfort food, Allan made peanut butter cookies…

…and in pandemic food news, some powdered milk came from an online order and he made his own cocoa mix because he’d run out of the store-bought kind.

Finally, I sat myself down and finished the 350-ish page book that it has taken me more than 20 days to read. More on this tomorrow.

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In pandemic news…

A picture…is worth a tip of the hat to MaryBeth, who brought it to my attention.
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21 April: leeky afternoon

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

After I managed to get out the door, I continued to pot up rooted cuttings for my unlikely plant sale.

Terran stopped by. She had messaged me earlier about whether or not we wanted any groceries from across the river, where she was also buying a flowering magnolia tree as a memorial for a beloved cat who had just died of cancer far too young. First I said no to groceries, and then I thought of grapes, and bananas, and coffee, and cauliflower.

Terran dropped off our groceries on the way home.

Her beautiful dogs did not understand why I could not pet and faun over them.

I gave her a selection of interesting plants for Discovery Heights, a former job of ours that we passed into her capable hands.

She gave me a six pack of leeks. This completely changed my afternoon plan. Each cell had at least ten little leeks, and room must be made.

Allan helped me…well, he did all the work…cleaning out an old plastic pond that we had lent to Devery, when she lived next door, for a planter.

I planted leeks in pots, halfway full so that soil can be added as they grow to blanch them.

More went in the old pond, now on the corner of the Nora House driveway.

Now I am really and worrisomely close to being out of potting soil and have used the last of the bulk mulch.

Toward the end of the project, Roxanne and Veda from The Basket Case dropped by some bananas, onions, and oranges. We did the proper distancing like exchanging hostages on a bridge, with the groceries for me and two flat of plants (mostly oregano and the rest of my potted elephant garlic) for Roxanne.

Roxanne told me that her nursery has sold out of pallets of potting soil but more is due in on Saturday.

You might wonder why I don’t plant leeks in the ground. I did squeeze some into this bed. Elephant garlic and potatoes have it already almost full.

The darn horsetail is coming up in the gravel edge as I knew it would in this horsetail plagued section.

My goal for next spring or even later this fall is to have raised planters on legs, easy to work on and will keep the horsetail out from below and the deer out from the sides, similar to the ones at Mark and Joe’s garden. I have mentioned it to Allan.

My inspiration:

The sides come off! I want deep enough boxes to grow beets in. Preferably made of scrap wood scrounged from somewhere.

In the late evening, after dinner and Deadliest Catch, I watched an older episode of John Lord’s Secret Garden and coveted this black stemmed Hydrangea ‘Black Steel’.

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Pandemic news that I find especially interesting

The environmental impact of Covid

And

A do it yourself dilemma in Astoria, Oregon

And

The infuriating shut out from assistance to US citizens married to immigrants

And…forgive me if I am repeating any of these, as my brain is mush…

For those like me who find catastrophizing to be …interesting… here are two articles that I advise non-catastrophizers to avoid.

how this could be just the beginning

And

possible famines of Biblical proportions.

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20 April: seedy and potty

Monday, 20 April 2020

At home

I continued to plant some flower seeds in the greenhouse. I wish I could move the tender plants out, which would make a good tidy much easier. It would also be helpful if I had a tidy rather than a chaotic nature.

I thought I was being clever to plant three different kinds of beet seeds (Golden, Winter Keeper and….um…) in three different colors of window box, despite a nagging feeling that I should google beets in containers.

It looked to me like a double row beets would fit in there, as I visualized the size of a beet (and I also like beet greens). Later I did google and was reminded of the long root that comes out a beet. The containers should be a foot deep. So they have been demoted to seed flats. Meanwhile, I am almost out of potting soil again. I am reminded of the amusing book, The $64 Tomato. But I am trying to grow veg to avoid going to grocery stores more than to save money. I had so many beet seeds that I tucked a couple of rows along edges of the garden.

Areas like these are full of seeds now, especially the older probably not viable ones.

I spent three hours potting on plants from cuttings for my unlikely plant sale. Most of the roses I tried did not take, but I got a few.

My window screen has a handy new hole in it….

…that I can use to take overview photos.

These will appear again in a before and after set I am working on.

Jazmin has taken to sleeping in front of the new mirror.

I think I forgot to share this photo of Darmera peltata in flower that Allan took.

Around the garden today:

In the front garden, Euonymus ‘Wolong Ghost’ is covering the window. I like the green light and privacy indoors.

Allan tried hourly all day to get into a new small business assistance site…

….seeking a modest grant for our unessential small business. He kept trying after midnight and when finally at last the site let him in, this is what he saw.

meanwhile in Long Beach

Heather Ramsay of our favorite gift shop, NIVA green, just north of Bolstad in downtown Long Beach, sent us these photos of the planters near her shop.

Oh how strange it is to see them from afar. I don’t see anything that I would need to do to them to make them better.

The NIVA green website beautifully shows off her wares, as does her “window shopping” window with mail order available during this time when gift shops are closed.

I feel suddenly verklempt about all the happy times when I have browsed her shop in person, my go-to place for gifts.

More local pandemic news

I also feel verklempt about our local restaurants. You can read here an interview with local restaurateurs, including our friend and garden client Chef Michael of the beloved and most delicious Depot Restaurant, our favourite. The smallest and most intimate of restaurants will have the hardest time having to eliminate tables. I was touched to see how many of their regulars have stepped up to order takeout dinners.

In other local news, the Seattle Times has this article about the Facebook kerfuffles between locals and tourists. For those who are actually angry or have hurt feelings that locals don’t want tourists to visit now, cry me a river. How does visiting a place two or four hours from home fit in with a stay at home directive? Of course locals are worried; we have a tiny hospital with few beds and one ventilator. And our store shelves have been decimated after each influx of tourists. How selfish can people be with their unwillingness to give up recreational travel for the duration? The idea that would-be tourists who feel unwelcome now threaten to punish us by staying away later makes my head spin. This is a problem shared by every tourism-dependent small town in the nation, from what I have read. In related news, some friends and clients with second homes here have gotten letters from local government both in Washington and Oregon imploring them to please stay in their primary residence. And it makes me sad for them and for me to not see them here. I look forward to the day when they are able to return.

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Sunday, 19 April 2020

Before I started gardening, Marlene came by. I had made a wee joke on Facebook about not having stocked up on wine, and she brought me two bottles. I gave her a pot with an Allium christophii in gratitude. We did the careful physical distancing exchange.

Phred from around the corner joined our coffee-less klatch.

Her trio of Japanese Chin dogs did not understand why I did not pet them.

We managed some laughter despite it all.

Jazmin found the wine bag most interesting.

I planted more seeds in the greenhouse all afternoon. Seeds can be so darn complicated.

Even worse, that packet, which was lost two years ago and only found this week, should have been planted when fresh. I did have success planting another packet two years ago, only after I gave up on the little pots and stuck some dianthus cuttings in them did the eryngium appear months later. And another packet of the same plant, from a different source, turned out to be a completely different and quite ordinary eryngium.

It is perhaps the plant I most want to have bloom in my garden, and it never has.

I cannot remember whether or not this photo has made it into the blog.

After planting the eryngiums and some other flowers (some old China aster seeds, some new Salvia horminum seeds), I decided I really must get a look at our two nearby volunteer gardens and left the property for the first time in a month.

We found that the fire station garden needed deadheading and only light weeding. It had had a good going over shortly after the shutdown.

I could swear there was a photo of the whole corner garden but I cannot find it.

Allan’s photos:

We next checked on the post office garden three and a half blocks from home.

Allan’s photos:

The lily that had come up ornamented with a broken snail shell amused me.

We then went on a driving tour of the port gardens. Although the boatyard garden’s hefty spears of horsetail are up, it did not look too bad from a slow motion vehicle.

I could not help but stop along Howerton Avenue and do some deadheading of the south side port office garden for free, since we are not allowed to actually work. It was thick with unsightly narcissus deadheads, and I just could not stand it.

Allan took some photos of the Howerton side of the port office and the Time Enough Books gardens. A few deadheads were snipped by us, flouting the law but not charging money so we hope it was allowed.

Allan got some photos by At the Helm hotel and the Dave Jensen architecture office.

I suppose I could take a walk surreptitiously deadheading narcissi all along the port gardens. I felt that dry weather had kept the weeds back and that it could all wait till May 5th. If we are still non essential after that…can’t even think about that.

In the evening, Skooter enjoyed his Kitty Karrot with Katnip.

We continue watching an episode of The Repair Shop to end our evening after our late dinner. After the news and some viewing of more intense drama shows. it inspires us and soothes our nerves and has an excellent message about the value of old things over new.

Netflix has just the first two seasons. I hope they add more. Remember the old days when you could take a group photo?

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Pandemic news

An honorable restaurant chain called The Shake Shack returned a big pile of money that was meant for small businesses.

In the far cold north of Canada, businesses struggle because of no tourism.

And an article about landscaping being non essential; it mentions Washington State.

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18 April: seeds


Saturday, 18 April 2020

I planted seeds of cosmos and other flowers in the flats I had set up yesterday. Ironically, it was a day of light rain, just the sort that could be the reading day I had longed for, but here I was with a semi-indoor project that was sort of urgent.

Front window view:

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When I began my seed planting in the dry greenhouse annex, I found that a tree frog had made a bed in the damp seed planting mix.
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Of all today’s seeds, the sea kale was especially irksome to plant as I had to scrape off the outer casing of the seeds, nor did I plant it as early as I should have.

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I want to grow it because Derek Jarman grew it.
By evening, I had many flats potted up. I was quite chuffed with my labeling system.
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My mint shrub whose name I forget made the air fragrant when I brushed against it.
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I am finding my memory for plant names is suddenly worse during pandemic days and I also lack patience to search for the names.
I took a plant appreciation tour in the drizzle:

Pieris and Ribes speciosum

41FF8181-D35A-45AC-8727-2AA05740FC61Dutch iris

Bleeding hearts

Erythronium (dogtooth violet)

40CE5227-2D20-4773-85BB-DD1611B40173little red tulips, probably linifolia, still blooming
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More tulips

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Fritillaria meleagris

Melianthus major in flower

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and pulsatilla.

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Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ is still spectacular.
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I should break out a better camera than my old iPhone. Here’s a little secret: I’m kind of finding it a tad bit hard to function these days and the easy way is iPhone photos to iPad to blog, easier than a camera and download cord and computer. It keeps the blog rolling along, even if it is blurry in more ways than one.
I found a box of old veg seeds and sorted them into three piles: seeds so old there is no hope, and some with maybe some hope, and some that have a good chance of germinating 
based on a web search for how long veg seeds stay viable. I don’t have the patience for germination tests with damp paper towels, so I found spaces around my ornamental garden to tuck in many and many seeds that may or may not grow. If some do, I can get some leafy greens at the least. 

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Allan took a break from boat building and ran some branches through the Pencil Sharpener for me…

59F7FC26-04F5-4BB8-ADDA-3A258A04B8F8…making some mulch that I took back to the southeast Bogsy Wood corner.
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His boat is coming along.
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The rain was a lovely thing to see and soothed some of my anxieties about all our jobs that, being non essential workers, we are forced to neglect till sometime in May.

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At the end of the day, I cut back a Sun Sprite rose which was new and quite happy last year, because I am freaked out by roses that look like this:
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I fervently hope it comes back looking better so that I don’t have to shovel prune it.

The pear blossom in Allan’s garden….

A1C43601-2863-4A04-B2ED-F3CC0F388777reminds me so much of the big Bartlett pear tree in my grandmother’s garden and how she would bring in bare branches and force them into bloom.  I love its slightly bitter smell.  Here is the old Seattle tree viewed from above.

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In the evening, digging into the increasingly lower level in our freezer of food, Allan found a special treat, a piece of salmon caught by our neighbor Jeff.  We’d forgotten that we had one more piece.  Dinner was extra good tonight.

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In farm and garden-related pandemic news, I was startled to learn that only recently was the Washington Master Gardeners program declared essential during the stay at home order “so that staff and volunteers are able to maintain the statewide network of demonstration gardens that produce thousands of pounds of food annually for communities in need..”  How very strange that for while, they were not allowed to even volunteer.  And here’s me thinking we could at least go check on our jobs for free!

In Yakima, Washington, farm workers are struggling with Covid and with the usual inequality.

In Canada, farmers are short on farm labor.

Here is a deeply touching story about flowers, mental health, and the shutdown.

In my home town, Seattle, the pandemic has inspired veg gardening and chicken keeping.

And locally, because of problems with social distancing…

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Friday, 17 April 2020

Jazmin was extra cute this morning.

I slept even later than usual because anxiety at 7 AM that I would only get three hours of sleep drove me to take a little bite of a Benadryl and then sleep far too long. Although still only seven hours total. What with reading the news, it was mid afternoon before I embarked upon my project of planting seeds in the greenhouse.

I hoped to get the greenhouse entryway mess cleaned up but did not.

The greenhouse itself is also a big mess.

And the greenhouse annex was not much better.

I spent three hours potting up various cuttings that I had stuck four or five to a pot and ended up with little pots of successfully rooted hebes, santolinas, and penstemoms.

And some cerinthe from seed, all for my unlikely plant sale.

I have some action in the salad green containers.

And some Sugar Sprint peas…

…although another container of peas has become a favourite of snails.

I shovel pruned a sad looking Rosa mutabilis straight into the wheelie bin…

…although I think I might not have the dread rose disease because only the foliage looks sad, not the stems. But I am taking no chances. Except with my grandma’s sweetheart rose; I am still taking a chance on that one.

I discovered that my old metal dustbin full of special seed planting mix had gathered rain water. Fortunately, the planting mix was not rancid.  Because it was so sodden, I just prepared flats and will seed them tomorrow.
Planting in flats is not as annoying as planting seeds in the ground. I still much prefer to grow plants that others have grown from seed for me, but who knows what jobs I will still have or what money I’ll have for my own garden.

Not much actual clean up was accomplished.

In the garden today:

In Allan’s shop, I contributed briefly to the boat project by helping him turn it over.

We watched this week’s Gardeners’ World and saw Monty Don in his tidy vegetable garden. I had to remind myself that he has had gardening helpers for years. I do wish I shared his enthusiasm for vegetable gardening.  As he sowed some seeds in flats, he said you can use special mix, or regular potting soil, or even soil from the garden in a pinch. I don’t think garden soil would be good, but I have run out of seed planting mix so it will be potting soil for more seeds.

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Pandemic news that interests me

News from the southern border where good people are still helping save migrants’ lives.

The northern border Is likely to stay closed for some time.

And this article about how AI might help find a cure for coronavirus has this startling information:

“Already, their research has yielded surprising results, including:

■ the suggestion the virus may invade brain tissues, which may explain why some people lose their sense of taste or smell)

■ the prediction it may also attack the reproductive system of both men and women”

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16 April: puttering

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Miraculously, I got seven hours of sleep without any over the counter sleep aid assistance.

Having finished the big overall weeding, I started the day with a work board like this:

I mulched along the metal fence with some of the last of the big load of mulch that I had stored in pots and buckets and then planted sweet peas along the outside and edible peas on a clear area of the inside. Deer don’t eat sweet peas. I’d better not get the two kinds of pea pods mixed up though, because sweet peas are poisonous. Fortunately, the edible pea I planted, Sugar Magnolia, has purple pods.

I broke up and bucketed some rotted wood from the big stump in the Nora House back yard for mulching where I weeded yesterday…

…and back in the Bogsy Wood’s southeast corner.

I’m going to keep putting old wood and leaves and shredded stuff in that area till the soil is soft and improved.

Allan put up two bean teepees for me.

The following evening on Gardeners’ World, Monty Don showed the construction of his enormously sturdy pole bean structure, making me wonder if mine would be strong enough. We can reinforce it with rebar, and I do intend to add more poles. He said that even though we don’t plant beans yet, putting the structure up now is “a statement of intent.”

In Allan’s garden:

Next to the shed:

Inside the shed, Allan’s boat project is coming right along. Perhaps he will tell you a bit about what is going on here.

After wiring the bow and sterns together they had me put a spreader stick and the two bulkheads between. Then I stitched a 150ish copper wires to carefully pull the curved sides and bottom together. It’s beyond me how they know what shape to make each plank to get the correct curves but it’s been done for millennia. I got a compliment that I’ve achieved a potentially good garden boat. 

In the back garden:

 In the Bogsy Wood:

Salmonberry tunnel

Gunnera

Plant table

With only a bit of wind kicking up, we ended our day with a campfire.

As the fire died, we had a serious talk about work and the virus safety, or lack of it, in working around lots of tourists this summer. We have to make some decisions. One thing I am sure of, we can manage to socially distance while doing the port gardens, which are the most dear to me.

It is increasingly ironic that I gave up many nice safe private gardening jobs in my mission to beautify the public world. Even though I know that accomplishing my mission for awhile was a good thing, I feel my identity kind of slipping away as the stay at home garden-work-is-non-essential order keeps me away from “my” gardens.

At the same time we both are afraid to be around people. As Allan says, “I wouldn’t normally walk down to the post office after midnight in the middle of the street.” He says he usually sees others out in the dark, riding a bike or walking a dog, so others must also be seeking the quiet hours to venture forth.

Other than work on his boat, Allan did another clever thing. He set the water heater to the perfect temperature for a shower or bath, solving the problem of the endlessly leaking cold water faucet that washer replacements will not fix. A faucet replacement would involve tearing out a wall. Our plans for a luxury bathroom are in jeopardy with the income loss of the Covid shutdown. And even if we had the money, plumbers and builders are not allowed to work on such things during this time. Which makes a good sequel into….below the dotted line….

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Pandemic news

An article about Covid in rural America, including Skagit County, Washington, which is north of Seattle. So far, our county, Pacific, has no cases. We are grateful for that even though it sometimes makes our strict social distancing seem like play acting. (Later: an hour after writing this post, the news came out the Pacific County now has a confirmed local case.

By the next day, our county had two confirmed cases.

In Marin County, California, garden work is on lockdown leading to fears about wildfire season. Meanwhile, where we live, the earliest burn ban ever was announced a couple of days ago because our weather has been so dry that there has already been a brush fire and a dune grass fire. (The burn ban does not apply to the sort of small back yard campfire we had yesterday.). The California order “forbids professional gardeners, landscapers and arborists from working in clients’ yards if the work is for cosmetic purposes. However, professionals can perform yard work “to the limited extent necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition)…”

A photo that has been going around on Facebook….sorry I can’t credit the originator.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

We had a tiny bit of rain overnight.

Here is the tulip that Roxanne brought me the previous evening.

The Cat Memorial Garden is where our dear tabby cat, Mary, mother of Smoky and Frosty, is buried. I would like to put the ashes of Frosty and Smoky and also Calvin, who had a brotherly bond with Smoky, into the garden here but so far have not been able to bear it. Even though it bothers me to think of Mary being there alone. Even though the part of me that cannot imagine an afterlife does not know why that bothers me or why I need to keep the three containers of ashes next to where I read and watch telly.

So. It was a mess of weeds, being a difficult area because of the thorns of the Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose that cascades down from overhead.

Four hours later, I was getting punchy.

After:

I had resorted to the lemonade that I had been saving for a special occasion, to give me some pep. Thanks to Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder, I got a burst of energy.

I had an audience.

The other side of the boat, before:

During, with a monster velvet grass out.

And after.

Allan helped by weeding the shotweed and a blackberry from inside the Good Ship Ann Lovejoy.

I included the outside of the fence in the cat memorial project.

Meanwhile, around the garden…

In Allan’s garden:

Pear blossom

Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’

Podophyllum and trillium

And some fringed tulips almost open.

Before bedtime, I was happy to find a new video on John Lord’s YouTube channel.

I guarantee he will soothe your nerves.

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Pandemic stories

A lighthouse keeper talks about social isolation

And

How local farms are dealing with lost restaurant revenue

And

That help we were all hoping for is out of money here in the good old USA,

while Canada offers more help to small businesses.

As for those who are deathly ill from Covid 19, these last words in our country of no national health service made me weep.

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