Archive for Apr, 2021

Saturday, 24 April 2021

At home

We had wonderful rain all night and on and off all day, almost an inch. I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse planting seeds: some zinnias that came for as a free bonus (they don’t grow well here, not hot enough), some Cosmos ‘Apricot Lemonade’ (left over from last year; I wasn’t that impressed with it), some Cerinthe maybe for my plant sale, some lettuce mix in a hanging basket, and some basil, which as soon as I planted it, I realized was a huge mistake because it needs much warmer nights.

I also spent a couple of hours going through pots of cuttings I’d taken of various shrubs and perennials and potting the successfully rooted ones on to larger pots. This was very satisfying.

Outside, between rain showers, I planted four kinds of beetroot in fish tote number seven. Skooter had sat on and maybe dug in and completely decimated my first planting of beets in fish tote three. All the totes are protected now by sticks and bamboo laid across them.

I did not take a single photo. Planting seeds takes all my energy. The next day, I took this one to show the lean to greenhouse where the cosmos I planted awhile ago are growing…

…and the main greenhouse today.

Meanwhile, Allan took the three new plastic dustbins that we got when we went to the hardware store. Only $13 each! Without plumbing connections, he hand dipped water from the downspout bins to fill the new bins. City water is even more expensive here this year, so we want to collect as much as we can. If only we had a huge cistern.

All the jugs and watering cans are full, too.
The street outside our house

In the evening, I watched the final episode of Beechgrove’s 2020 season on HDClump. The description had said that all the presenters would appear, and I was hoping so much….and got my wish because at the end, Jim McColl joined their zoom chat. He had retired at the beginning of 2019, and I have missed him so much. He was the original presenter and the heart of this great Scottish gardening show. I wept with joy. His retirement hit me hard as it brought up all sorts of issues for me, even though I’m more than fifteen years younger: the decrease in physical power as one ages (losing the ability to grip tools in his hands is why he retired) , and the idea of finally letting go of all the jobs, maybe not till we are 84 if we are lucky. (Allan might be horrified to read that, but I would like to keep the port gardens for as long as I can do them.)

I just love Jim so very much. “Every day’s a school day.”

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Friday, 23 April 2021

I have a glorious guest photo today.

Photo by Lynette McAdams, low tide in Ocean Park

At home

I woke at the usual time, after a good sleep, with the idea of weeding being superseded when I looked out my window at my compost bins. Perhaps I could get some good compost out of bin one and use it along the edges of the center bed.


I did not even dig all the way to the bottom when I realized how little finished compost I was getting. This was all I had after 45 minutes:

I added some wool and a bucket of rabbit poo, and broke up the block of odiferous poo with a garden fork….

…then put in a good thick layer of plant material from bin two before asking Allan to jump on it.

I had been toying with the idea of using the bins as plant tables when I have my plant sale (the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend). I tried it out with some boards and decided maybe the shelves are a bit high for people shorter than me.

It seems like it will work well for temporary plant storage, though, with the added benefit of keeping me from turning compost so that I will focus on weeding instead. I’ll probably put narrow tables in front of the bins for sale day.

I saw this strange fungus next to bin five. Allan (after online research) says it is probably morel mushrooms.

The texture is like a loofah sponge.

One other little project made me happy. This idea of turning an old metal dustbin lid into a planter was directly swiped from Loree Bohl’s book, Fearless Gardening.

I doubt Loree would use that rather twee ladybug rock that I found in a Long Beach planter. Even I think it’s a bit too gaudy for that planter. I’ll add more plants and play around with it more later.

Meanwhile, Allan had been doing something on his boat building project; perhaps he will explain. I cut an offset hole in the deck for this hinged hatch that I can reach while paddling. Now to figure out how to make it waterproof and not look too amateurish. The deck has more curve than the gasket can seal.

It was Gardeners’ World night on BritBox TV, a good end to the day and always an inspiration.

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Thursday, 22 April 2021

At home

We had visitors in the late morning and talked for three hours. Diane came from the Seattle area with her good friend Jane. The last time I saw Diane was in 1992. We had connected on Facebook last year but the pandemic had kept her from visiting. Now that we are all vaxxed, we were able to catch up (still outdoors and with some fairly good social distancing, no hugs!)

Jane and Diane

Diane and her spouse Jim and I had met at an anti-war protest in 1991. Today, she and Allan discovered that he had gone to high school with Jim and they found Jim’s photo in his old annuals.

Diane is an avid gardener, too, who runs a Facebook group called Cascadia Gardeners. So of course we toured every inch of the garden.

The wayback sit spot

We reminisced about the homelessness project that we were involved with in 1991. The Arion Court has remained low income housing to this day and Diane has continued to be an advocate for the homeless. She brought me the bell that one of our late friends, Terry, used to wear. It is now a poignant reminder hanging on our sun porch.

Next time, she promised to bring Jim. We think he and Allan would have a lot in common!

After a good, long and satisfying visit, Jane and Diane departed to have an outdoor lunch at Salt Pub. “Best ever mac and cheese,” Diane said later.

Allan turned to a small painting project…

…while I started planting my table full of ladies in waiting. It happened that Allan had asked when the table, which is one he likes to use outside the porch of his shop, would be empty.

Just as I started planting, he came outside again with Zinc wearing the new cat harness.

I said that if he wanted the table cleared, he mustn’t distract me with an exciting cat adventure.

The adventure was short lived because Zinc started to back right out of the harness and was hustled back indoors. Allan then filled up all of the green jugs with rain water , getting all our rain barrels emptied so that they can fill again when blessed rain returns on Friday.

I planted till the end of the day. Skooter snoozed as I passed by him multiple times.

The rest of this post is just a record of the plants that got planted today.

I replaced my Zalusianskya ‘Midnight Candy’ with the new one. The old one looks pretty tired.

It has a powerfully sweet nighttime fragrance.

Heleniums are one of my favorites. Carol Klein describes them as a plant with centers that look like “velvet doorknobs”. I added several to my collection: Butter Pat, Tijuana Brass, Kugelsonne, Rotgold, mostly from Joy Creek Nursery and Digging Dog. So far, they just look like this.

In order to fit one the heleniums into the perfect spot, Rudbeckia maxima had to move to a new spot.

I was thrilled to get two new candelabra primula from Secret Garden Growers.

They will look good along my winter stream/summer path if there is enough moisture here in summer. I’ll divide them to make more after they have bloomed.

I am trying another Jack in the pulpit in the same area even though I’ve never had luck with them before.

Wish me luck.

The new beds in the Bogsy Wood and wayback corner got some exciting new plants.

Epimedium ‘Royal Dress’
Dryopteris ‘The King’

I added two brunneras, ‘Diane’s Gold’ and ‘Alexander’s Great.’

A variegated Iris ensata will go in one of the water boxes, after some more plants (cannas, waiting for warmer weather) go in there to keep it from falling over.

A new penstemon had confusing tags.

Two new grasses: Panicum ‘Shenandoah’ and Schizachyrium ‘Standing Ovation’ went into the center bed. None of them are photogenic yet, but they will be. One more grass went into the west bed, near another Molina grass. This example of good catalog writing from Digging Dog shows why I succumb to enticing plants.

Also in the west bed…

Two more plants wait to be put in containers tomorrow….a Cuphea ‘Copper Cricket’…

And a very cool geranium Ann grew from seed.

After putting two small plants in one of the fish totes to size up a bit before planting, I hobbled indoors, quite tired but satisfied with the day’s accomplishments. Planting is not my favorite thing. I managed to admire a couple of tulips on the way.

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21 April: the work day

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

I borrowed a pair of Allan’s size nine and a half shoes today. My toe, which seems to have a voice, screeched in pain when put into the shoe but then seemed to decide to settle for moderate grumbling all day rather than screaming.

We decided to try to polish off all of our work in one day again, partly because we are expecting visitors during the day tomorrow and partly because I just like to be at home.

First, we had a social visit because I had a hedgehog to acquire from local potter Karen Brownlee. Her shop and kiln is in a building next to her home.

The hedgehogs in question are supposed to be chia pets, which is why some are white. We chose a little brown one, the one on the right.

Not only were there hedgehogs to admire but also a lively flock of chickens.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

Our first stop gardening stop was The Basket Case for some more raised bed planting mix for my veg containers. Because Roxanne has the size feet I used to have, I gave her a pair of brand new converse that I found when looking through my not very large supply of shoes.

Hosta shoots
Roxanne’s happy feet

Diane’s garden

We parked in the field next door and were greeted by Holly (who got a biscuit of course).

Allan deadheaded the septic vault garden…

Tulips in a container.

When I went to the roadside garden, I was distressed to see how bad the old Stipa gigantea looks, even after a good combing out last time. Allan went to work clipping more of the old stuff out. I’d replace it if I had a big enough new one on hand! I do hope it blooms this year.

The roadside garden

I’m utterly smitten with the Crambe maritima in bloom, the only one I have grown with success (after buying several plants of it at a Grays Harbor garden tour).

I’ve tried twice to grow it from purchased seed. Perhaps fresh seed collected from this plant would work better.

Diane and Holly had left in an errand and were surprised to find us just finishing when they returned. (Well, Diane was surprised. Holly just hoped for another biscuit.) I had told her we wouldn’t be long but had then found a nest of weed grass in amongst the roadside corner, and the Stipa problem and a libertia that needed fixing. Allan had given it a blunt cut last time so I took time to cut the blunt cut leaves completely down. (They been brown at the tips from winter weather.)

I forgot to take an after to prove my point that it looks better with only pointy leaves left.

The Red Barn

The garden desperately needed water so I did some weeding while Allan wielded the hose. Otherwise it would have been a much shorter visit.

Patti’s garden

We just did a bit of deadheading. I was horrified to note that the dreaded meianthemum (false lily of the valley) is creeping into the garden from the woodsy bed next door.

We did not go to the Boreas Inn garden today. I can reveal, now that it’s public knowledge, that the inn has sold and will become a private home. We may or may not make one more visit to the garden. The sale has been a possibility for the last couple of years and, like when Andersen’s RV Park and Klipsan Beach Cottages were for sale, it was hard to feel involved with a garden where I couldn’t plan for the future. For a brief time last month, it had looked like the inn had buyers who would continue its hospitality tradition and probably our gardening tradition but that didn’t happen because of a glitch in one of those complicated transactions where someone has to sell one property to buy another. It is poignant as the Boreas was our only remaining resort garden and was a beloved and beautiful place to stay. And I did have some plans for the garden…I couldn’t help it.

Susie and Bill are relocating to a tiny garden (and nice house) in Seaview. We can help Susie plant up her new garden there while letting go of the expense of buying the annual City of Long Beach business license!

The Depot Restaurant

The Depot garden looks bare without the tulips and more narcissi that I usually would have planted. I didn’t plant them last fall because I thought maybe I shouldn’t when the restaurant was doing take out only because of the pandemic. Now I think that was a mistake.

Lilies and one old tulip

Because I treat the big showy tulips as annuals, there weren’t many old ones left to put on the best show they could muster, even though most big tulips tend to get smaller after the first years.

We stopped at home to offload our bags of planting mix…

…and then went on working.

Port of Ilwaco

We worked our way deadheading narcissi and lightly weeding from east to west along Howerton Avenue.

We are saving a big weeding for next week, before the opening of the Saturday market on May 1st. Usually, May 1st would be the annual childen’s parade passing by the gardens. Not last year and not this year.

In the Coho Charters curbside bed, I reflected that even though I do not like the big old boring white heathers…

…I rather like the ones that we have added.

Looking west….

The weather was cold with a miserably strong and cutting wind.

By At the Helm Hotel
This “plant vessel” instead of FV for fishing vessel was named by Karla who owns Time Enough Books.
South side of port office
Low tide

Before we left the port, Allan collected a pole for our property marking project.

We checked on the boatyard. Its big weeding can wait for next week. If not, we would have done it tomorrow because it would have been so unpleasant to weed in the bitter wind. And my toe hurt, although not as much in Allan’s bigger shoes. I think my toe may have influenced the grumbling that, as I proofread a couple of days later, runs through this whole post!

I was glad to be home. Allan kept working a bit longer by mowing the tiny lawn at the J Crew Cottage. We finished that excellent detective series, River, and I wept over the end of it. My new size ten shoes arrived in the mail, which Allan picked up at midnight. They fit and did not feel too big at all. I now officially have bigger feet than darling Clementine.

Our new hedgehog at home:

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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Bear with me while I maunder on with the saga of my darn big toe, which kept me awake again, to the tune of four hours of sleep. Since I was awake at 6, 7, and 8 AM, I called the medical clinic at 8 and, to my amazement, got an appointment at 11:20 with my primary care doctor. Then I spent some time having an anxiety attack that she would tell me I must stay off my feet, and I’d have to say I can’t…or that I’d need toenail surgery or some other unpleasantness.

The appointment was right on time. I told my doctor I was embarrassed to be back for yet another problem and that it is not like me to run to the doctor for every little thing…but that for several years my left big toe would sometimes start hurting badly at work. Taking off my sock helped but it still burned at the tip. It was intermittent enough, with long breaks in between, that I hadn’t sought help, especially since it would feel better when I got home. But since Sunday, it absolutely would not stop hurting and the burning sensation was moving up my leg. Her recent request for a blood panel had brought the welcome news that I’m not diabetic…Perhaps gout?

Her words were kind when she said that because of my years of physical labor (45!), she could feel scarring inside the bottom of my foot…so it’s getting flatter which makes my toes longer so I need a size bigger shoe, especially since the way I work throws the most weight onto that foot. I laughed in delight, could it be that simple? Yes, she said she herself had gone from size 7.5 to 9 (and she’s definitely younger than me) and that with the work I do, I must be able to wiggle my toes freely in my shoe in order to maintain good circulation. She also suggested that I might have injured my toe recently. Any gardener will know that the occupation is full of bumps and bruises that one usually forgets afterwards, so I could have stubbed it, dropped a shovel handle on it, or any number of things that blended into the general ouches of the work day.

Doctor also had complimented my ear as being healed and beautiful inside, so I could stop the insomnia-producing ear medicine. Oh how I look forward to a good night of sleep tonight. And how fortunate I feel that the solution to my problem might be an easy one.

I remember what a friend told me, who goes to the doctor frequently for a problem that makes mine look utterly trivial: The reason we retire when we are old is so that we have time for all our doctor appointments.

Meanwhile, Allan had worked at the Ilwaco Community Building garden while my foot was attended to. He found a fern that we had both missed trimming….

…and a hellebore still blooming.

So at home again, I ordered by mail from Gimre’s, the excellent shoe store in Astoria, a bigger pair of New Balance jet black athletic shoes. (I do not quite understand how a pair of shoes can cost $150. I take comfort that this might mean they are made with ethical and well paid labor.)

I puttered slightly, still in too-small size 9 shoes, planting some of my ladies in waiting, including this Chamaecyparis ‘Ellwoodi’. As I had predicted I would, I removed the olearia that I’d planted in this front garden spot and that would have gotten much too wide. At just six inches of growth per year, I might not live long enough to see the chamaecyparis reach its full light-blocking height, but I do love its color.

The sun has washed out its slightly blue tint.

I remembered my idea for a rebar thingie that we had found at the free lumber pile. Allan helped me roll it to the front garden and put in in place to keep the cardoon and a big clump of tall veronicastrum from flopping over smaller plants.

I wonder what this thing was originally for?

It has an opening in the cross pieces on one side. I was amazed that Allan was able to shimmy backwards through the hole once the thingie was in place.

This thingie should work well to contain tall plants.

I planted the two new plants that Jane, the Mulch Maid, had brought me. First, back in one of the new Bogsy beds, a fern that has not yet unfurled all the way.

And then a plant that has filled me with plant lust when Jane had posted these photos of it in her Portland garden…

Its common name is shredded umbrella plant. I planted it along the front of the hydrangea and gunnera bed, trimming the hydrangea back to give it room. (This bed was expanded outward by about six inches last autumn.)

I am thrilled. I hope it runs all along this bed.

On the other side of the path, I have a maple problem brewing. The one in front is a seedling from my former client Ann Saari’s beautiful garden. (I had passed Ann’s garden onto younger gardener Terran because it’s on a steep hill.)

Ann herself planted it from a seed, and it has gotten this big in front of her house.

Winter 2012, photo by Ann Saari: The tree is in front of the windows.

I keep meaning to move my offspring of that tree in winter because it is going to swamp the paperbark maple behind it. And once again, I forgot.

Meanwhile, Allan had set a couple more driftwood poles at our property line…

…and had mowed the Norwood lawn.

He admired the calla lily next door, in Alicia’s garden.

Just before I went indoors to give my toe a soak in some warm water, I noticed Skooter using a bag of Harvest Supreme mulch as a pillow.

After a long relaxed evening, featuring the season premiere of the always inspirational show, The Deadliest Catch. Those crabbers on the Bering Sea know how to work through pain. We’ve also been watching an unusual detective series on BritBox called River (we loved it, and it stars the appealing and delightful Nicola Walker).

I was about to fall asleep when I had the solution to how I would work tomorrow without my toe being cramped (till my new shoes arrive): I would borrow a pair of Allan’s shoes! Then I slept for almost eight delicious hours.

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Monday, 19 April 2021

At home

My left big toe had hurt all night, keeping me awake, or perhaps I was kept awake by the Sudafed I was taking for my ear and was thus aware of my toe. I wrapped a piece of bandana soaked in cold water around the toe (not the ear) and managed four hours of fitful sleep. Said toe had never misbehaved for twenty four full hours before. It has hurt intermittently during the day at work, always recovered in the evening after I sat down with slippers on, and often gave me weeks or months of no trouble at all.

When I woke up, I pondered the possibility of gout. Allan had an urgent domestic need for oven cleaner and I decided I must have some black cherry juice for possible gout, and we actually went to the grocery store and the lumber yard/hardware store when the grocery store had no oven cleaner. At home, I drank some cherry juice with high hopes that I wouldn’t have to see a doctor again and then turned to my important gardening mission, which of course involved being on my feet all afternoon.

I planted some potatoes in containers, which involved digging a new edge on a garden bed between the garage and Alicia’s driveway…

…and then turned to my mission of spreading the rest of the mulch, getting as much of the west bed mulched as possible.

This is after moving five or ten loads back to the gunnera path and the edges of the Bogsy Wood.
My Podophyllum’Spotty Dotty’, a gift from Our Kathleen, nicely mulched.
A pulmonaria to admire along the west fence.
And a reminder of why I resent the all-encompassing nature of the native meianthemum, which will swamp any pulmonaria or primula.
I did not like the different color of the shredded material I’d applied to the east edge bed.
Looks much better with some biosolids mulch added.
Beautiful Kerria japonica, the single flowered kind.
I have put a few in my plant sale every year but no one buys it because it’s not blooming then and they don’t know how great it is.

I had used more mulch than I had expected on various other beds when I finally got around to the big west bed.

I have resolved to dig out this big area of elephant garlic that decided to colonize this area, as it just gets floppy in summer in this semi shade area.

Maybe this year I will actually get around to digging it out.

The new bench we got from the Boreas rocks a bit (on purpose) and looks most interesting bare…

…but is more comfy and less splintery with the cushion. Skooter agrees.

Meanwhile, Allan had put two more posts into our seasonal pond to mark our newly discovered property edge…

…and, because it has been so dry, he watered at the J Crew Cottage across the street…

J Crew sunny bed

..and at the Norwood garden two doors down, where he also mowed.

Norwood shade bed

I could then hear him scraping the last of the mulch up with the flat shovel into a second wheelbarrow. He filled the last four wheelbarrows for me. I was so glad because my toe hurt like the blazes.

He got it all cleaned up and I put my three potato pots in pace (with tatties also in the big container).

I hadn’t had quite enough mulch for the west bed….

…but we will plan to get more on the next free mulch day, the weekend after next.

Some garden appreciation on the east side of the house:

Rhododendron that was here when we moved in
Apple and pear tree

I was awfully glad to get indoors and give my toe a rest, hoping for an easier day off tomorrow.

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Sunday, 18 April 2021

At home

My first mission was to plant the rest of my potatoes in containers.

I’ve decided I like to harvest tatties from containers because it is so easy to get them all without damaging them while digging. I still planted a few stray tatties around the old stump in Alicia’s back yard to test how true the dire warnings are about waiting three years before planting them in the same place.

While clearing out a container, I found these roots of runner beans!

They were so interesting, and still appeared to have life in them, so I planted them in a barrel in the south Catio to see what they might do.

My second mission today was to finish forming some new beds along the metal path and into the wayback sit spot.


Allan had helped me move the three largest rocks with the hand cart. I started wheelbarrowing mulch from Alicia’s driveway through the back garden to the Bogsy Wood. My big toe hurt, a chronic problem that is usually lessened by taking my sock off. This is why sometimes socks are left here and there in the garden. Today, it just kept burning at the toe tip but was not going to deter me from my mission.

I also dug a half barrow of soil from the old weed and sod mound at the south end of Alicia’s lawn and am almost at the point of breaking through to that fun path I still would like to have. Might happen after all.

This is the view into the garden from Alicia’s back lawn.

….where I can also see a hidden area that needs the removal of some huge velvet grass.

This seems to be the same grass that in the north of England is known as Yorkshire fog and which I read about in Monty Don’s book, My Garden World.

In confirming that, I read that it is an invasive species here. Its beautiful pink inflorescences give me intense sneezing attacks. I once picked some for a bouquet before I knew that!

As I moved mulch from the driveway to the back corner, I repeatedly passed Skooter having a lazy day on the cat bench.

After the beds were mulched and edged, I was well chuffed and looked forward to planting them.

The view looking west across the Bogsy mounds.
A stray tulip

Allan mowed Alicia’s back lawn. While I miss it being a meadow with mown paths…

…the mowing is successfully daunting the bindweed and Himalayan blackberries from returning. That area was all blackberry before.

Skooter wakes up
The route I had taken with mulch

Ilwaco post office garden

In the quiet evening time, we watered and weeded our volunteer garden at the post office. I wish we had taken a before photo because it looked utterly terrible with yellowed bulb foliage. The difference would have shown dramatically.

It took determination to get it done. The weather had gotten cold and windy. I had not intended to weed and tidy so much at the post office till I saw how bad it had been looking. The watering was what had drawn us there. It’s so terribly dry that we should be…but are not…watering at the port, too. I just cannot bear to start the full watering rounds this early.

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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Long Beach

We headed up to Long Beach after breakfast (meaning 11-ish) to pick up another yard of biosolids mulch. On the way, a lucky parking spot allowed us to pause and look at our last project from our last autumn as the LB gardeners.

At city works, we got our mulch, three scoops.

Allan raked between scoops.

Inside, folks without trucks or trailers were able to collect mulch in buckets to take home in their cars.

We had a good chat with a couple of city crew members.

We then headed home with our bounty and parked the trailer on Alicia’s driveway by yesterday’s mulch pile.

It was intolerably hot…83 degrees F! We were expecting company, so after watering the greenhouse, I did some quick, light deadheading, with a helper.

But it was just too hot, so I passed the time indoors, reading and listening for our friends’ car.

When Jane (The Mulch Maid) and Ben arrived, Jane and I toured the entire garden while Allan and Ben stayed in the shade. It was gratifying to show Jane the willow grove, which has a touch of civilization now with my new garden furniture.

It might even resemble a “garden room”.

We admired the woodland poppy that Jane had brought to me last year.

The four of us sat around an unlit campfire. A burn ban is on due to heat and wind, and the peninsula has had two large fires in the last couple of days. Jane commented on how good the fire will smell when we can finally enjoy it, as it is a pile of rosemary and lavender branches which would make a campfire lunch or dinner taste extra good.

Skooter found our conversation less than scintillating.

With all four of us humans vaccinated, we still maintained our social distance. Still, it felt more like a normal visit, like the relaxed old days.

Jane had brought me two very cool plants, one being this fabulous “shredded umbrella plant.”

I was able to offer a Melianthus major and…some other moderately cool plant but I forgot which…in exchange. Oh, I remember, an Olearia traversii.

Because of the unrelenting heat, I went back indoors and wrote the two or three posts previous to this one.

I waited till five thirty to go back out to the mulch project.

West bed partly mulched till I ran out of energy.

Skooter got himself stuck in the back Catio…

Freedom. You can see where he overgrooms himself.

I did some garden appreciation in the front garden.

The J Crew Cottage looked extra lovely in the evening light.

I especially like my gravel front path

Tomorrow should be cooler weather; I hope to move all the rest of the mulch onto the garden.

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Friday, 16 April 2021

Allan saw a swallow, or swallows, shopping for a home among our birdhouses this morning.

Front garden

I had woken up at seven forty five realizing I simply must try to get an urgent care appointment (tricky, because we don’t have an urgent care facility and the clinic can be busy). I have had enough ear infections in my adult life that I know when one is brewing. Fortunately, I was able to see a physicians assistant and had caught the problem before needing antibiotics (would be very bad to take them for a third time in six weeks). Just a powerful prescription decongestant should be enough.

The strange part of the morning is that when I was asked in the clinic entry foyer by the intake staff member if I had any Covid symptoms, she then said “Let me get you a mask.” I had completely forgotten. She said, “Don’t feel bad, I went into the grocery store without one by accident and it took me twenty minutes to figure out why everyone was giving me the stink eye.” Still. I shocked myself. I think I must have pandemic fatigue.

Earlier this week, I had read in Allan’s AARP magazine that older people who go to the emergency room tend to end up back in the hospital within a month and a rather shocking number of them die. I won’t go read the worrisome article again. I thought, those poor older people…until I got to the words “65 and older.” Yikes. I’ve had more doctor visits in the last six weeks than in the last 12 years. But I resent being classified as elderly at age 66! Fortunately, my problems have been somewhat trivial in comparison to most health problems and surely will soon be over.

My biggest complaint now, shared for the shock and dismay of overseas readers with socialized medical care, is that despite paying quarterly for Medicare, and monthly for a supplemental plan, in an amount that would be a hardship to many people, I’ve already been charged $500 for doctor visits. I live in the wrong country where a person simply cannot afford to be sick. My dream that medicare would cover everything has been dashed. What a bitter disappointment.

But on to gardening, While I was at the clinic, Allan had weeded and deadheaded at the community building next door and photographed some tulips and heather.

He went home then to put the sides on the trailer and forgot to turn on his phone (or had it in the wrong pocket) and I had to walk ten blocks home from the clinic with no cane and no hat in 70 plus degrees glaring sun. I walk funny and wonder if people might think I had been drinking before noon.

The bad day started to get better at that point. After I had a bit of a sit down to recover, we embarked on a thrilling mission: picking up free mulch at Long Beach City Works.

It felt poignant to drive into the city works yard. How many, many times over the past quarter century have we driven down Sixth Street toward the big gate. We used to have our own key for dumping debris after hours. That made me feel special.

You can read the whole story of the biosolids program in this article winningly titled Toilets to Tomatoes. An excerpt:

“The city of Long Beach’s new biosolids treatment program is online and churning out homemade compost that could be coming soon to a garden near you.

“The rigorous, weeks-long process plays out at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, where sewage sludge is transformed into a high-quality product that can be used for a variety of residential, commercial and city uses. And this weekend, the city is hosting the first of two planned giveaways of the end-product to the public.”

Despite the title of the article and the rigorous testing and the handout given us at the gate about the exact composition of the mulch, I don’t think I would want to use it on veg or fruit. A web search, however, says that would be just fine to use biosolids in veg…..except that in 2013, they were not allowed in organic agriculture. If you want to, you can read a lot more about it in in one article after another. Other than apples and blueberries, my kitchen gardening is confined to fish totes and containers and the free mulch will go on my ornamental beds. A few herbs might be harvested from those beds…. But I figure I am old enough to not have to worry about long term results!

We used the same mulch on my front garden last autumn and on the Long Beach parks and planters, and it is a lovely product, light and yet moisture retentive and attractive on a garden bed.

Loading up
Tarped for the drive home
A nice chat with city manager Dave Glasson on our way out.
The temperature on the way home!

I took my prescription as soon as we got home and within an hour, my ear felt remarkably better.

I was concerned about spreading the mulch on the garden because it felt so hot when we started to unload it. Allan put a food thermometer (well washed afterward) into the pile and it registered 126 degrees F! So we mostly offloaded it onto Alicia’s driveway. (Even though I knew she would say yes, I still texted her for permission.)

I did put a wheelbarrow load on one small section of the garden. It cooled down so fast when spread that I knew I’d been overly cautious. But by then, it was in a pile so I decided to let it rest overnight.

The bright sun made it look redder then it really is.

Allan set about repairing a slightly rickety rocking bench that we’d gotten from Susie of the Boreas Inn.

And he repaired an old shallow drawer that I want to use for sedums, and a disintegrating bee house that so far no bee has used.

We placed our new garden chaise longue out in the willow grove where I think I might be able to relax more than in the more cultivated garden, where I would always be seeing a weed to get up and pull. I tried it out. Skooter joined me and then spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping next to it.

Sword fern in the willow grove

I didn’t relax for long. When I looked around the grove a bit later, with the sun in my eyes, I realized I was being watched.

Friday night is Gardener’s World on BritBox, an excellent end to a day that got progressively better as it went along.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

Basket Case Greenhouse

We picked up some mulch for Patti’s garden. I reflected on how very strange it feels to see greenhouses full of annuals and not be selecting them for the Long Beach planters.

Roxanne and her daughter in a quiet moment

And shop assistant

Todd drove up! We had not seen him since a year ago at the Basket Case and had a long chat. Then back to work for all of us.

The Red Barn

Thr garden is still drab as it doesn’t have many bulbs. It got a good weeding of small weeds.

Bentley appeared for his biscuit.

Diane’s garden

I thought we were going to have to water where sweet peas are planting. It has been so dry and windy here that we are under a fire advisory, so early in the year. Diane was back from a short vacation, though, so she would water.

Showing her some pretty blue and white violas for her pastel color scheme.

Allan deadheaded the septic vault.

Tulips in the containers

I deadheaded along the road.

Patti’s garden

Patti was out. We left a surprise of a nicely mulched garden.

The Depot Restaurant

We did not plant tulips in the flower border last autumn because it seemed like an extravagance when they were doing take out only because of Covid. Now I really miss them.

It looks so empty. Perennials will fill in soon.

The Boreas Inn

We had but two short missions. One was to dig up a very special oriental poppy that Susie loves and put it in a pot for her. She carried a bucket of water to dunk it in…

…and then I couldn’t find it. It’s a deep red one that she had once upon a time used in her volunteer Long Beach planter. I’ll give her one of mine.

A futile quest

Our other mission was to pick up a garden bench and chaise longue for our garden. Mission accomplished. You’ll see them on site later!

Mike’s garden

We deadheaded narcissi. Timba, who is not the most appreciative tiny dog, got a piece of a big biscuit.

Port of Ilwaco

We deadheaded from the east to the west end of the Howerton Avenue curbside beds and port office garden. (The boatyard is strangely low on narcissi considering I have planted many over the years.)

By At the Helm Hotel
Port office (a vehicle was parked next to the garden).
Time Enough Books

Karla was just leaving the bookstore. We had a half an hour long chat, as we hadn’t seen each other for ages. Scout got a biscuit.

Ilwaco Fire Station

Allan watered. I deadheaded and weeded. We really do not want to have to start watering at jobs this early! I had a deadline to get home so no photos except for the planter on the north side.

American Rhodendron Society talk

I attended a zoom meeting of the monthly meeting of the Portland chapter, and so did Todd, from Oysterville at the other end of the peninsula. Tonight’s talk was about Irish gardens and featured beautiful photos, mostly of great gardens I hadn’t heard of and also of three I had: Jimi and June Blake’s gardens and Helen Dillon’s.

And now for five more days off!

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