Archive for Nov, 2022

Thursday, 24 November 2022

As we left for work, the temperature was 37 degrees. Miscanthus giganteus glowed in the sun. I remembered being too warm in my winter shirt at Diane’s yesterday and wondered if I should take a summer weight shirt. Surely not.


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Wednesday, 23 November 2022

With the weather warm and sunny, I had high hopes for getting two jobs plus some of Long Beach bulbs planted today. As we left for work, Skooter enjoyed the sun on the front porch.


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22 November: rain respite

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

at home and close to home

We woke to heavy rain and torrential wind.

I worked on bulb spread sheets and watched the storm out the window. In the afternoon, fate was kind to us and we had a couple of hours of drier and almost windless weather. It is irksome to plant bulbs in wind, as the paper bags blow away.

We hightailed it over to the J Crew cottage and planted some narcissi down the driveway, and some alliums and tulips inside the fence.

The view from Js’ house showing Allan wheeling the trailer forward to hook up for work:

Next, we planted narcissi in our volunteer gardens at the Ilwaco post office…

…and at the fire station. Below, the long building to the right is the original hook and ladder building.

South side:

North side:

East side:

We went around the town to our next little bulb target, stopping to water Wendi’s planter. She’s turned her Halloween pumpkins around to make an autumnal display.

We planted a few narcissi at the future Smart Moves Clinic (which will be the clinic of Dave and MaryAnne, our hillside garden folks) and watered because of the overhanging roofline.

I then planted at home until dark.

Meanwhile, Allan went back to the fire station and gathered leaves for the leaf bin. I am fortunate that he takes an interest in this.

After dark, he set up the tables in the garage and I further sorted the Long Beach bulbs into smaller batches bagged up for each area where we can plant tulips. The south block and the two northernmost planters don’t get any because they are invariably chomped by deer. The other planters in busier parts of town are worth a try.

I was plenty tired by the time I had micro-sorted and worked on spread sheets some more. No time to relax and watch my garden show on my iPad in the mid evening, although Allan and I are enjoying our mutual dinner time telly watching of the McDonald and Dodd mystery series.

The work board tonight:

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Monday, 21 November 2022

We got the garage ready in anticipation …

At last, the bulbs arrived from Van Engelen. It was pretty much my fault they were so late. I made my order late because I had been thinking of doing even fewer this year. Then in September, when we took on the hillside garden, I realized it would benefit wonderfully from lots of deer resistant bulbs and made a bigger order than originally planned.

The nice weather being frustratingly good for planting, I sorted like mad until I had narcissi and alliums, mostly, ready for Time Enough Books and the Freedom Market…

….and then we rushed out to plant them in the late afternoon.

Just look at the mess of weeds I asked Allan to photograph in the little bed we used to care for just east of Time Enough. Apparently no new gardener has been hired. It baffles me that apparently no one cares, except for the bookstore and pot shop who hired us to care for their areas at the port.

We planted Time Enough (and Purly Shell) including planting more tulips in the garden boat…

…and then hurried on to Ilwaco Freedom Market (the pot shop) and planted in both the new entry bed and the curbside.

Then back home where I sorted till about nine o clock and got it done. I reflected back to when our bulbing list was so long, when we also had Klipsan Beach Cottages, Jo’s garden, Andersen’s RV Park, the Depot Restaurant, Boreas Inn, and some other private gardens AND were still planting loads of narcissi in LB (no longer needed because they have plenty). Bulbs sorting used to take three days and planting took at least seven. It was truly Bulb Hell back then before our many clients retired or moved away.

Allan’s job each night of planting is refolding and to cross off the writing on the bulbs bags so they can be reused over and over each year.

The work board tonight. I think we can do it all the planting in three or four more days. If only we can have three days before rain returns!

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Sunday, 20 November 2020

at home

Although I was sorely frustrated that the bulb shipment hadn’t arrived so we could be planting them all before rain, I did have a satisfying day gardening at home. The day started cold.

As always when I can’t think of what to do right away, I started in on sifting compost. I found a pair of lost clippers in bin four, still in good working order.

I got to the bottom of the bin, rather to my surprise…

…and put the compost in the area from which I had cleared out a thirsty veronicastrum earlier this weekend.

The front of the empty bin needs some de-wonkifying before I fill it again.

I had two clumps of veronicastrum to plant, one on either side of a dustbin with a Buddleia lindleyana in it. First, I had to dig out some saponaria.

My new thought about the Saponaria ‘Flore Pleno’ (soapwort, bouncing bet) that got into my garden by hitchhiking on another plant and is trying to take over that bed (below, see how it runs!)…

….is that I will simply plant taller plants with equally thickly matted roots and let them fight it out. The human has lost this battle. I probably don’t have enough years of gardening vigor left to win it. So, the veronicastrum can battle for the space.

I’ve noticed that the saponaria does not get into the vigorous patches of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ or Solidago ‘Fireworks’, and it is pretty when it blooms in late summer. (Eventually, I’ll acquire a four foot backless bench for this spot.)

Then, while adding some of the compost to the new bed by the reconfigured Willows Loop West path, I realized right where I needed an evergreen.

As it happened, I had one nearby that had never looked quite in the right spot, this crinodendron.

I had already moved it twice so am little worried about how it will feel about it.

A dark pink phlox had to be moved first.

I was pleased to see that the crinodendron is layering itself, and planted the layered bit, too, rather than add to its shock by dividing it.

The watering post might have to be moved away from the transplanted crinodendrum eventually…

…and someday the south end of path might also have to be moved, if I live long enough to see the crinodendron get big. The path could go straight through, in photo above, by just moving a gold stemmed dogwood and some astilbes, although I do like the curve it has now. To the left is where I had thought of putting one of my two chaise longues and never got round to it, partly because they are white in color and I don’t think that would look right in a shrubby area of the garden. I had been contemplating finding a green spray paint that would stick. Somehow or other, a small sit spot or lounging spot will go in there, tucked away between a tall fuchsia and my Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’.

Meanwhile, I asked Allan if he could install the water barrel that our friend Carol Ham gave us. Later, I felt bad that it turned out to be such a hard project. I had not realized he needed to get inside of it to install a faucet lower down, and the lid was welded on.

It does hold more water though, and best of all it freed up a non leaky plastic dustbin with which I replaced the leaky rain water-collecting dustbin in the lean to greenhouse, giving me a steady winter supply of greenhouse temperature water.

Some sights around the garden today:

Assorted cornus with autumn color…

And acers:

Molinia ‘Transparent’:

The big native willows have turned gold.

I love the look of the Euonymus’Green Spire’ at the west fence.

And two more views of the back garden.

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…but I offer you this beautiful autumnal window by Wendi Peterson, located in downtown Ilwaco. The pot we planted for her, in its sheltered position, still looks grand.

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Just a couple of cats

Bulbing continues and makes me too tired in the evening to write.

You would almost think these two were friends.

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Due to two extremely busy work days, which went on well into the evenings with paperwork, there had been no blog writing time. We will soon come to the wintertime, when posts become random rather than daily, but we are not quite there yet. So here is Zinc, snoozing then asking for a belly rub. With both her and her brother Nickel, exposing their belly is not a trick as it is with some cats. They honestly do want a belly rub.

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Saturday, 19 November 2022

at home

I woke at three with smoke in my eyes and lungs. Worry not, I soon realized by looking out the cat door that it was thick wildfire smoke outdoors. I looked out every window and all was quiet. The smoke from the nearby Chinook fire thinned out by midmorning but lingered enough to smell it all through the day.

I had recently done a test dig with the Root Slayer shovel on a tough clump of white veronicastrum in the front garden. It had to be moved because it clearly needed more water than the dry front garden provides. In the back garden, Veronicastrum grow tall and stately, not short and wilty like this one. I had tried and failed to dig it in the days before I had a Root Slayer. My test dig had shown me it would now be possible. Here it is this past summer:

You can perhaps see in the above photo that the clump was enclosed in a double rebar ring which Allan and I have scavenged from the late lamented Ilwaco free wood pile. He helped me roll the giant ring out of the yard and to the back of the driveway till I figure out where else I can use it.

Then I dug for a couple of hours, hard and heart pounding work, but possible. The human won this battle.

I spent two hours potting up starts of the plant, by which time it was too cold and late to plant the couple of starts I am keeping or to mulch the dug out area.

In the garden today:

My new pear tree has surprising autumn color. My Bartlett pear offers nothing special in autumn leaves.

Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’:

Iris foetidissima:


Some fungus in the willow grove:

Euphorbia characias wulfenii communing with a physocarpus:

The veg totes are in disarray after wind, and in two of them, some infuriating critter ate my beets out from under the leaves.

Indoors, Faerie peered from a favorite spot. Yes, she made that tear in the curtain by Allan’s desk, the better to see him.

She also napped…

…and later, we had an exciting mail order delivery promising some comforting winter dinners of properly made beans on toast.

A former spouse of mine, a Leedsman who was (and surely still is) an excellent cook and enjoyed cooking, sometimes found that nothing appealed to him for dinner as much as some good old British beans on toast. The only version I’d had before then was burnt beans on toast for breakfast at British youth hostels in 1975. He showed me how delicious it could be. To quote an excellent article from The Guardian,

1) Place a piece of toast centrally on a plate. 2) Take a second piece of toast and angle it, like a ramp, half-on, half-off the first piece of toast. 3) Distribute the beans across the angled slice, allowing the rest to pool on the plate. Thus, you lightly moisten one slice, while, for the sake of variety, leaving the lower toast relatively free of bean juices.

Some people find that the bean juices make the “ramp” piece of toast too soggy, but that is because they are not eating fast enough. You cannot hang around with beans on toast.”

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Thursday, 17 November 2022

At home

After some time spent on a housekeeping project, I rearranged empty pots stored in the greenhouse, put three flats of sprouted sweet peas in the cold frame…

…and was able to put on the shelf some pots that were sitting on the floor, making it possible to get to the back of the greenhouse to water if need be. The day was too cold and windy for any other outdoor projects.

Friday, 18 November 2022

also at home

…except for when Allan took recycling to the bins at the port. It has been worrisome that a big wildfire has been burning for a couple of days in the woods above the town of Chinook, which can be seen from the recycling bins because of the way the river bay curves around. Allan photographed the smoke on the hills. Firefighters has kept it away from the town; earlier photographs showed leaping flames. That rain we had was not enough to solve other dryness caused by our summer long drought. Wildfires are burning from Canada all the way down to norther California, several along the north Oregon coast and three in our Pacific County.

Today was the day bulbs would arrive. UPS had told me so. By recycling, Allan had freed up the milk crates into which I would sort for each garden. I made a clipboard of alphabetized sheets of paper for each garden’s itemized list. I’d sort all afternoon on into evening, and tomorrow we could start planting and maybe get done with work by Thanksgiving.

And then the UPS truck drove by and ignored our house. I checked the shipment tracking number online again; the date had changed to Monday!

I moped around the house for an hour.

Then, despite a battering cold wind, I decided I would feel better about life if I got the last of my new shrubs and trees planted, and was grateful when the wind died down enough to plant even out in the Bogsy Wood and willow grove.

Two yews went in matching spots by the campfire circle. I hope they prove to be upright and not sideways spreaders. They were unlabeled.

Another yew went out in the willow grove at the fence (right, below, so I hope it is tall and fast)…

… which, similar to moving furniture, resulted in moving a young ramshorn willow to perhaps arch over the deep path. I hope it won’t mind.

I was surprised that our hastily dug in upright branches by a former path, now garden bed, had not blown over.

A boxwood I was given by Our Kathleen, who removed it from her woodsy roadside path because it had been placed where it would block traffic sight lines, went in the corner where the disanthus lived till last week. It will be protected from wind there, and I hope it proves to be a largeish shrub.

Another definitely tall and columnar possible nine footer that I got from M&T Nursery went into the west end of the front garden to be a backdrop, from the street, for the silver grey Melianthus major. Allan helped me get it out of its two gallon pot. Skooter supervised.

I put a gallon pot of Romneya coulteri into the driveway garden, where I hope it will like sun and dry soil. (The one I had in the back garden died in last spring’s weeks of rain.) Except for two perennials that need to go into a bed that needs weeding first, I am now all caught up on my ladies in waiting.

While schlepping plants from one end of the garden to the other, I enjoyed some autumn flowers and leaves.

Acer griseum:

Crows in the alders:

Hardy fuchsias:

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’:

Golden yew backed with Solidago ‘Fireworks’:

A Nicotiana sylvestris that waited till now to bloom:

The young cats preferred bed to being out in the cold catios.

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