Archive for Feb, 2023

Friday, 17 February 2023

at home

Quite maddenly, we still did not have reading weather. I had to go out and garden in the afternoon or I would have felt guilty. Way back when in Seattle, I could read in good weather while (somewhat) ignoring guilt about my garden. I remember that I’d feel bad but keep reading anyway, and go out for a pressured hour in the late afternoon. I’ve lost that ability to read in dry weather and need to regain it because there are many books to read before I die. One idea is to spray paint a white chaise longue green and out it out in the shady garden this summer. Maybe I’d feel ok about reading if I were out there.

The cats had no problem staying indoors on the rather chilly day.

Outdoors, I played with river rocks by the swales and then could not resist digging some more in the deep path. I soon was no longer cold.

I left the garden in the late afternoon light…

Acer griseum (paperbark maple) has beautiful backlit peeling bark that will get more showy the older it gets.

…and went indoors to churn out six blog posts in two hours, which I can do now because of the speed and ease of my new MacBook. Now I am fervently hoping for a week of true reading weather.

[I did get the reading weather, some of it worrisomely cold outdoors, thus there will be another blog break.]

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Thursday, 16 February 2023

at home

Faerie started the day with extra cuteness.

I had been hoping for reading weather, but it was not to be. So I chopped up a big pile of debris from Long Beach (that had been sitting next to the bins) for compost bin two.

Allan trampled it down…

…and, amazingly, all of Long Beach’s take home debris fit in bin two, with bin three heaped with old compost and new from my garden, and bins one and three empty.

Allan sorted through other debris and shows here the tops of the Third Street Park fence that someone (I hope a member of the city crew!) cut off. The drawings were on the side facing the Long Beach Tavern. I have some ideas about using these for decoration.

I got two shipments of exciting plants, one from Cistus and one from Far Reaches Farm.

Although they will not get planted till after next week’s cold snap. the Cistus plants come bare root so I potted them all up for the duration of cold winter. Dealing with the plants took quite some time.

Two plants in bloom (primula and hacquetia) in the Far Reaches Farm box:

From Far Reaches Farm:

P1729Ajuga incisa ‘Bikun’
P0159Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Queen Esta’
P9271Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense – ex Black Stem
P1008Disporum longistylum ‘Green Giant’
P1507Erythronium dens-canis ‘Purple King’
P9703Primula polyneura
P3201Primula poissonii CDHM 14537
P2346Omphalodes verna ‘Grandiflora’
P4242Primula secundiflora
P0040Sophora microphylla
P4353Veratrum cf. schindleri
P3228Pteris wallichiana
P3995Ajuga incisa ‘Blue Enigma’
P4674Myrceugenia ovata var. nannophylla
P4684Primula denticulata – mixed colors
P0915Hacquetia epipactis
P6137Coptis omeiensis
P9094Hepatica nobilis var. japonica – blue / purple shades
P2821Melica uniflora f. albida
P2465Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Dark Beauty’
P2817Primula florindae Keilor Hybrids
P2030Uvularia sessilifolia ‘Albomarginata’
P0644Salix cinerea ‘Variegata’

The only plant I put in the ground was this one…


Allan helped by digging salmonberry out of patch of the willow grove where I am going to plant a giant and, I hope, clumping bamboo.

He fixed the taillights on the trailer, which had been dim.

In the course of planting the one plant and then looking at the garden….

a beautiful deep red chaenomeles that I got from Cistus two decades ago

I succumbed to the lure of digging in the deep path.

I do wonder how deep I can go. And the thought crossed my mind to wonder what it would be like if I dug the metal path deeper, as well!

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Wednesday, 15 February 2023

We got an early start (due to morning insomnia while thinking about work) despite icy conditions at home.

Long Beach

We trimmed off the rudbeckia stems in the front of the welcome sign. We are still hoping the city crew will dig out and replace the horsetail infested soil in the back side.

Downtown, we trimmed and weeded all the planters and street trees. If you can wait till a bit later to do so with your plants, that would be better for them in cold weather. Or maybe I am overprotective; the santolinas that we trimmed last November look fine.

They look much prettier before trimming, but if we don’t do it, they will get leggy and woody and lose that nice dome shape.

One tree has annoying volunteer rugosa roses dating back to when I thought one little volunteer sprout was cute. Allan’s new mini chainsaw worked well.

There are 18 street trees and thirty six street planters plus some barrels and one big planter in Lewis and Clark Square.

a haze of weeds removed

It’s a shame an errant driver wrecked the perfect round shape of this Hebe ‘Boughton Dome’. I still love its unusual topknot.

Cutting back some Phygelius ‘Moonraker’ reveals crocuses and snowdrops.

A quick tidy in the little corner garden in Coulter Park…

…was followed by the clipping back of ferns by the Bolstad and Pacific pond (without falling in!)…

Friends who know what we like will know we did not plant the salal that has completely taken over that landscape.

Our mission was accomplished: The end of the complete pre-holiday tidying of all our Long Beach planters and parks. Sometimes we amaze even ourselves.

During this whole work week, we’ve had lovely conversations with appreciative and interested tourists and locals. Makes the job worthwhile.

The work board tonight:

We haven’t heard a peep about the one larger job we thought we were going to take back so…maybe not. We have no need to chase after more work. So we will take some time off now to recuperate and return to our small jobs after the (one hopes) last cold spell of the winter.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Long Beach

The day being dry and almost windless sent us back to Long Beach. We started by trimming up the planters on the Sid Snyder beach approach, mostly cutting back santolinas and lavender. We cut the santolinas back to the new growth deep down in the centre. Lavenders just get a gentle trim. Although it is not ideal to be trimming them before one more cold spell predicted for next week, we will chance it because otherwise we might fall behind. The feeling of relief at having so much done before the three day Presidents Day weekend is irresistible.

We then moved north to the Bolstad beach approach and trimmed the planters north of the long narrow garden.

satellite view of beach approach roads, Bolstad, top, and Sid Snyder, bottom

The Bolstad approach has several planters west of its long, narrow garden beds.

On this Valentine’s Day, someone had left a bouquet of flowers at the Lisa Bonney memorial planter. Her murder almost on this spot was a textbook case (click only if you can bear to read about it) of an ex, a former policeman, stalking relentlessly despite a restraining order. He talked her into meeting with him. DON’T DO IT! is my PSA of the day. I would probably have done what she did, chosen a public place, thinking it would be safe.Since then, an annual run/walk against domestic violence has taken place along this approach. It makes me so sad every time I take care of this planter, and I find it particularly bothersome horticulturally that we can’t make it extra beautiful for her because, despite the plaque, people persist in stealing any special plants that are planted here.

We worked our way east to the long narrow garden and the rest of the planters. Our goal today was not the big weeding (which every year I say we are too old to do, and then end up doing it anyway). All we intended to accomplish at ground level was pulling Crocosmia ‘Lucifer” leaves and cutting back ornamental grasses. We ended up trimming a lot of rugosa rose stems that were leaning into the sidewalk area. (The street side was well trimmed by us last autumn.) The planters got a good weeding, as well.

We had time to trim and tidy the small garden bed at Minnie Culbertson park, which is on the way to dump debris. No photo; we were tired.

As we took our very full load of debris to the city works yard, the temperature continued to drop.

Every time we unlock the gate at city works to dump debris after hours, I feel a sense of satisfaction and specialness that we have our own key. That feeling is one of the reasons I find it hard to retire from the job.

Our debris dump from the last few days is a large one (all of the foreground piles).

And that does not include tarps (folded like burritos) to keep separate from thorns and weeds) full of clean and non thorny clippings that I take home to my compost bins. (We could have taken more if I’d had the energy to sort it better.)

The work board tonight:

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Monday, 13 February 2023

at home

I had mentioned to Allan, in Skooter’s hearing, that we might give an unused scratching post to a friend’s orange cat. Suddenly, it became Skooter’s favourite thing. So he can keep it.

He also gets to keep some mail order packing paper, for awhile.


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Sunday, 12 February 2023

Long Beach

It was chilly but not windy as we headed to work.

We started with Veterans Field, where Allan tidied up the corner garden.

anemones and Jackman”s Blue rue

I weeded the flag pavilion arc, and Allan ran the strimmer around the lawn edge.

We trimmed several Stipa gigantea on the parking lot berms.

Allan has noticed that iPhoto is not very good at actually identifying plants, although its errors about Stipa gigantea are not as funny as when awhile back it claimed that a plant was a horseshoe crab.

We dumped our debris and loaded up 20 buckets with mulch, almost all of which was absorbed by the arc garden.

Next was the clipping, weeding, and tidying (and some mulching) of the east side of Fifth Street park.

We left the protective leaves on the gunnera because the nights are still cold.

I tidied the two adjacent planters and Allan got one nearby street tree bed weeded, giving us a head start on the upcoming trees and planters project. Before but no after:

The building next to the tree has a literary offering.

That was all for today”s work.

The work board tonight (I had decided that the fire station first clean up was good enough to be done for now):

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11 Feb: more Long Beach

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Norwood garden

I started with a tiny job two doors west of us by trimming up our neighbours’ garden.

Meanwhile, Allan was putting the second side on the trailer so that our debris would be more easily contained.

Long Beach

We accomplished spring clean up in several areas. starting with the little popout on Ocean Beach Boulevard.

Next, the big popout, trimming the supposedly dwarf pampas grass (now on the noxious weed list) and rugosa roses along the sidewalk.

Next, our main goal of the day, the city hall garden. We can work on it more easily on weekends when staff parking is available.

East side:

After a pleasant start to the day, a cold wind made me so miserable that I didn’t trim every last dead twiglet from the Japanese maple.

Allan tidied up the west side.

We walked a block to Pacific and Bolstad and clipped and trimmed the two planters at the intersection.

I had very much wanted to get Veterans Field done also, but the wind was just too cold and strong. We dumped our debris…

…and left Long Beach earlier than planned.

Ilwaco post office garden

I thought we might just briefly stop at the our volunteer garden at the post office to trim dead bits off the Stipa gigantea. Instead, because the building protected us from the cold north wind, we actually accomplished a big goal, moving the large grass to the back corner of the garden. Now I will not have to fret in summer that its airy stalks and plumes make it hard to see the word “Ilwaco” on the building. Our friend Patty saw part of the project.

at home

It was good to be home and out of the weather. Skooter was glad to come in and enjoy his Katnip Karrot...

…while I finished an excellent novel set mostly in and shortly after World War II.

One of my favourite parts was when the young woman protagonist goes on what she hopes will be a picnic date with someone who reminded me of Chris Packham. (I’d be happy to watch otters with Chris Packham.)

And more great stuff:

Just two or three more novels and I will have read or re-read all of Kate Atkinson.

The work board tonight:

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Friday, 10 February 2023

Long Beach

We did the job with which we usually start the work year: spring clean up of the west side of Fifth Street Park.

The NW quadrant, before:

and after:

The southwest quadrant before:

and after:

We saw a goat on a lead behaving as one would imagine a goat on a lead would.

Also the usual parade of cute dogs…

…and a very wide frog that I moved so I could trim the plants it had been sitting in.

I tidied under a street tree down the block and was pleased to see primulas blooming which had looked all dried up by the end of last summer. Last year, we did not water under the trees; they got a spray of water once a week from the city watering truck.

After dumping a large load of debris…

…we drove out to the Bolstad beach parking lot to see some large kites flying.

Ilwaco fire station

On the way home, Allan suggested we just look at our volunteer garden at the fire station, two blocks from our house. Of course, this meant we did most (but not all) of the spring clean up there, as well.

The work board tonight:

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Some of you have already seen this because of an accidental early publishing. I am a bit out of practice with blog technicalities after some time off from writing …

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Yesterday, I had noticed an incipient toothache, and this morning I scored an emergency appointment with my nice dentist, Dr. Tynkala, at the rather early hour (for us) of ten AM. Happily, the problem was nought but a (now quite expensive) peppercorn that was mercilessly wedged between two back teeth. This and good weather inspired the sudden urge to go to work to make money to pay the bill.


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at home

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

We had had some rain.


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